La Boqueria Market - the most famous of the city's markets, Source: Depositphotos

Barcelona aims to be the first European Capital of Local Retail

Barcelona aims to be the first European Capital of Local Retail

This would enrich even further the varied themed capitals competitions on the Old Continent

Lost in the more prominent celebrations of Europe Day and Victory Day, 9 May was also the European Day of Local Trade. In that context, there is an ongoing campaign by the Catalonian Government (Generalitat) to promote this sector of the economy, which forms the traditional spine of what we define as small and medium enterprises (SME).

More specifically, the Generalitat is lobbying for the creation of a European Capital of Local Retail annual competition, similar to other such titles, such as European Capital of Culture, or European Capital of Sports. The proposal is to have Barcelona declared the first such capital in 2024, and to kick off a new tradition.

SMEs – the original startups

The possibilities of Barcelona's candidacy hinge fundamentally on the enormous prominence of the commerce sector both in the city itself and in Catalonia as a whole. There are currently 92,552 retail establishments in the autonomous region, in a sector that represents almost 12% of the Catalan economy's GDP and contributes 14% of the total employment. Retail employees are majority female (close to 60%) working on indefinite contracts (the temporary ones do not exceed 20%).

The European Capital of Local Retail is an initiative of the Barcelona Commerce Foundation and the European association Vitrines d'Europe that the European Parliament approved last January. 

At the same time, the promoters presented Barcelona's candidacy to be the first city on the continent to receive this recognition. Both proposals have the support of the Generalitat and the Barcelona City Council, among other institutions. It is expected that the European Parliament will decide which municipality assumes the European Capital of Local Trade in October.



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