(EurActiv) — The Spanish government has requested the postponement of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s speech to present the country’s EU Council presidency at the European Parliament, originally scheduled for 13 July, to the September plenary session.
This decision was forwarded to the European Parliament’s Communication Directorate-General on 30 May, 24 hours after Sanchez announced a snap election for 23 July, a spokesperson confirmed.
Even though the request is now on Parliament President Roberta Metsola’s desk, it is rather a formality as “the appearance is not compulsory either”.
The decision came hours after Manfred Weber, the president of the European People’s Party group, the biggest faction in the European Parliament, requested Metsola to postpone the speech, citing the risk of the presidency becoming a victim of Spain’s electoral campaign.
Another reason Weber gave was to allow whoever is Spain’s prime minister after the election to conduct the speech “outside domestic political battles”.
“I am confident that this small adjustment to our institutional calendar will strengthen the legitimacy of the process and our ability to deliver on our common priorities,” said Weber, who considered the opening speech of each Council presidency “a crucial institutional moment in terms of accountability”, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported.
Spain will chair the EU Council presidency from 1 July to 31 December, and will be succeeded by Belgium.