When the low emissions zone delimited by the Barcelona ring roads was launched, up to five different city councils had to approve the corresponding ordinances in their municipal plenary sessions. The regulations approved in Barcelona are practically identical to those of l’Hospitalet or Cornellà (with only four streets within the restricted area), but the procedures dragged on for months due to municipal powers that made each city a watertight compartment despite talking about the same low emissions zone, promoted and designed by the Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), but without the necessary skills to make it effective.

It is one of the many examples that demonstrate the need to give more power to the metropolitan administration. The mayor and president of the AMB, Jaume Collboni, used it yesterday as an example to demand more powers, both from the Generalitat and the Government and from the city councils, usually reluctant to do so. “There must be transfers of powers from top to bottom and from bottom to top to respond to concrete realities such as mobility,” Collboni highlighted during his participation in the Fer metròpoli cycle, organized by Foment del Treball, in front of an auditorium in which they were various mayors who felt directly challenged.

The extension of the shared rental motorcycle service by the minute from the Catalan capital to the surrounding municipalities will be the first litmus test in this sense, with the preparatory work started in the previous mandate and the companies in the sector pending for some time. conditions that they will encounter to provide service in Barcelona as well as in Esplugues, Santa Coloma de Gramenet or Sant Just Desvern.

The concentration of more powers is not the only challenge that the AMB has on its hands for the coming years. The debate opened by Colau in the previous mandate about the need to move from the current 36 municipalities that make up the metropolitan area to the metropolitan region seemed buried with the change of mayor, but quite the opposite. Collboni made it clear that he is committed to “expanding the metropolitan entity in the medium term”, incorporating the cities of Vallès, Maresme and Garraf with the horizon of 2030.

The objective, according to the mayor, is for the supra-municipal entity to represent Greater Barcelona of 5.3 million citizens – instead of the 3.3 of the current AMB – and all the municipalities are part of a kind of “federal metropolis.” , where municipalities maintain their identity and autonomy while joint decisions are made on important issues such as the aforementioned mobility, as well as housing and energy transition “to make public policies more optimal.”

These are precisely questions that last weekend Collboni was sharing with mayors of other large European cities at an informal summit of progressive mayors in Florence, from where he returned convinced that problems such as tourist rentals can only be resolved from a supra-municipal perspective.

Regarding the scope of the current action of the AMB, Collboni considers that the Besòs area should be a priority in the actions of the metropolitan administration. The intention is to invest 500 million euros in a decade in the entire axis. “The neighborhoods of Besòs must offer opportunities for the future, quality of life and security”, defended the mayor of Barcelona, ​​who summed it up as a question of “historical justice”.