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Spain Extends Hand to Assist Portugal in Enforcing Border Controls for World Youth Day

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Spain will be assisting Portugal in managing border controls during the World Youth Days scheduled to be held in Portugal from August 1 to 6, 2023, acknowledging the significant surge in traffic anticipated during the event.

Last week, the government of Portugal decided to reimpose internal border controls with Spain in order to enhance security during the festival.

According to the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, over 1.5 million pilgrims are expected to reach the Portuguese capital in the following days, what could lead to a considerable surge in traffic, in particular along the land routes connecting the French and Portuguese borders, as well as the access roads to Lisbon and the Sanctuary of Fátima.

To ensure road safety and effective traffic control on the main highways used by travellers wishing to participate in the festival across the national territory, whether by private or collective transport, a Specific Mobility Plan has been crafted on Spain’s side.

As part of this plan, the Traffic Group of the Civil Guard will intensify its efforts to monitor, control, and regulate traffic along these vehicles’ primary and secondary routes.

“Specific controls will be established to verify that journeys, especially long-distance ones, are made safely, aimed at guaranteeing the vehicle’s general condition (tyres, load arrangement, etc.) and informing about the risks of driving without adequate rest,” the statement issued by the Ministry reads.

In light of ensuring safe travel, particularly for long-distance trips, authorities will implement specific controls to verify that journeys are conducted with safety measures in mind.

The ATGC transport specialist agents will also conduct targeted inspections on collective passenger transport during long-distance journeys. These inspections will focus on assessing drivers’ compliance with driving and rest time regulations and evaluating the safety conditions of the vehicles.

To keep drivers well-informed during the World Youth Days event, the Traffic Management Centers will utilise variable message panels to provide real-time updates on traffic incidents and conditions along transit routes.

In preparation for the event and collaboration with Portuguese authorities, the DGT (Directorate General of Traffic) initiated “Operation Paso Portugal” on July 1. This operation aims to provide comprehensive coverage for the approximately 250,000 vehicles that travel through Spanish territory from France to Portugal during the summer vacation period.

As the Ministry explains, the specific plan will primarily concentrate on two essential phases within the overall duration. The first phase has encompassed the last days of July, while the second phase will be from August 6 to 7.

Since the reintroduction of internal border controls in Portugal until Thursday, July 27, the Portuguese border authorities checked a total of 503,633 people. During this period, 83 individuals were prevented from entering the territory of Portugal.

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