Spain and Portugal launch concrete actions at the border in view of the demographic challenge

  • Both countries present the Common Strategy on Cross-Border Development, which prioritizes cross-border and multi-country projects as vectors for building social, economic and environmental resilience on a European scale
  • The Strategy regulates the figure of the cross-border worker with the creation of a specific document
  • The two countries will promote a global agreement on the conservation of Iberian biodiversity
  • A joint analysis of the possibilities of Spanish-Portuguese tax harmonisation will be promoted, as well as instruments and tax incentives to promote economic activity on both sides of the border
The Vice-President for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, and the Secretary General for the Demographic Challenge, Elena Cebrián, today presented the Common Strategy for Cross-border Development between Spain and Portugal in the framework of the 31st Spanish-Portuguese Summit held in Guarda (Portugal). This is a framework document that will make it possible to jointly address the demographic challenge and guarantee equal opportunities, economic growth, job creation, connectivity and improved quality of life for people living on both sides of the border, with particular emphasis on women and young people.
The scope of action of the document covers, in both countries, a total of 2,782 municipalities and parishes, 5,014,600 inhabitants and 143,719 km2, representing 17% of the surface area of Spain and almost 62% of that of Portugal.
“The Strategy recovers the centrality of this territory in Portugal and Spain, and provides a strategic territorial vision, which aims to become a positive and innovative example of cooperation in Europe”, said Vice-President Teresa Ribera.
The Strategy is a key tool that will make it possible to effectively and rapidly articulate the Plan for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience of the Spanish economy and channel investments towards the common cross-border area. The Vice-President stressed that “the document prioritises cross-border and multi-country projects as vectors for recovery and for building social, economic and environmental resilience on a European scale. In this respect, our countries are pioneers”.
The document is aligned with the Sustainable Development Objectives of Agenda 2030, with the commitment of governments and the participation of all relevant actors: autonomous communities, local entities and social and economic agents.
The Strategy will promote a global agreement on the conservation of Iberian biodiversity and support the joint management of transboundary protected areas and the consideration of the declaration of new ones.
The document also proposes making progress on the cooperation agreement for the sustainable use of river basins and carrying out coordinated management of marine protected areas close to both countries, such as the Rías Baixas/Maceda and the mud volcanoes of Cádiz/Southwest Ría Formosa, and consolidating Portuguese-Spanish cooperation on adaptation to climate change.
In the energy field, cooperation will be strengthened in the field of renewables, including green hydrogen and energy interconnections, taking into account the common objective of decarbonisation of the economy.

Unlike most border areas in the European Union, the cross-border territories between Spain and Portugal – 1,214 kilometres of land border – suffer from regressive demographic dynamics, with loss of population and ageing. Reversing this situation is key to revitalising these territories, fixing their population and reducing their demographic, social and economic vulnerability, which requires policies and strategies adapted to these territories to take advantage of the momentum of European reconstruction plans