José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero: The Spanish presidency of the EU will focus on global solidarity

Monday 23 February 2009 01:00

A multipolar world is offering Europe a whole set of new chances for leadership, but we must make the most out of them. When Spain takes responsibility for the EU presidency we will turn to Africa, a continent that is progressively becoming more important. As to Russia, we must integrate it in the Euro-Atlantic space we are currently creating.

And then, of course, the Middle East, and the efforts Europeans must make in order to achieve regional peace and stability, which must be built from scratch after the consolidation of the ceasefire and the rechanneling of a peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians.

We are going to promote, firmly, the European Security and Defence Policy. We will try to promote the development of the revised European Security Strategy, planning our strategic targets according to the missions, capacities and partnerships.

Before that, and since it is closely linked to it, we intend to elaborate a National Security Strategy, which I think will be very useful for the Government, but also for citizens to understand the challenges we face. Later on, we will pay special attention to the relationships between the EU and the NATO and we will consider the possibility to propose the creation of a specific organ depending on the Council and formed by the Ministries of Defence. In fact, I would like the Presidency to be a chance to progress towards an effective deferment of the death penalty by 2015.

In a world characterised by uncertainty, after the collapse of the two great models that developed over the previous century, we will need a model and the new great commitment of both governments and societies in order to overcome this crisis. That model is Europe’s model, because Europe is, in the first place, the so-called “pax europea”. This European peace entails co-existence, rights, welfare, creativity and freedom. It is a guarantee to guide us in a multipolar world, whose stability is based upon sustainable development and solidarity. The European peace is, and has been for 30 years, the best way for Spain to defend its principles and interests.

The Spanish Prime Minister José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero was speaking to the Association of European journalists last week

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