The Prime Minister met with Prime Minister Rajoy of Spain this afternoon. Theresa May began by restating the UK’s support for the Spanish Government on the issue of Catalonia – stating the rule of law must be upheld and the Spanish constitution respected.
The Prime Minister gave an update on the Brexit negotiations, confirming that she would be reconvening talks with the European Commission before the end of the week. She said both sides were positive about the progress that could be made ahead of December European Council. Prime Minister Rajoy said he shared the desire to move talks on to the next stage of negotiations as quickly as possible and that Spain would remain a constructive partner.
Prime Minister Rajoy spoke about the deep and strong relationship between Spain and the UK, referring to the significant investment that Spanish companies have made in the UK and the fruitful trading relationship. The Prime Minister welcomed views on how we could continue a good trading relationship between the two countries after Brexit and ensure this was as frictionless as possible.
The two leaders spoke about foreign policy and the threat of Russia, agreeing that it was important to maintain a collective and rigorous approach to sanctions and to counter disinformation.
They also spoke about increasing co-operation to counter the growing threat of terrorism. The Prime Minister outlined that the nature of terrorism was changing and how the internet and social media was providing terrorists with an extra tool to accelerate and amplify the terror they seek to spread.
Lastly, Prime Minister Rajoy raised the issue of the abhorrent treatment of Libyan people being smuggled into Europe and the ongoing efforts to help repatriate them. The Prime Minister said that this was an important challenge and she wanted to work closely with her European colleagues now and in the future to see what more could be done by, for example, improving conditions in the country of origin.