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President of the Govenrment takes part in 30th Spain-Portugal Summit

Spain and Portugal commit to a joint plan to combat depopulation in border regions

Valladolid, Wednesday 21 November 2018

The event coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Spain and Portugal, and of the four decades of constitutional and democratic life, after the respective dictatorships in the two countries.

The Summit began with a meeting between the President of the Govenrment and his Portuguese counterpart, and simultaneously and in parallel, with ministerial meetings in their corresponding sectors. Following his meeting with Prime Minister Costa, Pedro Sánchez expressed his satisfaction at the agreements reached, in particular at the practical effects on the daily lives of citizens.

Spain and Portugal signed several agreements, including a memorandum of understanding to adopt an Iberian strategy to combat depopulation and ageing in border regions, a protocol on mutual aid in the event of wildfires and other natural disasters, a memorandum of understanding on the exchange of museum experts, a declaration to combat invasive species, specifically the Jacinto in the Guadiana, a declaration of intent on employment and social affairs, and an agreement on scientific cooperation (supercomputing). They also signed a joint declaration of support for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Agreement to combat depopulation

As part of the meeting the two leaders also tackled one of the main challenges facing Spain and Portugal - rural depopulation and demographic ageing, a problem that is particularly serious in the border regions straddling the two countries. In this regard, President of the Govenrment Sánchez expressed the need to undertake joint analysis and cooperation work, with specific measures and proposals for these regions. Accordingly, Pedro Sánchez and Antonio Costa signed a memorandum to adopt a Joint Strategy on Depopulation and Ageing, that will present its conclusions on 30 April 2019.

The two governments also shored up a commitment to further develop energy interconnections on the Iberian Peninsula with the rest of Europe, a cornerstone in the fight against climate change and of the start-up of the ecological transition that both governments are involved in, as was made patently clear in the joint declaration subscribed back in July at the Second Summit on Energy Interconnections held in Lisbon, the conclusions of which were also signed by France, the European Commission and the European Investment Bank.

The questions related to cooperation on migration were also at the heart of their talks. Pedro Sánchez advocated a stable and voluntary mechanism based on solidarity and the responsibility of Member States, a vision which, he stressed, the Government of Portugal shares and supports.

Accordingly, both governments signed a joint statement of support for the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, pushed through by the United Nations to call on countries to sign up to this compact at the Inter-governmental Conference to take place in Marrakesh on 10 and 11 December. They stressed that support for this is a necessary step in boosting genuine global governance on migration. President of the Govenrment Sánchez reiterated his participation at the Summit.

Cooperation on science, culture and sport

Pedro Sánchez highlighted the importance of the agreement on scientific collaboration reached at the Summit on Supercomputing, and welcomed the close cultural ties between the two countries through an agreement to exchange museum experts, and exchanges between Portuguese and Spanish teachers in the respective territories to allow them to prefect the language through linguistic immersion.

The President of the Govenrment took the opportunity to officially announce the launch of a joint exhibition on the 5th centenary of the circumnavigation of the world, made by Fernando de Magallanes and Juan Sebastián Elcano, which will be inaugurated in Valladolid in April 2020 and then travel on to other locations.

Furthermore, Pedro Sánchez and Antonio Costa also addressed the joint work on the candidature of Spain, Portugal and Morocco to host the football World Cup in 2030. The President of the Govenrment highlighted that this is the first candidature ever by two different continents that allows us to convey that sport stands for culture and integration.

Non official translation