Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024
Government President Pedro Sánchez presents the priorities of the Spanish EU Presidency. © Spanish EU Presidency / Moncloa

15 June 2023

The President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, has presented the four priorities of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU, which he will assume from 1 July: promoting the reindustrialisation of Europe, moving towards ecological transition, consolidating the social pillar and strengthening European unity.

Sánchez told the ambassadors of the twenty-seven Member States who attended the presentation that Spain assumes the rotating presidency of the Council “with gratitude and humility and with a determined ambition to make it a useful instrument that improves people’s lives and brings Europe even closer to its citizens”.

After stressing that Spain is a “deeply pro-European” country, he recalled that the last time it took over the rotating presidency was in 2010 and that, since then, Europe has experienced a financial crisis, Brexit, the worst pandemic of the last century and the current conflict in Ukraine, which has caused more refugees and displaced persons than the First World War.

The Spanish president also pointed out that, although there are anti-European parties that have gained political weight, even presence, in EU institutions, “Europe has been stronger than all of them, has overcome crises and has emerged stronger from all of them”.

“Today the Union is more united than ever,” said Pedro Sánchez, before referring to the many changes taking place in the world, including the change in the international order, the limits between technology and humanity, the way of conceiving democracy, the role of the public sector, nation-states and the principles guiding economic activity and its relationship with the environment in the face of the climate emergency.

“At the epicentre of all these changes is the well-being of our fellow citizens: wages, jobs, gender equality and the freedom they will have in the future,” continued Sánchez, who pledged to guide the Spanish presidency on the premise of proximity.

Four priorities

The president explained that the four priorities of the Spanish presidency are “very much in line with the main concerns and demands of our fellow citizens”.

Firstly, he called for reindustrialising Europe and ensuring Open Strategic Autonomy. In this respect, he expressed his conviction that, if the European Union “gets things right in this decade, it could become a benchmark in the production of renewable energy, electrolysers, digital connectivity services, advanced robotics, biofertilisers and cutting-edge pharmaceutical products”.

To achieve this, he explained that he will work on two fronts: to promote those dossiers that make it possible to foster the development of strategic industries and technologies in Europe, promoting innovation, industrial policy and greater integration of the single market, and also those dossiers that make it possible to expand and diversify trade relations with third countries and strengthen European supply chains.

The priorities are very much in line with the main concerns and demands of our fellow citizens

Pedro Sánchez, President of the Spanish Government

“In order to function, this strategic autonomy must be combined with strategic openness”, stressed the Spanish President, who in this sense attached “crucial importance” to the summit between the European Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to be held in Brussels in mid-July.

As a second priority, he stressed the need to move towards ecological transition and environmental adaptation. To this end, he recalled the importance of the summit of the Sustainable Development Goals, of the 2030 Agenda, at the United Nations, and the climate summit.

Sánchez has assured that this transition will save Europe up to 133 billion euros in fossil fuel imports by 2030 and create up to one million jobs, as well as making its economy more competitive.

Thirdly, he said that the EU must consolidate the social pillar in order to make Europe a continent and a political project with greater social and economic justice.

To this end, he argued that it is necessary to put an end once and for all to all forms of tax avoidance and tax evasion by the super rich and also by large global corporations.

He indicated that the Spanish presidency will “work to put an end to this injustice and promote the establishment of minimum standards for business taxation in all Member States, particularly in the digital sphere, and to combat tax evasion, tax avoidance and the use of shell companies”.

It will also call for an appropriate revision of the multiannual financial framework from 2021 to 2027 and for a reform of fiscal rules that will allow Member States to keep public finances sound while adequately financing public services and green transitions as well as the digital transformation.

The fourth priority will be to strengthen Europe’s unity, for which the Spanish presidency will focus on further deepening the internal market, culminating in the banking union and the capital markets union, and on improving common instruments, such as the NextGenerationEU funds, while making progress in debates such as the Pact on Migration and Asylum.

Source – Spanish EU Presidency


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