Up to 40 per cent of Portuguese want an Iberian Federation

A third of the Spanish and 40 per cent of the Portuguese believe that Portugal and Spain should join together in an Iberian Federation.

Reigniting debate over an idea that has existed since the famous Lisbon Casino Conferences in the 1870s, many, according to a new survey, now believe that both countries would be better off together than apart.

The survey, the Spanish-Portuguese Barometer of Opinion (Barómetro de Opinião Hispano-Luso 2009), was organised and conducted by the University of Salamanca earlier this year.

It seems to back up the controversial idea promoted by Portuguese Nobel Prize for Literature winner, José Saramago, that sooner or later an Iberian Federation is inevitable, an idea which attracted violent criticism from some political and academic quarters.

Portuguese President Cavaco Silva has also dismissed the idea, calling it “absurd” yet 39.9 per cent of the Portuguese apparently don’t think so, while 30.3 per cent of the Spanish also think two heads are better than one.

Twenty-nine per cent of Spanish and 17.7 per cent of Portuguese were indifferent to the issue and perhaps, not surprisingly, the highest incidence of those in favour of some kind of economic or political union came from those living on or near the frontiers of the two countries.

The survey was carried out by the University of Salamanca between April and May this year asking 876 people via telephone.

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