Workshops



Barcelona has been since the first years of democracy a game board of international politics. Different democratic mayors recognized this in a seminar organized by the Catalunya Europa Foundation together with the UCLG (Citizens and Local United Governments) and moderated by Agustín Fernandez de Losada. The seminar included the participation of all active leaders of the democratic era, Narciso Serra, Joan Clos, Jordi Hereu and Xavier Trias. Gerardo Pisarello, first deputy mayor of the City Council of Barcelona, was in charge of drawing the general lines of the international policy of the current consortium.

Although Barcelona was a pioneer, Narcís Serra, the first mayor of the democratic period, recognized that at first the esterior proyection of the city was not a priority, but it had long been one of the main axes of Barcelona. From this stage stands out the gestation of the idea of an Olympic Games in Barcelona. Serra also stressed that the overture of the city to the world was more effective when it was done through culture.

Jordi Borja, councilor of international relations at the stage of Pasqual Maragall was in charge of deepening on this stage. The Olympic Games played a central role in this period as regards the international projection of Barcelona, but it also highlights the opening of relations between Barcelona and the Mediterranean and Latin America. Barcelona also managed to position itself at the international level thanks to the presidency of Pascual Maragall, in 1992 within the committee of regions and the presidency of Barcelona and the Assembly of Mayors of the United Nations. Manel Vila, responsible for international cooperation in Barcelona during the mandate of Maragall, highlighted the solidary commitment of Barcelona, ??and the ties he wove with Sarajevo and the creation of District 11. On the other hand, Mireia Belil, adviser in international relations during the time Pasqual Maragall, stressed the importance of Barcelona to enhance the role of cities at a time is that, unlike now, nobody said that cities could be international actors.

The intervention of Joan Clos served to highlight the start-up of Casa Asia and the reinforcement of Casa América and IEMED. In this epoch Barcelona also managed to host the UCLG and the Metropolis Network. It was also the stage of the Universal Forum of Cultures that, despite the criticism, achieved a great impact on the transformation of the Barcelona coastline.

Jordi Hereu highlighted the opening of Barcelona in the Asian markets, an important step forward in the organization of major fairs, the consolodiation of the Port and the Aereopuerto. The Euro-Mediterranean axis and the Latin American axis are also consolidated. During this stage, internationalization can be emphasized as a transverse line of all areas of the City Council.

The last stage, led by the former mayor Xavier Trias, was characterized by the pause of major fairs and a commitment to new technologies and the construction of smart cities. An effort was also made to consolidate the city's tourism brand. Trias also emphasized the importance of Barcelona as a tool to present Catalonia to the world.

The event was closed by the Director of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, Gemma Sendra, with a clear message: "We must start from the one that has been built, from the solidity of the project, to continue progressing and going further".



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