The President of the Government receives Gustavo Petro in Moncloa Palace

Pedro Sánchez announces that Spain will strengthen its support for Colombia's peace process

President's News - 2023.5.4

Moncloa Palace, Madrid

The visit is a continuation of the one that President Sánchez made to Colombia in August 2022.

During this meeting, Pedro Sánchez took the opportunity to highlight Spain's support for the reforms the Colombian government is carrying out, reiterating our country's commitment to supporting "the ambitious and courageous Total Peace project", which aims to build a comprehensive and lasting peace in Colombia. In this regard, Spain is a partner country in the dialogue process with the National Liberation Army (ELN), and it is in this context that President Sánchez has conveyed to his counterpart our country's commitment to strengthen the progress of the peace process with the contribution of €1 million in 2023.

The two leaders discussed the social and strategic reforms that Colombia is implementing, and in this regard, President Sánchez conveyed to President Petro that Spain shares the objectives pursued by these reforms: social justice, the strengthening of democratic institutions, the enhancement of the public administration and the protection of the most vulnerable.

A joint declaration and new bilateral agreements in a number of areas

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

This meeting was crucial to take the relationship between Spain and Colombia to a new stage, which President Sánchez has described as "historic, fruitful and long", through the signing of agreements and memorandums of understanding in a wide range of areas, such as education, the fight against crime and security, sport, social and labour cooperation, transport and rail infrastructure, and connectivity. The two countries have also adopted a joint declaration reaffirming Spain's commitment to the peace process in Colombia, and highlighting their common concern about the growing impacts of climate change.

To this end, Spain and Colombia agree that accelerating global efforts in this area is an urgent requirement, and recognise the importance of achieving ambitious results at the next Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai. The joint statement also addresses the need to accelerate and ensure a just, clean, sustainable and inclusive energy transition.

This joint declaration, President Sánchez stressed, reflects the will of both countries to continue working together in all areas in which there is already deep cooperation. "We will continue to strengthen our already intense investment and trade relationship," the president stressed. Colombia is a major partner in terms of imports and exports. At present, Spanish investment in Colombia amounts to €28 billion and bilateral trade stands at €3 billion.

"Today we have talked about specific projects in sectors such as aeronautics, connectivity, railways, satellites and the digitisation of healthcare, in which Spanish companies will put their technology and know-how at the service of Colombia's development", explained Pedro Sánchez, highlighting that the Spanish and Colombian Trade Ministers have today signed a Financial Protocol to establish a general framework for collaboration in this area, responding to the two counties' economic and sectoral priorities. "Spain is going to make up to €1 billion available to Colombia through different trade and investment instruments to finance projects in priority sectors with Spanish companies," underlined the president.

Ibero-America, a region with its own international voice

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

The President of the Government discussed with Gustavo Petro the importance of joining forces to strengthen Ibero-America's role in the world so that the region "has its own international voice", in Pedro Sánchez's words. "The strengthening of Colombia's political, economic and social relations with the EU can only contribute to effecting this end", he stressed, referring to the holding of the EU-CELAC Summit during the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU. In this respect, President Sánchez has told President Petro that Spain "will make every effort" to ensure that this meeting, in which the Colombian leader will also take part, manages to deepen the relationship between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Pedro Sánchez agreed with his Colombian counterpart on the need to break the political deadlock in Venezuela, stressing that Spain took part in the Ministerial Conference that President Petro organised last week in Bogotá, with the aim of relaunching the dialogue between Nicolás Maduro and the opposition. Both leaders considered this dialogue to be of vital importance to find a solution to the structural crisis in Venezuela as soon as possible.

Among the issues addressed by the two leaders was the migration phenomenon facing the region, which has a direct impact on Colombia. Pedro Sánchez highlighted Spain's agreement with Colombia on circular migration in the agricultural sector. After a first phase, it has been agreed to double the number of beneficiaries from 500 per year to between 1,500 and 1,800. In addition, the two countries are taking part in the new project announced on 27 April by the US government, which will establish regional centres in several Latin American countries. President Sánchez stressed the need to continue to support regular, safe and orderly migration channels.

He applauded the solidarity of the Colombian people in their reception of refugees, and on another humanitarian issue, he assured that he would closely follow the situation that is currently affecting the Darién region, between Panama and Colombia. "We are trying to find solutions for one of the most complex and dangerous migratory routes in the world," the president stressed, recalling that coordinated international action with the countries affected is essential in this area.

Spain and Colombia, united in the face of the climate challenge

Pool Moncloa / Borja Puig de la Bellacasa

In terms of the challenges that affect all countries globally, Spain and Colombia have today addressed the climate challenges facing future generations. In this context, President Sánchez recalled that Spain is particularly exposed to the consequences of climate change. He also stressed that as a global benchmark in biodiversity, Colombia is a "crucial country to fight this battle", emphasising that all countries must join forces under the protection of science.

Both Spain and Colombia also share an interest in promoting the necessary energy transition, so that green energies will be the driving force behind our industries and our societies. "Thanks to a connected and more digital future, we have the opportunity to bring prosperity to areas unjustly mistreated due to isolation, which we can now overcome through progress", said the President of the Government, stressing that the two leaders agreed on their hopeful reading of the multiple opportunities presented by this double transition, digital and ecological, vis-à-vis the global challenges in this area.

Non official translation