Juan González-Barba travels to Cantabria to step up dialogue with regional institutions on European affairs

The State Secretary for the European Union, Juan González-Barba, has made a work trip today to Cantabria to address questions of current European affairs that affect the region with the regional government and other institutions. Furthermore, within the framework of the preparations for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU, the State secretary has visited the facilities in Santander Port. Juan González-Barba also welcomed the decision taken by the Cantabrian authorities to introduce a specific subject on the European Union in the third and fourth years of compulsory secondary education (Spanish acronym: ESO), a decision he described as “important” due to the “knock-on effect this could have on other regions”.

The State secretary met with the President of the Regional Government of Cantabria, Miguel Ángel Revilla, and with the Regional Councillor for the Presidency, Home Affairs, Justice and External Action, Paula Fernández Viaña. The meeting served to address European Union affairs that impact on Cantabria such as the EU Recovery Plan, the EU’s health response to the pandemic, the participation of Cantabria in European territorial cooperation programmes, the situation of negotiations between the EU and the United Kingdom on their future relations and the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe. The regional president outlined for the State secretary the main projects he seeks to push through within the framework of the European Recovery Fund.

The State secretary and the regional president agreed on the need for dialogue between different tiers of government to fully harness the unique opportunity offered by the EU Recovery Fund to implement an economic transformation of the region towards a more sustainable, digital and connected model. In a joint statement at the end of the meeting, Juan González-Barba said he was “very impressed by the “pro-European conviction of the regional president”, and thanked him for his work and commitment to the European Union.

Juan González-Barba subsequently took part in an informal appearance before the Regional Parliament of Cantabria to the members of the Board of Spokespersons. The State secretary addressed, together with MPs from the regional parliament, the socio-economic and health response by the EU to the crisis stemming from the pandemic and the implications of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union for the region. Juan González-Barba highlighted that Europe has risen to this unprecedented challenge and that the solutions provided by the EU, and the European Health Union, are new milestones in the European construction process.

Juan González-Barba also held a brief meeting with the Mayor of Santander, Gema Igual. During the meeting, they primarily addressed the implications of Brexit for Santander and the participation of cities in the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe. The State secretary also highlighted that local authorities will play a fundamental role in channelling the EU Recovery Fund to implement transforming projects at a municipal level.

Lastly, Juan González-Barba visited Santander Port to see first-hand the preparations on infrastructures and on managing the consequences of the upcoming withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU on 1 January.





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