Expatica news

Parties unveil European policies

20 February 2004

MADRID – Spain’s two main political parties unveiled Friday their plans for Europe in the run-up to the general election on 14 March.

The right-wing governing Popular Party is committed to maintaining Spain’s political weight in the European Union during the negotiations over the controversial  European Constitution.

The main opposition socialist PSOE party has promised voters its support for the planned new Constitution, which is expected to be drawn up on 1 May.

In their platform for the upcoming elections, the socialists want the EU Intergovernmental Committee to approve the Constitution drawn up last year so that Spanish citizens can declare their intentions in a referendum as soon as possible.

A foreign policy election promise made by the PP is to step up proceedings to make the European Constitution project a reality.

But they oppose the division of institutional power established by the European Convention, the body which designed the new Constitution.

They also promise to grant more community-based decision-making power to the autonomous communities, and put continuing effort into assuring the recognition of the Canaries as an ultra-peripheral region by the future Constitution.

The PSOE has made a bid to reach a stable agreement with the UK on the future of Gibraltar which respects Gibraltarians’ identity, institutions and interests.

In general terms, the PP defends a policy of EU social and economic cohesion, with the fight against terrorism as a common foreign policy objective.

In contrast, the PSOE is in favour of a balanced relationship between the USA and a strong, autonomous Europe.

Apart from the two main parties, the left-wing IU party accuses the Government of removing Spain from the central core of Europe and damaging the country’s economic and political interests.

However, at the same time, the party offers no EU-related solutions.

For the moment, they are criticising the EU’s position regarding Cuba and defending community policies in favour of Iberoamerican and African countries.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news