Luis Barcala: “My goal is to win the next elections with a sufficient majority”
Still positive in Covid-19, according to analysis this Friday, the Mayor of Alicante, Luis Barcala, stay home isolated so as not to infect others while closely following the news of your City Council and participating -as you can- through a video, for example, in the international tourism fair Feature.
When the security measures allow it, in addition to resuming his agenda in person, he plans to offer a conference in Valencia in the meeting club Manuel Brosseta, initially scheduled for next Monday, January 24.
In this interview for ABC, reviews with perspective the current legislature and its responsibility at the head of the local PP, in addition to anticipating what is coming with many demands for the Generalitat Valenciana and the Government of Spain.
First of all, are you recovered after being infected by coronavirus? What message would you give to the population, has your experience changed the vision you had of the pandemic?
Yes, I am perfectly fine. I have been fortunate to be on the full schedule of three vaccines and have had virtually no bothersome symptoms. It is a luck that, unfortunately, many have not had in these two years. Having experienced this pandemic from the beginning from the front row has not meant that getting infected now has changed my conviction of the need for vaccination.
In your management at the head of the City Council, what impact has the coronavirus had and is having? How do you condition your government team, from the budget and priorities point of view?
Fighting the pandemic and its health, social and economic consequences has passed and is becoming the top priority, and that forces you to vary strategies, projects and budgets. But in no way has it served as an excuse to stop doing what, under normal conditions, had to be done. Proof of this is that in four years we have multiplied by ten the investments made in the city, going from 5 to 50 million. The pandemic has made it necessary to speed up the modernization of administration and services.
In addition to the eight successive extensions to the extension of nightstands to give air to the hotel industry, what new measures are you going to adopt to relaunch the economy? Or which ones will you keep, of those already applied?
subsidizing rates and taxes. The money has to be in the pockets of the self-employed, merchants and entrepreneurs. We will continue with campaigns to promote consumption such as the trade bonuses and gastronomic bonuses, which have been a success. And we will continue to give direct aid to the sectors that have the hardest time recovering.
On the other hand, we continue working so that more companies establish themselves in Alicante, offering all the facilities that a city that has the best conditions for any company, whether in the industrial sector or services, can offer. In addition, we continue to promote the strategy «Future Alicante» to implant in our city a new productive sector linked to the technology companies. We want them to find in Alicante the appropriate place to invest and generate employment and wealth.
From the Diputación they have predicted that in 2023 the Congress Center will start, how is the project at the moment and what deadlines do you estimate for its achievement?
The procedures to modify the land urban classification of the Port, essential to carry out the Congress Center project. Soon we will formalize with the Diputación the framework agreement that defines the project and the execution of the work by both administrations and that will be open to the participation of the Generalitat and the State.
What will it have in common with the one in Cartagena, visited last October by two provincial deputies from his party and Ciudadanos, apart from being located in the Port?
The visit to Cartagena and the study of different models help us to define the project. We want the Congress Center to be the one that Alicante and the demand need, that it is neither small nor oversized. We are investing a lot of time in polishing a project that is vital for the future of the city and in which you cannot fail. The Congress Center must be a landmark that represents Alicante’s future image and, above all, serves to boost our economy.
Precisely the Port Authority is going to build infrastructures in that area of the city, including a kind of “island”, how are they going to fit in with the Congress Center? Are there joint initiatives with the City Council?
The collaboration and communication between the City Council and the Port is fluid, constant and highly beneficial for both parties. I daresay that relationship had never been more productive. The projects are consulted and agreed upon. For example, both the design and execution of the remodeling of the promenade and the sports dock It has been carried out jointly with the remodeling of Conde de Vallellano, so that there is an aesthetic and functional uniformity. Along the same lines, everything that constitutes a milestone that improves the image of the city and its port and contributes innovation and modernity.
As mayor, for what major projects would you request priority from the Generalitat and the central government (TRAM to the Renfe station and the south, Central Park or others…)?
Every day it is more evident that Alicante does not have the same priorities as the Generalitat of Mr. Puig, or the Government of Mr. Sánchez. While we ask the Generalitat not to stick to announcements and make investments, we ask the Government of Spain to at least make announcements, since not one is planned for investments. From the Generalitat we already need the health centers of Garbinet, PAU 2 and Playas, and to start thinking about those of San Gabriel and PAU 5. We need the connection by Luceros TRAM and the AVE Station, and the new lines to the Hospital de San Juan and to the south, but the only investment that comes to mind for the Generalitat is to buy the Post Office building to “have more presence”, without realizing that what we need are investments. It seems that it is easier for President Puig to announce and promise than to execute and deliver. And regarding the Government of Spain and Mr Sánchez, just a request, do something, at least the rail connection with the airport.
What balance do you make of Alicante Futura from the point of attracting investments from foreign companies (or from here)? What synergies or complementarities do you find with Digital District? Have they already generated jobs?
Alicante Futura is a strategy that is already a reality and is beginning to bear fruit. It has put Alicante in the spotlight of companies and digital nomads. Alicante is counted on for top-level forums and business investments. Being invited by Vodafone to compete for the implementation of its global research center, or the installation of multinationals such as Navico, Accenture, Indra or Verne, among many others, is a reality. And it is a strategy that we do not develop alone, but in loyal collaboration with the Deputation of Alicante and CENID, and the Generalitat with Digital District. It is estimated that more than 2,500 jobs have been created in the last three years.
Will you reissue the alliance with Ciudadanos if electoral arithmetic places you in that position? And if the numbers only match Vox, will there be a coalition?
My goal is to complete this mandate with the stability and good results that it is bringing to Alicante. Next, run for the next election, win them and do so with a sufficient majority to govern alone, which is the logical aspiration of a party that wants to carry out the maximum of its political program. I will consider other different scenarios if they occur, and when they occur.
As the new local president of the PP, what changes do you plan to introduce? Where will the renewal of the party come from and which names are most likely to remain?
The objectives are clear. To fully exploit the enormous potential of the Popular Party in Alicante, as the largest political organization that reaches each and every one of the corners of the city, and to do so with a view to the next electoral processes to ensure that Paul Married be Prime Minister, Carlos Mazon President of the Generalitat and I get that majority that I was talking about before to govern Alicante. The renewal of the party is essential, and has reached 57% of the new executive committee. This renewal comes from the grassroots and, in particular, from the youngest. The academy is fundamental and we have it and it is very good, very committed. Our obligation is to present the best work team for the city of Alicante combining experience and youth, a true reflection of what our own society is.