The governments of Portugal and Spain got together again yesterday, in Trujillo, at the 32nd Iberian Summit with sustainable mobility as their motto. But the Iberian partners cannot understand each other on the matter: an example of this is the lack of agreement for the construction of a line between Faro and Huelva.
The intention to link Algarve and Andalusia on rails was expressed by Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa at the post-summit press conference. The proposal has been defended by business associations in both regions, but the Spanish government is not interested, as it would like to assume most of the construction costs.
The Iberian summit also did not present a political solution for the return of a direct train between Lisbon and Madrid. Suspended since March last year, a crossing between the two Iberian capitals currently requires four trains and more than 10 hours of travel.
Spanish carrier Renfe has already proposed a direct Madrid-Lisbon day train, lasting seven hours. The Portuguese counterpart CP refuses to make commitments and only admits to operating a night train, as was the case until the arrival of covid-19.
Everything indicates that only after 2023 will it be possible to travel on a single train between Lisbon and Madrid, with the completion of the construction of the new line between Évora and Elvas. The trip between the two Iberian capitals will take five hours and on the new section it will be possible to travel at 250 km/h, the minimum level for high speed.
At yesterday’s summit, António Costa publicly stated, for the first time, that the new 80-kilometre section will also serve to transport passengers and not just for products.
Before last year’s summit in Guarda, the minister of Territorial Cohesion, Ana Abrunhosa, suggested that the Portuguese no longer had a quick way to travel between Lisbon and Madrid on the plane.
The two countries are more in agreement when sustainable mobility is about tar. The summit agreed to create a joint platform for the development of electric vehicles.
Through the Iberian vehicle cluster, Portugal and Spain intend to develop integrated industrial projects, contribute to the “interoperability of the infrastructure of electric charging points”, design a program for lithium mining and establish a platform for collaboration in innovation and development activities .
the gas issue
The rise in energy prices was also on the agenda of the Iberian summit. The Spanish Minister for Energy Transition, Teresa Ribera, announced that Algeria is available to increase the supply of natural gas, compensating for the end of shipments via Morocco.
The reinforcement will be made by increasing the capacity of the Medgaz gas pipeline – currently with eight billion cubic meters per year – and by transport by sea.
Portugal and Spain also signed the new friendship and cooperation treaty, renewing the 1977 negotiation agreement, with Mário Soares and Adolfo Suárez as heads of government.