The Portuguese authorities have submitted to the Spanish authorities a proposal for the construction of a bridge between the Algarve and Andalusia, which will cost nine million euros and will be financed by the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan approved by Brussels after the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the Portuguese press, the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR/Algarve) has submitted a proposal for the construction of a bridge between Alcoutim (Portugal) and Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Spain), a work that the populations on both sides of the border have been demanding for more than two decades because it would reduce the distance between the two localities by up to 70 kilometers. The project, agreed upon by the municipalities on both sides of the border, would be financed with nine million euros by the Government of Lisbon within the framework of its Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR).
According to the president of CCDR /Algarve, José Apolinário, the proposal for the construction of the road bridge between the Algarve and Andalusia was presented last Wednesday to the Diputación de Huelva, the Junta de Andalucía and the sub-delegate of the Spanish Government in Huelva, “with the objective of obtaining cooperation for the technical solutions of the project”. The Portuguese and Spanish entities, he continued, have agreed to meet monthly to discuss the developments of this project “fundamental for the development of the two border regions and which is environmentally sustainable”.
The objective of the Portuguese authorities involved is for the tender for the execution project to be launched in the first quarter of 2022 and for the work to be completed in 2026. The Portuguese PRR, which received the green light from the European Commission last June 13 and was formally approved by the Ecofin Council a month later, has an overall value of €16.6 billion, split into €13.9 billion in non-repayable grants and €2.7 billion for soft loans. These funds come from the Recovery and Resilience Mechanism, valued at €672.5 billion and a central element of the €750 billion fund approved by European leaders in July 2020 for the EU’s economic recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In October 2020, the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the Prime Minister of Portugal, António Costa, made a commitment during the XXXI Spanish-Portuguese Summit, held in the Portuguese town of Guarda, to identify joint strategic projects that would be financed with the European Recovery Fund, including the development of common infrastructure, both rail and road.
During the summit, the Minister for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge, Teresa Ribera, and her Portuguese counterpart presented the details of the Common Cross-Border Development Strategy between Spain and Portugal, which establishes five strategic objectives: guaranteeing equal opportunities on both sides of the border, ensuring the adequate provision of basic services by making the most of resources, facilitating cross-border interaction, encouraging the development of new economic activities and business initiatives, and favoring population fixation in cross-border areas especially affected by depopulation. The next Spanish-Portuguese Summit will be held in the town of Trujillo, Cáceres, on October 28th.