Javier Martín del Barrio – Lisbon 7 FEB 2020
Iberolux, the union of Spain and Portugal in a new entity in the Benelux style, is the proposal of the mayor of Porto, the independent Rui Moreira (Porto, 1956). Mayor of the city since 2013, he chaired last weekend the event of the Cities Forum 2020 in his city. In that context he called for closer collaboration between the two countries. “For tens of years we live on our backs, with huge distrust. Fortunately, that reality no longer exists today”, he told Efe. “We speak a language that is not the same, but we understand it; we have an Ibero-American space that is essential for both countries; the work of building the Iberolux has to be done”.
In daily life, Moreira already runs a city that practices daily iberoluxing. The largest number of tourists are Spanish, and not just Galicians. The Catalans, for example, filled the Serralves Foundation on the occasion of Miró’s unpublished show; Madrid also increased their visits following the signing of Casillas by the first team in the city; Vigo and Porto airports are used interchangeably by Spanish and Portuguese, according to the convenience of schedules, routes and even weather. “They are good tourists, because they like to shop, eat and drink”, added the mayor.
Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg formed a customs union, called Benelux, in 1944, before the founding of the EU, and extended it in 1958 to an economic union through a treaty. The idea of a Spanish-Portuguese union within the EU is neither original nor new, since it dates back to the 18th century, although without – as it can be seen – prospering. Just as many intellectuals have openly proclaimed it – from Fernando Pessoa to José Saramago or Lobo Antunes, on the Portuguese side, and from Unamuno to Ortega and Gasset -, so many politicians – in privacy – report on the advantages of that unity. However, never any political party – neither on one side nor the other of the border – has dared to attend the elections proposing the formation of an Iberolux or an Iberia. The only exception has been the Iberian Party founded in 2015 in Castilla-La Mancha to participate in the elections, without any success. Then the founder already said that the initiative did not start from the States, “but from the feeling of union of the citizens”.
Moreira wants to bloom it again with the name of Iberolux. “The European project is alive and well and has new bets”, the mayor added, as it would be for the two countries in southern Europe to move forward with closer cooperation. For him there are no borders between the north of Portugal and Galicia, a community where, as in Extremadura, thousands of Spanish schoolchildren study Portuguese. “One more argument for the creation of Iberolux”.