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Mariano Rajoy says he will defend the rights of Spanish people and companies in the Brexit negotiations

Brussels (Belgium), Tuesday 28 June 2016

The President of the Government said that the European Council, which will focus on the Brexit, will listen to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, when he explains his government's plans regarding the departure of his country from the European Union.

Mariano Rajoy recalled that the United Kingdom now needs to present its request to leave, after which it has a period of two years to negotiate its relations with the remaining European Union countries. Until such time as these negotiations are closed and a new relationship framework is established, no changes will be made to the rights held by Spanish citizens and companies in the United Kingdom nor those held by British citizens in Spain.

The President of the Government announced that he will ask that "nobody tries to retain what interests them from Europe while disposing of what doesn't interest them". Furthermore, he stressed that Spain will defend the rights of Spanish citizens in the negotiations and that it will continue supporting "greater European integration" because the solution to the situation caused by the decision expressed by the British people in their referendum is "more Europe".

"Europe is a project that has existed for more than 50 years, it has worked very well and has created a space of freedom, democracy, human rights and, above all, economic and social progress, which is fully supported by the people of Spain to the full extent of our ability", said Mariano Rajoy.

Negotiations for a new government

When asked about the formation of a government following the general elections, Mariano Rajoy underlined the need for a government to be formed "soon" because the current acting Government of Spain has been in place for seven months and has presented no bills to Parliament in a "long time". He also advocated a government "with the greatest parliamentary backing possible because there are some important decisions on the horizon and issues that need to be discussed in which Spain has a lot at stake", the departure by the United Kingdom from the EU, for example.

EFEIn the event that a "strong coalition" cannot be agreed for a four-year legislature, the President of the Government said that the other political forces should allow "the winner" to govern, "even if it needs to do so in a difficult situation". He added that holding further elections would be "ridiculous".

"I hope common sense prevails, that reason takes hold, that the will of the Spanish people is heard and, from then on, that we fully focus on the problems we all face", concluded Mariano Rajoy, who said that inter-party negotiations should take place "without pressure".

Furthermore, the acting President of the Government met with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, at the headquarters of the European Council before attending the summit of Heads of State and Government taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Reaffirming the European project

At the end of the first session of the European Council, President of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, made a few brief comments to the media in which he said that David Cameron - who is against a departure by the United Kingdom from the EU - confirmed to the European leaders that he will not be the one to formally initiate a departure by the United Kingdom from the EU. A new British Prime Minister will "probably" be elected on 9 September (a G-20 meeting is scheduled between 4 and 6 September).

Mariano Rajoy believes that Brexit should take place in "a reasonable, ordered and civilised manner", without "retribution or reward" and with "a fair solution". The goal is to maintain "the best possible relations" with the United Kingdom in the future, as is the case with other countries not belonging to the EU, such as Switzerland and Norway.

The President of the Government also added that the time has come for "all of us who believe" in the European project "to reaffirm that belief" and recalled what Europe has meant for Spain. "For Spain, the idea of Europe is firmly linked to such words as democracy, freedom, human rights and economic progress", he said.

Together against terrorism

Regarding the terrorist attack at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, the President of the Government stressed that "the most important thing" is for "us to stand together in defence of the principles and values we believe in".

After recalling that terrorism is not only striking Turkey "very hard" but other countries as well, such as Belgium, France and the United Kingdom, Mariano Rajoy said that "this is a truly dramatic issue", meaning "we still have a lot of work to do together".