More than a thousand businessmen demand Mediterranean Corridor in Madrid event

Business movement Quiero Corredor calls on the Spanish government to finish the works on time

2 min
Image of some of the participants at the event, including José Luis Bonet, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri and Antonio Garamendi.

"We have nothing to celebrate, because the infrastructure [of the Mediterranean Corridor] is not finished". Thus spoke Vicente Boluda, president of the Valencian Association of Entrepreneurs (AVE), at the opening of the Quiero Corredor event, which on Wednesday brought together more than 1,300 businessmen at the Ifema fair in Madrid. These including the president of Mercadona, Juan Roig, and the president of CaixaBank, José Ignacio Goirigolzarri: "It is an opportunity to equalize opportunities," has defended the latter.

The event started late. "It is to bring our point across," Boluda joked. The businessmen were pessimistic about the possibility that the infrastructure would be finished by 2025, as promised almost two years ago by the then Secretary of State for Infrastructure, Transport and Housing, Pedro Saura. In fact, at the end of last year, the Spanish government itself no longer guaranteed it and the Minister of Transport, Raquel Sánchez, who was present at the event, did not make a statement either. "The 2025 deadline will not be fulfilled", Boluda lamented, and he denounced a 25-year accumulated delay and, as a result of this, "incalculable" losses.

A circular Spain

Specifically, what is requested is an transportation corridor parallel to the Mediterranean allowing, on the one hand, to connect Algeciras with the French border (about 1,300 kilometres) through international or European gauge railway (reducing the costs of goods changing trains at the border) and, on the other hand, the construction of the double high-speed track throughout its route to separate passenger trains from freight trains, thus increasing its capacity. For years, the business community has been unanimous in affirming that the corridor is key to improve the competitiveness of the Mediterranean region and to allow connections which do not go through Madrid. "It will connect territories better," Boluda insisted.

In addition, businessmen have been pressuring the Spanish government for some time to progress in the works, claiming the Mediterranean Corridor would increase Spain's GDP by 2.2%, create of 15,000 jobs and would allow exports to double. The message was been repeated this Wednesday and was been directed, in particular, to Raquel Sánchez, who became Minister of Transport in July. "I hope that [the Minister of Transport] shows the same predisposition as her predecessor [José Luis Ábalos]," said Boluda.

This is the fifth year that the movement Quiero Corredor, driven by Valencian businessmen, organises the event. It was also attended by the presidents of employer associations CEOE and Foment del Treball, and the head of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. "It is not a whim, we will not tire of demanding it," insisted Boluda. Spain must complete the infrastructure by 2030.