Pedro Sánchez and Olaf Scholz discuss key issues and advances made during the Spanish presidency of the EU Council

President's News - 2023.11.10

Government Subdelegation, Málaga

The acting President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, today held a bilateral meeting in Malaga with the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, in which they discussed the main advances made during the Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The two leaders addressed the issue of migration, and President Sánchez emphasised the need to continue to focus on ways to strengthen the external dimension of the European response to this challenge and to maintain a sustained strategic partnership with the countries of origin and transit. The acting President of the Government of Spain shared with his German counterpart the progress made in this area. It should be remembered that the Crisis Regulation was agreed under the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU and that, as President Sánchez conveyed to the rest of the European leaders during the last European Council, our country will continue to work tirelessly to conclude the entire Migration and Asylum Pact package with the European Parliament as soon as possible.

Pedro Sánchez and Olaf Scholz also discussed the review of the Multiannual Financial Framework, delving into all the issues linked to the economic governance of the Union and, in particular, the debate on the new fiscal rules.

As regards the revision of the EU's long-term budget up to 2027, the European Council of 26-27 October already set out their position, reaffirming the broad consensus on the need to reach this agreement before the end of the year, and both leaders agreed that the comprehensive approach set out in the conclusions of the last European Council should be maintained. The Spanish presidency is also currently working to ensure that this agreement strikes a balance between the priorities of the Member States whilst taking a constructive approach. With regard to the reform of fiscal rules, both leaders echoed the progress made at the last Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN), where the Spanish proposal was very well received, and both leaders agreed on the will to continue working to reach a consensus before the end of the year.

This meeting between the two leaders served as an opportunity to discuss other key issues for Europe, such as the Artificial Intelligence Act, which the Commission proposed in April 2021 and which is the first attempt to introduce legal regulation at the highest level. In the field of telecommunications, this is a priority issue for the Spanish presidency and, in this regard, President Sánchez shared with his German counterpart his desire to make progress in the work on the Artificial Intelligence Act, which will be the first in the world on this issue and which will provide an ethical framework for the use of Artificial Intelligence technologies.

They discussed other relevant issues on the agenda of the EU 27, such as the enlargement of the European Union. In this context, President Sánchez discussed with Chancellor Scholz some of the conclusions set out in the Granada declaration, and they agreed that the European Union needs to initiate a process of internal reforms prior to enlargement in areas such as the institutional, political and budgetary spheres.

The two leaders also discussed the current situation in the Middle East. President Sánchez shared Spain's position with Olaf Scholz, reiterating his condemnation of the attacks perpetrated by the Hamas terrorist group in Israel on 7 October. He also expressed the need to work to alleviate the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in order to prevent the suffering of the civilian population. Pedro Sánchez stressed the importance of making progress towards the two-state solution and of offering a concrete horizon by holding an international peace conference that would involve the entire international community in the search for a definitive solution that would allow the coexistence of two states, Israel and Palestine, in peace and security, a proposal that the European Council endorsed on 26 and 27 October.

In the international arena, they also discussed the current situation in Ukraine, and agreed on the importance of the European Union remaining united in the face of Putin's aggression and moving towards President Zelenski's Peace Formula.

The meeting also provided an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss the bilateral relationship between Spain and Germany. Within the framework of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, our country has intensified its relationship with Germany, a link that has already been strengthened thanks to the 25th Spanish-German Summit held in 2022, which allowed for the promotion of the Spanish-German Action Plan. It should be recalled that, in terms of trade and investment relations, Germany is Spain's second largest customer, second largest supplier and fourth largest investor in Spain in terms of accumulated stock.

Non official translation