Sánchez and Spanish King to meet with Biden before Madrid NATO summit

President Biden will meet with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of the month.

Sánchez and Spanish King to meet with Biden before Madrid NATO summit
US President Joe Biden and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez at the G20 World Leaders Summit in 2021. Photo: Andreas SOLARO/AFP

The President of the United States Joe Biden is set to meet with both the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and King Felipe VI ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid at the end of June.

In what will be the Biden’s first official trip to Spain since winning the Presidency, he will meet with the Prime Minister and King to “reaffirm the strong bilateral relationship” between Spain and the U.S as soon as he lands in the capital, a White House spokesperson told the Spanish press.

Although the dates of the bilateral meetings are yet to be confirmed, it is believed that Biden will arrive in Madrid after attending the G7 summit in Germany, and before the start of the Atlantic Alliance Summit next Wednesday June 29th.

Sánchez spoke with Biden by phone this week, reportedly about preparations for the summit and Spain’s role in providing aid and weapons to the war effort in Ukraine. 

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“I have just talked with President Biden about the next NATO Summit in Madrid, a historic event in which the Alliance will strengthen its unity and cohesion, in defense of democracy and freedom,” Sánchez wrote on Twitter.

Recent phone call aside, the meeting comes after Sánchez was shunned by Washington during most of the Ukraine crisis. It is believed Biden spoke to leaders by phone from France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy to coordinate the response to Russia’s invasion, but not Spain.

American diplomats have since tried to play down Sánchez’s absence from the coordination calls, suggesting they, or some of them at least, were made within the framework of the G7, something Spain is not a part of.

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VIDEO: ‘Take your ties off’, Spain’s PM says in bid to save energy

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has made a bizarre callout by asking office workers across the country to follow his lead in ditching their ties as a means of using less air-conditioning, and thus saving energy.

VIDEO: 'Take your ties off', Spain's PM says in bid to save energy

In a move some might be surprised was even necessary given Spain’s famously hot climate, Sánchez urged office workers to follow his own tie-free lead.

“As you can see, I’m not wearing a tie,” said Sánchez, smiling broadly, pointing to his open neck shirt during a news conference in Madrid on Friday.

Click on the play button below to watch the video:

Feeling a little more comfortable would save energy if it resulted in less air-conditioning being used, he said.

“This means that we can all save energy,” he argued, adding that he had asked all ministers and public officials to stop wearing ties and hoped the private sector would also follow suit.

The Spanish government is on Monday set to adopt a set of “urgent” energy-saving measures, Sánchez said, “in line with what other European countries do”, without elaborating.

Following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission released in mid-May a €210-billion plan aiming to boost renewable energies and reduce energy consumption to put an end to dependency on Russian gas.

In response, Spain has adopted several measures including encouraging remote work and the limiting of air conditioning in offices in summer and radiators in winter.

The 27 EU states also agreed on Tuesday “to reduce their gas demand by 15 percent compared to their average consumption in the past five years, between August 1st 2022 and March 31st 2023, with measures of their own choice,” the European Council said in a statement.

Several German cities said this week they would step up efforts to save energy, with Hanover in the north announcing plans to only offer cold showers at public pools and sports centres and Berlin switching off spotlights illuminating its historic monuments.