Over 1,200 internationals attend 'Hola Barcelona! Cocktail' networking event
Barcelona Global welcomes foreign professionals who live and work in Catalan capital
More than 1,200 people, most of them international professionals residing in the Catalan capital, attended Barcelona Global's 'Hola Barcelona! Cocktail' networking event Thursday evening at the Palauet Albéniz palace on Montjuïc mountain.
Organized by Barcelona Global, a private non-profit that seeks "to make Barcelona one of the world's best cities for talent and economic activity" and co-hosted with the Barcelona council, it was the ninth annual ice breaker for foreign nationals who have chosen to live and work in the city.
Complete with live performances, testimonials, food trucks, and cocktails, "Barcelonians by choice" from 87 countries went to the first in-person event since the pandemic hit.
Deputy mayor: "The most important thing is you"
"Neither machines nor capital, the most important thing is talent," deputy mayor Jaume Collboni, who gave the first speech of the night, said.
"The most important thing is you," he added, thanking those in attendance for choosing to live in the Catalan capital.
"Barcelona knows what it wants to be in the future: a cosmopolitan city in a world without borders for talent, a city where its growth is based on its talent, knowledge, and innovation," the politician told the crowd.
Barcelona Global, making the city "a place where bureaucracy is not an obstacle"
Both Barcelona Global president Maite Barrera and CEO Mateu Hernández encouraged people to join their association, which includes a number of the city's most important companies, universities, and professionals.
The association strives to make the city "a place where bureaucracy is not an obstacle," Barrera said, referring to the difficulties foreigners face when trying to get their NIE residency paperwork in order.
"We still need to work very hard to make things much easier, reduce bureaucracy, make taxation easier, and for there to be affordable international schools in Barcelona," she said, promising to invite new members to her home for dinner.
Citing Barcelona Global's track record of lobbying for a soon-to-be approved foreign entrepreneurs law that is set to facilitate residency requirements and the taxation of international professionals, Hernández said members could be "very proud of the change and transformation" they are bringing the city.