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Acting President of the Government attends European Council meetin

Pedro Sánchez defends Common Agricultural Policy in Brussels

Brussels (Belgium), Friday 18 October 2019

At this second session, the leaders discussed the next institutional cycle, with the President-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, speaking about the contribution from the European Commission to the implementation of the European Union priorities defined in the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 approved at the European Council meeting in June.

Furthermore, the European Council held a debate on the status of negotiations for the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) in terms three key issues: budget size; distribution between the main headings; and conditions associated with the MFF. The Government of Spain has always maintained a firm pro-European and constructive position. However, the Spanish government is calling for greater ambition in the roadmap and schedule for achieving a balanced agreement by the end of the year. Spain believes in the requirement of an ambitious EU budget for developing the policies needed by the European Union and one that also reflects the priorities of the new European Commission. In other words, the maintenance of traditional policies (Common Agricultural Policy - CAP and Cohesion Policy) should be combined with sufficient funds for the new priorities (ecological transition, migration, and digitalisation).

Regarding the climate emergency, the European Council reaffirmed that the long-term European strategy in terms of climate change must be ready by the end of the year for it to be presented in early 2020 and that the European Union is ready to continue leading a socially fair green transition under the Paris Agreement and the terms expressed at the most recent UN Climate Summit in New York. In this regard, Pedro Sánchez called for the long-term ambition in the fight against the climate emergency to be maintained in order to achieve climate neutrality by 2050 and set an emissions reduction target of -55% for 2030.

Pedro Sánchez also expressed Spain's commitment to the need to further develop the Single Market and adapt it to the new digital era. The President of the Government called for greater European competitiveness and decisive investment in such technologies as Artificial Intelligence, a European Strategy on which is expected in early 2020. He asked for our trade policy to be adapted to the new challenges "in order to protect ourselves against the unfair practices of third countries" and to take steps towards fiscal harmonisation, especially with regard to the taxation of digital companies.

He underlined the huge strides taken to strengthen the Economic and Monetary Union and create a common Euro budget, and called for the urgent adoption of the European Deposit Guarantee Fund to complete the Banking Union and move towards a European Unemployment Protection system as proposed by President Úrsula von der Leyen in her programme for the European Commission.

Condemnation of the military action by Turkey in Syria and European Union expansion process

Other points on the agenda included the start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, and the military intervention by Turkey in Syria last night. In line with Spain's position, the European Council condemned the military action by Turkey in Syria and recalled that certain Member States, such as Spain, have suspended arms sale licences to Turkey and are applying sanctions.

Finally, the European Council continued the debate on the expansion process to include North Macedonia and Albania, in which the Government of Spain expressed agreement with the launch of negotiations provided they do not form part of foreign affairs policy.

Non official translation