Elena Cebrián, Secretary-General for Demographic Challenge of the Ministry of Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge of the Government of Spain, and Isabel Ferreira, State Secretary for the Recovery of the Interior of the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion of the Government of Portugal, held a working meeting in Zamora to finalize the details of the Common Strategy for Cross-Border Development.
The document develops the commitment taken on by the two countries, as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 at the 30th Spain-Portugal Summit, whereby they undertook to define and implement measures that guarantee the future sustainability of border regions, converting them into attractive places to live, work and invest.
The Common Strategy for Cross-Border Development will play a leading role in the bilateral summit to be held in the Portuguese city of Guarda in early October. After its approval, the working group addressed the task of identifying measures that could be adopted in the short term, together with their implementation through specific actions.
The two countries have drawn up a document focused on providing an inclusive response geared towards territorial development, the creation of opportunities and the development of personal, professional and family projects – particularly for women and young people – and on guaranteeing the quality of life of people who live in cross-border areas, both urban and rural.
The Strategy has become a framework for action that will allow recovery plans following COVID-19 to be effectively designed, and investments to be focused on the cross-border areas between Spain and Portugal, coordinating the actions of both countries with the common aim of achieving a green and digital Europe that is more prosperous, sustainable and equal.
In the current context of the fight against the pandemic, the aim of both countries to boost cross-border transformation is an example of strategic territorial support within the framework of the European Union.
The document that was discussed on Thursday incorporates the contributions received from public authorities and territorial groups affected with jurisdiction in these border territories, which have helped adapt its content to the reality of the areas affected.
The Common Strategy for Cross-Border Development establishes five strategic goals: to guarantee equal opportunities, to ensure the adequate provision of rights to citizens on both sides of the border; to ensure the adequate provision of basic services adapted to the territory, harnessing the resources on both sides of the border; to facilitate cross-border interaction and strengthen the dynamic of cooperation; to foster the development of new economic activities and business initiatives, and to promote the settlement of people in cross-border areas.
To achieve these goals, the text proposes to act in five areas: cross-border mobility and the elimination of contextual costs; to develop and improve infrastructures for physical and digital connectivity; to coordinate and support the management of such basic services as education, health and social services; economic development and territorial innovation, and the protection of the environment and development of the urban agenda.