SPAIN and France’s leaders have pledged to make the EU an unbreakable force in the face of external threats.
Mariano Rajoy and Francois Hollande outlined their commitment to leading a ‘rapid programme of European integration’ to pull member states closer together at a press conference in Malaga.
Speaking at the Pompidou Centre, Rajoy said the EU would rise against ‘populism and anti-European feeling’ that some believe could threaten the continental project and would manage to avoid another ‘Brexit’ situation.
The comments were made at the end of the 14th Spanish-French Summit, which also focused on how to strengthen working relations between the two states.
“We must speak well of Europe and proclaim its values,” said Rajoy.
“Our objective is to be more efficient in finding results to the problems of our citizens.”
While Rajoy remained quiet on the subject of US president Donald Trump, Hollande made no bones about criticising his policies.
“The wall is not our model,” he said, before blaming the US for initiating the global economic crisis due to its “subprimes and financial deregulation that now they want to put back in place.”
In a thinly-veiled warning to supporters of Marine Le Pen, who is running in the upcoming French presidential elections, Hollande added that those who opposed the EU would ‘isolate themselves, end dialogues and, in the name of a false sovereignty, have less employment, wealth and protection.”
Rajoy highlighted his and Hollande’s commitment to work as ‘friends, partners and neighbours’ by collaborating in areas such as the economy and the fight against terrorism.
Rajoy will next meet with Hollande on March 6, where they will meet with the German and Italian leaders Angela Merkel and Paolo Gentiloni.