Jaume Collboni, as the maximum municipal representative of the economic area of the city of Barcelona, has lived in the front line of fire the difficult week beforerun out of the world congressmobile phone this year.
-February 5th. LG is deleted fromMobileand many start to tremble. What is the first reaction of the Barcelona City Council?
-LG has now been the first to guarantee that it will come next year. But this year we were working for the first time in an operating group for three months that followed everything related to the congress, from security to mobility, institutional relations, with the Fira and with GSMA. The goal wasface any unforeseen events that had occurred in previous editions, such as strikes or the political issue. We arrived at the gates of Mobile with everything clear and clear. In no case had we anticipated that a health alarm could interfere. We received the first news with concern, but our interlocutor is GSMA and at that time we do not feel it was alarming.
-As a city council, how do you explain that Amsterdam has hosted a technology fair without problems and others will not be suspended, while the one in Barcelona died?
-There has been a factor ofbad luckof calendar. We are convinced that if it had been held this week there would have been no cancellation. The problem is that the tip of the global coronavirus alarm has occurred in thekey and more sensitive momentof the confirmation of participation of the Mobile. But it is a fact that all the fairs have had cancellations or descents of participants, there are fewer trips and events in general.
– Have you found that there have been other affectations in Barcelona?
-All the fair activity of the city is maintained, and theentry of 100,000 to 150,000 daily visitorsIt has remained stable. No operator has told us that it has had cancellations for this reason. Neither in Barcelona, Catalonia or Spain is there an exceptional situation in this regard.
– Has there been enough synchrony with the rest of the institutions to defend the congress until the end?
-We, together with the Government and the Generalitat, havepreserved tranquility and calmfrom the point of view of health security. It was our priority. The message we give as a government is that the health alarm cannot justify a cancellation in our view. What causes it? There is a situation of a certain irrational and unsubstantiated panic that causes companies to begin to fall into a domino effect.
-There are those who say that the session has not helped with actions such as the manifesto against 5G that was later withdrawn, or endorsing another critical fair.
-Everyone has to understand that we are in aopen and democratic society where everyone can give their point of viewand organize the events they consider because we are an open city and the discrepancy and critical sense is part of our DNA. But it is clear the commitment of the institutions for the industry, the digital capital of Barcelona, its productive fabric € And we have faced this crisis hand in hand with the digital and technological fabric of the city. With complicity.
– Is there any other factor beyond the virus?
-I think there isn’t a single factor. The basic has been thehealth problem, but nobody knows that there is a tension between large American and Asian companies, but we don’t know how it may have influenced decisions. It would be to enter a speculative terrain that does not belong to us.
– It has raised not to cancel but to postpone the appointment to this same 2020 as the economic sectors of the city requested?
-We know thatbefore cancellation GSMA has contemplated all the scenarios. They are the ones who know about this, it is their business, and they dismissed it because they believe that an event of this magnitude, in a place like Barcelona and dated in February, is very fixed globally in all companies and it was not realistic to change it from one month to another. Nor was it known how the coronavirus will evolve. You could not plan.
– Do you think that it has served to better perceive the importance of this event in Barcelona?
-Absolutely. It is another positive thing.With Mobile he had won the city as a whole. Not only because of the economic impact but because in the last seven years Barcelona has achieved about 60,000 jobs in the technological and digital sector, which means well-paid and stable jobs. This is the great legacy of the mobile congress and future fairs linked to sustainability. Many times what you have is not valued until you are at risk. Now it has become aware of the importance and value of Mobile and the activity of the fair for the economy of the city.
-You contemplate other positive aspects in this crisis, such as local resilience.
-Yes. In this edition we have coined the idea thatMobile is Barcelona and Barcelona is Mobile. From that point of view, GSMA has committed to 2021 and has found that beyond the alliance with the institutions, it is an alliance and a real complicity, because we are hard and mature. It is not a decision that we would have made, because there are no reasons, but we did say that we would accompany them to explain it and work to make it better and better. And I am very proud of the efforts of the people in Barcelona. The last 24 hours have been an example of a positive reaction, with technology companies and economic sectors. Little regrets and many ideas for the future.