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Speech by President of the Government of Spain on arrival at European Council

Brussels (Belgium), Thursday 10 December 2020

SPEECH BY PRESIDENT OF THE GOVERNMENT OF SPAIN, PEDRO SÁNCHEZ

Good afternoon,

I firstly wanted to convey a message of condolence and solidarity on the part of the Government of Spain with the Sub-Saharan immigrants who have died, with their families and all those who are victims of this fire that is now under investigation and being handled by the Catalan authorities, and also by the City Council of Badalona. They have all our solidarity, our condolences and also the interest of the Government of Spain in cooperating with the Catalan authorities, with the Regional Government of Catalonia and with the City Council of Badalona in swiftly resolving this serious incident.

Returning to the issue at hand - the European Council - I wish to remark on the position held by the Government of Spain on some matters. Firstly, as regards COVID-19, you are aware that once again this is one of the most important issues at the European Council. I believe that it is very important to underline that we have flattened and are now reducing the curve of contagions in Spain. We now have an accumulated rate below 200, but that does not mean we should drop our guard in any way. We are now coming into a holiday period in which the best gift we can give is safety. Christmas is always synonymous with meeting up, fraternity, affection, and hence it is very important for us to be aware of the risk involved in mobility, the risk involved in the increased number of contacts, whether family members or people from outside the family, and hence what we must do is continue to maintain these restrictions on mobility and the number of contacts. So I repeat, we must not drop our guard.

And also, clearly one of the issues we will address is the vaccination strategy. The Government of Spain's position is, firstly, to acknowledge the extraordinary merit of the common action all the Member States and the European Commission have headed up in negotiating with the pharmaceutical companies for equal access by all European citizens to the vaccine when science was able to provide a response. We are now on the verge of seeing this in Europe, through the validation by the European Medicines Agency, and hence, what I can say to the Spanish people is that we are ready to act when the vaccine arrives, following this validation, and we will be able to distribute this fairly and make it accessible to the whole Spanish population over the coming months. And I believe that this is also very important to highlight within the context of the European Union, of the European Council, because the response we have given at a European level, both in what common measures represent and also in the vaccination strategy is synonymous with Europe giving a response at the level of the challenge we face.

Another of the very important issues we are going to address at this European Council is bringing forward to 2030 the emissions reduction to 55%. I believe this is fundamental. Spain has clearly been working hard to ensure that this ecological transition is brought forward, and implemented at a faster pace, and hence the Government of Spain will advocate this target of at least a 55% emissions reduction by the year 2030 at this European Council.

There are also some other very important issues for Spain. Spain will propose the definition of a strategy [inaudible] that will be structural in the south - a structural dialogue between the European Union and countries in North Africa.

We are also going to speak about trans-Atlantic relations with the new Biden Administration. On this matter, Europe and the Government of Spain will clearly advocate strengthening multilateralism. We are hopeful that the United States, under the new administration, will re-join the WTO and the Paris Agreement to thus sign up to all the commitments to fight climate change, and enhance trade relations, which will be one of the important points we will deal with.

And lastly, I believe that one of the other important matters is the question of relations with Turkey, and you know what the Government of Spain's position is regarding solidarity with Greece, and also with Cyprus. We clearly want to convey constructive dialogue with a strategic partner not just for the EU but also for NATO, which we are also a member of.

And on that note, I believe I have finished. Thank you very much.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation