Local councillors from Portugal and Spain warn of population decline

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 09-11-2018 15:14:00 · 0 Comments
Local councillors from Portugal and Spain warn of population decline

About 30 councillors from the Alto Alentejo, Beira Baixa regions in Portugal and the province of Cáceres, in Spain, are due to meet to warn the governments of both countries to the problems of rural popluation decline, officials said.

The warning that the councillors intend to sound through this initiative, will be given on Sunday in Montalvão, in the municipality of Nisa, in Portugal's inland Portalegre district, during a meeting that will also discuss the lack of accessibility, which affects the connections of these areas separated by the Tagus and Sever rivers.

"Population decline is a problem and this meeting serves to raise awareness of our needs, and one of the ways to avoid isolation is through links that can bring together these three regions," said the president of the Parish Council of Montalvão, José Possidónio.

The construction of a link or the daily opening of the bridge connecting Montalvão to the Spanish village of Cedillo (Cáceres) is one of the main demands of the local authorities.

While the governments of Spain and Portugal aren't implementing any project, populations on both sides of the border "only meet" at weekends, when the Spanish hydroelectric company Iberdrola removes the padlocks from the gates and reopens the bridge in the confluence of the Tejo and Sever rivers to traffic.

The two communities are 15 kilometres from each other, but during the week the populations have to travel about 120 kilometres to be able to meet or trade.

"The first possibility that would cost less money is the opening of the current bridge on a daily basis, the second is to build a bridge between the Alto Alentejo and Beira Baixa," he said.

"As a last resort," the local councillor considered that the old Cedillo bridge project (a project that was not developed due to lack of consensus between the Spanish government and the opposition) could be revived.

"In the 1960s, Montalvão had more than 3,000 inhabitants and now has about 300," said Possidónio, who hopes that this warning will help to reverse the situation.

The meeting, which will take place at Casa do Povo de Montalvão, is intended to find "endogenous solutions" to "combat demographic erosion," with a greater focus on the issue of road accessibility.

In this regard, the councillors are considering moving towards the creation of a "cross-border cooperation front," by setting up a "European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation" to defend their interests.


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