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Portuguese-Spanish Summit Hopes To Cement Cross-border Cooperation

Published on October 06, 2020

The 31st Portuguese-Spanish Summit will take place on Saturday, in Guarda, with cross-border cooperation and the articulation of the two countries for economic recovery as central themes.

This summit was agreed by the prime ministers of Portugal, António Costa, and Spain, Pedro Sánchez, back in July, during the ceremony of reopening the land borders of the two countries.

This year’s summit presents will focus on “cross-border cooperation and the articulation of a joint strategy for economic recovery”, especially within the framework of the European Union.

Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Portugal and Spain have been at the forefront of the demands for European solidarity to face the consequences of the halting of economic activity.

In successive summits and meetings of the Eurogroup between May and July, the governments of Lisbon and Madrid fought for the approval of an ambitious recovery fund, especially in terms of grants, as well as for the quick end of the impasse in the negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021/2027.

At the Iberian level, António Costa and Pedro Sánchez, both socialists, have assumed as their main objective the adoption of a set of public policies for the development of the cross-border regions of the two countries, which are among the poorest in Europe.

Contrary to what happens in most of the cross-border regions of Member States of the European Union, where the border is a stimulus to the development of economic activity, the border areas of Portugal and Spain, according to the two prime ministers , “have a low intensity of economic and social relations”.

In the presentation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Portugal, on Tuesday, in a session with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, he highlighted the issue of inequalities in the national territory.

“We are going to make an investment for the connectivity and modernization of the business location areas in the interior and build cross-border connections from Bragança to the Algarve that break the isolation of many of the interior territories from Spain. This investment is absolutely crucial”, he maintained.

“For this reason, the next Portuguese-Spanish Summit will approve a cross-border development strategy to be financed under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021/2027. Portugal and Spain are together in this challenge of transforming their border regions into new centralities in the Iberian market” , he stressed.

António Costa even said that he believes that small connections that will be built “will completely change the geography”.

“Bragança is the most isolated district capital in the national context and we are going to build a 20-kilometer road to the border to place the city about 30 minutes from a high-speed train station. This will make Bragança the Portuguese city that is the shortest distance from Madrid “, pointed out the prime minister as an example.

For the executive’s leader, the relationship between the interior of the country “does not have to be exclusively with the coast”.

“On the contrary, the interior regions are at the center of the Iberian market. Therefore, they are better able to take advantage of the synergies of a market with 60 million inhabitants on the Iberian Peninsula,” he added.


Original article available in Portuguese at http://postal.pt/