Spain proposes that the EU strengthen and update its defense of multilateralism

Before the coronavirus reached the Old Continent and the Italian Government decided to isolate a group of peoples in the north of the country, the European Union was already going through a deep crisis that required serious debate. To do this, the European Parliament and the European Commission had proposed the Conference on the Future of Europe, now delayed by the pandemic, which had to deal with many areas on the institutional functioning of the club.

The Spanish Government, through the Secretary of State for the European Union, has launched a series of proposals to other European partners with which it seeks that the Conference on the Future of Europe includes a global reflection after the coronavirus, involving the closest partners, neighboring countries and candidates, according to the document to which El Confidencial has had access.

The pandemic It has been an accelerator of the trends that have been seen for a long timeAnd that is why China, the United States and Russia have not only not resolved their differences but have increased them at the same time that their techniques of influence are increasingly aggressive. Spain proposes that the EU react and seek to exert influence over its environment in order to defend the multilateral system.

No one is very clear about what the conference will be used for, or what exactly is sought with it. Spain wants this reflection to go beyond expectations, being more ambitious and encompassing the role of the EU in the world. Government He has tested some of his proposals with the Italian, German and French executives.

Actually, it is an exercise to reinforce a multilateralism that is being put under enormous pressure also in times of pandemic. The EU cannot give it up because it is in its DNA, but it will be necessary to rethink the model. And this is what Spain is proposing: that the framework of the conference be used to start an open debate with the closest partners to the EU. China, USA and Russia they exert their influence and try to move the entire agenda in their interests. Europeans are multilateralism, and that is why the government asks to exercise that power in their neighborhood and beyond.


The text warns that the pandemic has accelerated a process of fragmentation and "national withdrawal" that "it is not the solution in an interdependent world". "The EU, without abandoning the objective of greater autonomy, must not give up promoting multilateralism, making it more coherent and effective. At least four priority areas for action after the pandemic can be identified: health, mobility, global value chains and technological governance, ”the document explains.

In health, Spain proposes that improve information flows for early identification of possible risks, being able even to add a specialist in public health in the representations of the European Union in third countries who are in charge of monitoring the situation.

The Government also places special emphasis on value chains and notes that the EU is moving towards a more "strategic" approach. For weeks now, Berlin and especially Paris have been referring to the need to build strategic sovereignty and regain control over supply chains in response to the lessons learned from the effects of covid-19. For this reason, Madrid warns: "The new emphasis on the strategic autonomy of European industry must be compatible with commercial free trade, a source of wealth, and multilateralism in the field of trade ”.

Regarding tourism, the Secretary of State considers that "the quarantine on arrival applied permanently – and not transitory for the duration of the health emergency – is unfeasible when talking about large tourist displacements", for which it points out that "Stricter global standards will be necessary for monitoring the health of tourists "Therefore, "in cooperation with the UNWTO and the WHO, it would be advisable to study the advisability of imposing sanitary controls, either with the purchase of tickets or at the airport itself, if the results could be known within a reasonable period of time."

Finally, the Spanish proposal addresses the issue of technology, which can become a delicate area after the pandemic, since it generates a new and more conflictive environment for the long pulse between privacy and security, in this case health. The Government is concerned about this possibility. “The pandemic has strengthened, and appears to continue to strengthen, the instruments for health surveillance by states through technology. This opens the door to potential abuses by public and private entities.”, Indicates the text.

Spain calls on the EU to "cooperate with partners who share its values ​​to develop technological standards that combine protection of privacy and civil rights with facilities for innovation."

In this sense, the document proposes that the European Union to become a kind of secure warehouse for data that they be generated in the fight against the pandemic, since one of the features of the Union is "its high standards in data protection". For this reason, Spain proposes to cooperate with third countries in the search for technological solutions, “leaving the data stored in European territory as the best guarantee of its unauthorized use, also for countries that do not belong to the EU, in the face of possible abuses for geopolitical reasons ”.