June 4, 2018 / 7:08 PM / a year ago

EU needs to fight inequalities, new Spanish PM says

Spain's new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez leaves his office to greet Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko (not pictured) at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Susana Vera

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s new Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday the European Union should be a space of economic and social cohesion and that inequalities within the bloc must be reduced.

Sanchez was propelled into office on Friday after an unlikely alliance of anti-austerity and nationalist parties backed his bid to oust Mariano Rajoy’s conservatives over a corruption scandal.

“The new government of Spain is firmly convinced that the project of European integration must lead above all to the establishment of a space of progress and of shared well-being,” Sanchez said in his first press conference after being sworn in on Saturday.

Sanchez, a strong pro-European politician, called for the “consequent reduction of the inequalities suffered by Spanish and European citizens” during the recent economic crisis, which hit parts of Southern Europe particularly harshly.

The Socialist Spanish Prime Minister also said that he would put dialogue and understanding before confrontation at a time when nationalists have regained control of Catalonia’s government and have pledged to continue seeking independence for the wealthy region.

“The spirit of the new government in Spain will always be to put the consensus before the tension in each and every one of the areas of Spanish and international politics,” Sanchez told a joint news conference with Andorra’s head of government, Antoni Marti, in Madrid.

Reporting By Jesús Aguado; Editing by Catherine Evans

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