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Speech of the President of the Government before the Spanish Ambassadors in EU countries

Madrid, Palacio de la Moncloa, Wednesday 07 October 2009

Minister, State Secretary, Ambassadors in the EU countries,

Let me express my condolences and pain, which we all share, on the death of corporal Cristo Ancor Cabello Santana, who died in a terrorist blast in Afghanistan while he was on duty, during the mission Spanish soldiers are fulfilling so courageously and bravely in Afghanistan, in spite of the difficulties. I would like to express my condolences and I also wish the five soldiers who got hurt may soon recover.

Spanish society has a permanent debt with public servants, with our soldiers, who fight for safety, stability and peace, in order to eradicate violence and fanatics outside our borders. We, the Spanish society, have a permanent debt. Thus, once more, we will pay a tribute to them.

Dear ambassadors,

In the first place, I would like to say I am highly satisfied to see you here today. You are surely the best qualified representatives of the Government and of Spain abroad, in the different EU countries, our partners, in that exciting project, namely, the European Union.

This event, right now, has a special meaning, because we are working intensely in order to prepare the Spanish EU Presidency, which starts next 1 January. And I would like to enumerate our goals and I would like to tell you how we are going to work during this period.

Spain is a pro-European country and a firm defender of the EU Project, a European Union that has brought about peace, stability and economic progress; a European union that is formed by twenty seven countries, a European union which different countries have progressively joined, and many other countries wish to join it. Thus, this is a great, historical project.

The Spanish EU Presidency is going to coincide with a moment of paramount importance of the European Union and for the future of international relationships, a moment of paramount importance for two reasons: because we are coming out from the most serious economic crisis in the last sixty years. I have already said that this is not the first crisis of globalization, but the first crisis of global governance, of the lack of a common, organised place for the global governance of economy, of finance and of balance among countries.

And the EU project can contribute with its experience to that global governance, to a more balanced international order characterised by cooperation and coordination among countries; a project that has helped our continent through relevant decisions, such as the single currency, the single market, the cohesion policy and the growing representation of the European Union in the world, through a shared project.

Thus, we must face the lessons learnt from this crisis, in the first place, of this serious crisis, a crisis we still have time to recover from, and this must become one of the goals of the European Union.

Then, we must face a scenario of international order characterised by more cooperation and, therefore, by more foreign actions by the European Union, in order to face a new economic order, a more sustainable economic system and a more solid financial system.

We must move towards coordination and economic cooperation. This is the great goal, the main goal of the European Union: the reinforcement of the common monetary policy, strengthening the euro and the economic policy of the 27 EU members in a more coordinated way and through cooperation.

Besides, the Spanish EU Presidency must face great challenges at the level of international relations, at the level of the position of the European Union in the world, and besides we hope this will coincide -after Ireland's voting- with the implementation of the Treaty of Lisbon; for this Treaty will bring Europe closely together, strengthening the common policies and the single, common voice of Europe before the world.

We have four main priorities concerning the position of Spain and the position of Europe in the world: first, Latin America, finishing the association agreements in the context of the EU-Latin America Summit; secondly, the Mediterranean, we must implement the Union for the Mediterranean, the Secretariat and the first projects; thirdly, transatlantic relationships, the relationships with the United States, which we must and can renew with greater strength during the Spanish EU Presidency; and finally the renewal of a strategic agreement with Russia, as this is an essential country for stability and integration in Europe in a broad sense.

Four great goals. But these are not the only ones at the level of international relations. We have summits with Canada, Morocco, Mexico and Japan, relevant countries, but the main goals of the Spanish presidency are in Latin America, the Mediterranean, the United States and Russia.

Besides, our diplomats, active diplomats, have attained great goals lately, such as the presidency during the G-20, which must face - together with the different diplomats from the European Union - one of the most attractive, suggesting challenges for the Union and for its citizens, namely, the implementation of the European Foreign Service. We will be working on this intensely, we will prove our willingness to join, because if the Treaty of Lisbon helps us move forwards swiftly and efficiency in order to build a European Foreign Service, we will be surely helping to build a process that will consolidate the idea of the European Union before the world.

We believe that the Treaty of Lisbon will come into force; we hope and wish that those countries that form part of the diplomatic action, that those that have not ratified it jet, will do it at present, and thus this quarter Europe will observe its own goals and start working on its great objectives.

I know you will be cooperating with us, but the next semester Europe and Spain will have to make their best. This must be a constructive Presidency, full of progress, great goals, we must make a great impression, bring the European Union even closely together, providing citizens with more tranquillity and safety as far as stability and the economic future are concerned; and we must observe the principles of expansion of the European Union towards those countries that have been trying to join this common project for many years.

I am very satisfied with your work. You know I am closely acquainted with your work on many embassies in the European Union and I would like to thank you, honestly, for your services to the State, for your services to Spain, and I want to offer all the support for you to keep contributing actively to this and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is going to structure and coordinate your actions so that the Spanish EU Presidency may be successful.

Thank you for being here, once more.