Important meeting for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez

THERE was an important meeting for Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez when he welcomed new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Madrid on January 17.
Although both countries have enjoyed relatively friendly relationships, the ‘old’ Germany under Angela Merkel was renowned as one of the most frugal during the economic slump starting in 2008 and Spain was often criticised for its inability to balance the budget.
Now, with a left leaning Chancellor leading a government comprised of both left and right, Sánchez hoped for support in his plan to relax the EU’s fiscal rules but this was not likely to be achieved during their first meeting.
They did however have a number of areas to discuss such as the pandemic, vaccinations, climate policy, migration and of course the EU recovery fund from which Spain will be a major beneficiary.
Germany is Spain’s second largest commercial customer and its main supplier, with a trade balance that in 2020, the worst year for some time due to the pandemic, exceeded €63 billion and there are currently more than 1,325 German companies installed in Spain and around 260 Spanish companies in Germany.
Both countries see the other as important allies on a number of fronts and the two leaders confirmed that during the first half of 2022 a German-Spanish Summit will be held to discuss ways of extending the relationship.
Spain is of course a major destination for German tourists with some 11 million visitors being received in pre-pandemic years and thanks to membership of the European Union, people from both countries are able to settle in the other and work without problems.
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