The leaders of Spain and Portugal's Socialist Parties began a weekend summit meeting on Saturday (17 June).
The leaders of Spain and Portugal's Socialist Parties began a weekend summit meeting on Saturday (17 June). The talks were held in towns on either side of the Spanish-Portuguese border and dealt with prospective membership of the European Common Market and relations with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
SYNOPSIS: Dr. Mario Soares, the Socialist Portuguese Prime Minister, arrived in the Spanish border town of Badajoz for the first session of the summit meeting. Since Portugal was a founder member of NATO opposition of Spanish Socialists to Spain's entry into the alliance was a major topic of the talks. Dr. Soares was met by Felipe Gonzalez-leader of the Spanish Socialist Party, formed by a merger of Spain's two main socialist groups earlier this year. Dr. Soares has campaigned for greater co-operation between Portuguese and Spanish Socialists since becoming leader of Portugal's socialist-led coalition government.
After the initial round of talks, the two leaders crossed into Portugal for a rally at Campo Maior. Both Spain and Portugal have applied to join the European Common Market. They have also decided to establish mutual free trade in industrial goods by 1986. Dr. Soares and Senor Gonzalez decided to set up committees within their respective parties to study the issues involved in Common Market membership. On NATO, Dr. Soares fully supported Senor Gonzalez's stand against Spanish entry.
Dr. Soares told the crowd that the talks had also dealt with polices on Africa and Latin America, and the results of the Socialist International meeting in Dakar, Senegal. The summit meeting between the Portuguese Prime Minister and the Spanish opposition Socialist Party came a month after the ratification of a friendship and co-operation treaty between the two countries, providing favourable trade agreements and an easing of border protocol.
Senor Gonzalez said the meeting was historic and marked and alliance crossing national borders of the Iberian Peninsula. The weekend of talks was the first sign of the new spirit of co-operation between the two parties. The Portuguese Prime Minister announced earlier this year he intended to work with Spanish Socialists to "give a new impulse to the construction of a socialist society in Europe".