Jacinda Ardern flies the flag of internationalism in the first European meeting with her Spanish counterpart

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Spanish President Pedro Sánchez at La Moncloa Palace.

Glenn McConnell / Stuff

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Spanish President Pedro Sánchez at La Moncloa Palace.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met Pedro Sánchez, the Spanish President, marking her first bilateral engagement in Europe.

The two leaders announced an agreement, which will allow 2,000 young Spaniards and New Zealanders to go on working holidays in either country. Previously, only 200 travelers from each country could participate in the working holiday program.

Ardern said the increase in the working holiday scheme was just a sign of the opportunity for New Zealand and Spain to work more closely together, and she said the discussion with Sánchez was getting better. focused on how the two countries could work together to push for internationalism.

The two leaders also agreed to what they called a “global values ​​partnership”, which discussed their intentions to uphold global democracy, sustainability, human rights and the rule of law.

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ROBERT KITCHIN/STUFF

PM Jacinda Ardern talks to Stuff ahead of her trip to Europe.

Ardern is in Madrid to attend the NATO leaders’ summit – the first time New Zealand has been invited to the summit. Later, she will join the “final stages” of New Zealand’s free trade negotiations with the European Union (EU) in Brussels, Belgium, before visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London.

She met Sánchez at Moncloa Palace on Tuesday, where they swapped football shirts – the All Whites for La Furia Roja – before entering the game.

Ardern said she wanted to personally thank Sánchez for selling 250,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to New Zealand in September.

Sánchez became president in 2018, after a vote of no confidence toppled the former Spanish president. Both leaders have already spoken and been recognized as spokespersons for global cooperation early in their tenure.

At the UN in 2018, Sánchez, Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron were known as members of the “club” for fighting Trumpism and worrying about the growth of nationalism around the world.

After Ardern’s morning meeting with Sánchez, she is expected to meet Macron, who is also in Madrid for the NATO leaders’ summit.

Sánchez became president in 2018, after a vote of no confidence toppled the former Spanish president.

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Sánchez became president in 2018, after a vote of no confidence toppled the former Spanish president.

Macron’s meeting is expected to address a range of major issues, with Ardern seeking an update from him on the situation in Ukraine after he and other European leaders visited Kyiv in person last week.

She will also discuss New Zealand’s negotiations with the EU for a free trade deal and is also expected to discuss the Christchurch appeal with Macron.

Following the 2019 Christchurch terror attack, Macron joined Ardern in calling on social media companies to play an active role in stopping the spread of extremism on their platforms.

In addition to collaborating under the Global Values ​​Partnership, they will take advantage of the opportunities offered by their participation in the Leaders Network “Reinforcing Multilateralism Together” and their support of the Christchurch Call to Action and continue to seek opportunities to take concrete action. to the defense of modern, democratic and internationalist values.

In a joint statement after their meeting, Ardern and Sánchez said they had discussed the Christchurch call and would work together to focus on “defending modern, democratic and internationalist values.”

The Internet, democracy and freedom are at the center of the concerns of the Prime Minister’s first day in Spain. She is also scheduled to deliver a keynote speech at the Tech 4 Democracy conference. It’s a program the US State Department has taken part in, to study how digital technology can better enhance – rather than threaten – democracies.

Edward K. Thompson