The budget negotiations with PSC -acronym for “Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya” (Socialist Worker’s party of Catalonia)- are taking place. Before anything, we want to state that PSC has nothing to do with socialist ideology, and works as a filial of Madrid, so nothing to do also with "catalan". One could easily say is the P party.
The budget negociations, with their infrastructure demands, have put the focus on the debate about which model of country we want in the middle of an global environmental crisis and climate emergency.
For those who do not follow Catalan politics, there are 3major infrastructures that the PSC has claimed as necessary for the future economic development of Catalonia:
- Hard Rock Hotel-Casino: A macro hotel complex located near the city of Tarragona and adjacent to an existing theme park (Port Aventura).
- Expansion of El Prat Airport: Extend the existing runways by invading a natural space and build a new terminal.
- El Quart Cinturó (The Fourth Ring Road): A motorway that should connect Martorell and Terrassa, with the future possibility of being extended to Sabadell and Granollers (Four catalan cities located on the northern side of Barcelona Metropolitan Region)
Talking about Hard Rock Hotel-Casino, it is a project of a private USA company, only designed to increase the number of tourists in an area that is already very overcrowded and close to the saturation point. It is not a project that considers the needs of the people who live in the area. Massive tourism is an economic model that only creates low-paying and temporary jobs. In addition to, we consider that the gambling industry must not grow, because creates a lot of social and addiction problems.
Because of the serious global environmental and climate crisis we are experiencing, it is essential to act to reduce CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and decarbonize our economy and lifestyle. It is estimated that 25% of air pollution in Europe comes from transport, for this reason we must support more efficient and sustainable transport methods. The expansion of El Prat Airport and the construction of the Fourth Belt means taking the opposite direction to sustainability, this big infrastructure projects mean to continue trusting on air transport and the private car when we should invest on public transport, especially rail.
There are also more reasons to oppose the expansion of the Airport. Barcelona is a city with a high number of tourists. Is not necessary expand the airport to bring more tourism to the city. In addition, the planned expansion of the airport is based on extending the southern runway to increase the airport's capacity for intercontinental flights. As you can see on the map, this extension would be made over the “Estany de la Ricarda”, a wetland of high ecological value due to the flora and fauna which can be found there.
As for the Fourth Belt, it is an oversized work that does not correspond to the real mobility needs of the Metropolitan Region of Barcelona. Its construction would have a very negative landscape and environmental impact.
For the future, we want to live in a eco-friendly country, with infrastructure plans based on public transport. Catalonia don’t need more megaprojects only based on economic benefits.