The expansion of El Prat will no longer be done before 2027: the Council of Ministers withdraws the 1,700 million

Now there is no option. The Government says “regretting the lack of internal agreement in the Government” and this Tuesday the Council of Ministers definitively withdraws the 1,700 million euros agreed on August 2 between the Ministry of Transport and the Generalitat for the expansion of El Prat.

The 15-day ultimatum imposed by the Ministry of Transport so that the president Pere Argonès (ERC) would agree to what was signed with his number two, Jordi Puigneró (Junts), it has been in vain and government sources confirm that now we will have to wait at least five years.

On September 8, the pact sealed a month earlier by Rachel Sanchez, in which it had been his first important decision once he received the portfolio of Jose Luis Ábalos. To the 1,600 million euros earmarked for expansion and modernization of Madrid’s Barajas airport a very similar investment was added over the next five years for the Barcelona facilities.

But to turn El Prat into a hub International, towards Europe and Asia, it is necessary to lengthen its runways and give greater capacity to its passenger and cargo terminals. With the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, the only space free passed over the Laguna de La Ricarda, a protected natural area.

The environmentalist flag of Esquerra – and also of the purple part of the Government of the nation – made it impossible to accept this option without assuming electoral wear … and the internal contradictions of both administrations came to light.

Four-way contradictions

The Republicans said they applauded the investment, but rejected the project signed by the Government that they themselves preside. Perhaps because the project was also championed by the party of Carles Puigdemont. And the leader of United We Can in the Executive showed a walk through the threatened duck pond the same day that Sánchez summoned the emergency media to announce the breakdown of the agreement. Perhaps, to clearly distance himself from Pedro Sanchez.

“I have worked for a long time with discretion to achieve this,” he said. Yolanda Diaz, presuming to have participated in the breaking of the pact of its own Executive.

Vice President Yolanda Díaz, with the mayors of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, and El Prat, Lluís Mijoler.

Vice President Yolanda Díaz, with the mayors of Barcelona, ​​Ada Colau, and El Prat, Lluís Mijoler.


But two days after the announcement by Minister Sánchez, this newspaper revealed that, in reality, there were still options. Sources close to the minister, Raquel Sánchez, point out that “there’s little chance they’ll back down, because there is no unity of criteria in the Government itself, but if we return to the pact of August 2, it could still be done “.

The ultimatum was transmitted to Aragonès himself, while The Minister of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda publicly insisted that the reason for the paralysis of investments was none other than the division within the Government of the Generalitat… although he said to maintain his “offer of dialogue and commitment to Catalonia”.

The former mayor of Gavà tried to wink, while from his department was transmitted to this newspaper “the incongruity of a president that makes a critical Twitter thread with a meeting in which he was not even “, that is, the appointment in which Aena took the detailed statement of what was signed with Puigneró a month before to confirm the definitive approval of the Government.

They referred the sources of the criticisms made by Aragonès to the DORA (Airport Regulation Document) 2022-2026 which goes to the Council of Ministers this Tuesday … without El Prat on its pages.

The head of the Catalan Government accused Aena of not having respected “the consensus established in the ‘yes’ of the Government” to the project. “But it is that what was presented in that meeting It was the agreement negotiated on August 2 by Minister Sánchez and the ‘vice president’ Puigneró“A Transport spokesman pointed out to EL ESPAÑOL.” That same phrase already makes it clear that the problem is within the coalition between ERC and Junts, “added another source close to the minister on Monday.

Pacts and table at risk

Thus, investments are paralyzed “due to lack of clear support for the project by the Government, as President Pedro Sánchez already said“, state government sources. If there had been a reversal of Esquerra in these weeks, the Executive could even have approved Aena’s investments for the next five years in one of the two past Councils of Ministers, which did not have a special volume of affairs.

But the truth is that in the forced wait by Sánchez to achieve the return of Aragonès to the signed agreement -and looking for a solution to the affectation of the natural area- has run into a recrudescence of the internal tensions of the Government. In these days there have been at least two key milestones: the resumption of the “reunion table”, boycotted by those of Puigdemont, and the arrest of the ex-president fled, last Thursday in Sardinia (Italy).

The ex-convergent party’s pressure on the Republicans even went so far as to demand that they break their parliamentary pact in Madrid. And all this has become rare their “infernal relationships” -as described by a minister in conversation with this newspaper- and has strained Moncloa’s understanding with the Government led by ERC, and the negotiation of the Budgets.

“The 1,700 million planned for Barcelona in the DORA 2022-2026 that is approved this Tuesday will not go finally, “state government sources.” It is regrettable, “they conclude … and it is not only for the same work, which is postponed until 2027 at the earliest, but to show compliance in that” agenda of the reunion “that has remained “touched”.

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