Catalan business community says political heads must show leadership 'without excuses'

Chamber of Commerce insists impact of recent unrest "has not been significant" and blames Spanish authorities for unwillingness to talk

Barcelona Chamber of Commerce president Joan Canadell on October 23, 2019 (by Inés Valverde)
Barcelona Chamber of Commerce president Joan Canadell on October 23, 2019 (by Inés Valverde) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 23, 2019 05:43 PM

The Foment and Pimec business associations on Wednesday called for leadership "without excuses" from the presidents of Spain and Catalonia, as well as public authorities like Barcelona city council, so as to provide a solution to the current political crisis.

At a joint event in Barcelona, Catalonia's two largest organizations representing entrepreneurs and businesses approved a statement that said the way out of the current political impasse lies in "negotiation, transaction, and agreement."

Yet, the statement was critical of political leaders, calling for them to show "effective and resolute" leadership and avoid "empty and banal speeches that do not provide solutions." It also called for "the political classes to take action, reach agreements and take decisions."

The associations also condemned the recent disturbances seen on the streets in response to the Supreme Court's imprisonment of Catalan leaders, saying they have had "a negative impact that must be redressed," in sectors such as tourism, retail, and hostelry.

Chamber of Commerce plays down effects of unrest

Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce also referred to the unrest on Wednesday, with its chairman Joan Canadell acknowledging the effect on the retail and hostelry sectors in the city, but insisting that the overall impact on the Catalan economy "has not been significant."

Comparing the estimated loss of business at around 30%, Canadell compared the effect to that caused by bad weather conditions, saying, "during the year these things happen" and he predicted that in general "it will not have an extraordinary impact."

Yet, Canadell added that it is "probable" that the disturbances have damaged Catalonia's image to an extent, but pinned the "final responsibility" for the unrest on the Spanish authorities because "the State does not want to engage in dialogue."