Political organisation on either side of the border
Chaves and Verín nevertheless have different powers (or “competences”) due to national differences in administrative organisation.
Chaves is a municipality (município) divided into three civil parishes (freguesias). In Portugal, the municipalities have jurisdiction over the management of municipal assets, public services, urban planning, education (the first four years), culture, environment and streets lighting while the freguesias ensure only more local services (like, for example, water supply or street cleaning).
In the Spanish portion of the conurbation, Verín is a municipality (município) formed by 18 parishes (parroquias). In Spain, all municipalities have jurisdiction over social services, water supply, street lighting, urban traffic control and security, as well as the granting of licences for economic activities. Municipalities of over 5000 inhabitants have additional powers concerning public libraries, green spaces, and the setting of urban planning strategies (Verín belongs to this category).
Chaves forms part of the district of Vila Real and the Region Norte. The powers of the district mainly concern the coordination of local activities in the field of civil protection. Portugal is divided into five regions, administered by commissions for coordination and regional development (Comissões de Cooperação e Desenvolvimento Regional). The commissions are administrative bodies responsible for the development of the regions.
On the Spanish side; Verín belongs to the province of Ourense, which is located in the Autonomous Community of Galicia. In Spain, a province (provincial) has jurisdiction over the coordination of municipal services, legal, economic and technical support for municipalities, the provision of supra-municipal services and the general administration of the province. The Autonomous Community (Comunidad autonóma) of Galicia is one of the seventeen regional authorities of Spain. It has jurisdiction in matters of territorial development, public services, the economy, agriculture, culture...
These organisational differences represent obstacles for cross-border cooperation. However, the creation of the Galicia–North Portugal Euroregion and the Chaves-Verín Eurocity demonstrate the local actors’ desire to overcome them.