Malaga was left without its International Exposition 2027. The Andalusian city was one of the two finalists in the vote held this Tuesday at the headquarters of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris, but in the end the majority of the votes of the 179 member countries of the international organization were in Belgrade (Serbia). The candidacy, presented by the city’s mayor, Francisco de la Torre, in 2019, has since focused much of the municipal efforts and received the support of the Junta de Andalucía and the central government. It was the icing on the cake the commissioner dreamed of for his city project, but as has already happened in recent years with the Copa América de Vela 2024 and the European Capital of Innovation awards, in the end the capital Malaga was not chosen. “Now we have a plan B,” De la Torre said minutes after learning of the assembly’s decision.
The Urban Age: Towards a Sustainable City was the motto with which Malaga presented its candidacy, which competed with those of Bloomington (United States), Phuket (Thailand), Belgrade (Serbia) and San Carlos de Bariloche (Argentina). The international exhibition was presented in May 2019 during the municipal election campaign. The idea was born after analyzing the data on the movement from rural to urban areas in a large part of the planet, which “generates a problem of sustainability”, as De la Torre explained to EL PAÍS. Two years later, he received the support of the Junta de Andalucía and the central government, as Pedro Sánchez himself communicated by letter to the councilor of Malaga. This was one of the rarities of the initiative, the common impulse from all the institutions, one of the aspects that were highlighted during this morning’s presentation in Paris, which was also followed by some tents set up by the commune in the center historic, next to the Roman theater.
Last year the city was on the verge of celebrating the 2024 Sailing America Cup — which will finally host Barcelona — and, although it was a finalist in the European Capital of Innovation awards, the award finally went to Dortmund, Germany. These are the last two woes for a capital that wants to aspire to everything and that major international events resist. Now it will be necessary to see how Serbia -with only 11 votes difference, 81 to 70- and with the motto Let’s play for humanity: Sport and Music for all will organize the 2027 International Exhibition with which Malaga aspired to complete its current positive dynamics as a tourist, cultural and technological city.
Delegation of Malaga in Paris
A large delegation from Malaga visited the EIB headquarters in the French capital, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, and the President of the Junta de Andalucía, José Manuel Moreno Bonilla. Journalist María Casado was tasked with directing the 20 minutes the city had to defend her candidacy. In it, different voices presented the pillars of the project to convince the participating countries that their vote should go to Malaga. “We have a great shared dream,” said Moreno Bonilla, who stressed that Malaga could offer “the best possible response to the critical moment in which humanity finds itself.” “Cities are growing at a very rapid pace and there are social, environmental and economic sustainability challenges. We want to be helpful in that response,” underlined the mayor of Malaga, who also stressed that the buildings that make up Expo 2027 will become centers of education, innovation and entrepreneurship. The video participation of Pau Gasol, Sergio Ramos and Paz Vega stands out. And the closure was provided by the musical performance of Luz Casal.
The development of the Malaga project was planned in what is now vacant land near the Campanillas neighbourhood. It is an area north of the capital, a stone’s throw from the airport, the Andalucia Technology Park and the University of Malaga. In the over 700,000 square meters that had been created a large area for the pavilions, as well as green, recreational and restaurant areas, as well as about 1,500 rental houses initially intended for the sample workers. Its cost would have been around 800 million euros. According to a study by Andalusian economic analysts, its impact would have been around 2,900 million euros for the city and would have allowed the creation of 31,000 jobs. More than 11 million visits from 4.6 million people were expected.
The aim was to create “a proposal for reflection on one of the main challenges of contemporary society in the medium and long term: to make demographic growth and urban development compatible with environmental protection and to adopt innovative solutions that guarantee an improvement quality of life for citizens”. That space is what De la Torre now intends to create “with or without expo”. “We have a large city and it is a project that must be implemented”, he said a few minutes after learning the result of the vote .