Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy told the President of the Federal Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, that Spain and Spanish companies are ready to collaborate in the process of reforms and investments that Brazil is currently implementing.
“Brazil is taking a spectacular leap forward. There is going to be a great deal of investment in the years to come and Spanish companies want to be right there and we want them to be there because it is good for us and because we believe we can contribute through our knowledge and experience”, Rajoy said.
Rajoy made the comments following a working meeting held between the two leaders at Moncloa Palace, resulting in the signing of a Declaration by the two.
In this Declaration, the purpose of which is to strengthen dialogue and coordination between both governments, the two leaders highlight the importance of relations between the two countries; relations that are based on historic and cultural ties and common values and interests that unite the two countries.
Rajoy insisted that “relations between Spain and Brazil must have the same ambition as the relations between our companies and citizens”. He recalled that “Brazil is the leading destination for Spanish investment in Latin America and the second anywhere in the world. With almost 55 billion euros of accumulated investment, Brazil accounts for almost half of our investment in Latin America”.
In turn, the President of Brazil expressed her agreement “on advancing specific proposals to add new spirit to our relations”.
In terms of economic affairs, she stressed that work will be done on improving trade flows and stimulating relations on issues related to the management of hydraulic resources, the naval industry, roads, railways, etc., whilst not forgetting “the involvement of SMEs in this process”.
Austerity and growth
When the two leaders were asked for their opinions on how to tackle the economic difficulties, the President of Brazil insisted that “the combination of austerity and growth is the best way to overcome the challenges posed by a crisis”. She also highlighted Europe’s potential, which she believes places the continent in an unbeatable position “to avoid the darkest aspect of the crisis, which is unemployment and an increase in inequality. I honestly believe that great efforts are being made in this regard”.
In turn, Rajoy said that “Spain will return to positive economic growth in 2014 and the economic situation will be better next year. This year will end at -1.7%, although it’s possible that the final figure will be slightly better”. He said that he is convinced “the worst is behind us but that we also need to finance ourselves at a reasonable price”.
“Spain’s most important problem is the availability of financing at reasonable prices”, he insisted.
In any event, the Spanish Prime Minister said that these issues did not form part of the conversation between the two leaders. “We did speak about the high-speed railway line between Río de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, about Petrobras, about shipbuilding and about the needs Brazil has to contract certain infrastructure projects that it plans to launch”, he said.
Crisis in the Middle East
As regards the extremely tense situation in Gaza, Rajoy said that he spoke to the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, on Sunday night to tell him that “Israel has a right to legitimate defence but we asked for restraint in its response so as not to cause an escalation that could degenerate into an open conflict with uncertain or irreparable consequences”.
In his opinion, “a solution to this conflict is essential for a situation of normality to return to the region and the world. I hope that diplomacy will work” because “we all want diplomacy, dialogue and agreement”.
In turn, Dilma Rousseff said that Mercosur issued a statement on Sunday asking for the UN Security Council to make a statement aimed at avoiding any further bloodshed. “We hope that dialogue will prevail over warfare”, she said.
Measures in response to evictions
When asked about the measures recently adopted by the Government of Spain to protect the most vulnerable groups from being evicted from their homes, Rajoy stressed that his government “is the first to adopt measures in this regard. Everybody is making demands and talking about the matter, but we have been the first to take any action”.
He explained that the decisions taken on Friday “were taken for humanitarian reasons and will help a great number of people. They are clear, can resolve problems in the short term and do not harm the Spanish economy. A debate will now take place in Parliament during which we will listen carefully to everyone”.
As regards the proposal to enable foreign citizens who own a property in Spain to obtain a residency permit, he said that “no decision has been taken by the government. We want the existing stock of properties to be put on sale at reasonable prices”. He went on to highlight one positive, albeit minor, figure in this sector: after 17 straight months of falling sales, August and September saw an increase in this figure.