Joint media appearance by the President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of Chile, Gabriel Boric


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Santiago de Chile (Chile)


Thank you very much, Gabriel. Thank you for your hospitality.

I have to tell the Chilean public that he is an extraordinary cook, as I was able to sample last night at his residence.

Thank you for the hospitality and thanks also to the diplomatic services of both Chile and Spain for having achieved, I believe, a very productive official visit for both countries.

When we received you in Madrid last July, I promised to return your visit here to your country, to Chile, and I am sincerely delighted to be with you on this, my second trip to Chile, since I am and have the honour of being the president of the Government of Spain.

As I said, Chile was the first Ibero-American country that I had the honour of visiting in 2018 and since then what we have done has been to strengthen our ties - and President Boric ended by saying something very important -, both countries, both governments, are showing coherence in terms of the two open conflicts in the world right now, and which are dominating the global conversation; one in Ukraine and two in Gaza, and what both governments are asking for, and I would also like to acknowledge in the words and in the brave political position of President Boric, is coherence with regard to respect for international law, national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of a free people like Ukraine in the face of Russia's invasion and aggression. And also with respect to international humanitarian law, which is clearly being damaged as a result of the response of the Israeli government, in this case Prime Minister Netanyahu, to the Gaza population.

More than 30,000 people have died since 7 October. Many of them are children, many of them are women, and I think it is absolutely unacceptable that the international community remains unperturbed by a problem that is affecting all of us and that is shaming the international community as a whole.

Therefore, I would like to thank you, Mr Boric, for your consistent position of respect for international law both in Ukraine and in Gaza, and of course you can count on the support of the Government of Spain in this position.

But indeed, as Gabriel said earlier, our two countries are united by many things: language, culture, history, in short, we are also united by principles and values such as those we have referred to in relation to the conflict in Gaza and also the war in Ukraine.

Finally, for Spain, Chile is a strategic partner in Latin America, a friend with whom we have an intense bilateral relationship, and the purpose of my visit is to further this relationship, particularly in three very important areas that we had the opportunity to address in our meeting.

First of all, President Boric and I have laid the groundwork for renewing our strategic alliance.

Earlier, the person who was reporting on this meeting commented on it, but I believe that we have updated the bilateral relationship on issues that are crucial for our societies in 2024: security, environmental sustainability, gender equality and the feminist diplomacy that both governments practice.

And this commitment has been embodied in a new declaration on renewed strategic partnership and the signing of four important memoranda of understanding on just ecological transition, as the President said, democratic memory, which is so important for both governments and both countries, Antarctic cooperation and cooperation in science and innovation.

Secondly, we want to deepen our economic relationship.

I believe that the Chilean and Spanish economies are particularly complementary.

This is what I have come to tell you and to convey to the Chilean and Spanish business community that has accompanied me on this trip.

I believe that the strengths of one country build on the strengths of the other, and in the business forum, well, this complementarity has become clear.

Chile is also the first country in the region to have an advanced framework agreement with the European Union, and I believe that this also has a lot to do with the leadership of President Boric and also the fact that the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union has coincided in the second half of 2023, and this agreement that has just been ratified in the European Parliament does reflect something: the harmony between the European Union and Chile on such important issues as human rights, feminism and the environment.

But also the coincidence of geostrategic interests.

In particular, it reflects the perfection, the shared desire to promote shared prosperity between Latin America and the Caribbean and the European Union.

It is paradoxical and at the same time deeply symbolic, because there is no country further away from Brussels in terms on the entire American continent.

In geographical terms, I mean, Chile, and yet there is no country on the entire continent that has such a strong link to the ideal of the European project as Chile.

I believe that this is a path to be followed by the entire Latin American community.

And last but obviously not least.

For two feminist governments such as those we have the honour to lead. I also want this trip to serve as an opportunity for Spanish and Chilean men and women to unite our voices for a cause that is a cause of human rights, such as real and effective equality between men and women.

I think it is an honour, at least for me, to commemorate International Women's Day in Chile together with a feminist president like Gabriel Boric.

I believe that Spain and Chile share a mission, a vision, or rather a very, very similar one, in terms of real and effective equality between men and women, adolescents and girls in all their diversity, and that they fully enjoy their human rights.

And I would like to highlight the value of this joint declaration that President Boric and I have signed, in which we reiterate something very important and that is our will to develop the necessary actions and comply with the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the United Nations 2030 Agenda, in all matters relating to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In short, as you can see, this is an ambitious visit, full of content, and if I had to summarise the purpose of our busy agenda, I would say that what we want is to strengthen our alliance with Chile, to strengthen ties with a strategic partner for Spain and also for the European Union, and to advance in the defence of the great common causes for which today, more than ever, it is worthwhile, as progressive governments, to raise our voices.

Thank you very much.

Again, thank you for the hospitality, Gabriel.

Q.- [Alba Galán, TVE] Good morning. I'm Alba Galán from Televisión Española and am asking on behalf of all the press colleagues of the Spanish delegation covering this trip.

To the two leaders. I wanted to ask you, we have come from Brazil. You had a meeting with Lula da Silva, where you reflected that the extreme right is acting in an internationally coordinated manner.

What can you, progressive leaders, do to stem the tide of the far right that is growing in America and is also seen in Europe, which may increase its representation in the next European elections?

And I wanted to ask President Pedro Sánchez, on a more national level, whether he considers the Legislature to be consolidated with the approval of the law and the changes to the Amnesty Law approved yesterday in committee.

Why did they change the law if they said it was impeccable? And in particular the section on terrorism, if it was essential for Puigdemont to be able to return to Spain as soon as the law is passed.

Thank you very much.

President: Well, thank you very much, Alba, for your questions.

With regard to the first question, this was indeed an element of the joint debate we had last night.

Also in the tête a tête prior to this press conference between President Boric and myself, right?

Is there is a ultra-right international group that is articulated, that has economic resources and that is advancing in different societies?

That much is clear. In Europe, it is doing so. And evidently what this ultra-right international group is doing is attacking basic consensuses that we have built up over the last few decades.

We are seeing it today, on 8 March, with feminism or with real and effective equality between men and women, where even politicians, leaders, women, in the case of Spain, trivialise the issue of feminism and what they do with it is to raise or undervalue the effort and the feminist cause of many women, who thanks to their previous work over years, decades and centuries, have effectively ensured that there are women who today hold political responsibilities as important as those who are now doing what they are doing is, well, trivialising feminism and what it has represented so that women can stand for election, so that women can be empowered and be represented at the highest level, as fortunately happens in Spain, right?

So, there is an ultra-right international group that attacks those basic consensuses, be it feminism, be it science and scientific evidence regarding what the vaccine represented in COVID 19, or what the challenge of the climate emergency represents, is evidence.

And I humbly believe that what we progressive governments or progressive forces have to do, if we have the honour of governing, is to tackle one of the main ills of our society, if not the main one, which is inequality.

And in this regard, I believe that today, I have also referred to the data on the economic and social policy being implemented by President Boric in Chile, or by ourselves in Spain, since I had the honour of being president of the Government of Spain in 2018, in terms of reducing inequality, demonstrate and prove that, in effect, economic policies that link growth with redistribution of wealth are the right ones to tackle the main evil of inequality.

And with regard to the second question: does it or does it not consolidate the legislature?

Let's see. I am very sorry for the opposition in my country, but the Spanish people spoke out on 23 July and said two things: one, that they wanted a progressive government for four more years and that they did not want a coalition government, in my opinion a reactionary one between the People's Party and VOX.

And that is what the Government of Spain is doing.

Since the beginning of the legislature we have raised the minimum wage, we have revalued pensions, we have sent a law on parity to the Lower House of Parliament, we have just sent, or approved today in an extraordinary Council of Ministers, a law on trafficking, against trafficking in human beings in Spain.

We are implementing the entire progressive agenda that I promised the Spanish people that I would implement if they gave me their confidence on 23 July. And it's going to be four more years of progressive coalition government, no matter what.

It will take the opposition a long time, I understand, but that is democracy, and what democracy said on 23 July 2023 was that they wanted four more years to consolidate progress and continue with the agenda of transformations.

And in that investiture programme that I presented to Parliament there was also an important element that we have been dragging out since 2017. Note that even today, in 2024, the questions that the Spanish press asks me - and it is logical, I do not question it - are related to a crisis in 2017, when I was not the president of the Government of Spain.

Look at the amount of energy we are wasting on talking about a crisis and a conflict in 2017 instead of talking about, I don't know, the crises the world is going through: Gaza, Ukraine; Spain's real, present problems, such as drought, inequality, the labour market, the reindustrialisation of Spain.

So what is the task of a government? The task of a government, at least as I understand it, is not to polarise, not to confront, but to call for reconciliation, to build coexistence, because without coexistence and reconciliation it is very difficult to lay the foundations for the economic and social prosperity of a country.

That is what we are doing with the Amnesty Law. Overcome the judicial consequences that politics and, consequently, Spanish society have been dragging along since 2017.

And what strikes me deeply is that those who were responsible for this institutional and territorial crisis, such as the People's Party, do not feel challenged, but even feel, in short, alienated from a crisis that they helped to fuel and develop.

Well, that is the fate of democracy in Spain, of the Spanish right.

But in any case, I will not shirk my responsibilities and my responsibility has always been, since I have been president of the Government of Spain, to contribute to coexistence and reconciliation among Catalans and among Spaniards as a whole.

That is what the Amnesty Law does.

This is what the pardons also did when I approved them and they were rejected not only by the Spanish right wing, but also by many Spaniards.

Were we getting it right or were we not getting it right? Well, I believe that time has shown that the courageous decision taken by the Government of Spain has been positive for Catalan society and also for Spanish society as a whole.

And I ask the Spanish citizens who may have doubts about the Amnesty Law, as they also had doubts about the pardons years ago, to trust in this measure because it will be beneficial for reconciliation and it will be fundamental to guarantee economic prosperity in our country over the coming years because today in Catalonia there is investment, there is tourism, because there is harmony, because there is coexistence and because there is reconciliation. And what politics has to do is to contribute to this reconciliation, to this harmony and to this coexistence.

This brings me to your specific question as to why we have amended it, we have not amended it. Look, we have an opinion from the Venice Commission that pointed us to some improvements that the draft law needed and that is what we have done.

The draft Amnesty Law is constitutional and will remain constitutional and will be in accordance with European law, as it cannot be otherwise for a great democracy such as Spain's. And we will see what we have always seen in Spain. We will see how the Spanish political right always misses the big events. And this is a great event. A great event for reconciliation and harmony among Spaniards. And I believe that there is no nobler objective for a government than to contribute to that reconciliation, that harmony and that coexistence.

Q.- [Raúl Piña, El Mundo] Good morning, Raúl Piña, from the newspaper El Mundo, and I will pass the questions from the Spanish press to you.

Today is International Women's Day. Equality is a priority action for your governments. To what extent do you think these achievements are currently under threat?

And on a national level, I would like to ask President Sánchez whether he is certain that Junts is going to support the budget, whether he believes that having strengthened the Amnesty Law to give more guarantees that people like Carles Puigdemont having amnesty will help this process? And what is the deadline for this? And if you will allow me, one final very topical issue. Yesterday, the Hungarian Ganz-Mavag group's takeover bid for Talgo was formalised. How will the government respond to this movement? And, if necessary, do you have plans to mediate with Orban?

President: Thank you very much, Raúl, for your questions.

With regard to the last question.

Just to say that we are working to see exactly what the details of this operation will be.

It is, as you are well aware, a company operating in a strategic sector that plays a key role in rail mobility.

And we will always defend strategic industrial projects and jobs, which is why we have a reinforced framework that we approved last year for the analysis and control of foreign investment, and we are going to analyse this operation and work to guarantee the future stability of Talgo, which is what matters to us.

Regarding your first question, whether equality is threatened or not? Unfortunately in Spain, on 28 May last, the People's Party opened the doors of many municipal governments and many regional governments to VOX, a political force that has been the only political force that left the State Pact against sex-based violence and that has made sex-based violence one of its main, shall we say, weapons of opposition, trivialising sex-based violence, saying that sex-based violence does not exist or even not identifying it as a human rights cause, but as a partisan cause and therefore, ideological and therefore, combatable.

That is why I was referring earlier to the risk that we run in the face of the advance of the ultra-right, that consensuses and achievements that we thought were guaranteed may now be called into question by nothing more and than ultra-right governments or governments of the right with the ultra-right, as is unfortunately happening in our country, which is not only in the field of gender equality, but also in climate change, as I said earlier, and even in the censorship of culture in our country, where we have also recently seen some town councils censoring theatrical and cultural works for the mere fact of defending real and effective equality between men and women.

It may seem small, anecdotal, but I believe that it is absolutely unacceptable and that we must put our foot down and hold not only the ultra-right wing responsible, but also those necessary partners, in this case the People's Party, which allows these things to happen in our country.

I was very struck by a statement made by the president of the Community of Madrid, who said that a Men's Day should also be approved, and this is the reflection I was making earlier.

I believe that if President Ayuso is president of the Community of Madrid, it is also as a result of the struggle of many women who even lost their lives to empower women and demand real and effective equality between men and women in all areas, including the political sphere, and therefore I believe that she detracts from and does not pay fair tribute to all those women who for many years, in silence and in the face of the rejection of the social majority at that time, who were fundamentally men, worked very hard so that she could effectively stand in the elections and be elected president of the Community of Madrid.

On certainty or non-certainty.

We are now going to start the budget negotiations.

The Government of Spain's objective is clear: We want to approve the General State Budget in 2024 and we also want to approve it for 2025 and we aspire to approve it for 2026.

In short, there is a government for a while because we are going to do many things over the next four years related to coexistence, as I have said, also in the area of employment and in the area of social rights.

That is what we are going to dedicate ourselves to, and of course we are going to talk to all the parliamentary forces in order to get the General State Budget out as soon as possible.

Time? Well, that is something we should ask Vice-President Montero, the Minister for Finance, but well, as soon as possible.

I hope that as soon as possible we will be able to present this draft budget to the Council of Ministers and send it to Parliament.

Non official translation