The Lehendakari stresses to Juncker the Basque Country's willingness to take part in the "bottom up" construction of Europe for the future
The Lehendakari met with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels
Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, the Basque Premier, expressed to the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the Basque Country's willingness to be part of the European integration process. The Lehendakari told Juncker that "a more social and more caring Europe" was needed. Urkullu had the opportunity to outline the socio-economic reality of the Basque Country to the leader of the European Commission (EC) and asked him to set up an outpost of the Juncker Plan in the Basque Country, in other words, a presence of officials of that plan. President Juncker expressed his willingness to visit the Basque Country.
The Lehendakari explained the Basque Country's "European agenda" to Juncker and asked for nations, such as the Basque Country, to be involved in the reflection process on the "White Paper on the Future of Europe". He also stressed his commitment to social cohesion and proposed the humanitarian corridors as a channel to receive refugees, among other issues.
The meeting with Juncker was held at the EC headquarters in Brussels. The Lehendakari was accompanied by the General Secretary for External Action, Marian Elorza, the Director for European Affairs, Mikel Anton, and the Delegate of the Basque Country to Brussels, Marta Marín. President Juncker was accompanied by his Head of Cabinet, Martin Selmayr, the Deputy Head of Cabinet, Clara Martinez Alberola, and the Chief Spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas.
In addition to the meeting with Juncker, the Basque delegation, led by the Lehendakari, also met with the Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, Pierre Moscovici. A meeting is also planned with the European Parliament's coordinator for the Brexit negotiations, Guy Verhofstadt.
The Basque Country's European vocation
Lehendakari Urkullu explained to the President of the Commission that the Basque Government's strategy is in line with the Europe 2020 Strategy: Smart, Sustainable and Human Growth. The Lehendakari thus listed several priorities:
- Economy: "stimulus policies" (unemployment under 10%) and "youth guarantee" (20,000 young people with first work experience).
- Social cohesion: demographic challenge and family aid policy..
- Security: integration of the Ertzaintza (Basque National Police Force).
- Innovation: smart specialisation and RIS 3 and “Basque Industry 4.0” programmes
- Infrastructures: High Speed and Atlantic Arc.
- Self-government: defending the Basque Economic Agreement.
- Participation: Euro-region Strategic Plan 2020.
Meetings of the Lehendakari with top European officials
Since 2013, the Lehendakari has met with top officials from European institutions on different occasions:
Meeting with the President of the European Commission, Durao Barroso, along with the President of the Council, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, Joaquin Almunia, Vice-President and European Commissioner for Competition, and the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstron. (https://goo.gl/Sp4Icv)
Meeting between the Lehendakari and Commissioner Almunia on the situation of the shipping sector. (https://goo.gl/ecTB9d )
Signing of the Agreement by the Lehendakari and the Minister-President of Flanders, Geert Bourgeois. (https://goo.gl/ec16hd )
- Meeting with the President of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) Markku Markkula
- Opening by the Lehendakari of a technology day as part of the Vanguard initiative (https://goo.gl/XQLw3r )
- Meeting with Commissioner Arias Cañete on the situation of Arcelor Mittal and the steel sector (https://goo.gl/vxnE60 )
- Meeting with the European Union's Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, to discuss the Atlantic railway corridor project among other issues. (https://goo.gl/dy0zGS )
Brussels, 10 May 2017