European tour to prepare for the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU

Pedro Sánchez stresses in Dublin and Copenhagen that open strategic autonomy will be a priority during Spain's EU presidency

President's News - 2023.3.2

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Dublin/Copenhagen ((Ireland/Denmark))

The President of the Government has travelled to Dublin and Copenhagen, the second tour undertaken by Pedro Sánchez in preparation for the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, the President of the Government insisted during his trip, will be an opportunity to build bridges and reach agreements. In this regard, Spain's attitude during its presidency will be constructive and will be aimed at continued empathy and the will to find areas of consensus to move forward with as many dossiers as possible.

This Thursday morning, Pedro Sánchez held a bilateral meeting in Dublin with the Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar, where they discussed strategic issues that are at the centre of the European debate.

With regard to the recent agreement reached between the EU and the UK on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol to the Withdrawal Agreement, Pedro Sánchez welcomed the "new chapter in the relationship with the UK". During its Presidency of the Council, Spain will continue to work towards an flexible and balanced implementation of the provisions of the Windsor Framework.

The president and the Irish prime minister had the opportunity to discuss the main challenges facing Europe today as a result of Putin's war, and the impact of this aggression in economic, social and energy matters. In this context, Pedro Sánchez has conveyed to his counterpart in Dublin the importance of open strategic autonomy, which will be a priority during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU, and which will have a roadmap based on four areas: energy, health, the primary sector and new technologies.

In terms of competitiveness, President Sánchez has conveyed to Leo Varadkar the importance of reaching an agreement on the reform of the electricity market and of speeding up the implementation of the European Funds. "They are an opportunity to reindustrialise our economies and, moreover, to do so with our eye on the digital transformation and the ecological transition to which the Spanish and Irish governments are committed," Pedro Sánchez stressed.

The prime minister and his Irish counterpart agreed that Europe must strengthen its relations with other parts of the world, and in particular with Latin America. In this context, Pedro Sánchez stressed the importance of holding the EU-CELAC Summit, which will take place during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU.

Furthermore, he highlighted the need for Europe to build a positive agenda with the Southern Neighbourhood that is capable of "going beyond what migration flow controls represent". On this matter, the two leaders agreed that the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU will be a great opportunity to build bridges and reach consensus on the Migration and Asylum Pact. "Spain will continue to seek an integrating and balanced agreement that does not divide Europe", he underlined, recalling that Spain's position in this respect advocates a balance between responsibility and solidarity among the 27 member states.

A green transition agreement

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen, after signing a memorandum of understanding on renewable energy | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

In the afternoon, President Sánchez travelled to Copenhagen, Denmark, where he held a bilateral meeting with the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen.

The Danish prime minister highlighted her and president Sánchez's shared views on various issues, such as the commitment to gender equality, and the support of both countries for Ukraine since the beginning of the war. In this regard, the prime minister recalled his visit to Mette Frederiksen at the beginning of the war, in April 2021. Both have defined the unity of the 27 as the most powerful weapon against Russian aggression.

The two leaders stressed that Europe as a whole is today suffering from the consequences of the war in Ukraine in various areas, including the rising energy prices and inflation that are plaguing the continent. In this regard, they stressed the importance of placing the ecological transition at the heart of the responses to this crisis. The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding on green energy cooperation to accelerate the energy transition in Europe and the world.

Furthermore, the President of the Government stressed that the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU will include highly relevant issues as priorities in its roadmap, such as the Pact on Migration and Asylum. Both leaders underlined the importance of the external dimension, agreeing that cooperation with countries of origin and transit will be key to meeting this challenge.

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