The cabinets of the two countries met for the 24th German‑Spanish intergovernmental consultations in Berlin on 4 February. Before the start of the consultations, Federal Foreign Minister Westerwelle held talks at the Federal Foreign Office with his Spanish counterpart José Manuel García‑Margallo.
The talks focused mainly on current topics of international policy and European issues. The two Foreign Ministers have regular exchanges. Most recently they had met in Madrid at the end of January. Following the talks at the Federal Foreign Office, the two Foreign Ministers attended a joint cabinet meeting at the Federal Chancellery, where the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy had met with Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Close cooperation between the two countries
On the sidelines of the consultations Chancellor Merkel highlighted the close cooperation with Spain, saying that Germany had great respect and admiration for the reforms that Spain has launched to improve the difficult economic situation. Rajoy underlined that the reforms underway in Spain were already producing results. He said that Spain would continue along this road. He also stressed that Germany is Spain’s second most important trade partner. A major issue of the talks was the depressingly high youth unemployment rate in Spain. Merkel stated that Germany stands ready to help reduce it.
With regard to Europe, the Federal Chancellor stated that there was agreement that the common currency required a more concerted approach in economic policy, more solidarity as well as greater national efforts to increase competitiveness, and declared that Germany wants to make a contribution to more growth in Europe.