Business flight from the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce led by the ANC

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The Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, controlled by business sectors linked to the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), is left without three reference companies. Naturgy, Abertis Y Catalonia Hotels & Resorts have left the plenary session of the organization, where they occupied three of the 14 silver chairs [nombre que reciben las plazas reservadas a grandes compaías que aportan 75.000 euros anuales]. According to sources within the chamber, this triple resignation, which was made official in the ordinary plenary session last January, would not respond to political motivations, but rather to a process of internal reorganization of the three corporations due to the crisis caused by the Covid pandemic.

Despite the fact that none of the three companies links it to the independence roadmap of the current executive management, there is discomfort with the functioning of the highest governing body of the Barcelona economic revitalization institution, as published this Wednesday Expansion. Several members of the plenary session consider that they are not taken into account in the sessions and their proposals are continuously ignored: “We learned about important decisions from Twitter or by the media. ”

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After having reviewed its participation policies in public institutions, Naturgy attributes this resignation to the decision to leave several chamber entities. Abertis sources, who acknowledge that the ideological drift of the institution  «does not help», explained to Efe that the company chose to dispense with its seat in the plenary session because, as of next August, its presence in Cataluña will be residual once the concessions of its main freeways in the community, the AP-7 and the AP-2. Despite the resignation, both energy and Abertis will continue to collaborate with the institution. From Catalonia Hotels, for their part, they point out that the management team is only focused on its strategy to combat the effects of the coronavirus crisis, which is seriously affecting the hotel and tourism sector.

The Chamber of Barcelona has opened a process of partial elections, which will end on March 9, so that companies interested in filling the three vacant positions can present their candidacies.

Independence victory

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In addition to the aforementioned 14 silver chairs and the six representatives that correspond to the bosses Work Promotion Y Pimec, the plenary session of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Services and Navigation is made up of 40 members elected by direct suffrage. And it was in the last elections, in May 2019, when the pro-independence movement removed the business board by obtaining 31 of these members. The establishment Catalan failed to mobilize within its circles of influence [la participación fue del 4,1% del censo] and the candidacy Chambers: Country Tools [Cámaras: Herramientas de País], sponsored by the ANC and the Catalan Business Circle, was emphatically imposed on all the others, among which the former director general of Damm stood out. Enric Crous or that of the financier Carles Tusquets, current president of the FC Barcelona Management Committee.

After 17 years in the presidency of the institution, Miquel Valls gave up the activist Joan Canadell, founder and partner of the company Petrolis Independents and today elected deputy of Junts per Catalunya in the Parliament. Canadell yielded the presidency of the Chamber three weeks ago to Mónica Rock, with a more technical profile, to focus on the electoral campaign of Carles Puigdemont’s party, in which he ranked third on the list for Barcelona, and in a hypothetical career in the future Govern. Roca’s succession, still in office, was also due to take place in a few months, as a rotating presidency of two years had been agreed for each one.

New strategy

The irruption of the independent business community in the Chamber in 2019 was not an isolated initiative, but rather is part of the ANC’s strategy for sovereignty to take over institutional power in Catalonia beyond the political sphere. After demonstrating its enormous capacity to mobilize in the street with massive demonstrations, especially those of the Diada, the association that presides Elisenda Paluzie it set its sights on positions of high representation of civil society and on managing to change the dynamics of the domestic economy. That is where the Strategic Consumption campaign was born, aimed at proposing “alternatives to the oligopolies and the Ibex 35”. Having independent executives in the Palace of the Generalitat It had been proven insufficient to achieve a break with Spain, as was seen in 2017, and it was necessary to “flee from the factual powers of the State and empower the consumer.” At the end of last year, the National Commission for Markets and Competition opened disciplinary proceedings against the Catalan National Assembly for this campaign for possible “unfair practices that seriously distort” competition in the market.

The second blow of effect took place two months ago, with the proclamation as the new rector of the University of Barcelona of Joan, candidate sponsored by the ANC who with 54% of the support defeated Joan Elias, who had been the target of criticism of the independence movement for not following their theses. And the third round is played next Tuesday. The collective Pimec tools will face the candidacy headed by the current secretary-general of Pimec, Antoni Cañete, in the elections to renew the governing bodies of the Catalan employers’ association of the SMEs and happen to Josep González in his presidency. At the head of the sovereign list is the businessman Pere Barrios, which threatens to reopen the war with Foment two years after the peace signed after more than a decade of litigation between the two organizations over their institutional representation.

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