On 5 May 2020, the presidents of the Spanish and Portuguese municipalities that make up the seven Eurocities of the Spanish-Portuguese border met for the first time in an online forum convened by Eurocity Chaves-Verín of the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC). Political representatives from all the Eurocities located in the border region took part in the meeting: Cerveira-Tomiño, Tui-Valença do Minho, Salvaterra do Miño-Monção, Chaves-Verín, Ciudad Rodrigo-Fuentes de Oñoro-Vilar Formoso-Almeida, Badajoz-Elvas-Campo Maior, and the Guadiana Eurocity (Ayamonte-Vila Real de Santo Antonio-Castro Marim). The Eurocity representatives expressed their concerns and requests regarding the crisis caused by COVID-19 in their regions.
They observed that, since the declaration of the state of alarm in Spain and Portugal in March, the population of the entire Spanish-Portuguese border region had been affected particularly badly compared with the rest of Spain and Portugal. In this regard, the closing of the border around the time of the 25th anniversary of the Schengen Treaty, and the prohibition of movement through border-crossing points, has caused enormous difficulties for residents in the region. These residents are used to living and working along a permeable border, where the lives of both people and businesses take place on both sides of the border and where local residents are becoming "Eurocitizens".
The Manifesto included the following in particular:
• Open borders or, more specifically, grant the free movement of citizens of the Eurocities of the Portuguese-Spanish border among the population of which they are composed.
• To establish a specific protocol for the border between Spain and Portugal, taking into account the disclosed phases in which the territories are immersed, which gives citizens, regardless of their country of residence, the similar legal guarantees and the level of public health control.
• Recognize the status of “Eurocity” in the two states in order to define a protocol of action in crisis situations where the uniqueness of these border areas is considered, making it possible to establish specific measures for the localities that make up these areas.
• To call for funding from the European Union and the Member States through the Spain-Portugal Operational Programme for Cross-Border Cooperation 2014- 2020 or through the cross-border ITIEs (Integrated Territorial Investments) in order to alleviate the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis so that local and economic operators from Eurocities can be supported.
• Include a plan for the recovery of border areas based on the projection of Eurocities as secure cross-border conurbations, far from contagion centers, which together focus on safety, health and well-being in their commercial offers for gastronomic, cultural, touristic and production levels.
• Promote outreach and close communication campaigns to the citizen in order to rebuild trust and improve the social and entrepreneurial culture of cooperation in Eurocities before the closure of the border.
The Manifesto of the Iberian Eurocities, signed by the mayors of the seven Iberian Eurocities, containing several considerations addressed to the Portuguese & Spanish goverment can de found
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