You are in:
  • Send

4th Summit of Southern European Union Countries

Mariano Rajoy advocates extending Economic and Monetary Union, and complete the internal market

Villa Madama, Rome (Italy), Wednesday 10 January 2018

At a joint press briefing of the seven Heads of State and Government that took part in the Summit held in Rome, Mariano Rajoy highlighted that the southern EU countries have common "interests and challenges". He explained that "we have met here with the sole aim of providing added value to the European process and to try and reach a common position on the issues that matter to our citizens". The Declaration adopted at the summit contains these common positions.

According to the President of the Government of Spain, maintaining economic growth and job creation must continue to be the main priority for the European Union in the coming years, which requires "perseverance in reformist policies" that have allowed us to increase our competitiveness. Mariano Rajoy mentioned the tourism figures published on Wednesday by way of example of this effort to become more competitive - 82 million foreign citizens visited Spain last year, 9% up on 2016, and revenue from this sector amounted to 87 billion euros, 12% up on the previous year.

The President of the Government argued that another top priority must be "to maintain and improve our social welfare system: pensions, healthcare, education and long-term care". He stressed that this is "a European value, something which we sometimes don't value as highly as we should".

Mariano Rajoy pointed out that another goal on which the participants at the summit agree is to extend the Economic and Monetary Union. "We must complete the Banking Union as soon as possible, and also complete the internal market, particularly in the field of energy", he declared. Among the main challenges facing the EU, he also mentioned completing the digital single market and obtaining more free trade agreements.

Other priorities

Mariano Rajoy pointed out that immigration is one of the most important challenges facing the European Union because it affects all our countries. "The European Union must help control external borders more because we are in a territory where we must not leave individual Member States to act alone", he stated.

He also advocated the EU allocating more resources to its foreign policy in order to "fight poverty on the African continent, improve its situation and fight the mafias".

The President of the Government also remarked that the leaders who met in Rome want to see a more democratic Europe in which citizens step up their participation. "I am in favour of the system of citizens' consultations and there must also be a procedure whereby there are forums and debates where economic and social stakeholders, citizens in general and experts can offer their opinion on how they see the future of the EU", he declared.

Mariano Rajoy said he was in favour of transnational lists, although he acknowledged that on this point not all of the southern European countries are in favour. In his opinion, "progress must be made on the European idea that there are a certain number of European MPs that are elected from a list with a single constituency that is called Europe".

The President of the Government stressed that "citizens are entitled to live without being afraid", and hence the fight against terrorism "must continue to be a top priority", as contained in the Declaration adopted at the summit. "We have all been hard hit and support for victims of terrorism will also continue to be a top priority for my country as I am sure is the case for all of us present here", he concluded.

Non official translation