Vila Nova de Gaia (Portugal) hosted last Thursday the XIV Meeting of the Spanish-Portuguese Commission for Cross-Border Cooperation, during which development projects financed by Interreg Spain-Portugal (POCTEP), the largest cross-border cooperation program of the EU, endowed with 320 million euros, were discussed.
The forum, as reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release, was co-chaired by the Director General of European Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helena Malcata, and by the Technical Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Rosa Velázquez Álvarez.
The meeting was also attended by the Portuguese State Secretary for Regional Development, Isabel Ferreira, and her Spanish counterpart, Francesc Boya Alós, Secretary General for the Demographic Challenge, who explained the various projects for implementing the Common Cross-Border Development Strategy, approved by the 12th Commission, which will be financed in large part by the Interreg Spain-Portugal Program (POCTEP) 2021-2027, the largest cross-border cooperation program in the EU.
POCTEP, approved by the European Commission last August 22, will receive an ERDF financial envelope of more than 320 million euros. Among other objectives, the program will support cross-border cooperation through networks between small and medium-sized enterprises to improve research and knowledge transfer. It will also finance projects to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings and support sustainable tourism, preservation of cultural heritage, cooperation in the field of health and training for people living in the cross-border region.
“The POCTEP program is tapping the full potential of cooperation between the border regions of Spain and Portugal,” said European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, after the program’s approval. “It will create jobs, boost the climate and energy transition and ensure better healthcare for people living in the regions,” she added.
The Spanish-Portuguese Follow-up Commission was created in 2006 in compliance with what was agreed in the Treaty of Valencia between the Kingdom of Spain and the Portuguese Republic, signed in 2002 and in force since 2004. Since then, meetings have been held annually, alternating the venue between the two countries.