The Government designates Barcelona as the new headquarters of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory
In her recent visits to Catalonia, under the so-called ‘dialogue operation’, the Vice-President of the Government, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, had promised that, in addition to the good words and to reach out to the Generalitat to recover some institutional normality to the discrepancies on the independence roadmap, there would be gestures, investments and draft decisions.
A first example of this, pointed out by the popular executive, is the decision to place the new headquarters of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Barcelona, with an investment planned for the next five years of 16 million euros. A “milestone for Spanish science”, which government sources have advanced to this newspaper, will have its official rubric on friday in the Council of Ministers. In this way, Barcelona will host the fifth substation of the EMBL, whose headquarters is in the German Heidelberg, and will be located next to the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) to work and research jointly.
Last July the central government approved a provision of six million euros for the “mixed unit” formed by the EMBL – of which Spain is a member since 1987 – and the CRG.
The official designation of Barcelona as a subsite is for the Executive of Mariano Rajoy a “demonstration of the support offered by the Government to promote science and technology in Catalonia.”
And it is part of its new strategy to have a greater presence and visibility in Catalonia (the new Secretary of State for Culture, Fernando Benzo, met this week with the Minister of Culture, Santi Vila, and the Government delegate, Enric Millo, with the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau), as well as greater contact with institutions and representatives of Catalan civil society.
It is, they point, from the popular executive, to respond with “words and deeds” to the criticisms that from the Government are being made on a “dialogue operation” that qualify as a simple “face wash” empty of content.