The Prime Minister, António Costa, and his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, said this Wednesday that the reopening of the Portuguese-Spanish border is good news for Portugal and Spain, but also for Europe.
The two heads of government today alluded to the symbolism of unity that the reopening of the borders between the two countries represents in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and for future challenges.
“This is an important moment because we have never, in our generations, closed and reopened borders with Spain. It is the oldest in Europe, which is symbolically marked by two fortresses [an allusion to the Castles of Elvas and Badajoz], which for centuries served to protect territories and now serve to bring countries closer together ”, said Prime Minister António Costa, in statements to the media, after the ceremony that marked the reopening of the Portuguese-Spanish border, in the castle of the Raiana city of Elvas, in the district of Portalegre.
For António Costa, the moment marked at the highest level by the political leaders of Portugal and Spain represents “a positive message” from both States to Europe. This is because the official believes that the opening of borders is not "a threat, but an opportunity for common development".
Costa said that the world in general, and the Iberian Peninsula in particular, face “a new reality”, saying that it is “clear” that we must learn to “live with contact and with the risk of infecting someone”. The leader of the Portuguese executive also explained that that is why there are challenges that “everyone” has to face as long as the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic does not have a definitive solution.
In this sense, the reopening of the borders between Portugal and Spain "is a great opportunity", not only in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, but also for the challenges that exist "at the digital level" and in "combating climate change" and in the production of “clean and renewable energy”.
"It is a very important aid that the Iberian Peninsula can offer to Europe," added Costa.
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, was satisfied with the “joint response” that the two countries give when reopening borders between themselves.
Sánchez expressed “happiness” for the reopening of the Portuguese-Spanish border, but also for meeting António Costa again. “There is a load of emotion for being brother peoples. There are many challenges that Portugal and Spain will face together ”, he said.
The leader of the Spanish government also defended the need for "a strong state to respond to a pandemic like this", indicating that the "cordial relationship" with Portugal "has intensified" in recent months, due to the epidemiological outbreak. "From the first minute we asked for unity to fight Covid-19," he said.
Three and a half months after the Portuguese-Spanish border remained closed, as a mitigation measure for the Covid-19 pandemic, with only crossing points for goods and workers, Portugal and Spain today reopened borders between the two countries. To mark the moment, the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the King of Spain, Felipe VI, the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, met in Badajoz and Elvas, both border cities.