The Municipal Council Assembly held its first full meeting of the year in a hybrid format, with the Mayor and the Councillor for Citizen Participation in attendance.
The meeting started with those present in the chamber and 30 others connected remotely to hear the welcome speech from Ada Colau, highlighting the role of the Municipal Council Assembly, the council of councils, in strengthening democracy and improving the city.
The Mayor went on to pass the role of chair to the Councillor for Citizen Participation, Marc Serra, who introduced the various topics in the order of the day.
Approval of the report for 2021
The expert opinion from the working group on memory from the Municipal Council Assembly, resulting from the review of activity carried out throughout the year, was presented in this section. Similarly, there was a recap of the challenges ahead for the Assembly and the large volume of voluntary hours entailed by all this work for the city and its people. Finally, the report, which was submitted to a vote, was approved by the majority of those at the meeting, with 47 votes in favour, 0 votes against and 3 abstentions. You can find the document approved here.
Recommendations about the city after the pandemic
The next point in the order of the day was the presentation, debate and vote on the expert opinion from the working group on the post-pandemic Barcelona, a series of reflections, proposals and recommendations to capture the current moment and suggest lines of work for the municipal government.
Regarding the recommendations in the eight spheres of work, Àngels Guiteras was one of those who stressed the need to bolster public health services in the city, transform and strengthen the social services model to a more people-centred one and prioritise social housing.
As for the recommendations made in the realm of business, commerce and tourism, Àlex Goñi highlighted two which he sees as priorities: firstly, the need to firmly open up the debate on tourism, and secondly, promote public-private collaboration as a driving force for economic activity.
Finally, Juanjo Casado explained the recommendations in the sphere of work and training, noting that given their cross-cutting nature, both spheres should be considered permanent strategic goals by institutions and other interested parties as a whole, including the municipal government.
Following the presentation and the debate between members, the voting process was conducted with 43 votes in favour, 1 vote against and 2 abstentions.
New working group on all-round care for people
Guiteras and Delfí Cosialls also presented the first of the working groups to be set up for 2022. This group will address all-round care for people: healthcare, social care and housing, as they explain, is an area which the Assembly has been working on, particularly through the group on the post-pandemic Barcelona.
Proposal to guarantee the participatory budgets
Another notable point in the order of the day was the proposed agreement developed by the Municipal Council Assembly to take before the Full Council to ensure the continuity of the participatory budgets in the future.
Given the success of the participatory budgets among the public, as well as the importance of generating and maintaining spaces where their proposals are not only heeded, but also decisive, the Assembly has worked on this agreement proposal for the different municipal groups to commit to maintaining the participatory budgets project through time, regardless of which groups are in government. The Assembly also seeks a commitment to fully execute possible projects that might still be pending in the next term of office.
Rodrigo Araneda, representing the Municipal LGBTI Council, praised the way the participatory budgets enable people to participate directly in building the city, noting that it is vital they continue. “If we’ve invited people to take part, we can’t now say no to them. That would be hugely frustrating”.
The proposal was finally approved with 36 votes in favour, 1 vote against and 5 abstentions.
Barcelona, Refuge City
In the final section of the meeting, Serra opened up a new topic of debate and reflection for the remainder of the session: the arrival of refugees from Ukraine and how the city is responding to this issue.
To reflect on these and other matters, the Municipal Council Assembly invited four organisations from the city whose work and experience make them highly relevant in this debate: Creu Roja, Azahara, Migrastudium and Mujeres Pa’lante.
Finally, after all the debates, observations and recommendations, the first of the two meetings for 2022 concluded. The session ended with the Assembly unanimously signing up to the manifesto “Barcelona for Peace in the War in Ukraine”. Because, as explained at the start of the session by the Mayor, Ada Colau, “Barcelona is a city of peace and we manifest this from all levels in the city. Because of this, the Municipal Council Assembly is clearly included”.