Spain's Thibault Magnin at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. GETTY IMAGES

Laura Vilagrà, councillor for the presidency of the Generalitat, has ruled out the possibility of Catalonia bidding for the Winter Olympics, a project that was stalled after the Spanish Olympic Committee declared the negotiations with Aragon over the sharing of venues a failure, and which is now being abandoned in the context of the climate emergency.

Vilagrà confirmed the information published last Saturday by the newspaper Ara, according to which the Catalan government has given up its bid to host the next Winter Games. This is because the Spanish Olympic Committee has not responded to the latest proposal to continue the project only in the resorts of the Catalan Pyrenees.

Vilagrà also pointed out that there are already bids for the next two editions (2030 and 2038). These are theoretically being considered by some European countries.

Therefore, she continued, "the option we proposed is ruled out". "We have always explained that the priority for us is the Pyrenees, it is a strategy for the sustainable development of the Pyrenees, and that is why we are going to work on it with all the institutions," she said from Palma, as quoted by EFE.

The Minister of the Presidency of the Government of Catalonia Laura Vilagrà
The Minister of the Presidency of the Government of Catalonia Laura Vilagrà

She also specified that the Catalan government has no plans to request new meetings with the Spanish Olympic Committee, nor does it have any plans to allocate funds for this initiative in the Generalitat's 2024 budget proposal.

The Catalan government is shelving the bid at a time of extreme drought in Catalonia and a lack of snow, which is expected to continue in the coming years due to climate change.

Indeed, last week the International Ski Federation (FIS) cancelled the Paralympic World Cup races, due to be held in the resort of La Molina (Girona) from 12 to 17 January, due to a lack of snow.

In statements to Catalunya Ràdio, quoted by EFE, the Generalitat's secretary for climate action, Anna Barnadas, pointed out that there are now reports denying the viability of the project, which has always faced opposition from various civil organisations and environmental groups.

"The evidence of climate change is a reality that will become increasingly harsh (...) and looking at the current images of the ski resorts, it will be difficult to hold the Winter Olympics in latitudes like those of Catalonia," she said.