Alicante is the city chosen by the President of the Government, the socialist Pedro Sanchez, to celebrate the next summit of the Southern Countries of the European Union (MED-9), known as the Euro-Mediterranean Group. The capital of Alicante will act as host of the meeting that will bring together the Heads of State and Government of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Croatia and Slovenia. The conclave will take place on September 30 with meetings that will be scheduled, mainly, at the facilities of Mediterranean House Y City of Lightwhile it is also planned that some event will be held at the headquarters of the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), as confirmed by official sources to this newspaper. A delegation from La Moncloa has already visited the spaces to organize the work sessions.
The designation of Alicante as the city that hosts the meeting between the highest representatives of the executives of nine countries will place the provincial capital as one of the epicenters of the European agenda. All at a time when leaders are seeking solutions to the escalation in the price of gas and electricity, and when the possibility of a cut in the supply of Russian gas threatens to provoke a harsh winter. In fact, the negotiations to try to promote the gas connection between Spain and France through the Pyrenees are very topical these days, after Sánchez’s alliance with the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, with which they try to pressure the Executive by Emmanuel Macron.
The last meeting of the southern EU countries was held in Greece in 2021, convened by the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, in Athens, and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, also participated in it, who It is not ruled out that it will also move to Alicante. She revolved around climate change and its impact on the Mediterranean. In that meeting, Sánchez called for the first time “a common European solution” to the rise in the price of electricity. A year later, the consequences derived from the invasion of Ukraine by Russia mark the present, with the energy crisis that keeps half of Europe on edge and the challenge of advancing in the ecological transition. It is taken for granted that this issue will be one of the key points on the agenda of the leaders united around the Euro-Mediterranean Group, which acts as an informal forum to approximate positions between the members in the EU negotiations.
One of the key settings for the meetings to be held in Alicante is Casa Mediterráneo. Founded in 2009, it is configured as an instrument of public diplomacy whose main objective is to promote mutual understanding and rapprochement between Spain and the rest of the countries of the Mediterranean basin, in areas as diverse as culture, the economy, the climate change, gender equality or scientific and technological innovation. Ciudad de la Luz, which houses the facilities of the Digital District technology hub and the film studios that are now resuming activity after the Brussels veto, will be another of the locations that will attract all the spotlight. In recent months, the complex located in the provincial capital has also served as a reception center for Ukrainian refugees who have left their country due to the war.
With Sánchez’s decision to bring the Med9 summit, Alicante once again hosts a first-level meeting of European leaders. In October last year, the city hosted a summit of Ministers of Labor of ten Mediterranean countries. On that occasion, the meeting was chaired by Yolanda Díaz, Second Vice President of the Government and head of this ministry in Spain.
More agenda in another city of the province
The organization that is in charge of the selection of locations to celebrate the next edition of the Summit of Southern Countries of the European Union is considering holding some of the events associated with this conclave in more than one city. Although the bulk of the agenda will take place in Alicante, the possibility of organizing part of the program in another municipality in the province of Alicante is being considered. To this end, a search for possible locations has already begun, given the intense activity that usually concentrates a meeting of these characteristics between leaders of nine Mediterranean countries.
Strategic place for the central government
Why bring the summit to Alicante? That is a mystery that, in official terms, has not been cleared up, although there are factors that show that the President of the Government and leader of the PSOE, Pedro Sánchez, wants to add support in the territory that, however, received the investment in 2022 lowest per inhabitant in Spain. Now, the Government Delegate in the Community, Pilar Bernabé, has intensified her agenda in the province and the winks from the central Executive towards the Government of Ximo Puig are constant. In order for Sánchez to aspire to continue in La Moncloa, it is considered essential that the left retain the Generalitat. And that happens by winning the province.