Spanish presidency and economic priorities for Europe in 2024

Martin Banks

Belgium (Brussels Morning newspaper) The incoming Spanish presidency of the EU has been issued with a “wish list” of demands by Europe’s business community.

The demands were sent to the Spanish presidency by the Presidents of BusinessEurope’s 40 member federations. They were gathered in Madrid this week at the invitation of the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations, CEOE. 

At the close of the event, they presented their priorities to Spain which succeeds Sweden at the helm of the EU at the end of this month. The demands were given to Nadia Calviño, First Vice-President of the Government of Spain and Minister for the Economy and Digital Transformation. 

On Friday (2 June) they will exchange views with Margaritis Schinas, Vice President of the European Commission, and also have an audience with His Majesty King Felipe VI.

Ahead of that meeting, CEOE President Antonio Garamendi said, “We need competitive companies to strengthen Europe’s global position, ability to stand up for our values, secure high living standards and deliver on the green and digital transitions.”

He added, “We trust that the incoming Spanish Presidency of the EU will build on the work started earlier this year to launch an ambitious European competitiveness strategy.”

Further comment came from BusinessEurope President Fredrik Persson  who said, “Falling energy prices through the mild winter helped steer the EU economy away from recession, but some countries are in recession and the situation remains challenging for many businesses. 

“We expect growth to reach just 0.7% in the EU in 2023 and 1.6% in 2024, provided downside risks such as continuing geo-political instability don’t materialise.”

He said that when steering negotiations on EU policies, the Spanish Presidency should promote a strategic approach to competitiveness, help reduce regulatory burden for companies, deepen the Single Market integration, and secure energy supply at competitive prices.

He added, “Trade is key and we need to diversify sources of supply of critical raw materials and export markets. We fully support the incoming Spanish Presidency intention to give a new impetus to the conclusion and ratification of trade agreements with Chile, Mexico and Mercosur.”

Speaking of the Swedish president, Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said it took over the presidency at a time when the European Union is facing “unprecedented” challenges. 

“A greener, more secure and freer Europe is the foundation of our priorities”, said Kristersson.

The four priorities of the Swedish Presidency have been

  • Security – unity
  • Competitiveness
  • Green and energy transition
  • Democratic values and the rule of law – our foundation

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Brussels Morning is a daily online newspaper based in Belgium. BM publishes unique and independent coverage on international and European affairs. With a Europe-wide perspective, BM covers policies and politics of the EU, significant Member State developments, and looks at the international agenda with a European perspective.
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Martin Banks is an experienced British-born journalist who has been covering the EU beat (and much else besides) in Brussels since 2001. Previously, he had worked for many years in regional journalism in the UK and freelanced for national titles. He has a keen interest in foreign affairs and has closely followed the workings of the European Parliament and MEPs in particular for some years.