For Barcelona, Brexit means collaboration
First of all, I’d like to say that ‘Brexit’ is bad news for us. Our hope would be for the UK to remain within the EU. However, the referendum’s result is beyond appeal and, as democrats, we must respect the British people’s verdict.
Having said that, I believe that ‘Brexit’ could become an opportunity for Barcelona’s economy. As Deputy Mayor for Business, Culture and Innovation, it is my responsibility to lead this initiative. Thus, last July we started working with the Catalan Government in order to launch a ‘Brexit Plan’ with a clear objective: to attract productive investment in terms of jobs creation. I think that the best strategy to attract foreign investment is to join efforts and act with a shared voice.
I take these lines as an opportunity to briefly explain the ‘Brexit Plan’. It foresees prospection actions in order to acknowledge the current situation in the British market and explore all the possibilities; promotion actions, oriented toward explaining Barcelona’s assets to potential investors at fairs, congresses and business meetings; and the ‘unique counter’ which aims to facilitate the reception and landing of companies and professionals in Barcelona.
I would like to clarify what I consider to be a mistake: presenting ‘Brexit’ only in terms of competition between cities or territories. From my point of view, it is also an opportunity to establish a new relational framework with the UK. During my recent visit to London I met with Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business. We agreed that both Barcelona and London are metropolitan cities which aim to work together in order to build fairer, more competitive and more sustainable cities. Hence I proposed to him the opening of a permanent channel of communication which would allow us to collaborate on particular projects and strengthen this relationship.
‘Brexit’ has aroused major interest in cities and territories which have hurried to launch plans in order to attract investment. It is within this context that Barcelona has to introduce itself to the world as a city which is interested in taking the opportunities which may emerge from it. This without forgetting the spirit of collaboration and the social justice and equality values which we aim for our city to be identified with.
Deputy Mayor of Barcelona for Business, Culture and Innovation