King Felipe VI, President Pedro Sánchez and the head of the Catalan Executive, Pere Aragonès, dine with Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, ​​the President of Fira de Barcelona, ​​Pau Relat, and Mats Granryd, General Director of GSMA.Francisco Gomez / EFE

“Today, as always, we have to join forces to regain economic growth as soon as possible. Growth in all sectors of the economy, in all spheres of activity, which benefits society as a whole ”. Felipe VI concluded with a call for unity his words of welcome to the Mobile World Congress (MWC 21), in the presence of the Head of Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès, among other authorities.

In a speech mostly in English, with some phrases in Spanish and Catalan, the King claimed that this is the ninth time that he has attended the largest mobile phone fair in the world – a way of emphasizing that he was not a foreign guest – and stressed that Spain is a “stable, flexible and dynamic society”.

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Also Sánchez, who was intervening for the first time in this event, has called for unity, ensuring that collaboration between all institutions “is the fertile way to build a country.” The president congratulated himself on the presence at the ceremony of the highest officials of the Government, the Generalitat or the Barcelona City Council, underlining that it symbolizes “a union for the higher good of all, which is that of the citizens we represent and we serve ”.

In his speech, Aragonès has not made any direct or indirect allusion to the political situation. He has focused on the importance of technology and the fact that the Mobile is held in Barcelona: “We believe in the transformative potential of digitization at a social level and in areas that have proven to be as important as health and education, such as as has been evidenced in the pandemic ”. For Aragonès, digitization and technology are an “opportunity” for the Catalan language and not a threat of standardization given the potential of global languages ​​and cultures ”.

As happened on the 16th, when they coincided in a conference organized by the Círculo de Economía, the president of the Generalitat avoided receiving the King upon his arrival at the Reina Victoria Eugenia pavilion, in Montjuïc, set up for the dinner prior to the inauguration of the Mobile Work Congress (MWC 21). Upon the arrival of Felipe VI, outside the pavilion, were the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, the president of the Fira de Barcelona, ​​Pau Relat, and the general director of GSMA, Mats Granryd. Once inside, and in line, he was greeted by the mayor of l’Hospitalet, Nuria Marín; the Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño; the Government Delegate in Catalonia, Teresa Cunillera, various State Secretaries and the GSMA advisor, John Hoffman.

However, immediately after the call kissing hands, Mayor Ada Colau has approached the King and President Sánchez with whom she has talked for a few seconds. Aragonès, who had entered the pavilion earlier, approached the center of it progressively and greeted Felipe VI with a brief exchange of words. With Sánchez, the conversation has been more direct: “See you on Tuesday.” The King shared the presidential table with Sánchez, Aragonès, Colau, Relat and the director of the GSMA.

The MWC returns to Barcelona more than two years and four months after its last edition, in February 2019. Last year’s edition was suspended due to the looming health crisis with the coronavirus, which was already advancing in Europe. The organizers of the MWC conspired, then, to set the next edition for February of this year, which was finally postponed until June because the pandemic situation was not optimal and vaccination was still in its early stages in most countries. . Finally, it will be held starting this Monday, in what is considered a success due to the fact that it can be celebrated in person, a starting shot for the recovery of top-level international events.

The political situation in relation to the last MWC, the one held in February 2019, has nothing to do with it. This year’s edition comes four days after the Pedro Sánchez Government granted pardons to politicians imprisoned by the you process and two days before the first formal meeting between the President of the Government and that of the Generalitat, Pere Aragonès. In 2019, the MWC was held in full trial against politicians in the Supreme Court, the president of the Generalitat was Quim Torra and on behalf of the Government the dinner was attended by ministers Nadia Calviño, Meritxell Batet and Pedro Duque. This year, in addition to the President of the Government, Calviño and Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism, attended the inaugural dinner.

The presence at the inaugural dinner of the President of the Government has also been a novelty in this edition. In 2018, with the PP in the central Government – and the Government pending to be constituted after the elections called by Mariano Rajoy in application of article 155 – representation fell to Vice President Soraya Saénz de Santamaría. And the same happened in 2017, which was held months before the 1-O referendum and the last one in which the speeches strictly adhered to the importance of holding the MWC in Barcelona.

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