European Parliament leaders clash over Spain’s stance on arming Ukraine – POLITICO
STRASBOURG — The leaders of the two biggest political groups in the European Parliament exchanged barbs on Tuesday over the Spanish government’s position on Ukraine.
Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is preparing to send Leopard tanks and more weapons to Ukraine, despite opposition from far-left Podemos, the ruling coalition’s junior partner, who have warned that this will only escalate the war and pushed for peace talks.
Manfred Weber, the leader of the centre-right European People’s Party, told a press conference that tensions within the government in Madrid could lead to problems when Spain takes over the rotating EU Council presidency. in July.
“I would ask Sánchez to clarify what the opinion of the Spanish government is towards Ukraine. We cannot accept any kind of uncertainty at such a moment in history,” the German EPP leader said. , referring to a series of votes in the Spanish parliament last week in which Podemos voted differently from the Socialists on Ukraine.
Weber also claimed there was a double standard in the way he was treated in European media after Silvio Berlusconi’s inflammatory remarks last month. The former Italian Prime Minister blamed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the war.
“I canceled a very important meeting of (the) EPP in Italy because of a crazy statement by Berlusconi, who is not in government, who has no governmental responsibility. But I do my job to clarify things in my team. And so should socialists,” he said.
Weber’s remarks drew a scathing response from Iratxe García, leader of the Socialists and Democrats group and member of Sánchez’s PSOE party. “There are other ways of doing politics,” she said a few minutes later from the same podium. “Mr. Weber may need to improve his advisers.
“I don’t know what your colleagues from the Spanish People’s Party are telling you, but calm down, Spain’s support for Ukraine is very clear,” García said, adding that it’s “really stupid” to suggest that this could jeopardize the Spanish EU. Presidency of the Council.
Podemos MEP Idoia Villanueva wrote in a statement to POLITICO: “In Podemos we have a strong commitment to peace, calling for a ceasefire and more diplomatic efforts. The question to ask of Mr. Weber, who boasts of being pro-European, is when did he abandon the European values of defending human rights, diplomacy and peace?
When asked if the disagreements within the government will have an impact on the Presidency of the Council of the EU, a spokesman for the Spanish government replied: “Not at all, no. There may be political nuances between the different political parties in Spain, but the government’s position on this remains very clear and is expressed by the Prime Minister himself.
The spokesperson continued: “We recognize the origin of this war, and it is pure imperialism and it is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and we are with Ukraine and we show support and unwavering solidarity with Ukraine and with its people, and with its territorial integrity and with its sovereignty.On this issue, the government speaks with one voice.