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Cross-border travel restrictions between Portugal and Spain to expire


Cross-border travel restrictions between Portugal and Spain to expire

Photo: Reuters/Rafael Marchante

Travel restrictions between Spain and Portugal are set to expire today.

Since January, the Spain-Portugal border has been closed to contain the spread of COVID-19. The tightening of restrictions came amidst a third wave of cases in the first two months of the year.

Spain’s GDP recorded a 10.8% contraction in 2020 while Portugal’s economy shrank 7.6% as the outbreak shuttered the country’s tourism industry and other key sectors, such as construction. Both governments are relying on vaccine rollout and the EU’s recovery strategy to improve their macroeconomic indicators.

The European recovery funds’ three-year disbursement is unlikely to have a tangible effect in 2021 given its delay. Throughout 2022, the influx of EU funds will bolster Spanish and Portuguese investment in energy projects, especially in the renewable hydrogen sector, to help small companies, public administration and key sectors, such as tourism, play a relevant role in the emerging hydrogen economy. Recovery of the countries’ critical tourism industries, which accounts for 10% of GDP in Portugal and 15% in Spain, will depend on the vaccination rollout and the implementation of vaccine passports, which Europe hopes to deploy later this year.

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