Junts and his highest representative in the Government, Vice President Jordi Puigneró, do not throw in the towel of the expansion of the El Prat airport. Puigneró appeared this Wednesday in the Parliament to explain his position on this issue, which has been one of the main political controversies since the summer, and has reiterated that his commitment is to expand the Barcelona air base, as well as improve the Catalan airport system as a whole. The vice president has also called on the central government to continue negotiating, since in his opinion there is no alternative to improving the flight capacity of El Prat.
As he recalled, the Government has a mandate from the Parliament, approved by Junts and PSC among others, to maintain dialogue with the Ministry of Transport on this work. “The Government has the obligation to find a solution and the Vice Presidency will not remain,” he said. However, he has been pessimistic about the chances that it will go ahead, considering that it is the central government that “has never had an interest.” “We have not been the ones who have closed the door to the technical and political debate,” he said, after which he had summoned the Executive of Pedro Sánchez to return to the table.
“If the PSOE, on behalf of its president, or the Minister of Transport, open a window of opportunity, I will be ready to work solutions with transparency and with the maximum consensus. Here you will find me, in the pimpampum, no”, he has manifested. As he has described, his proposal continues to be to expand El Prat that is respectful of the La Ricarda protected area and that reconciles green objectives with international connections.
For Puigneró, having more capacity to host flights, as well as having international connections, is a necessity for the El Prat air base, because otherwise the airport runs the risk of reaching its ceiling. “If we do nothing in five years it will collapse and everything will be regrets,” he said. The vice president also pointed out that the reason why the airport is becoming too small is that the Catalan economy is working again at a good pace, “no matter how much it despite those who want a decadent Catalan economy.”
In this way, Puigneró has set his position to what, according to his version, has always been the consensus within the Government. “I am where I was on August 2, I have not moved,” he assured. “We work with three premises: enhance the international role of El Prat, enhance the rail connection with the rest of airports, and seek an environmentally friendly solution defined in the master plan,” said Puigneró. The vice-president has responded like this before the Chamber for the first time after last weekend affirming that his department was working in “various scenarios” to make a new project come true, something that was quickly denied by the president of the Government, Pere Aragonès.
During his appearance in Parliament, Puigneró reviewed the most important moments of the negotiation, which began on June 14 with the institutional table between the Generalitat, the State and several local administrations, and where, according to the vice president, the Government has already reflected the position that it has later maintained. He has also indicated that the talks lasted for more than two months, including the agreement that he himself signed with the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez. “And after this negotiation, in a week the PSOE charges the investment project, due to his tweet from the president that is later amended with an agreement from the Government,” said Puigneró with indignation.
With this argument, and despite the expressed willingness to negotiate, the highest representative of Junts in the Catalan Executive has expressed the “need” for Catalonia to manage the El Prat airport, as well as the rest of the airport system. “Catalonia cannot depend for another minute on infrastructures of a State that frequently, I do not always say but frequently, governs against the interests of Catalonia, and it is only necessary to see how another infrastructure, Rodalies, is managed”, he assured. “We want an airport managed from Catalonia because we want an environmentally responsible airport,” he added.