What To Expect As Spain Assumes Rotating Presidency Of The EU Council

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Spain assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU this Saturday, July 1.

This is the fifth time that the nation has taken over the role, having previously done so in 1989, 1995, 2002 and 2010. In the real world, it could be seen as an exceptional opportunity to position Spain as an international showcase at a decisive moment for the bloc.

However, this time around, there is turbulence in Europe. A war is raging in Ukraine, France is in turmoil with violent riots, and on the home front, there is an imminent electoral campaign on July 23.

The Government maintains that the holding of general elections during this period does not present any distractions to the task on which they have been working for months.

Other countries that have preceded it while in the presidency have also held elections they pointed out – France did it up to three times in the past.

There is a lack of communication currently between the Government and the main opposition party, one which could possibly take over the reins of the country during the semester.

Moncloa accused the opposition of trying to create internal destabilisation

Alberto Núñez Feijóo from the Partido Popular recently denounced the total exclusion that he had suffered from the central government.  He claimed to have received more information from the outgoing presidency, Sweden, than from Pedro Sánchez himself.

Moncloa has countered these criticisms by pointing out that all parliamentary groups have been promptly informed. It insisted that the main opposition party, due to this condition, only complains in an attempt to create internal destabilisation with such attacks.

Sanchez’s Government said it assumed the challenge of the European presidency ‘with enthusiasm’ while recognising that ‘it does not move a vote’.

However, they did not hesitate to sacrifice this milestone with the electoral advance, which they believed benefited them strategically.

Not surprisingly, the European semester comes full circle after the success of the NATO summit in Madrid a year ago and the growing influence of Spain in European politics.

Specifically, this has been shown in the distribution of recovery funds, dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, and the response to the energy crisis with the implementation of the Iberian exception.

Pedro Sánchez had to rearrange his agenda for July

However, the electoral context has forced Sánchez to reorganise July’s agenda in order to avoid interference in the campaign and avoid generating suspicions about its electoral use.

Pedro Sánchez postponed his scheduled attendance in Strasbourg – which was initially scheduled for July 13 – rearranging it for mid-September. This will allow him to present the priorities for the semester at the epicentre of the campaign.

His visit to Madrid of the College of Commissioners has also had to be postponed. Initially, it was going to take place on July 6, on the day that the electoral campaign starts at midnight, so it will ow take place this Monday, July 3 instead.

On Sunday 2, Sánchez will meet in Moncloa with Charles Michel, the President of the European Council. One day later, he will do the same with the President of the Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen.

Another of the events removed from the agenda was the Conference of Presidents of the European Parliament. That had originally been scheduled for June 26 and 27 in Madrid, and which was to have had the presence of King Felipe VI and Sánchez himself.

Sánchez travelled to Ukraine today

Despite this change, Sánchez travelled to Ukraine today, where he will begin the acts of the Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU.

The head of the Executive wanted the first act of the Presidency to be to travel to Kyiv to: ‘make visible, with his presence there, the EU’s seamless support for Ukraine in all fields: military, humanitarian and economic’.

He will meet with President Zelenskyy, who said he has ‘great hopes’ for the Spanish presidency. Not surprisingly, it will be a priority, since ‘the commitment to the stabilisation, recovery, and reconstruction of Ukraine’, will be reinforced, stated government sources.

During the electoral campaign, Sánchez will not neglect his European commitments and will attend the NATO summit in Lithuania, on July 11 and 12.

He will also travel to Brussels for a meeting of the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), on July 17 and 18.

With the results of 23J already on the table, in mid-September the priorities of the Spanish semester will be presented in Strasbourg and on October 6 Granada will host the European Council.

It of course remains to be seen whether Sánchez will continue to lead these important appointments or whether there will have been a replacement at the head of the Government, as reported by larazon.es.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

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