Both are members of the European People’s Party, but the meeting was institutional. “That is, a meeting with the president of the European Commission, not with a party colleague.” In this framework, Ursula Von der Leyen asked the leader of the PP, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the question that the European Commission needs to know to continue disbursing funds. Will the PP respect the milestones of the Recovery Plan presented by the Government of Sánchez if it governs? “The answer is yes, because Spain needs the funds. Those milestones link us”, Feijóo has assured him, according to PP sources.

The relevant meeting took place in Rotterdam on the sidelines of the congress of the European People’s Party (EPP). PP sources have clarified that Feijóo is committed to respecting the framework agreed by Sánchez with the EU, but not the specific way in which the current coalition government interprets it. For example, if one of the milestones is to ensure the sustainability of pensions, Feijóo undertakes to comply with it, but not with a rise in contributions to companies and the self-employed as the Government has approved.

Community manna has focused much of the bilateral meeting. Feijóo has assured the German that Spain needs all the funds, both subsidies and loans until 2026 as planned and has argued the delay suffered by the Spanish economy to recover pre-pandemic levels. For its part, according to the version of the PP, the president of the European Commission has transferred to Feijóo that in Brussels “they will be strict in demanding compliance with the agreed milestones to proceed with the disbursements linked to them.”

On the other hand, the popular leader has lamented before the German that the Government does not inform the main opposition party and also the delay in the execution of the funds that have already accumulated a delay of two years.

Feijóo has wanted to give in his first international trip an image of seriousness and state party before his partners and also that he is an alternative government committed to fiscal rigor and the objective of “strengthening the euro and strengthening the European economy”. This was declared by himself to the press in the Dutch city.

“We have perceived the concern of European leaders about the situation of the weak government that we have at the moment in our country. It is an unprecedented government with a left-wing populist party, where the Communist Party is the essence of that group (…) Obviously, our colleagues do not understand how a government of a nation can have parties that do not believe in the nation as allies and that what they want is to fracture and divide it,” he said.

Feijóo squeezed his first trip with a dozen bilateral meetings with EPP leaders, including the aforementioned Von der Leyen and prime ministers such as the Greek Kyriakos Mitsotakis. «I want to send a message to European colleagues and that is that we are prepared. Our objective is to guarantee political alternation and political alternative in Spain, that we have come here with that commitment to the European People’s Party, which is to incorporate Spain into useful policies, pro-European policies, healthy economic growth, compliance with our commitments with the rules of the Union and to strengthen the euro and to strengthen the European economy”, he declared.

The Galician also hopes to gain weight in the PPE although for the moment he has lost the general secretary after 23 years, as this newspaper published last Sunday. The Spanish MEP of the PP that occupied it, Antonio López Istúriz, has said goodbye after two decades and has received a long applause in which Von der Leyen and the new president of the EPP, Manfred Weber, have participated. In exchange, a vice-presidency is given to Esteban González Pons with economic powers, European funds and relations with Latin America.

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