The association of the main European companies, the European Round Table (ERT), has arranged a meeting this Tuesday with the opposition leader, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, after meeting the day before with the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez.
Knowledgeable sources assure EL MUNDO that the meeting will take place at the Telefónica headquarters and large European businessmen want to press Feijóo's economic vision. The president of the operator, José María Álvarez Pallete, has just assumed the presidency of the Employability, Skills and Impact Committee of the ERT and is hosting the visit to Madrid of the executive committee of the European association.
The leadership of the ERT thus distinguishes the leader of the PP in comparison with recent similar visits made in other countries. On the 3rd, the same executive committee, headed by the president of Vodafone, Jean-François Van Boxmeer, met in Stockholm with the Swedish prime minister, Ulf Kristersson, but without meeting with the opposition.
Spain is the only major economy in the Eurozone with elections scheduled in the short term and a possible change of government.
The appointment with Kristersson took place within the framework of assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union this semester. Also in this context, the visit to Moncloa by important European businessmen took place this Monday. Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and Volvo Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg are also part of the delegation.
«In view of the upcoming Spanish Presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year, the members of the European Round Table have met in Madrid with President Sánchez to discuss the best ways to enable and guarantee a renewed long-term industrial strategy for Europe," the statement said.
The meeting has meant the return to Moncloa of the president of Iberdrola, Ignacio Galán, after important clashes with the Government as a result of regulatory changes and new taxes. Knowledgeable sources say that Galán's vision of the Executive's performance does not change, but he usually attends all the high-level meetings of the ERT.
Galán has been very active in the association and organized a plenary meeting in November 2021 in Bilbao. He invited Felipe VI, the lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu and the then leader of the PP, Pablo Casado. The First Vice President, Nadia Calviño, represented the Government.
On this occasion, it is not a plenary session of dozens of European presidents, but is limited to the executive committee, although the ERT always gives the members of the visiting country the opportunity to join. Of the four Spaniards who belong to the association, two did not attend Moncloa: the CEO of Inditex, Oscar García Maceiras, -embraced in the week that presents results- and the president of Ferrovial, Rafael del Pino. The latter is not an active member of the ERT like Galán or Pallete and, furthermore, he is not currently the most welcome in Moncloa after his decision to move the headquarters to the Netherlands.
Two Dutchmen attended the Monclovite event, the president of the country's semiconductor giant, Peter Wennink, and the general secretary of ERT, Frank Heemskerk. Before the association, which defends the elimination of barriers in the single market and boosting competitiveness, Sánchez's position of disqualifying Ferrovial for moving to a founding country of the EU such as the Netherlands does not fit well.
The association's statement underlines that they have exchanged views with Sánchez on relaunching the single market and advancing in the digital and energy transition. Regarding the latter, ERT believes that the objectives must be met without taking away the EU's margin to compete. "The completion of the Energy Union and the promotion of clean energy production are two urgent measures to address the risk of de-industrialisation that Europe is facing". The statement highlights the educational challenge and gives an example of the R4E professional recycling program in Spain.
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