Pyrenees residents to vote on 2030 Winter Games bid on July 24

Two referendums will be held on same day in directly and indirectly impacted counties, with only one key

Baqueira Beret ski station (by Baqueira Beret)
Baqueira Beret ski station (by Baqueira Beret) / Cillian Shields, Guifré Jordan, and Lorcan Doherty

ACN | Barcelona

April 4, 2022 11:15 AM

Pyrenees residents will vote on the 2030 Winter Games bid on July 24, a day before the 30th anniversary of the Barcelona Summer Olympics. 

There will be two referendums to gauge locals' support for the event, the Catalan authorities announced on Monday morning: one in the Alt Pirineu and Aran area of the Western Catalan Pyrenees, and another in the Berguedà, Solsonès, and Ripollès counties.

People who live in the six counties of Alt Pirineu and Aran, who would be more impacted by the Games if they were to take place as the region would be the site of various sports competitions, will be asked whether they believe the government should put forth a candidacy to host the 2030 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. The Catalan government has repeatedly said that if residents reject it, the bid will be shelved.

Residents of Berguedà, Solsonès, and Ripollès, meanwhile, will be asked whether their counties should participate in the Olympics project. This would mean, for example, being the site of training sessions or other sports activities before the games. Yet, if a majority of voters say 'no' in this one, the project would still go ahead. These three counties have been lobbying to have a say for months

Catalan president Pere Aragonès signed two decrees on Monday morning that will allow these binding votes to take place in three and half months' time, presidency minister Laura Vilagrà explained in a press conference. 

Although ice hockey games would take place in Barcelona if the bid were to be successful, the Catalan capital will not vote on the candidacy as its "territory is not impacted and it is used to being the site of even bigger events," Vilagrà said. 

Foreign and open government minister Victòria Alsina, who addressed the press alongside Vilagrà, said that a participants' registry would be created for the referendums from data from the IDESCAT statistics institute. 

People 16 and older who have lived in the counties in question for at least a year straight will be allowed to vote in person, including some 55,000 in Alt Pirineu and Aran and around 63,000 in the remaining three counties. 

"We trust ballot boxes," Alsina said. "We should not be afraid of people voting."

The referendum alone, Alsina told the press, is expected to cost €1.1 million, most of which will come from the presidency department and to a lesser extent the foreign affairs department. This sum does not include campaign fees. 

Aragon-Catalonia dispute

After much deliberation over where each sports event should take place, on March 28 the COE, the Spanish Olympics Committee, announced a deal between Catalonia and the neighboring territory of Aragon to bid for the 2030 Games.

The Catalan government then confirmed its support for the agreement, but Aragon failed to do so. The day after the COE announcement, the president of Aragon, Socialist Javier Lambán, openly rejected it and said he would counter with a "fair and more balanced" proposal. 

Catalonia, however, maintains that the issue is closed, and has even suggested there could be electoral interests behind Lambán's apparent u-turn, while the COE stated on Friday that it would move forward with what it described as the "agreed upon" deal. 

Filling the Sink

Listen to the Filling the Sink podcast episode released on February 5 to learn more about the contentious 2030 Winter Olympics candidacy.   

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts Listen on Spotify