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On December 12th, 2022, Xavier Trias and Vidal de Llobatera (Barcelona, 1946) confirmed that he was returning to the political arena to try and win the mayoralty of Barcelona in these 2023 municipal elections. In fact, Trias already held the mayoral post between 2011 and 2015. Very quickly, his decision revived the expectations of Together for Catalonia (Junts) in these elections: a month after announcing that he would stand, he was at the head of the electoral race, according to a survey from During these months, he has built a project that goes beyond the Junts party, reaching an agreement with the PDeCAT, Democrates and Moviment d'Esquerres. Thus, the name of the candidacy also transcends parties: Trias for Barcelona. The candidate faces the final stretch of the campaign for May 28th with a situation close to dead-heat with BComú and the PSC, and every vote will make a difference. Xavier Trias receives this newspaper at Casa Rius at a time when everything is at stake and he reiterates: he will only be mayor if he wins.

Entrevista Xavier Trias, alcaldable Junts / Foto: Carlos Baglietto
Xavier Trias, at Casa Rius in Barcelona / Photo: Carlos Baglietto.



We are entering the last days of the campaign. What's your assessment?
I think I'm doing well. It's a very competitive campaign, something that hasn't happened lately. I think I'll win the election and we are in a very positive state of mind. But, in addition, I consider that there have been discussions and aspects that I think enlighten people quite a bit, on what they should do and what they should vote for.

What diagnosis do you make of the state of Barcelona?
That it is poorly managed. Cleanliness, law and order, mobility, economic activity in the city are poorly managed. The whole thing is managed very poorly.

You make 1,400 proposals in your electoral programme. If you had to give some lines of priority, what would they be?
The priority is to create economic activity to provide well-being. So there are three components: one is economic, one is welfare, and the third is management that is right with the things that may seem smaller like cleanliness, for example. When a city is dirty, when it is unsafe, when it has mobility problems, people lose self-esteem. The city of Barcelona, at the present moment, has a serious problem of people's self-esteem.

The priority is to create economic activity to provide well-being. When a city is dirty, when it is unsafe, when it has mobility problems, people lose self-esteem

Law and order is the most serious problem for Barcelona residents, according to a city council survey. What measures do you want to adopt if you are mayor?
The first is that the mayor of Barcelona must be convinced that he is the chief person responsible for law and order. Second, we don't have enough cash. We need at least 4,000 Guardia Urbana officers in the city. We need a large number of them to be in uniform, to have a presence on the streets and for people to see them. Close collaboration with the Mossos d'Esquadra is also needed and they need to feel that they have the support of the city mayor at all times. The mayor is the person most responsible for the law and order of this city and, therefore, there is a question of leadership and of creating the atmosphere so that the Guardia Urbana feel that they have the support of their city council.

Access to housing is one of the main hot potatoes in Barcelona. Rent levels are unaffordable for many people. How can the situation be reversed?
By constructing. Public administrations must make a significant effort for 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years to build housing that is their own property and that can be rented at an affordable price. This must be an agreement between all parties that can govern, to agree on some lines and apply them. Obviously there can be course corrections because, when you try something and it doesn't work, you have to fix it, but there should be a large-scale deal. A major pact not to make the promises that are always made. Some say they will build huge numbers of homes, each one tells their own story. What we have to do is, together, make it very clear what line we will take.

Is the regulation of house rental prices contemplated by the Spanish state's legislation a good solution?
I think it's a well-intentioned solution, but if we don't create new housing, it won't work, because it won't work. The only thing it will mean is that people will not rent the houses. It will be an insanity. Therefore, what needs to be done is to build housing and then things can be turned around.


In your opinion, another part of this "bad management" is mobility. Why?
We all agree that traffic must be pacified. We all agree that climate change must be fought and we will all agree that the future is the electric car, but if you don't do things to electrify the city, the presence of the electric car will be delayed. If you do not make very clear decisions about how and what must be done, when Colau believes that the solution is to make non-consensual decisions that hinder traffic and what they produce are big traffic jams in the city, it is a mistake, which is what is happening. The latest example is the Via Augusta cycle path. It is logical that people want a bike lane on Via Augusta, but when making the bike lane creates total congestion in the Vallvidrera tunnel, at the entrance and exit, it is clear that it is not being done well. It has to be done differently. Mobility is a service. Mobility helps people live better. Colau is making us all live much worse. She needs to realise this, because it isn't working the way it's supposed to.

Mobility helps people live better and what Colau is doing is making us all live much worse.

Even in this matter, the truth is that, for many people, it is not feasible to have an electric car nowadays. How do you help them?
There are times when we lose our common sense. A person who has owned a diesel car for 20 years is not a collector, he owns it because he does not have the money to change his car. Therefore, either he is helped - which is a possibility - or a moratorium must be given so that people can adapt at the right moment and at the right time. It is one thing to have environmental policies, but they must be compatible with social policies. People who can buy an electric car are usually people with high purchasing power. In a city like Barcelona, when you find that a company like Seat whose president says that he will make an electric car with a more affordable price and that he will make 500,000 of them and, in addition, he will take it all over the world and give it the name of Raval, we almost have to pay tribute to this gentleman. First, because he is generating economy; secondly, he is making a clear commitment to the electric car, which Barcelona is interested in and, moreover, names it after a neighbourhood, which is a neighbourhood that must be regenerated and that we must support in every way.

Will any of the superblocks be reverted to how it was previously?
The thing is that there are no superblocks. Mrs Colau doesn't make superblocks, she makes what she calls "green axes", which aren't green axes either. What she does is pedestrianize a few streets. In addition, many of the chamfer corners in the Eixample are being made into places where you can't load and unload, and we have to stop this. Loading and unloading must be possible in the chamfers because, otherwise, people do it in the middle of the street and create a lot of traffic congestion. It's better to do things that people want. If people want the Ronda de Dalt motorway covered, let's cover it instead of something else. No one asked for the action on Carrer Consell de Cent. Linking the Marina del Prat Vermell with Avinguda Paral·lel makes sense, for example, because that means completing an area of Barcelona and dignifying it; it is also logical to give life to the Besòs; the great transformation of this city, which is from Sagrera to Glòries and from Glòries to the Estació de França: all of this makes sense. There are inventions that can make sense, but there are inventions that make very little sense.


Ada Colau has stated that, if she is returned to the mayoral office, she will make twenty more green axes by 2030. How do you see that?
It will pacify twenty streets. I think she's wrong, it shouldn't be done that way. Pacifying streets, depending on how it's done, generates first-class and second-class streets, and it makes no sense.

Entrevista Xavier Trias, alcaldable Junts / Foto: Carlos Baglietto
Photo: Carlos Baglietto.

You refuse to make the tram connection between Verdaguer and Francesc Macià, but at the same time you are open to the possibility of a public consultation on this matter, right?
Yes, I believe that one should never refuse consultations. It must be explained what is happening and why this is not a rational decision. This comes at a high cost. You can connect the trams via electric buses, which today is an element that creates less problems than a tram. The tramway is a rigid structure which creates some difficulties. A few years ago, it was modern because it was a non-polluting solution and because it was electric. Today there are electric buses that do not pollute and therefore there are better solutions than the tram. In addition, there is an added factor: the tram is a private company, and this will end badly and is a prejudice to TMB, which is a public company. I don't quite understand what Mrs Colau is doing. If I did that, they would say I'm privatizing.

Pacifying streets, depending on how it's done, generates first-class and second-class streets.

Throughout the campaign, you have reached out to both the PSC and ERC. Your candidacy claims that the rival they won't govern with is Ada Colau.
That's definite.

At the same time, you have explained that the "failure" of these eight years is the responsibility of both Ada Colau and Jaume Collboni. You won't govern with Colau, but why could collaborate with Collboni?
Mrs Colau has a model that is completely different from mine. This is a problem of ideological affinities, of the functioning of the city, where we want to take the city. Mrs Colau and I have different ideas on where the city should be taken. I insist: I am a person who believes that the only effective fight against poverty is to create economic activity, which means creating jobs. Mrs Colau believes in degrowth. I don't agree. Mr. Collboni does not have this idea. It is true that Collboni's problem is that, when he starts managing with Colau, he does it very badly, which is what is difficult for him to explain. Why should people vote for Mr Collboni if people are against what has happened so far and he has been supporting them? What's more, he left the deputy mayoral office, but the PSC is still in the government and in very sensitive areas. Therefore, it is difficult for him and I understand that there are times when he gets anxious, because it is difficult for him to explain what he has been doing these eight years.

If you win the election, who will you call first?
Whichever comes up on my phone first. I will call them all, I will not call some and not call others. Yes, I will call with a clear idea: the election is won by the party who has 21 councillors. Therefore, the first thing you have to look at is if you have a chance to get to 21 and then you have to call people, because there is another approach and that is, if you win but you don't reach 21, you can be mayor simply by being the most voted party and because the others vote for themselves.

Do you discard the votes of the PP?
Yes, the thing is that I don't need them.

Why should people vote for Mr Collboni if people are against what has been done so far and he has been supporting Colau in doing it? It's difficult for him to explain what he's been doing these eight years.

What could happen if Ada Colau is mayor for four more years?
I think it would be a catastrophe. That's why I'm standing. I'm running because I think the current situation is bad. I don't say that, people say it. When the Barcelona city council conducts its own survey, people say that they are unhappy with the city government's management and that there must be a change.

If you are mayor, how would you like to leave the Barcelona of 2027?
As a city that is a benchmark, above all, in research, innovation and social well-being. That is the goal that I will try to implement in this city.