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Will ongoing political instability affect Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress?

Council confident event will"continue" in city, while organizers are “monitoring” situation recalling that contract ends in 2023


13 November 2017 02:21 PM


Nazaret Romero | Barcelona

A deputy mayor of Barcelona admitted that organizers of the Mobile World Congress (MWC) had expressed its “concern” about the situation between Catalonia and Spain at a meeting, however it remained committed to the city. “All the proposals of GSMA were enthusiastic to make a congress better than the previous year. This is a topic that is very clear. Barcelona will continue to be the capital of the MWC,” Gerardo Pisarello said.

“The economic sectors are worried about the uncertainty, as always, and want to work in security contexts, but MWC has reiterated its commitment to the city,” Pisarello also said.

Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, also admitted that there was concern for the future of the congress. She affirmed, however, that MWC “is not in danger, it is guaranteed.”

Organizers of the international event, which has been showcasing the latest mobile technology in the Catalan capital since 2006, have said that they are “observing events between Catalonia and Spain and evaluating any potential impact” they may have on MWC. It was also noted that MWC, Barcelona City Council, the Catalan and Spanish governments, as well as the Fira de Barcelona (where the event is held) had reached an agreement in 2015 stating that the congress would continue in the city until 2023.

Another deputy Mayor of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, has recognized that the political conflict between Spain and Catalonia could have an effect on the Mobile World Congress (MWC). The current climate “does not help many of the participants,” he stated. Despite concern expressed by GSMA, which organizes the event, it is still committed to continue in Barcelona.

Collboni assured that the CEO of GSMA, John Hoffman, “expressed his support and confidence.” The Socialist leader’s days in the government are numbered, however, after the governing coalition, Barcelona in Common, has decided to break its pact with the Socialist party over a disagreement with the application of Article 155.

Prospects of holding MWC in Barcelona next year were still positive, the GSMA CEO said, however he did call for “political stability.”


  • John Hoffman, CEO of event organizer GSMA, in February (by ACN)

  • John Hoffman, CEO of event organizer GSMA, in February (by ACN)