“The AMB’s strategic line of action over the last four years has focused on creating the conditions of economic sustainability which allow the policies of social cohesion, economic progress and territorial balance to be tackled, while guaranteeing metropolitan services, reorganizing them to contain expenditure and maintain quality, with the aim of assigning these resources to new policies and new social investments intended to alleviate the negative effects of the recession”, he indicated.
For the Mayor of Cornellà, the AMB has concentrated a large part of its resources over these years of crisis on the struggle against social exclusion: “The local and metropolitan world has responded to the difficult situation of many families due to the crisis. The AMB’s energy poverty programme, which has been allocated €5m and which basic utility companies such as Aigües de Barcelona have joined, the social tariffs for public transport and the allocation of €30m to the Metropolitan Support Plan for social policies are a clear example of this”. In this respect, he underlined the Agbar Foundation’s Solidarity Fund as an example of the commitment of companies like Aigües de Barcelona to the social cohesion of the metropolitan territory and families with fewer resources.
Antonio Balmón likewise defended the governance model of the AMB, a metropolitan institution created in 2011 with the consensus of all political forces, “based on collaboration and cooperation between the metropolitan town councils”, and which, in his opinion, has made various services more efficient, such as transport, waste management and the complete water cycle. In relation to the latter, he defended the establishment of the public-private partnership Aigües de Barcelona in order to make water management more efficient and sustainable in the metropolitan territory.
In the economic sphere, the Mayor of Cornellà defended the Barcelona brand and the AMB’s role as an economic catalyst of the metropolitan territory, and is confident of the local world’s potential to provide innovative solutions which favour the internationalization of the economy of Barcelona and Catalonia. “We must reduce our dependency on central and northern Europe”, he maintained.
With a view to the future, Antonio Balmón asked for the institution’s role to be strengthened and consolidated: “The AMB requires more tools and attributes to socially unite the territory and have a more effective model of governance. For this, it is necessary to draft a new Metropolitan Development Master Plan for Barcelona which shapes the social, economic and environmental transformation of the metropolitan environment over the coming decades".
Angel Simón, Agbar’s Executive Chairman, presented the event stressing that the Mayor of Cornellà is a consensus figure: "It is clear that his capacity to bring positions closer together and unite different sectors contributed to the creation of the current AMB four years ago", he indicated.
After the intervention by the Mayor of Cornellà, which could be followed live on the Twitter account @cercledelaigua and #CercleAigua, Albert Martínez, Agbar’s Director in Catalonia, moderated a debate which focused on the governing action of the AMB in the last four years, and on the cycle of elections which will begin in the coming weeks in Andalusia.
Full information on the Water Circle’s activities can be found on the website www.cercledelaigua.cat.