Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he “can guarantee that the law will be upheld in Spain and the country will not break up.” Rajoy med the comment at a press conference with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, during the Spain-Germany Summit held on Monday and Tuesday.
Rajoy also referred to the need for a common European policy to tackle the issues associated with immigration and asylum.
Rajoy, described the immigration and asylum issue as the most important challenge facing the European Union in the years ahead and regarding which “we will not remain impassive” because “Europe cannot turn away from what it is; a land of rights”.
Based on the experience of a country such as Spain, which is receiving a large number of immigrants and where the number of asylum applications has tripled, the Rajoy defended the need for a “genuinely European policy for responding to this major task”, on which the European Commission should work “decisively, courageously and with determination”. Furthermore, he called for cooperation and collaboration with the countries of origin so they can progress economically and help combat the mafias that cause the “terrible tragedies that we have witnessed”.
On this point, Rajoy said that the Government of Spain has offered to take in 2,739 people applying for asylum and is open to revising this figure provided that asylum and economic immigration application situations are clarified and differentiated, and that other countries meet their commitment to open shelters.
When asked about the upcoming elections in Spain, especially the regional elections to the Catalan Parliament, the Rajoy said that “what matters most to me is that everybody votes”.
Furthermore, he said that the Government of Spain will “defend national sovereignty” and that he sees it “grossly unfair” that someone can feel like a foreigner in their own country. Rajoy said that as long as he is Prime Minister, “the law will be upheld and, naturally, Spain will not be broken up as some would have it”.
Rajoy highlighted the changes in the Spanish economy between 2012 and 2015, in which time the country has moved “from being in the shadow of a bailout to growth of 3.3%”. The President of the Government announced that “the goal for the Government of Spain is for the number of taxpaying workers to reach 20 million in the next legislature, which will require half a million jobs being created per year”.
Rajoy highlighted how important the increasing availability of loans is for the general public, the number of which has risen by 40% on the same month last year. He also highlighted the latest Economic Sentiment Indicator from Eurostat – measuring public confidence in the economy – is at a 14-year high.
Rajoy underlined the importance of training and said that “one of the priorities in the 2016 budget is to return to previous spending levels on R&D+i: we are aware that a large part of our future will be determined in this area”.