Coronavirus COVID-19

"Each of us can be a wall against the virus or a channel for it to spread", says Pedro Sánchez

President's News - 2020.6.20

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Moncloa Palace, Madrid

In an institutional statement the day before the de-escalation process culminates throughout the country, the President of the Government argued that the Spanish people have been "extremely hard hit" by the "worst health, social and economic upheaval" of the last 80 years, but have found a way to resist united.

Pedro Sánchez highlighted the role played in this victory by the state of emergency, which will be lifted once and for all on Sunday throughout the country. "We have been able to limit the freedom of movement and contact, and thus avoid the spread of the disease, under the authorisation of the Spanish Constitution". This instrument, he added, has meant that some 450,000 lives have been saved in Spain according to independent scientific studies, which have benefitted all autonomous regions and cities.

New era, same responsibility

"A new era dawns now" in which we can and must "move forward", stressed the President of the Government, but without institutions or individuals dropping our guard one bit. "Each of us can be a wall against the virus or a channel for its spread", said Pedro Sánchez, who recalled that the pandemic is in an expansive phase around the world, with 180,000 new cases reported globally on Friday.

The President of the Government stressed the need to "strictly" uphold the hygiene and personal safety rules and announced that the State is preparing a strategic reserve of essential products to tackle any potential future health emergencies, in addition to regional reserves.

Great State tribute

Pool Moncloa / JM CuadradoPedro Sánchez reiterated his thanks to all those who, "through their dedication and commitment have protected out country" and have contributed in one way or another to overcoming the emergency, from the health professionals, the State law enforcement agencies and the armed forces to workers, teachers, the world of culture and sport, media professionals, care-givers, scientists, children, young people and the elderly.

The President of the Government gave a special mention to women, who represent the majority of healthcare workers, hospital cleaners, care home workers and those who look after the elderly and, also, in some cases, those who have had to suffer in this situation from gender-based violence "which has got worse during these months of lockdown". He also expressly thanked the work of the regional governments, local authorities and the Ministry of Health.

"Thank you, in short, to all people for their sacrifice, responsibility, discipline and the yearning for victory deployed over these complicated weeks for everyone", declared Pedro Sánchez. "I am proud and honoured to be the President of the Government of this great country", he added. The President of the Government commented that a great State tribute will be paid on 16 July "to those who have saved us" and to the more than 28,000 fellow countrymen and women who died from COVID-19; the ceremony, presided over by the King, will be attended by regional leaders, the top European authorities and the Director-General of the World Health Organization.

New stronger economy and Welfare State

Pool Moncloa / JM CuadradoThe President of the Government argued that the "most lasting tribute" that can be paid to those who have fought on the front line and to the victims is "to lift the country through unity", "without leaving anyone behind", as has been done with the approval of the Minimum Living Income in the Lower House of Parliament, without a single vote against.

The reconstruction of the country, argued Pedro Sánchez, must take place as quickly as possible based on a "New Economy", following the lines of the European Union agenda - ecological transition, digitalisation, education and science.

The President of the Government framed within these priorities the plans presented this week for the tourism and automotive sectors and the boost from such initiatives as the Climate Change Act, the Spanish Circular Economy Strategy, the education reform and the future plans in the fields of science, digitalisation, housing, trade and young people. "We need to recover our economy while renewing it to make it more sustainable and inclusive", he stated.

He also argued that it is necessary "to build up a new Welfare State that corrects the deficiencies that have become evident during this crisis". In this regard, he announced that a Joint Evaluation Committee will be set up between the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament, to analyse the state of the health system, science, care for the elderly and social protection.

Unity in defence of national interests

Pool Moncloa / JM CuadradoIn order to achieve these goals, Spain enjoys a benefit that it could not count on in the previous crisis: the European response, claimed Pedro Sánchez. According to the President of the Government, the "New Europe" that emerges from the pandemic "has learned its lesson" and has sought agreement and solidarity through a Recovery Plan from the crisis that will help those countries hardest hit to re-launch their economies and attend to the worst affected sectors.

The government, he remarked, will share "with the political forces that endorse the European ideal" the progress in the negotiations regarding the proposals from the European Commission, and will request "active backing" for the positions adopted by the Government of Spain. "Europe must see us how we are, united in the defence of national interests and in the progress of the European cause", he declared.

The President of the Government advocated extending this attitude of cooperation and understanding to other areas of Spanish politics. "We cannot accept it as natural and inevitable that politics turns into a source of confrontation, provocation and hatred", said Pedro Sánchez, who remarked that "we are united by a desire to live side-by-side more than by the legitimate differences that separate us".

Non official translation