Today, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is paying her first official visit to her Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, in Madrid. German-Spanish relations are very good and the two countries are pursuing the same interests in many areas of foreign and European policy. The two Governments therefore want to agree on an action plan this year so that they can work together even more closely on key issues such as Europe’s southern neighbourhood, the Western Balkans, as well as the bilateral and global climate change agendas.
In Madrid, the two Foreign Ministers will discuss current foreign policy issues. A large part of their talks will focus on the extremely tense situation resulting from the Russian troop build-up at the Ukrainian border. Both Ministers are seeking to bring about a de-escalation of the conflict and to make use of the power of diplomacy. Last week, Foreign Ministers Baerbock and Albares both travelled to Ukraine to talk with their Ukrainian partners and assure them of their support.
In addition to her talks with the Foreign Minister, Minister Baerbock will also speak to women prosecutors from the office of the Public Prosecutor for Violence against Women. They will discuss the legal situation of women and the prosecution of violent crimes against women. A public prosecutor’s office focusing on violence against women was established in Spain as far back as 2005. Every public prosecutor’s office in the 50 Spanish provinces has a lawyer who specialises in this field. These lower-tier specialised bodies are subordinate to the national office of the Public Prosecutor for Violence against Women and have regular exchanges with it.
Ecological transition of the economy and the EU COVID recovery programme
Spain has become a forerunner in European and international energy and climate policy. Spain and Germany are strongly committed to the EU’s climate change mitigation goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Spain’s share of the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions is 9% (it has 10% of the EU’s total population). Between 2005 and 2019, the country reduced its emissions by 27% and thus did better than the EU average.
Spain was hit hard by the health as well as the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will greatly benefit from the EU’s recovery programme NextGenerationEU, receiving funding to the tune of around 70 billion euro. The Spanish recovery and resilience plan on how these EU funds will be deployed also forms an important basis for cooperation between German and Spanish companies. The investments planned by Spain will focus on “green” and digitalisation projects, in particular those aimed at sustainable mobility and energy-efficient retrofitting.
German-Spanish partnership in 2022 also in the cultural, economic and academic spheres
2022 is also an important year for intensifying ties between Germany and Spain’s civil societies: Spain will be the guest country at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October – an important landmark for Spain’s cultural relations policy. Furthermore, another German-Spanish Forum is planned this year as a platform for exchange, particularly in the economic but also in the academic and cultural fields.