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Spain showing leadership ahead of EU presidency stint, says foreign minister

Spain is already showing leadership on complex issues such as economic recovery and energy, Foreign Minister Jos? Manuel Albares said in Madrid on Monday, ahead of when his country takes over the rotating EU Council presidency for the second half of the year.

Albares commented on his country gearing up for the EU presidency at the opening of a Civil Society Forum organised by his ministry to gather opinions and proposals of different sectors to define the priorities of the “Spanish (EU) semester”.

“Never before has leadership in the Presidency (of the EU Council) been so necessary,” he said.

Spain has already shown leadership in complex matters such as health, economic recovery after the pandemic, and the energy crisis, said Albares, adding that his country will be “attentive to the great challenges facing Europe, but also to the specific responses to citizens’ concerns,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Vice President of the EU Commission for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Suica, who also took part in the same conference, praised the event in Madrid for being the first of its kind, stressing the importance of knowing the opinion of European society and conveying to citizens that they can influence the drafting of EU legislation.

In a recent interview, Albares stressed that establishing a political, trade and financial relations framework that will leave the EU and Latin America “united forever” will be among Spain’s top priorities during the country’s EU rotating presidency.

In February, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro S?nchez (PSOE/S&D) toured several EU capitals to give Madrid’s priorities for when it takes over the six-month rotating EU Council presidency in July.

S?nchez plans to visit some 15 EU capitals, where he will meet with his European counterparts.

To make progress on migration and asylum issues, Madrid has already organised an EU leaders’ summit in Granada on 6 October, which will be preceded by a meeting with non-EU countries.

An EU-Latin America and Caribbean summit will be held in Brussels on 17 and 18 July, which the Spanish government wants to make a success after eight years without such bilateral meetings.

Spain will hold regional and municipal elections on 28 May, with a general election expected to take place in December, during the country’s final month of presidency of the EU Council.

(Fernando Heller EuroEFE.EURACTIV.es)

 

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