February 23, 2020 English news blog from the Algarve

“Spain and Portugal should merge” says Mayor of Porto

Mayor Rui Moreira commented at the Cities Forum in Porto that the two Iberian countries should formally unite in a Benelux-like union.

The remarks were done at the Mayor’s speech in the European Commission of this year. “For dozens of years we turned our backs on each other, there was a tremendous distrust.  Happily, that reality no longer exists today” Mr Moreira said. He also mentioned the Ibero-American space that both culturally and economically the two European countries are a part of.

The Mayor compared the opportunities of an Iberian pact to the bond between Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg (Benelux), which politic union in 1944 led to a remarkable social and financial growth. In Spain and Portugal, however, this idea of union lacks consistency on both sides, as voters and politicians seem uninterested in a pact.

Why? Although Portugal and Spain share similar goals and difficulties, they vastly differ socially, culturally and economically. Furthermore, both countries share a millenary history of war and treason.

Mayor Moreira added that he believes the EU is “alive and in good health” and is ready for new treaties such as “Iberolux” (sic) (the correct way to designate it would be Iberian Union). He mentioned the already-fluid border between Galicia, Extremedura, and Portugal. The two Spanish regions include Portuguese in their school programmes.

Could an Iberian Union be the answer to halt the growing nationalistic movements in both countries? Mayor Rui Moreira believes so.

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