Concern about the virulence of the second wave of Covid-19 across the EU has taken over the European leaders summit which started this Thursday in Brussels. A summit not attended by the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, for being in quarantine after the positive of a close contact. The president of the Commission herself, Ursula von der Leyen, has had to hastily leave the meeting after learning that a member of his team is infected.
Upon arrival at the European Council, Pedro Sanchez has called for strengthening coordination among member states to combat the pandemic more effectively. The Prime Minister intends “to transfer what we have been saying in Spain to a European level: the need for all countries to act together“For Sánchez, the EU has already taken” some very important steps. “In particular, the creation of a harmonized color map to designate the territories and regions with the highest risk of contagion or the mutual recognition of the tests.
“Spain would like to continue harmonizing this response at the European level, for example in the field of quarantines or for example also in the field of mobility restrictions, “insisted the Prime Minister. Until now, the EU governments have not been able to agree on the duration of the quarantines (14 or 10 days) or the restrictions to be imposed on travelers coming from risk areas (quarantine, tests or no limitation).
Brexit and the climate emergency focus the #EUCO that starts today. We hope to reach a satisfactory withdrawal agreement for the EU and the United Kingdom that gives certainty to citizens. And also achieve consensus to set the emission reduction target at 55% in 2030. pic.twitter.com/7aiT0QGVtR
– Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) October 15, 2020
Interests shared with London
The Heads of State and Government of the 27 will discuss these issues in the second working day of the European Council on Friday morning. However, the main point on the agenda is the state of negotiations for the future trade agreement between the EU and London after the brexit.
In the opinion of the Prime Minister, the message that the EU must send after this summit is “a certain will to agree” with London and the “spirit of unity” of the 27 and the support for the negotiator, Michel Barnier. Despite the pending obstacles in terms of fishing, fair competition conditions or dispute resolution system, Sánchez sees a priority reaching a pact with Boris Johnson.
“For Spain this agreement is fundamental, not only because of the historical relationship we have with the United Kingdom, but also because of the commercial and economic interests that both countries share“Sánchez pointed out in a statement without questions, since journalists cannot access the headquarters of the European Council due to Covid-19.
The President of the Government still hopes “that during these weeks we can achieve that agreement that gives certainty, that gives confidence, at a time as difficult as the one the world is going through as a result of the emergency in this second wave of the pandemic” .