March 2. 2024. 3:32

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Portugal hopes Spain will focus EU trade on ‘Atlantic side’


Spain taking over the EU Council presidency in July could create “new momentum” for EU trade policy, particularly with regard to the trade agreements with Mexico, Chile and Mercosur, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said on Wednesday.

At the closing of the 34th Iberian summit in Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands, Costa spoke of the importance of the six-month Spanish presidency in fostering relations with partners across the Atlantic.

The Spanish presidency “may be an opportunity for the European Union to give a new boost to its trade policy, namely by concluding agreements with Mexico, Chile and even Mercosur,” he said.

At the summit, Costa and his Spanish counterpart, Pedro Sánchez, discussed issues that could dominate the EU agenda under the Spanish presidency.

The two leaders once again underlined their harmony in relation to key and currently discussed EU dossiers, including economic governance and energy market reform – two “necessary” files that “may come to a good end” with Spain at the EU helm.

In recent years, Portugal and Spain have worked together within the EU and highlighted the “Iberian solution”, according to Costa and Sánchez.

This limited gas prices for electricity production and created the gas pipeline project to transport hydrogen between the Iberian Peninsula and France.

Costa also highlighted the “common effort” both countries and Spain have made towards a “green reindustrialisation,” which will strengthen the economies of both countries, as well as reinforce the “strategic autonomy of Europe.”

About “strategic autonomy,” Spain aims to give impetus to the debate when it takes over the EU Council presidency for six months. It is also set to be one of the key issues that will be highlighted at the EU summit, which is expected to occur in Granada on 6 October.

A summit is also already planned between the EU and the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), which has not been held since 2015.

(Margarida Pinto/Lusa.pt)