The Eixo Atlântico do Noroeste Peninsular (Atlantic Axis of the Iberian Northwest) is a cross-border association currently made up of 18 member-cities: 9 in the North of Portugal (Braga, Brangança, Chaves, Guimarães, Peso da Régua, Oporto, Vila Real, Viana do Castelo and Vila Nova de Gaia) and 9 in the Spanish province of Galicia (Coruña, Ferrol, Lugo, Monforte de Lemos, Orense, Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, Vilagarcia de Arosa and Vigo). Its fundamental focus is the economic, social, cultural, scientific and technological development of the cities and regions represented by the association.
These 18 cities comprise an urban network within the Euro-region of Northern Portugal-Galicia which is determined to contribute to the development of this geographical area.
The founding of the association was the result of the interest shown by the cities of Oporto and Vigo to form stronger bonds of cooperation between themselves, an idea which rapidly spread to include 11 other cities in the north of Portugal and Galicia. The intended result of this cross-border cooperation was “to bring the E.U. closer,” and in so doing, attract projects that could spur development of both cities and regions in the zone.
Thus, 1992 marks the official foundation of the Eixo Atlântico do Noroeste Peninsular. Later, two more cities joined the Association, and during the 6th General Assembly in 1997, its last phase of adding members, three more cities became members, which included Guimarães.
The Eixo holds the annual meeting of the General Assembly in a different city every year; this coincides with the stipulated meeting of the Executive Committee which gathers twice a year.
Since it s creation, the work of the Association has focused on developing various areas of action while maintaining as a primary objective any future proposal to enhance the areas of “urban infrastructures, telecommunications, politics and social well-being, the protection and promotion of the environment, tourism, demographic movements and the job market, the promotion of various types of economic, social, cultural and sporting activity that bind the common origins and sense of identity of the members.”*
(*text taken from the website of the Eixo Atlântico.)