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"At a point of no return". That is the situation reached by the proposed joint bid by Catalonia and Aragon for the 2030 Winter Olympics, as Catalan minister Laura Vilagrà set it out this morning, something which, she emphasized, is not the fault of Catalonia, but rather, she points directly at the problems coming from the other side. Thus, Catalonia has "made a great effort" in the technical part of the project, making proposals and modifying them according to needs, while "clearly, the Aragonese government has made use of political criteria and brought out anti-Catalan sentiment", the minister reflected in an interview with Catalunya Ràdio, emphasizing the importance of setting out other alternatives. These could be found through reach side presenting candidacies on its own, a possibility to which the president of the Spanish Olympic Committee (COE), Alejandro Blanco, had already opened the door, when he saw that agreement would be very difficult, although later he stepped back to make it clear that the priority was still a candidacy of the two territories together.


Now, however, Vilagrà sees "an agreement with Aragon as very difficult", as the Socialist government of Javier Lambán changes its mind "every two weeks", making proposals that could be erratic in the minister's view, because they contradict each other. But not being able to reach a deal on a joint bid does not mean that Catalonia should not submit its own candidacy, she clarified. "What I can see is that we mustn't miss the opportunity, we have to throw in a strong proposal. We have already done so in the bid with Aragon, but now we see that this option is at a critical point and we believe that new 'alternatives' have to be looked at.

Serious application

In this regard, she dropped the name of one member of the Spanish cabinet who, she believes, holds the same view as her: Miquel Iceta. According to Vilagrà, the Spanish minister of sport will not let an opportunity go by to have Olympic options either: "It hasn't worked with Aragón, now it's time to open another phase. That's why we propose that the option of an all-Catalonia bid be evaluated." This idea has already been conveyed to Blanco, but in informal conversations, and the minister believes that "it must be discussed with criteria and techniques and in a structured way". The ERC politician asserted that Catalonia deserves this option, "we have been ready for a long time, we believe we've won our position and we wouldn't understand in that regard if our proposal was not heard".

Faced with the turmoil generated in recent weeks, largely due to the Socialist leader's attitude, there has even been talk from the COE of delaying the candidacies until the 2034 Games. Given this possibility, Vilagrà believes that the most important thing is "working seriously and making the most of our assets to present a powerful and winning candidacy for 2030", and that, in this regard, Catalonia possesses "a broad territorial consensus".