You are:

Share on Facebook: opens new windowShare on Twitter: opens new windowShare on Linkedin: opens new windowShare on Orkut: opens new windowShare on Tuenti: opens new windowShare on Delicious: opens new windowShare on MySpace: opens new window

23rd Spain-France Summit

Mariano Rajoy and François Hollande confirm that the AVE between Spain and France will be operational by 15 December

Moncloa Palace, Madrid, Wednesday 27 November 2013
Mariano Rajoy y François Hollande
Pool Moncloa / Free access

The two leaders highlighted, at the end of the 23rd Spain-France Summit, that the two countries will, for the first time, be connected by a high-speed train link, which represents a historic milestone.

The President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, chaired, together with the President of the French Republic, the 23rd Spain-France Summit, at Moncloa Palace, at which various ministers from the two governments also took part.

During the press conference offered by the two leaders at the end of the Summit, the President of the Spanish Government described the implementation of the AVE service between Spain and France as a "truly historic achievement in terms of interconnections". "The completion of this high-speed line highlights the excellent relations between neighbours, reasserts Catalonia as the hub for interconnections in relations between Spain and France and draws the French and Spanish peoples even closer", he said.

In the area of interconnections between the two countries, Mariano Rajoy and François Hollande also welcomed the progress being made in the implementation of the international gauge track on the railway line that links the Mediterranean coastline. They also tackled cooperation between Spain and France on matters of energy and gas interconnections.

Mariano Rajoy highlighted that at the various sector meetings, it was reasserted that the two countries are in tune on matters of home affairs, "where there is full alignment in the fight against terrorism and drugs trafficking". He also stressed the existing understanding on matters of industry, trade, education, the fight against climate change and foreign affairs.

A stronger Europe

Mariano Rajoy y François Hollande
Pool Moncloa / Free access

Mariano Rajoy underlined that "the future and the prosperity of Spain and France will come from a stronger, more united, more competitive Europe with a powerful voice on the international stage". Employment, growth, competiveness and prosperity are our primary objectives and the Governments of France and Spain have made a commitment to achieving them" he added.

According to the President of the Government, now that the critical phase of uncertainty that the Eurozone suffered from in its recent past has been overcome, Europe cannot and must not lower its guard. "In the home straight towards recovery, we must continue to foster its reform process as swiftly and ambitiously as possible".

Economic and monetary reform

Mariano Rajoy y François Hollande
Pool Moncloa / Free access

The economic and monetary reform of the European Union, looking ahead to the upcoming European Council on 19 and 20 December, was the object of special attention in the talks between the Spanish and French delegations, according to the President of the Government.

Mariano Rajoy asserted that France and Spain share a vision whereby "the European Union and its institutions can and must do more, and do it faster and more effectively to foster growth and job creation". The necessary structural reforms being implemented by the Member State must be accompanied by all the instruments available to the European Union.

Furthermore, the President of the Government commented that the EU institutions must, as was stressed at the youth employment summit held in Paris on 12 November, design faster and more effective procedures for the disbursement of the funds under the youth employment initiative, in order for it to be operational by January 2014.

He also pointed out that "the EU's financial institutions must employ all their capacity to act to resolve the fragmentation of the financial markets and re-establish the flow of credit to our economies, particularly to SMEs".

We must comply, both in time and in form, with the roadmap agreed by the European Council for the reform of the economic and monetary union and, specifically, the banking union", said the President of the Government.

International agenda

Mariano Rajoy junto a los ministros
Pool Moncloa / Free access

As regards Syria, Mariano Rajoy announced that Spain and France continue to work together to "reach a negotiated solution to this bloody conflict through the Peace Conference in Geneva which is currently expected to take place on 22 January 2014".

On the issue of Iran, the two leaders welcomed the temporary agreement reached last Sunday in Geneva which, according to Mariano Rajoy, opens the gates to a definitive diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue that will benefit the entire region. "It is a joint success on the part of the international community in general and very particularly on the part of the European Union".

In relation to the Eastern Partnership Summit, that will take place on Friday in Vilnius (Lithuania), the President of the Government declared that "Spain, together with France and the EU, regrets the decision of the Ukrainian authorities to postpone the signing of the association agreement for the time being, but that the EU's generous offer remains open".

Current affairs

Mariano Rajoy y François Hollande
Pool Moncloa / Free access

In response to questions from the press, the President of the Government considers it to be "good for Germany and good for Europe" that this country has agreed to form a government since, in his opinion, this brings political stability, which is what Europe needs: "Stable governments".

When asked about the tributes to the released ETA prisoners, Mariano Rajoy maintained that when there is an action that does not comply with the law, the governments will address the competent authorities and, as the case may be, prevent this action by administrative means.

As regards whether he would veto the entry of Scotland in the European Union following its secession from the United Kingdom, the President of the Government declared that "is his very clear understanding that a region that obtains independence from a Member State of the EU would remain outside of the EU".

He went on to say that only the day before the EU Spokesperson had pointed out that "the European Union Treaties solely and exclusively apply to those Member States that have agreed and ratified them". Hence, he stated that "if one part of a territory of a Member State secedes, then this new independent State would become a third country vis-à-vis the European Union and the EU Treaties would therefore not apply". This, he underlined, "has many consequences: economic, monetary and in relation to the markets, immigration and border control".

In this respect, the President of the Government sought to make a political consideration. "The times in which we live require strong countries and unity is not contrary to autonomy, but rather is a guarantee of strength in an increasingly complex and global world". He maintained that "European regions that propose to secede or go it alone with a very uncertain future in which the final destination is unknown are not doing themselves any favours".

On the matter of the possible removal of the knives in the fence in Melilla, the President of the Government said that its dissuasive effect is being assessed and an effective alternative is being sought. The situation of the tensions at the border and the incidents recorded since these knives were attached eight years ago are also being evaluated. A decision will be taken following these assessments, concluded Mariano Rajoy.