The President of the Government of Spain, HE Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, welcomed the Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon Anthony Albanese MP, for bilateral talks in Madrid on 28 June 2022, marking the first bilateral visit to the Kingdom of Spain by an Australian Prime Minister.
Leaders reaffirmed the warm and productive relationship between Spain and Australia, underpinned by shared values, a commitment to multilateralism and the international rules-based order and close economic ties. Leaders noted 2023 will mark fifty-five years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Spain and Australia welcomed the strong growth in the bilateral economic and trade relationship between both countries. Prime Minister Albanese welcomed in particular the substantial contribution of Spanish companies to Australia’s renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. President Sánchez welcomed the important increase in the presence of Australian investment funds in Spain over recent years.
In line with their adherence to open trade relationships based on a level playing field and guided by the rules-based multilateral trading system, both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the swift conclusion of a comprehensive and ambitious Australia-EU Trade Agreement. Prime Minister Albanese welcomed President Sánchez’s proposal for a high-level Spanish trade delegation to visit Australia in 2022.
As Spain prepares for its presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2023, leaders intend to deepen and expand the longstanding engagement of Australia and Spain in policy areas of mutual interest.
Leaders welcomed the long-standing defence industry cooperation between Spain and Australia which has contributed significantly to both nations’ naval capability. Prime Minister Albanese noted in particular Spanish ship-builder Navantia’s involvement in the design and construction of 60 per cent of the Royal Australian Navy’s on-water vessels by tonnage since 2006.
Leaders expressed their will to intensify cultural and educational exchanges through bilateral linkages and welcomed the contribution of the Cervantes Institute. They also recognised the important role of the Spain-Australia Council Foundation in fostering ties between both nations’ companies and civil societies.
Leaders discussed the urgent challenge of addressing the global climate crisis, including the need to work together to accelerate the clean energy transition while maintaining and enhancing energy security. President Sánchez welcomed Australia’s commitment to stronger climate action, and Prime Minister Albanese welcomed the EU’s REPowerEU plan and other EU climate initiatives to make Europe independent from Russian fossil fuels and hasten efforts to tackle climate change.
Leaders condemned Russia’s unilateral, illegal and immoral war of aggression against the people of Ukraine. The invasion is a gross violation of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. Spain and Australia reaffirmed their strong support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Russia to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory. Spain and Australia agreed to continue to work together and with partners, to support Ukraine and hold Russia accountable for its actions.
Prime Minister Albanese commended Spain’s contribution to NATO’s unified efforts in supporting Ukraine and its ongoing efforts to address global security challenges. Australia is committed to working with NATO to maintain international solidarity in responding to authoritarian pressure, and commitment to international rules and norms. President Sánchez in turn expressed Spain’s appreciation for Australia’s steadfast support to Ukraine.
Spain and Australia reaffirmed their vision for free, open, and resilient Indo-Pacific and Euro-Atlantic regions, where countries adhere to the fundamental principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, including the right to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight.
Australia welcomed increased European engagement in the Indo-Pacific, including Spain’s appointment of an Ambassador for the Indo-Pacific and the EU’s Joint Communication on the EU Strategy for Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Both countries agreed to explore further opportunities to work together in the region, including by supporting greater investment in infrastructure and clean energy.
As important partners in multilateral fora, including the United Nations and the G20, Spain and Australia agreed to increase collaboration and to work together to counter threats to the rules-based order and preserve the integrity of the multilateral system. The two countries will cooperate to promote human rights, gender equality, sustainable and inclusive development and climate action as shared priorities across the multilateral system.
Prime Minister Albanese expressed his gratitude to Spain for hosting this historic bilateral visit linked to the NATO Summit in Madrid, marking a new level of cooperation between the two countries.