Spain and France agree to ask for more European solidarity and cooperation with third countries for migration

They defend the European fund against Poland and Hungary but disagree on Turkey and do not advance proposals for the EU-Mercosur agreement

MADRID, 30 (EUROPA PRESS)

The Secretary of State for the EU, Juan González-Barba, and his French counterpart, Clément Beaune, agreed this Monday on the need for greater European solidarity to manage migration and curb illegal migration, as well as the need to work and involve more the countries of origin and transit.

They have stated this at a press conference after meeting in Madrid in which, however, they have not gone down to the details. Beaune has not elaborated his proposal that he has mentioned in interviews about the possibility of restricting visas to personalities from countries that do not accept the repatriation of illegal immigrants.

Thus, he has limited himself to saying that a discussion and an approach is necessary between the European partners on the “levers” and “incentives” that European countries can develop towards the countries that are the origin and transit of migrants and also have their own challenges. “We want to cooperate so that there is European support for these countries but that there is also a commitment on their part to help us,” he said.

The two have agreed on the need to reinforce the external dimension of the migratory pact. According to González-Barba, “the Spanish experience shows that cooperation with countries of origin and transit, operational cooperation and the opening of legal channels are the main instruments to control irregular immigration.”

Beaune, for his part, also pointed out that France has shown solidarity with its European partners every time it has been necessary to welcome immigrants, but that a permanent mechanism is “indispensable”. However, it has not commented on the working document that Spain handed over to the EU last week with other partners from the south of the EU, all of them first-entry countries (Italy, Malta and Greece).

RECOVERY FUND

The two officials have also closed ranks regarding the European post-Covid recovery fund and its conditionality to respect the rule of law despite the blockade maintained by Poland and Hungary. Beaune has been convinced that it will be possible to find solutions in a few weeks, but “if the blockade persists, other options can be considered.”

Video of the day

Minister of Justice on the emeritus king: “If he were called, he would come.”

González-Barba, who will travel to Poland this Tuesday, insisted that, for Spain, the text negotiated by the German presidency of the EU and the European Parliament “is the only one that can generate the necessary consensus.” Spain, he said, does not conceive that on January 1 the recovery fund may not be in force.

PCR TO ENTER IN SPAIN, NOT IN FRANCE

At the bilateral level, Beaune has ensured that there are no misgivings between Spain and France regarding the different entry control measures in the framework of the pandemic. Spain requires negative PCR for travelers entering by boat or plane, but France does not.

González-Barba has pointed out that it is a demand of the autonomous governments – “co-governance in the Spanish case, as you well know, is more complicated, he said – and has influenced that, in any case, it is about minimizing the effects on mobility.

From the outset, he pointed out that the French PCR certificates are being accepted, making a “flexible interpretation so as not to create more difficulties.” He also recalled that those who enter by land are not required, so that the inhabitants of cross-border areas are exempt.

In any case, they have agreed to stay in contact to see if improvements in the sensitivity of the cheaper and less laborious antigen tests are announced in the coming weeks, and they can start using them.

The two European officials have highlighted the close cooperation of both countries against terrorism and have jointly committed to strengthening European instruments. At the bilateral level, they are working to hold a Summit of the two governments in the first months of 2021 in France – the last one was held in Malaga in 2017.

However, Madrid and Paris continue to have different positions on how to deal with the tensions between Greece and Cyprus with Turkey. González-Barba has reiterated his solidarity with the European partners and has insisted on asking for a “negotiated solution between the parties avoiding incidents” that could prevent it. Beaune, however, has insisted on making “decisions that translate into collective firmness.”

Another matter of discrepancies is the EU-Mercosur agreement, discussed at the meeting but only to make an “assessment of the status of ratification” of the agreement. González-Barba has insisted on defending that it would be beneficial not only for Spain but also for the EU and to strengthen the European presence on the continent.

France is one of the countries that insist on demanding environmental guarantees from Ibero-American countries, while Spain recently signed a letter together with the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy, Latvia, Portugal and Sweden to ask the European Commissioner for Trade , Valdis Dombrovskis, the signing and ratification of the Agreement.

.

London and Brussels must find a way out that helps the recovery | Opinion

The EU heads of government yesterday supported the extension of the round of talks that Brussels has with London in order to regulate trade relations between both parties before the end of the year, the date on which Brexit enters fully into force. Despite the Council’s pleasure and the determined European will to do everything possible to close a friendly exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, it seems increasingly difficult to achieve that goal. The Council itself yesterday urged the Commission to design possible unilateral contingency measures of a limited duration if Brexit finally ends without an agreement, and there are already several voices that consider the negative outcome of the negotiations as probable. Both the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the Italian President, Giuseppe Conte, have warned that the pact with London cannot be reached at any price, while French President Emmanuel Macron openly acknowledged the possibility that the divorce could take place at the bravas.

The EU guidelines for the negotiation have correct and clearly marked red lines: those established in the withdrawal agreement and in the protocols signed by London and Brussels, which remain fully in force and must be respected. The unusual decision of the British Government to promote a law that breaks with some points of the agreement, mainly those related to commercial activity on the border with Northern Ireland, has become a bone of contention with enough potential to burst the long negotiating path traveled so far in London and Brussels.

Europe must stand firm in defending an agreement that has been widely discussed and negotiated with the United Kingdom and that contains the roadmap on which the commercial relationship between the EU and the British must be built. However, and without departing from that framework, which is fully legitimate, Brussels must also do everything possible to avoid a rupture that could seriously damage the European economy, mired in a crisis of historic dimensions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Both the EU and the United Kingdom are enduring the scourge of an unprecedented recession not only because of its intensity, but also because of the extraordinary uncertainty it has sown in all European economies. Faced with a scenario like this, it is necessary more never to call for responsibility and cooperation to design trade rules of the game that will help the recovery of the whole of Europe instead of hindering it.

.