You are in:

Statements by President of the Government before meeting with President of European Council

Brussels (Belgium), Wednesday 5 February 2020

PEDRO SÁNCHEZ, President of the Government

Good afternoon.

Well, I am now going into a meeting with the President of the European Council. We are going to begin some very important negotiations for Spain, and also for the European Union, in relation to the European Budget for the next five years, speaking colloquially so that the general public understand.

Spain will advocate three very important things: firstly, we need an ambitious Budget, not only in terms of goals, but also of budgetary support for these ambitious goals. And there are two key issues in relation to this for Spain: the first is related to the cohesion funds, and the second to the Common Agricultural Policy. And within this, the first pillar is that of direct payments to small- and medium-sized farmers.

We will advocate these two proposals to the President of the Council. Logically, there are other matters that also interest us, and a great deal, such as training for youth employment and vocational training. Training in digitalisation for young people on the European continent as well, and particularly in Spain.

But, in short, these are ambitious goals in negotiations that are beginning now, which we can guess will be long, tense and complex, but that is the European Union, and hence the Government of Spain will attend with a constructive, yet firm, attitude as regards its interests, as a Member State, being reflected in this Budget.

Q: (…) an agreement?

President of the Government: Let's hope we can reach an agreement by the 20th, because that would mean that not only have we achieved the goals set by all Member States at a European level - which is to have an EU Budget as soon as possible - but also because it would mean that these goals we have expressed to the European Commission and to the Council; that is, a strong CAP, strong cohesion funds for Spain, and everything else related to the youth guarantee applied to vocational training, to digitalisation and to job creation for young people in our country has been achieved and they are covered under this Multiannual Financial Framework, which is what the EU Budget is known as technically.

Q: Is this proposal sufficient to calm the nerves of all the farmers and livestock breeders who are demonstrating in Madrid as we speak?

President of the Government: The Minister for Agriculture specifically mentioned three issues at yesterday's press briefing following the Council of Ministers. Prices need to be linked to the customs duties and trade policies being pursued by some super-powers, in this case, the United States. And on this matter we are clearly saying to the European Commission that the specific weight of a single market on our continent, which represents more than 500 million people must be made to be felt.

Secondly, obviously the CAP. And thirdly, something that we spoke about at yesterday's Council of Ministers, which the Minister for Agriculture proposed, which is price formation. And it is clear that there the major distributors must review the situation and be self-critical, and we must clearly introduce much more transparency to defend small- and medium-sized farmers and breeders who, at this time, unfortunately, are seeing their prices continuously drop, which is absolutely unacceptable for this government.

Thank you.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation