Portugal To Implement Controls On All Travellers Crossing The Border From Spain

Image of sign near Portuguese border with Spain.

Image of sign near Portuguese border with Spain. Credit: Tevfik Teker/Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Portugal will impose controls on the 21 border crossings connecting it with Spain from this Saturday, July 22.

This action was decreed on the occasion of World Youth Day (WYD) 2023 in Lisbon, to coincide with the visit of Pope Francis. The measure will be limited to the ‘strictly necessary minimum’ and will remain in force until August 7.

Travellers attempting to enter Portuguese territory from Spain will have to show an identity document to enter the country. The Spanish consulate in Lisbon recommended that children should also carry a valid ID or passport.

There are 21 official border crossing points

The temporary measure applies to the border crossings located in Valença-Viana do Castelo, Vila Verde da Raia-Chaves, Quintanilha-Braganza, Vilar Formoso-Guarda, Marvão-Portalegre, Caia-Elvas, Vila Verde de Ficalho-Beja, Castro Marim and Monção.

It also covers those of Barrancos, Rio de Onor, Melgaço, Montalegre, Tourém, Vinhais, Ponte da Barca, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Pomarão, Termas de Monfortinho-Castelo Branco, Miranda do Douro and Mourão.

The Internal Security System of Portugal assured in a statement that it will ‘not close the borders’, but pointed out that the controls will be ‘selective and directed, based on information and risk analysis’.

Together with other State security forces and services, the Foreigners and Borders Service will be in charge of implementing the measure, according to 20minutos.es.

Controls will be limited to the ‘strictly necessary minimum’

According to the resolution of the Council of Ministers, controls will be carried out according to the ‘principle of proportionality’ and will be limited to the ‘strictly necessary minimum to respond to possible threats to public order and internal security’.

The Portuguese government justified the measure by the ‘dimension, characteristics and complexity of the event’. It also highlighted its ‘media visibility’, plus the ‘enormous flow of people expected’, and the ‘current context of threat’.

It was considered necessary by the government to prevent ‘the entry into the national territory of citizens or groups whose behaviour may be likely to compromise the security of national and foreign citizens who participate in the event’.

Portugal employed a similar practice in 2017

This is not the first time that Portugal has taken a measure of this magnitude. A similar practice was employed during the visit of Pope Francis in 2017, on the occasion of the centenary of the apparitions of the Virgin in Fatima, according to Catholic tradition.

World Youth Day will be celebrated in Lisbon and its neighbouring municipalities between August 1 and 6 with around one million visitors expected.

Pope Francis will arrive in Portuguese territory on Wednesday 2, where he will stay until August 6 and will also visit Fátima.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com