Pedro Sánchez, in Strasbourg: "Europe has everything it needs to remain one of the most prosperous and socially advanced regions in the world"

President's News - 2023.12.13

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Strasbourg (France)

Pedro Sánchez addressed the important advances in legislative and political matters, recalling that 43 highly significant dossiers have been approved during the last six months, more than the usual average.

Pedro Sánchez has highlighted the four priorities that Spain set out in its roadmap at the start of the presidency: promoting the reindustrialisation of Europe and its open strategic autonomy; advancing the green transition and environmental adaptation; achieving greater social and economic justice; and strengthening European unity. With regard to the reindustrialisation of Europe, the president of the Government of Spain stressed the need to strengthen our domestic production capacities and to guarantee the competitiveness of those sectors where we are already at the forefront. "We must promote new industries of the future that generate quality jobs and wealth for our citizens and we must do so with more innovation, more training, more industrial policy, and more integration of the Single Market", he explained.

Furthermore, he stressed that Europe must launch a new trade expansion aimed at consolidating, diversifying, and expanding its external links, as well as leading the modernisation of the multilateral architecture, increasing development aid and its commitment to the welfare of other countries in the Global South. In this context, President Sánchez restated the approval, under the Spanish presidency, of pioneering laws to guarantee the supply of critical raw materials and, at the same time, to promote Europe's leadership in green and digital technologies, mentioning a pioneering law to promote the development and adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Europe. He also underlined the important fisheries agreement reached on Tuesday which guarantees the future and prosperity of thousands of families in Europe and Spain.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, greet each other in the chamber of the European Parliament | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

"We have approved the creation of new economic security instruments that will protect us from coercion by third countries and that will guarantee the free movement of goods, services and people in times of crisis within the single market", said Pedro Sánchez, also addressing the boost given to the EU's external agenda during our presidency, with the holding, for example, of a historic summit between the EU and Latin America and the Caribbean. He also highlighted the substantive progress on the agreement with Mercosur, as well as the signing of new trade agreements with Chile, New Zealand, and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

With regard to the Spanish presidency's second priority, the green transition and environmental adaptation, Pedro Sánchez argued that curbing climate change and environmental degradation is not only a matter of survival, but also an opportunity. "The green transition will help us to become more prosperous and competitive, will allow us to create new industries, grow GDP by an additional point each year, and generate more than a million new jobs in this decade", explained the president of the Government of Spain. He also emphasised that the green transition will also help to drastically reduce dependence on foreign energy and raw materials, while lowering household electricity bills and making businesses more competitive.

In this context, Pedro Sánchez reiterated that the green agenda is not an obstacle to European competitiveness, but its greatest hope, and recalled that several pioneering regulations have been approved over the last six months that will help us to reuse waste better and to have more durable, repairable and recyclable products. In addition, he underlined the adoption of the Nature Restoration Act to restore all degraded ecosystems in Europe by the middle of the century.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, and the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, during the meeting they held in Strasbourg | Pool Moncloa / Fernando Calvo

Spain also set achieving greater social and economic justice as a priority during its presidency, and President Sánchez today recalled that major steps have been taken in this direction, such as the holding of the Tripartite Social Summit, or the historic reform of the electricity market, which is about to be completed and which will make electricity prices lower and more stable and will bring greater transparency to the system. In addition, he underlined notable recent advances in the Social Pillar, such as the implementation of the Disability Card and the development of new directives to combat violence against women and human trafficking.

Finally, in reference to European unity, the president of the Government of Spain regretted that Europe had been subjected to tensions that sought to divide the EU, celebrating that, far from achieving this, these difficulties have strengthened the EU-27. He addressed, for example, progress on the Migration and Asylum Pact, the parliamentary agreement on the reform of the Treaties and the substantial progress made on enlargement, recalling the relevance that the Granada Summit had. "We must highlight the consolidation of the European Political Community, which brought together more than 40 European heads of state and government in Granada," he said.

President Sánchez then referred to the situation in Ukraine, recalling that Spain began the Spanish presidency of the EU Council in Kyiv and that the EU-27 have shown clarity and unity in the face of Putin's illegal invasion.

The President of the Government of Spain, Pedro Sánchez, during his appearance before the Plenary Session of the European Parliament | Pool Moncloa/Fernando Calvo

In this sense, he reiterated that this unity was key to saving lives and that, today more than ever, it is essential to act in the same way in the face of what is happening in Israel and Palestine. "We must condemn the repugnant murders and kidnappings perpetrated by Hamas, support the fight against terrorism throughout the Middle East and recognise Israel's right to defend itself and to exist," he said, stressing that, with the same conviction, it is imperative to "say no more killing of innocent civilians in Gaza, including thousands of children". In this sense, Pedro Sánchez assured that Europe must demand compliance with international law and humanitarian law and actively contribute to the search for a definitive and comprehensive solution. To this end, the president reiterated, it is necessary to recognise the existence of the Palestinian state, living side by side with the state of Israel in peace and security.

To conclude, President Sánchez reflected on the future of the European project, pointing out that Europe has everything it needs to remain one of the most prosperous and socially advanced regions on the planet.

"We represent half of the global investment in welfare, we are the world's largest trader, the main recipient of foreign direct investment, and we have the second best innovation ecosystem," he stressed, arguing that Europe today has the necessary companies and human talent. "We must be aware of our potential," he added, concluding that now is the time to look to the future with ambition and optimism to lead a new era of global prosperity.

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