SPAIN: The State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, held a meeting by video-conference on 27th January morning with Irish counterpart, Thomas Byrne, to address two key issues for both countries – the pandemic and the new situation following the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
State secretaries addressed the situation of the pandemic in their respective countries and the European response to this at both a healthcare and an economic level. They also expressed their support for the European vaccination programme, but stressed the need to speed up the supply of vaccinations.
As regards Brexit, Spain and Ireland are two of the most affected countries at an individual and a trade level. The two State secretaries reviewed the main aspects of the agreement reached in December between the EU and the UK and its implications for their two countries. This was a necessary agreement, which required a tremendous effort at understanding and negotiation, one which both countries consider to be satisfactory. The priority is to minimise the disruption to our citizens and companies. They also exchanged viewpoints on the change Reserve and the implications of Brexit for Gibraltar and Northern Ireland.
Officials also discussed a wide range of EU current affairs: the Conference on the Future of Europe, the EU-MERCOSUR Agreement and the future of trans-Atlantic relations following the arrival of President Biden at the White House.
Lastly, they reviewed the key aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries, with particular emphasis on economic and trade relations. Juan González-Barba underlined the intensity of relations between the people of both countries.