The regional government of Andalusia (Spain) is pushing for the construction of a rail link between Faro and Seville to be one of the main subjects discussed at the upcoming 32nd Iberian Summit.
The event will take place next Thursday (October 28) in Trujillo in the Spanish region of Extremadura and bring together the prime ministers of both countries and several other government top officials.
Marifán Carazo, Andalusia’s regional minister for development, infrastructure and land planning, believes the project is “strategic for Andalusia and Algarve” and that a study about its “economic viability” should be launched in order to take advantage of community funding.
The minister said the funds needed could come through ‘Next Generation EU’, a European initiative created to help countries recover from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The fund has €750 billion to distribute among member states, €390 billion of which will be attributed as grants, while the remaining €360 billion will be provided as loans.
“Europe invests strongly in railways and crossborder projects and we have to take advantage of this unique opportunity,” Carazo told Portuguese news agency Lusa.
The minister added that the Andalusian and Portuguese governments have both “shown interest” in extending the high-speed link between Madrid and Seville to Faro, with a stop in Huelva. However, the Spanish government has yet to officially comment.
“It is a crossborder project that has to be pondered at the summit,” she said.
The Iberian Summit is held every year, having taken place last year on October 10 in Guarda in the north of Portugal.
Earlier this month, the Portuguese-Spanish Commission for Crossborder Cooperation also threw its support behind the railway project (click here).
The president of the Algarve’s regional coordination and development commission (CCDR Algarve) said the rail link would be of “great importance” to Portugal’s southern regions and could even be extended to Beja and Lisbon.
“The need for such a railway line was identified in 1992 when Expo92 was held in Seville. Thus, institutions and businesses from both countries would like to see this issue considered a priority by the governments of Lisbon and Madrid,” CCDR Algarve boss José Apolinário told Lusa.