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Pedro Sánchez stresses that Spain has managed to return to the heart of European project

Lower House of Parliament, Madrid, Wednesday 11 September 2019

Pedro Sánchez firstly expressed his satisfaction at the results of the elections to the European Parliament on 26 May, both in terms of the good turnout - the highest since 1994 - and because it made a sound agreement between pro-European forces possible.

As regards the Ordinary European Council held on 20 and 21 June, the Acting President of the Government underlined the adoption of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 - an "ambitious" road map to build a Europe in which economic progress, in an era of great technological change, is based on social justice and equal opportunities.

Pedro Sánchez called for adequate funding for this agenda through a Multiannual Financial Framework that is fully operational by 2021, and that prioritises cohesion between States and within each of them, education and the R&D+i system, the Common Agricultural Policy, the migratory challenge and the ecological transition.

The Acting President of the Government argued that Europe must stand on the front line against this climate emergency and become the first continent to achieve climate neutrality by the year 2050. Spain, he claimed, will remain on the front line of this commitment, which also offers great opportunities to create jobs and combat rural depopulation.

Strengthening Economic and Monetary Union

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaIt was also observed at the Ordinary European Council, remarked the Acting President of the Government, that the stability of the European Union requires ongoing work in two other areas: the fight against fake news and cooperation with countries with eastern and southern borders.

In relation to the Euro Summit, held in parallel to the Ordinary European Council, Pedro Sánchez highlighted the agreement on the reform of the European Stability Mechanism, which will allow it to play a more important role in the prevention of financial crises and when facing situations with a lack of liquidity. He also advocated culminating the Banking Union and further developing the establishment of a Euro Budget with capacity for stabilisation.

Appointment of Josep Borrell

The Acting President of the Government described the consensus achieved at the Extraordinary European Council called on 30 June for the appointment of senior positions to head up the EU institutions as "sound". Pedro Sánchez highlighted that for the first time, a woman - Ursula von der Leyen - will preside over the European Commission and for this to be on a par.

At this meeting, he added, Spain achieved its goal of returning to the heart of the European project with the appointment of Josep Borrell as High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission. "The EU has acquired a great servant for its cause and Spain a great ally in the defence of a Europe worth fighting for: one that protects its citizens", he said.

Guaranteeing rights of Spanish citizens in Brexit

As regards the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the Acting President of the Government conveyed a message of calm to the Spanish people and all economic agents: Spain, he stressed, is ready for any outcome, including a hard Brexit. This preparation, he explained, is founded on a system of inter-ministerial and regional coordination of information and work, and on a contingency plan with regulatory, logistical and communication actions, including a tab on the Moncloa web page that covers all areas of daily life, such as education, economic and labour matters, and healthcare.

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la BellacasaSpain has ensured that the United Kingdom will recognise the rights of Spanish citizens residing in that country, in the same way as this has been done with British citizens living here, stated Pedro Sánchez. The government, he added, will see to it that this protection of Spanish workers, companies and students is fully guaranteed.

The Acting President of the Government highlighted the "armour plating" achieved during the negotiations on the Withdrawal Agreement in relation to Gibraltar, which will be upheld even in the case of a no-deal Brexit.

At this time of difficulty for the EU, remarked Pedro Sánchez, Spain must take a step to the forefront in defence of the European project and be aware of the threats to representative democracy when politics are trivialised through polarisation and division.

Aside from the points on the agenda, Pedro Sánchez expressed the government's support for those people affected by the serious wildfires in July and August in his speech, and its recognition for those professionals that took part in fire-fighting activities. He also reaffirmed the commitment of institutions to combat gender-based violence after a "particularly tragic" summer in this regard.

The Acting President of the Government also mentioned Wednesday's Diada [National Day of Catalonia] celebrations, which should be a celebration for all men and women of Catalonia, and not just some of them.

Non official translation