"It is a historic occasion," emphasized Luis Barcala. "The meeting has a very deep historical character," Pablo Ruz had said before. The mayors of Alicante and Elx, the second and third most populated cities in the Valencian Community, have made an effort before the media mentioned in the Blue Room of the Alicante City Council to distinguish today's meeting from previous ones held by their predecessors.
Aware of the skepticism usually generated by announcements of cooperation between two cities that are so geographically close and historically distant, Barcala and Ruz, Ruz and Barcala, party colleagues (PP) and with good personal harmony, have highlighted the "unprecedented" character and pragmatic of what they have described as a "summit" between both consistories.
"Alicante and Elche today stop turning their backs on each other and shake hands," Ruz, to whom Barcala has given the first intervention, expressed graphically. "Elche wants the best for Alicante and Alicante wants the best for her sister Elche," she added. "It is not an invented or improvised meeting, it is not protocol; it is a work meeting."
In that first speech to the media, the first mayor of Elche announced that Alicante joins the demand that the Iberian bust of the Lady that houses the National Archaeological Museum return to Elx and the town council that he presides demand that the Ministry withdraw roads on the southern coast of Alicante and the immediate execution of the Torrellano variant, which would allow a rail connection with the airport "that would benefit us all."
But Barcala then explained that the "summit" has advanced beyond the symbolic, to descend into the realm of the practical. Hence, six councilors from Elx and five from Alicante participated in it. It was about putting on the table vital issues for the development of the Alicante-Elx axis in terms of infrastructure, industrial land, transport, cultural and sports activities, as well as tourism promotion and organization of events.
In terms of infrastructure, the execution of the Torrellano variant for the removal of the roads from the coastline in Alicante is one of the main demands of both municipalities, which also requires investments from the Generalitat and the central Government. In addition, Alicante and Elx will also demand the development of a third lane on the A-70 or the liberalization of the toll on Alicante's second ring road, the AP7, in addition to addressing new ring roads to decongest the two urban centers.
Regarding communications and transport, actions will be studied to promote infrastructures with great potential such as the airport and the commuter train, as well as the possibility of improving the mutual use of high-value industrial nodes such as the port of Alicante and the Industrial Estate. from Torrellano.
Regarding urban planning, Barcala has offered Ruz that his team participate in the drafting of the General Urban Planning Plan of Alicante, because both cities "must go hand in hand to address joint and harmonized planning."
In the culture section, coordinated initiatives have been proposed in museum activities, from programming to possible shared subscriptions, as well as the possible creation of a common museum circuit; the joint management of concerts and organization of cultural events, to make the cache of world-renowned artists cheaper.
Also in sports, the possibility of organizing shared competitions between the two municipalities has been raised, such as a marathon or other races.
Institutional cooperation is another of the highlighted factors in this new stage in which Alicante and Elx must also strengthen ties when reinforcing their candidacies for State Agencies, as happened months ago with the Artificial Intelligence and Space Offices.
“It is about being able to reinforce each other in a reciprocal way to add arguments with which to convince companies or administrations about the benefits of the two cities due to the possibilities that they combine both in hotel spaces and in availability of land, or in the pre-existence of certain economic ecosystems specialized in specific sectors” explained Barcala.
Another of the highlights of this meeting has been the collaboration in tourism promotion and the development of business fairs. Proposing mutual agreements and new promotional lines that enhance the attractiveness of the two neighboring municipalities and encouraging joint promotion can also multiply the attractiveness of both cities.