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MUNICIPAL POLITICS

Barcelona will not bid for 2026 Winter Olympics, says new mayor

Leftist team headed by social activist Ada Colau will focus on housing and basic needs

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau (left) presides her first executive meeting on Wednesday.
Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau (left) presides her first executive meeting on Wednesday.

Barcelona will not be bidding to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games. The new government team headed by Mayor Ada Colau, a social activist who won the municipal elections on May 24 at the helm of a leftist bloc called Barcelona en Comú, has decided that this is not a priority project for the city.

Instead, the Catalan capital will invest in grassroots sports more typical of the Mediterranean region, said Deputy Mayor Gerardo Pisarello.

These are days of many first times”

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau

The first meeting of the newly appointed executive also yielded a decision to meet with the heads of financial institutions to address the issue of home evictions.

Colau said she hoped to find a cooperative attitude, but warned that if they did “not respond, the city has ways to step in and enforce the legal right to housing.” Local governments have the power to levy fines on empty properties.

The meeting had generated enormous expectation after all Barcelona en Comú’s campaign promises about taking back the city for citizens. Colau’s victory at the polls marked a watershed moment in local politics, controlled until then by the CiU Catalan nationalist bloc.

Colau, who has no prior experience in politics, heads a loose coalition of green and leftist groups that came together for the mayoral race. Before running for office, she rose to national prominence as the head of PAH, an association representing mortgage holders in distress, where she fought to stop the rising tide of home evictions during Spain’s economic crisis.

On Wednesday, Colau asked for patience: “These are days of many first times,” she said, in reference to her team’s lack of political expertise. The new mayor confirmed that she would personally preside the council sessions, a task that her predecessor, Xavier Trias of CiU, had delegated.

Resolving “the housing emergency” is the new mayor’s top priority. On Monday, Colau personally got two evictions suspended, and warned that violating the right to housing encroaches on other fundamental rights such as health. Child nutrition is also high on the new team’s list, especially in the summer months when school cafeterias are closed.