Zapatero urges EU to press ahead with political change
Spanish PM says Ireland must understand its rejection of the Lisbon Treaty cannot stop the agreement dead into it track.17 June 2008
MADRID - Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero on Monday urged the European Union to press on with political and economic integration despite Irish voters' rejection of the Lisbon Treaty in a referendum last week, arguing that the 27-nation bloc cannot enter as a result into "paralysis".
"Ireland must understand that its 'no' vote to the agreement cannot stop it dead in its tracks," Zapatero said in his first major foreign policy presentation since the March general election. "They have to respect the will of the majority of Europeans."
Zapatero noted that the treaty, which seeks to simplify the day-to-day running of the bloc, has already been ratified by the parliaments of eight member states, among them Spain.
Besides Europe, Zapatero said that the other main focuses of Spanish foreign policy over the coming years will be Africa and Asia. He set four targets: to fight poverty, promote peace, combat people trafficking and do more to tackle climate change.
"Spain should be synonymous with justice and solidarity," he said. "We need a policy with Africa, not for Africa."
The government plans to create a public diplomacy commission to strengthen Spain's image around the world.
[El Pais / Expatica]