Rajoy offers to be America’s ‘link’ to Europe

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SPAIN’S Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and US President Donald Trump spoke on the phone for 15 minutes on Tuesday evening (7 February).

A 73-word White House readout of the conversation said the two men had discussed issues of mutual interest.

 “The leaders discussed shared priorities, including efforts to eliminate ISIS.”

Trump also reiterated the US commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and the importance of all NATO allies sharing the burden of defence spending.

Spain currently only pays 0.9 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to NATO but the US President indicated he would like all NATO members to pay the original 2 per cent target.

The increase would cost Spain several billion euros more each year.

Moncloa’s statement was significantly longer – 375 words – and highlighted Rajoy’s desire to have a “good relationship with the new US administration.”

The prime minister also emphasised the country’s “stable government and growing economy make it the perfect link for the United States” to Europe, Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East.

Brexit was also mentioned, according to the Spanish statement: “President took an interest in the future of the European Union.”

Mr Rajoy replied EU integration “will strengthen” in the coming months and that Spain would work towards that goal.

Neither statement mentioned any discussion taking place about Trump’s relationship with Mexico or the recent criticisms of his travel ban.

 Rajoy tweeted “we are allied countries” shortly after the phone call ended.

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