The President of the Government of Spain takes part in the European Council in Brussels

Pedro Sánchez underlines the historic nature of a European Council at which Ukraine and Moldova were granted EU candidate status

President's News - 2022.6.24

Brussels (Belgium)

The President of the Government of Spain reaffirmed that "These steps forward show that we are at a decisive moment in the process of European construction, when it is important to underline the continued attractiveness of our project for many countries; and all European states must contribute to forging a more cohesive and fairer Union".

Pedro Sánchez started his day in Brussels yesterday with the EU-Western Balkans Summit, at which the EU-27 revitalised the enlargement process, strengthened relations with these countries, and encouraged them to speed up the pending reforms for their integration into the EU; an integration that has Spain's support. After the meeting, now in the European Council, the 27 returned to the issue and the president defended the need to open negotiations as soon as possible with Albania and North Macedonia, and to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo y Pool CE

On this first day, and in addition to agreeing to grant EU candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova, two countries that must now begin a series of reforms to bring themselves into line with European standards, the leaders recognised the European perspective of Georgia, which has also applied for membership. Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky took part by video conference to thank the Ukrainian government for its political support and to explain the course of the Russian invasion after 121 days of war.

The 27 agreed to continue to provide the necessary support to Ukraine in this "war of aggression" in the economic, military, social, financial and humanitarian fields. They stressed condemnation of attacks on civilians, blamed Russia for the food security crisis, and called on Russia to stop attacking agricultural facilities and to unblock Black Sea ports to allow grain to leave Ukraine.

Spain is leading a project for the exit of cereals from Ukraine.

The United Nations estimates that around 180 million people in 41 countries could suffer from the food crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine. For this reason, Sánchez has defended the urgency of getting the Ukrainian cereal harvests, which are blocked by Russia and estimated at more than 20 million tonnes, out of the country.

To this end, the President of the Government of Spain announced that Spain is leading a public-private project that will enable some 8,000 tonnes of cereals to be taken out of Ukraine over the next three months, which will be stored in various silos in Spanish ports in the Mediterranean. The project, which will start in mid-July in a pilot phase, involves Poland, Luxembourg and France. During his speech, Sánchez referred to the disinformation campaign promoted by Russia and recalled that European sanctions in no way affect Ukrainian or Russian food exports.

The 27 also discussed 'Wider Europe', a project that aims to outline what relations between European countries - EU members, candidates for EU membership and non-members - could be like but, as the president stressed, without being an alternative to membership. The leaders also discussed the results of the 'Conference on the Future of Europe', a process in which European citizens have collaborated to present proposals for the future, which Spain is studying with great attention.

Euro Summit

Foto: Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo y Pool CE

Today, the Council focused on economic issues and the Euro Summit, at which banking and capital market union were discussed, as well as the current situation and the medium-term economic outlook. In this debate, the 27 again addressed the energy issue and how it is impacting European economies. To this effect, Sánchez has once again defended the need for a reform of the electricity market to adapt it to the weight of renewable energies: "Our citizens and businesses need to know that we are mobilising to protect them. This is the aim of the new package of measures to be approved tomorrow by the Council of Ministers to deal with the socio-economic consequences of the war.

"During the Council, we have shown the necessary unity in the face of Putin's invasion. A unity that I am sure allies will show at the NATO Summit in Madrid next week", the president concluded.

Non official translation

More Info