Portugal is a country in southern Europe and part of the Iberian Peninsula. Its position on the Atlantic Ocean has influenced several aspects of its culture.
Portugal is known for its delicious cuisine, and grilled sardines and salt cod are two of the country’s most popular dishes. It’s a haven for history lovers and travelers who appreciate rustic surroundings and culturally diverse countries.
However, who are Portugal’s neighbors, and how do they get along?
Portugal, the most western European country, borders only one country, Spain. However, Portugal also shares a maritime border with Morocco.
Portugal imports and exports with both countries, but their relationship wasn’t always great.
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How is Portugal’s relationship with Spain?
Because the two countries make up a large portion of the Iberian Peninsula, their connection is sometimes referred to as “Iberian relations.”
Both countries have had a warmer alliance in recent decades, and currently, they are both full-fledged members of the European Union, the Eurozone, the Schengen Area, and NATO.
The current state of cooperation between Spain and Portugal is excellent. For instance, they work together to combat drug smuggling and wildfires.
The countries’ governments, including José Maria Aznar’s and José Manuel Duro Barroso’s conservative governments, enable these tight ties.
The social liberal democracies of José Luis Rodrguez Zapatero and José Sócrates, as well as Pedro Sánchez and António Costa, are other enablers.
Sócrates even says that his friendship with Zapatero is one of the greatest throughout global political ties.
The Albufeira Convention, which governs the sharing of transborder rivers like the Guadiana, Tagus, and Douro, was signed by both countries in 1998.
The Albufeira Convention regulates water distribution and environmental issues. The two countries attempted a combined proposal to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cups in 2009.
Portugal defends Spain
In 2020, Portugal’s Prime Minister António Costa termed the Dutch Finance Minister’s statements “repulsive” after asking for a probe into Spain’s alleged lack of economic resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both nations also staged a somber border closing ceremony in the same year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On October 28, 2021, the authorities of Portugal and Spain finally signed the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, replacing (but not abolishing) the one inked in 1977 throughout the 32nd Iberian Summit in Trujillo with Pedro Sánchez and António Costa.
Authorities also inked agreements concerning fish and game in the Mio’s transboundary river boundary as well as Cross-Border Legislation.
Both countries are dependent on each other when it comes to imports and exports.
Portugal to Spain
Portugal shipped $15.4 billion worth of products to Spain in 2019. Vehicle Parts ($1.41 billion), Cars ($519 million), and Refined Petroleum ($453 million) were the top three products Portugal sent to Spain.
Portugal’s shipments to Spain have climbed at a yearly rate of 6.32 percent through the last twenty years, from $3.54 billion in 1995 to $15.4 billion in 2019.
In 2019, Portugal supplied $4.31 billion in services to Spain, with travel ($2.18 billion), transportation ($1.19 billion), and other business services ($711 million) accounting for the majority of the value.
Spain to Portugal
Spain exported $25.8 billion worth of products to Portugal in 2019. Vehicle Parts ($1.23 billion), Cars ($1.08 billion), and Refined Petroleum ($787 million) were the top three products Spain sent to Portugal.
Spain’s exports to Portugal have grown at a 5.39 percent annual pace over the past 24 years, from $7.32 billion in 1995 to $25.8 billion in 2019.
In 2019, Spain supplied $1.2 billion in services to Portugal, the most valuable of which was travel ($1.2 billion).
How they compare
Portugal was placed 48th inside the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.54) and 45th in total exports ($66.8 billion) in 2019.
Spain ranked 36th inside the Economic Complexity Index (ECI 0.85) but 16th in export earnings ($319 billion) that same year.
Disputes erupted with Spain and Portugal once word spread of Columbus’ accomplishments. Portugal rejected the Spanish claim towards the Islands of the Caribbean, and Portugal assumed that the Azores were a portion of their territory.
The Pope attempted to arbitrate because he was worried that the conflict could escalate to war between two fervently Catholic countries.
Portugal and Spain signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 after talks. The agreement resulted in a demarcation line.
All lands a thousand miles to the west of the Azores Spain would own and Portugal would own all lands east of the line.
The Ensuing Wars
The initial war between Spain and Portugal was the Spanish–Portuguese War between 1762 and 1763, also called the Fantastic War.
Another war ensued thirteen years later, from ’76 to ’77 (in South America), then in 1801 came the “War of the Oranges,” when Portugal faced defeat from both France and Spain.
The battle that Portugal lost to Spain and France took place on the Iberian Peninsula, but in the South American Region, Portugal managed to defeat Spain.
Spanish officials argue about Portugal’s maritime borders, or “exclusive economic zone,” between the Canary Islands and Madeira.
In Galicia, “The Stripe” is called “A Raia,” “La Raia,” or “La Raya.” The boundary between Portugal and Spain is among the world’s oldest.
The current border is nearly comparable to the one established at the Treaty of Alcaics in 1297. The 1,214-kilometer (754-mile) border between Portugal and Spain is the EU’s longest continuous border.
Since Olivenza/Olivença has faced a dispute between Spain and Portugal for more than two centuries, the border between Ribeira de Cuncos and the Caia River remains undefined for 18 kilometers (11 miles).
The relationship between Portugal and Morocco had a rough start. The seizure of Ceuta in 1415 marked the beginning of Portugal’s occupation of seaside Morocco, which was invaded ineffectively by the Moroccans three years later.
Across the Moroccan Coastline, from the river Loukos north to the river Sous south, the Portuguese are known to have taken six Moroccan towns and constructed six separate strongholds.
To achieve their “common aspirations,” Morocco and Portugal have recently sought to increase their bilateral collaboration.
Both Nasser Bourita and his Portuguese colleague Santos Silva met virtually to discuss developing bilateral ties between their countries.
According to a briefing from the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Silva expressed satisfaction with the “excellence of bilateral relations” between the two countries.
The Portuguese Foreign Minister further emphasized the importance of strengthening cooperation between Lisbon and Rabat. Embassies represent both countries in each capital city.
After the recent meeting, Portugal and Morocco signed an agreement to encourage safe and legal migration.
EU Council’s decision to appeal European court rulings on agricultural and fisheries treaties with Morocco got support from the Portuguese FM, who “confirmed Portugal’s backing by direct reference to CURIA, an endorsement of the EU Council’s decision to challenge.”
The European Court of Justice ordered in September 2021 to nullify EU-Morocco accords on fisheries and agriculture.
However, the September 2021 ruling has had no immediate impact on the accords, and both Morocco and the EU have appealed the verdict and reaffirmed their intention to continue their cooperation.
They also talked about regional and international problems, such as their perspectives on genuine and sincere efforts to end existing conflicts.
The ministerial meeting came to an end with the signing of the treaty allowing Moroccan workers to live and work in Portugal.
According to the ministry’s statement, the agreement will ease safe and legal migration between the two nations.
The trade between Lisbon and Rabat has soared as the two nations’ connections have become more solid.
Portugal to Morocco
Portuguese exports to Morocco totaled $973 million in 2019. Portuguese exports to Morocco are refined petroleum, semi-finished iron, and automotive parts.
During the last 24 years, Portugal’s exports to Morocco have grown by 10.6 percent a year, from $87 million in 1995 to $973 million in 2019.
Portugal exported $16.8 million worth of services to Morocco in 2019, with travel accounting for most.
Morocco to Portugal
Morocco’s 2019 exports to Portugal totaled $374 million. In terms of value, cars were worth $51.4 million, knit females’ suits were $32.3 million, and insulated wire was worth $28.5 million to Morocco.
Morocco’s shipments to Portugal have grown from $82.7 million in 1995 to $374 million in 2019 at a yearly rate of 6.49 percent.
Morocco exported no services to Portugal in 2019. Portugal’s supplies to Morocco were around $716.18 million in 2020, according to data from Trading Economics.
During the same period, Moroccan shipments to Portugal totaled $370 million.
On January 12, 2022, Portugal and Morocco reached an agreement regarding the hiring of Moroccan workers in Portugal and their duration of stay there.
Ministers from Portugal and Morocco decided during a videoconference to discuss diplomatic cooperation that Moroccan nationals should profit from job prospects in Portugal.
Portuguese officials are now obliged to specify the processes for Moroccan nationals who seek to work in Portugal following the signing of the new agreement.
Furthermore, the two countries hope that this agreement will improve cooperation and make it easier for Moroccans to migrate to Portugal regularly.
Norms & Standards
Additionally, the countries disclosed that the binding agreement comprises procedures and standards for the subset of individuals who can go to Portugal and take a job there.
The agreement also established guidelines like family reunification, working conditions, and training.
MLN’s National Agency will implement agreed-upon provisions for promoting employment and skills and its Portuguese counterpart. The Portuguese government will oversee the performance of the requirements.
First, in 2003, the Portuguese and Spanish Labor Inspectorates signed an agreement to share information and collaborate on labor issues.
The deal stipulates several areas of cooperation, including the prevention of occupational risks, the identification and sanctioning of registered enterprises, and the surveillance of third-country nationals’ cross-border movements.
The countries widened the agreement’s scope later, resulting in several interministerial accords (i.e., a notice of alliance and specialized assistance).
Portugal’s Labor Solidarity and Social Security Ministry signed these agreements with the Employment, Social Security, and Health Ministry of Spain from 2012 to 2015.
Bordering Portugal and Spain have historically seen a lot of cross-border migration in employees. Occupational health and safety, as well as security and working hours, have all seen an uptick in the inspectorates’ observations.
With these developments in mind, the Portuguese and Spanish Labor Inspectorates teamed up to enhance the conditions of workers from both countries.