- Marca España
Spanish-Portuguese Summit strengthens cross-border cooperation
The 29th Spanish-Portuguese Summit, held in Vega Terrón (Spain) and Vila Real (Portugal) on 30 and 31 May, came to a close with a joint statement emphasising the excellent relations between the two countries in the Iberian Peninsula and encouraging stronger cross-border cooperation.
At the Summit, the representatives of the Governments of Spain and Portugal agreed on a joint cross-border cooperation programme for the EU, against the background of the financial outlook for 2020.
The delegations, headed by the President of the Government of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, also signed eight agreements covering such areas as transportation, infrastructure, defence, tourism, social affairs, and science and technology.
Three new rail corridors
One of the most important agreements signed at the Summit has to do with transport infrastructure. By 2021, there will be three new rail corridors connecting Spain and Portugal: Sines-Lisbon-Madrid, Aveiro-Salamanca and Porto-Vigo.
In addition to reducing travel times, the new rail services are expected to advance cooperation in the area between the two neighbouring countries – ‘a field in which joint work is already extraordinary,’ said Mr Rajoy.
Highlights in Spanish-Portuguese rail infrastructure cooperation include the Atlantic Freight Train Corridor, the Joint Technical Bridge Commission and the Working Group for the Development of the Atlantic Corridor for the Trans-European Transport Network.
In the energy department, the Summit provided the context to increase interconnections (both in electric power and natural gas), a field where further progress should be made within the context of the EU.
Some of the goals set in this area were the establishment of an Iberian natural gas market, the sharing of energy information and the promotion of a sustainable renewable energy model.
Cooperation for employment
In the Technical Assistance and Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding for Employment and Social Affairs 2017-2018, Spain and Portugal agreed to carry out initiatives to share experiences and information in social security, training, risk prevention, mobility and employment services. According to Eurostat, two thirds of the jobs created in Europe came from Spain or Portugal.
As to European affairs, the Spanish and Portuguese leaders discussed the need to take further steps towards integration, especially regarding foreign affairs, defence, security, banking and fiscal union.