Spain and Portugal defend welfare state in time of crisis
Spain and Portugal on Thursday stressed the need for social policies and protection of employment during the ongoing economic crisis, dpa reported.
The labour market and welfare state must not be made to pay for the deficient functioning of the international financial system, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said at a joint press conference with his Portuguese counterpart Jose Socrates.
The two Socialist premiers as well as 12 Spanish and 13 Portuguese ministers attended a bilateral summit in Zamora, northern Spain.
Zapatero called for the rapid establishment of a new international financial order.
It was essential to protect employment and to create jobs, Zapatero and Socrates agreed, pledging measures to boost the development of scarcely populated areas on both sides of their common border.
The two countries also discussed the construction of a high-speed railway which is to link Madrid with Lisbon and Vigo with Oporto by 2013.
They signed a number of bilateral agreements, including one on the establishment of four frontier police and customs cooperation centres which will participate in the fight against terrorism and crime.