40th anniversary of the arrival of Pasqual Maragall as mayor to the Barcelona City Council.

"I am a modest man from Barcelona who had never dreamed of the honour of a burden as relevant as the one you have placed on my shoulders today. But, as mayor, I must have, and I assure you I will have, all ambition." Excerpt from Pasqual Maragall’s speech at his inauguration as mayor on December 2, 1982.

This Friday, December 2, 2022 marks forty years of the inauguration of Pasqual Maragall as mayor of Barcelona, in the solemn ceremony of transfer of functions that was made in the Saló de Cent of the City of Barcelona.

Thus, a period of fifteen years began, between 1982 and 1997, in which Pasqual Maragall placed Barcelona in the world with the celebration of the best Olympic Games in Barcelona and developed his project to build the metropolitan Barcelona.

Pasqual Maragall took over from Narcís Serra who was appointed as Defense Minister in the first government of Felipe González. Later, Pasqual Maragall re-edited the position of mayor in four elections: 1983, 1987, 1991 and 1995, until in 1997 he left the mayor’s office and ceded the mayorship to Joan Clos. His mandate was marked by the transformation of the city with the remodeling of the maritime front, the construction of the rounds, the new neighborhood of the Olympic Village or the large sports facilities.

For an Olympic and Metropolitan Barcelona.

To commemorate this anniversary, we wanted to make a compilation of some images and recover the words that Pasqual Maragall delivered in his inaugural speech as mayor, at the event held at the Barcelona City Council on December 2, 1982, with the presence of the members of the corporation, his family and his father Jordi Maragall Noble, as we can see in one of the photographs before the facade of the Town Hall in the square of Sant Jaume.

After Narcís Serra uttered some excited words, his friend Pasqual Maragall made a speech in which you can find important keys to the performances of the next 15 years as mayor. The same title of the intervention indicates the main axes: For an Olympic and Metropolitan Barcelona.

Pasqual Maragall was a convinced Barcelona but also a convinced metropolitan, so an important part of his efforts were directed to build the Metropolitan Barcelona "with respect" and not with "a certain creative brutality" with which the city had been made. The other concept included in the title, Olympism, was present until 1992 and beyond. From 1986 to 1992 he transformed the city. And beyond the celebration of the Olympic Games, with an improved image and international positioning, and the achievement of great prestige, making the 'Barcelona model' and Pasqual Maragall have become references when it has been wanted to talk about the development of a city.

Other concepts included the renewal and dignification of neighborhoods, the federal proposal and the concern for the integration of Catalonia in Europe. During its terms of office, it also advocated partnership with the social and economic sectors and the promotion of innovative initiatives. Maragall will speak of the north of the south and of assuming a certain leadership of a macroregion of 16 million inhabitants that reaches the north to Montpellier and Toulouse, to the west in Zaragoza and to the south in Valencia. As mayor of Barcelona, he also proposed, in his federal concept, the necessary decompression of Madrid with proposals such as the transfer of the Senate to Barcelona.

In his first interview in the press as the first municipal authority, Pasqual Maragall expressed his willingness to prestige the City Council, establish stronger relations with citizens and work with austerity, efficiency, information, decentralization and connection with the metropolitan area. Subsequently, on 24 May 1983, the new municipal government of Pasqual Maragall was formed.

In the Digital Archive Pasqual Maragall can consult the speech of the inauguration and other documents related to the beginnings in the consistory, as the article of balance in the form of a letter to the presidents of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Jordi Pujol, and of the Government, Felipe González. In addition, he also has available several interviews with witnesses who lived closely the stage of Pasqual Maragall in the City of Barcelona as the mayors, Narcis Serra and Joan Clos, who preceded him and succeeded him in office.

Deep knowledge of municipal operations

In fact, Pasqual Maragall, already knows very well the consistory when it becomes the highest municipal authority, since in 1965 began to work as a technical officer in the programming cabinet of the City, under the orders of Mayor Josep Maria de Porcioles, to whom he awarded the gold medal of the city of Barcelona in 1983.

Between 1971 and 1973 he stayed with his family in New York to study at the New School University in New York, and returned to City Hall. He also taught urban economics and international economics as an interim assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, where five years later he presented his doctoral thesis "Urban land prices. The case of Barcelona (1948-1978)". In 1979 he ran in the municipal elections of Barcelona in the second place of the list of the Socialist Party of Catalonia behind Narcís Serra, who appointed him deputy mayor, and subsequently appointed him as his successor when he was appointed Defense Minister of Felipe González’s first government.


  • Narcís Serra. Mayor of Barcelona (1979-1982), Minister of Defence (1982-1991) and Vice-President of the Government (1991-1995).
  • Juan Clos. Mayor of Barcelona (1997-2006), Minister of Industry, Tourism and Trade (2006-2008), Spanish Ambassador to Turkey (2008-2010) and Executive Director of UN-Habitat (2010-2018).
  • Enric Truñó. Councillor of the Barcelona City Council (1979-1998) responsible for the JJOO.
  • Xavier Roig. Mayor Pasqual Maragall (1983-1996).
  • Eulàlia Vintró. Councillor and second deputy mayor of the City Council (1983-1999).
  • Oriol Bohigas. Delegate of the planning area of the Barcelona City Council (1980-1984), urban councillor of the City Council (1984-1991) and Councillor of Culture (1991-1994).
  • Margarita Obiols.Director of Decentralization (1983-1987), executive director of the Cultural Olympiad (1987-1992) and director of International Relations of the Barcelona City Council (1993-2003).