The project of the high speed between the two Iberian capitals it still does not have consensus in the neighboring country that maintains its priority in the railway line of merchandise. The Portuguese Minister of Planning and Infrastructure, Pedro Marques, has insisted today in Madrid that the option of the Portuguese Government "before a lack of consensus for a project of such dimension, has been to promote the progress of solutions that could be made prioritizing the connection of merchandise between the two countries» Leave open the debate on passenger transport, but "raised in the future in another way, taking into account all the evolution of international transport because we are facing a new mobility." Pedro Marques believes that for the Iberian AVE to be a reality "Portugal must understand the potential of a more competitive line between the main poles of the country as it happened in Spain". Until that happens, the improvements in the lines planned in both territories and the future stretch of Toledo-Plasencia «will allow to reduce to almost half the trip between Madrid and Lisbon using the conventional lines ». That is to say, that the more than ten hours of journey of the Lusitania Express would happen to 5 or 6.
Where there are dates to make a better rail connection between the two countries is in the merchandise part. «In the next months we will award the work of the Évora-Elvas section and work will begin in the first half of next year and it is expected that conclude in 2022», Said the holder of the Infrastructure portfolio during a meal he has had with businessmen from both countries organized by the Portuguese Hispano Chamber of Commerce. "It is the most important railway work carried out by Portugal for many years," the minister stressed. As it has happened in previous competitions, the presence of Spanish companies is expected in the proposals that are being presented for the construction of said section, in many cases forming consortiums. "We have good capacity for this construction in Spain and Portugal but the most important thing is to tell the entrepreneurs that in three years we will have the connection completed," he added.
A merchandise connection that will favor the connection of the ports of Sines and Lisbon with Badajoz and Madrid. In addition, Portugal gives priority to improving connections in the Miño and Beira Alta areas. "We move forward with what we have more security," Pedro Marques insisted, recognizing that in this matter the Government of António Costa has opted for "the option of pragmatism." He also recalled that work is being done to improve air connections. In Porto, for example, «the Sá Carneiro airport will go from having 20 movements per hour to 32 movements »which will also favor the area of Galicia. In the Lisbon area, the creation of a "secondary airport" is sought. And in the face of the next Iberian summit to be held in Valladolid on November 21, Pedro Marques notes the overcoming of "legal challenges" to achieve, for example, logistics infrastructures on both sides of the border with a single management. In all the projects mentioned, Portugal is benefiting from community funds that have allowed them to reactivate public investment by supporting private projects. "We have 1700 million euros available to support investments in the closest areas of Spain," said the Portuguese minister.
Reduction of the public deficit
During the meal the minister has reviewed the economic achievements achieved in recent years by Portugal underlining the importance that Spain has for the neighboring country being its main commercial partner. «We maintain a strategy, we produce an increasingly lower deficit and we have a balance of accounts ", underlined Pedro Marques, recalling that the Portuguese economy grows for the third consecutive year above the European average. "There is capacity on the part of companies to continue to invest in our country and there are conditions for them to do so. Portugal has increased job creation and the budget strategy allows us to approach deficit 0, with a primary surplus and with a reduction in the weight of the public debt of the GDP, "he added. In the coming months the Portuguese Government will start the dialogue with the rest of the political parties to achieve consensus on the large investments needed by the country between 2020 and 2030. "In this way we will avoid the successive reforms due to changes in government and we favor the strategy", he clarified.