Spain has taken over the rotating presidency of the EU Council, with a promise to focus on the green transition and social justice.
As part of the kick-off events, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez hosted European Council President Charles Michel in Madrid on Sunday.
The two leaders discussed the presidency’s top priorities, which include reindustrialisation, strategic autonomy, the ecological transition, social and economic justice, and the strengthening of European unity. Sánchez received Michel at La Moncloa Palace a day after his trip to Kyiv, where he met Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskyy and reiterated his commitment to support the war-torn nation “for as long as it takes” and “regardless of the price to be paid.”
Besides Ukraine, Spain hopes to make progress on several major legislative files during its six-month term, such as a post-crisis overhaul of the electricity market, a world-first attempt to regulate artificial intelligence, an unprecedented scheme to confiscate frozen Russian assets, and the long-awaited review of the EU’s fiscal rules.
Another key issue on the table will be migration.
Last month, member states struck a preliminary deal on a new framework to collectively manage the reception and relocation of asylum seekers. The deal represented the first breakthrough of its kind in years and made migration reform look more feasible than ever before. But the agreement has been met with fierce contestation in Poland and Hungary, as the two countries resist any attempt that would mean a greater degree of burden-sharing.
Their resistance thwarted the joint conclusions of last week’s meeting of the European Council, an episode that Sánchez described as a case of “narrow-mindedness. “The rotating presidency comes as Spain faces a snap general election on 23 July, which polls shows could oust the prime minister’s left-wing coalition government and replace it with a conservative administration, or even a coalition with the far right, and follow a trend happening in much of Europe. Despite the uncertainty created by the snap general, Spanish officials insist the presidency will not be disrupted and run as planned.
Source: Euro News