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

Sánchez: "Europe's unity vis-à-vis the war is resounding and our support for Ukraine will not cease until its territorial integrity is respected"

President's News - 2023.3.3

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Helsinki (Finland)

There, he held a bilateral meeting with the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, to whom he was able to convey Spain's desire to host this presidency with a constructive vocation and with the intention of making progress on open issues of great importance for the EU as a whole.

Empathy, Sánchez stressed, is crucial to understanding the historical particularities of each nation, and it was within this context that he reiterated to his counterpart the government's support for Finland's accession to the Atlantic Alliance. He emphasised that this decision aligns Finland with the defence of justice, freedom and our democracies.

Pedro Sánchez highlighted the harmony that exists between Spain and Finland on many issues, underlining the pro-European spirit of both governments and the shared desire to make progress on the European social pillar. In this regard, the president welcomed the fact that both Spain and Finland are moving their societies forward with determination and a firm commitment to achievements such as improving workers' conditions, the fight against gender violence, depopulation and the welfare of the elderly.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, holds a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Finland, Sanna Marin, in Säätytalo (House of States), in Helsinki | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

He also discussed with his Finnish counterpart the intergovernmental project on open strategic autonomy that Spain has launched and will continue to promote during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. The roadmap for this project will be based on four main areas: energy, health, the primary sector and new technologies, and will seek to identify areas where vulnerabilities exist to provide solutions tailored to each sector.

"This autonomy will guarantee diversification of our products and will allow us to gain in security in areas such as health and food safety," Sánchez emphasised. The two leaders shared the importance that this strategic autonomy will bring in areas such as training and the digital sector. In this respect, the president stressed that "Finland is the mirror for many countries when tackling the digital transition".

Pedro Sánchez and Sanna Marin also discussed the war in Ukraine, agreeing on the need to continue supporting the President of Ukraine, Volodymir Zelenski, in his search for a lasting, just peace that respects international law. "Our unity is resounding," said Sánchez. "We will support Ukraine until the last Russian soldier leaves the country. We reiterate the importance of respect for territorial integrity". Pedro Sánchez has also called for the EU to accelerate the joint purchase of ammunition to support Ukraine in its defence.

During the bilateral meeting, the president and the prime minister also had the opportunity to discuss issues such as the opening up of Europe to other geographical areas of the world. The president reiterated Spain's commitment to the search for new partners for the EU, especially with those countries that are close to us in terms of geography and history. The EU-CELAC summit, to be held during the Spanish presidency of the EU, demonstrates this willingness to forge new alliances.

Non official translation