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Trip by President of the Government to United Kingdom

Monday 4 December 2017
Pool Moncloa/Archivo

The President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, will visit London on Tuesday, 5 December following an invitation from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, with whom he will hold a working lunch.

​Given the proximity of this bilateral meeting to the ordinary meeting of the European Council on 14 and 15 December, it is foreseeable that the talks in London will focus on this meeting, which is particularly important since the "adequate progress" made in the first phase of Brexit negotiations will be ascertained - this first phase focuses on the negotiations of the agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. It is necessary to observe this "adequate progress" before moving on the second phase of the negotiations - in which the framework for future relations between the EU and the United Kingdom will be addressed.

The main priorities of the Brexit negotiations include safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the EU.

On 7 December, the European Union's Chief Negotiator, Michel Barnier, will make a working visit to Madrid, which will include a meeting with the Vice-President of the Government.

The meeting on 5 December between the President of the Government and the British Prime Minister is also expected to be used to analyse the results of the Social Summit held in Gothenburg on 17 November, together with other international affairs, such as the situation in Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela.

Lastly, the meeting on 5 December will provide a good opportunity to address, following the State visit to the United Kingdom by Their Majesties, the King and Queen of Spain back in July, issues on the bilateral agenda, such as the close relations on such issues as tourism, trade and investment.

At an economic level, relations between Spain and the United Kingdom are very close. The United Kingdom is our fourth largest customer and seventh largest supplier. The volume of bilateral trade has gradually increased over recent years. In 2016, Spanish exports to the United Kingdom amounted to 19.15 billion euros, while imports amounted to 11.18 billion euros, thus giving a favourable trade balance to Spain.

From the point of view of investment, the United Kingdom is our leading investor destination, with stock in 2015 amounting to 82.01 billion euros, and the second leading investor in Spain, with a stock of 44.62 billion euros. Spanish companies in the United Kingdom operate in the financial sector, telecommunications and energy supply, among other areas. The United Kingdom, in turn, has a formidable investment presence in Spain in the telecommunications sector, for example.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is the leading emitting market of tourists to Spain and one of the largest contributors to total tourist spending. In 2016, 17,840,292 British tourists visited Spain, with 12.4% growth on the previous year. Spain is the leading tourist destination for British travellers.

Non official translation