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President of the Government takes part in European Council in Brussels

Pedro Sánchez underlines importance of coordination by EU to protect citizens from pandemic

Brussels (Belgium), Friday 16 October 2020

Pedro Sánchez underlined that the coordination of the 27 Member States is key for tackling the pandemic and argued that the Government of Spain, since the outbreak of COVID-19, has been committed to the Member States not taking unilateral measures, which devalue the Schengen area and set some countries against others, "since the virus recognises no borders".

As regards the pandemic, the President of the Government argued that the Council continues to work "to achieve coordination regarding the potential measures we impose on our citizens on movement restrictions and on test and quarantine requirements, for example, by always favouring the former over the latter".

The EU-27 are currently studying the potential coordination measures with a view to the medical approval of the future vaccine and its subsequent distribution. "It is a question of getting ahead of the game so that, when the vaccine arrives, the sooner the better, this core question of access to the vaccine against COVID-19 can also be organised in a coordinated and effective fashion", highlighted the President of the Government.

The Heads of State and Government addressed the course of the Brexit negotiations, with the transitional period due to expire on 31 December 2020, and conveyed his support for the Chief European Negotiator for Brexit. In this regard, the President of the Government pointed out that "there is room for understanding if both parties look for creative solutions, but under one pre-condition: political will. Spain and Europe have this, and we hope that the British side will as well". To this end, Pedro Sánchez conveyed a message of calm. "Spain is carrying out, in parallel, a preparatory task in the event that there is no agreement", and highlighted that "our country will be ready for any outcome".

The Council also addressed the fight against climate change. Spain is among the most ambitious countries in Europe on this matter and, together with another 10 countries, on the side-lines of the European Council, signed a declaration that advocates an increase from 40% to 55% in emission reductions by the year 2030, and for the path towards climate neutrality to lead to sustainable and inclusive growth, new green jobs and more innovation and global competitiveness. The EU-27 will try and reach an agreement on this at December's European Council.

"All of this will not only allow us to tackle a climate emergency that we cannot ignore, but this will also be good for our economies, helping transform our productive criteria with actions that are creating jobs and growth", remarked the President of the Government.

As regards foreign policy, the EU-27 underlined the role of relations with the African Union, which must be based on multilateralism, peace, security and stability, sustainable and inclusive development, and sustainable economic growth. Pedro Sánchez stressed the importance assigned by the Government of Spain to the external dimension of the Pact for Migration and Asylum and stated that "it is essential to count on Africa in the fight against climate change and against such epidemics as COVID-19".

On matters of foreign policy, the European Council addressed the situation of the Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh and the situation in Belarus. "It is important for the European Union to have its own voice, which is firm and credible, in the world, in defence of international law, multilateralism and human rights. These are the values my government defends, as does Europe", concluded the President of the Government.

Non official translation