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Closer Bilateral Ties

DW staff (nda)January 31, 2008

After talks between Germany and Spain on climate change, terrorism and immigration, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and German Chancellor Angela Merkel heralded a new level of bilateral relations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right and Spain's Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero review the honour guard during the Spanish - German summit in Palma de Mallorca
Zapatero and Merkel found common ground on many pressing topicsImage: AP

Speaking at a joint press conference during their countries' 21st summit in Palma de Majorca on Thursday, Jan. 31, Merkel and Zapatero said discussions on a number of topics had been "extremely positive" and the two leaders announced a raft of new initiatives aimed at easing some of the most pressing shared problems.

Zapatero told reporters that Spain and Germany, who are among the world's leaders in solar and wind power, were working together on projects to promote renewable energy in Africa and that a convergence was needed to make the fight against climate change more effective.

Merkel added that the two countries were "committed and determined" to fight climate change, and noted that they occupy "leading global positions in renewable energies."

Committed to fighting terrorism

The Spanish leader also said that his country and Germany were cooperating closely in the fight against international terrorism, particularly that perpetrated by radical Islamic groups, and that they had also agreed to increase cooperation to promote the integration of immigrants.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel reviews the honour guard during the Spanish - German summit in Palma de Mallorca
Merkel reiterated her commitment to the Mediterranean regionImage: AP

Merkel added that Germany wanted the European Union to play a more active role in the Mediterranean region.

"Germany does not have any borders with the region, but shares responsibility for it," the chancellor said, calling for an intensification of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership that was launched in Barcelona in 1995.

The two leaders also addressed the topic of the current global finance problem and both pledged to back greater transparency and regulations to combat financial crises.

"We have exchanged opinions on the problem of the financial markets and the impact on the European economy and ... we share the opinion that the European economy is solid," Zapatero said.

Europe responsible for promoting financial transparency

The two leaders share "the conviction that the international community, and of course the European Union in very decisive way, must put in place new measures with more information, more transparency and more powerful regulations to prevent and anticipate the problems in the financial systems," he added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
Both leaders announced their desire to ratify the Lisbon TreatyImage: AP

Both leaders also announced that they wanted to ratify the EU's Lisbon Treaty to strengthen Europe politically while Merkel said that Turkey "should be linked closely" to the EU.

Zapatero also took the opportunity to reiterate Spain's position on the possible unilateral independence of Kosovo by saying that Spain had reservations about the plan, and feared it might encourage Basque and other separatist organizations in Spain.