Close partnership with Spain
On his visit to Spain, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle met Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo. Their talks focused on current European and global issues. Westerwelle also joined Spain’s Education Minister José Ignacio Wert in laying the cornerstone of the Madrid German School’s new building.
Foreign Ministers Margallo and Westerwelle
© photothek / Hünerfauth
After the meeting in Madrid, Minister Westerwelle emphasized how close dialogue was between the Spanish and German Governments. He pledged that Germany would remain actively committed to that close partnership and friendship.
Joint deliberations on the future of Europe
The meeting centred around the future of Europe, discussing reforming the euro area and the EU as a whole. Ministers Westerwelle and Margallo are both members of the informal coalition of eleven foreign ministers known as the Future of Europe Group, which drew up proposals in 2012 for overcoming the debt crisis in Europe and developing the EU further. The German Foreign Minister commended his Spanish counterpart for the “especially crucial role” he had played in the Group and pointed out that its deliberations were increasingly significant.
Both men said they were convinced that Europe was not the problem but would in fact prove part of the solution to the current difficulties. It was therefore vital, they said, for the two countries to work together on political issues beyond the monetary and fiscal areas. They emphasized the need for a three-pronged approach of consolidation, solidarity and reforms that would boost competitiveness and growth.
Other current topics discussed at the meeting included the situations in Syria and Mali as well as the stance to be taken in regard to Iran.
Recognition for Spain’s crisis management measures
The two Ministers in conversation
© photothek / Hünerfauth
The two Ministers also spoke about the currently difficult economic situation in Spain. Westerwelle said, “From the German perspective, we want to make very clear once again how much respect we have for what Spain is currently facing up to and getting done.” He wanted to state this explicitly because, he said, “recognition and gratitude unfortunately don’t always get mentioned much in the public debate.” Westerwelle commended “the Spanish Government’s commitment to reform” and “the Spanish people’s determination to work their way out of this crisis through hard graft”.
Making culture and education an even closer bond
Westerwelle emphasized how vital stimulus for growth was to overcoming the crisis in Europe. He said that investment was particularly needed in education, research and training, calling this an important task for Europe.
Talking about the joint German-Spanish ceremony to lay the cornerstone of the Madrid German School’s new building, he held it up as “a sign of our desire to make culture and education an even closer bond between our two countries”.
The new school building is currently Germany’s largest cultural construction project abroad. The German School in Madrid provides around 1500 pupils with an education in at least three languages. Completing their school education there qualifies them to enter the German higher and further education systems. The school also offers the same intermediate and lower secondary school leaving certificates as are available in Germany.
Last updated 24.01.2013