26th Franco-Spanish Summit - Joint Declaration (Montauban, 15 Mar. 2021)


The President of the French Republic and the President of the Government of Spain, meeting today in Montauban for the 26th Franco-Spanish Summit, have adopted the following joint declaration:


1. As friendly neighbouring States and allies on the European and international stages, France and Spain have developed a relationship of exceptional confidence, supported by very close human ties.

2. At this 26th Franco-Spanish Summit, our two countries have celebrated their historic ties, including the memory of almost 500,000 republican refugees who left Spain for France from 1939, many of whom later contributed to its liberation. Our two countries have launched joint work in key fields for the future, including the ecological transition, the digital sector and regulated management of migration. France and Spain sought to deepen their ties of bilateral cooperation in support of the prosperity, security and mobility of their citizens, recalling their support for a more sovereign, sustainable, social and crisis-resilient Europe.


3. Our two countries solemnly recall that their friendship and cooperation draw their meaning within, from and for Europe. It is through our active participation in a strong, united European Union that we can address the concerns of our citizens, defend our values and interests, maintain the strategic autonomy of our economic and industrial choices, better control our supply chains and successfully complete the essential ecological and digital transition of our economies, while strengthening the cohesion of our societies.

4. Since the 2017 Franco-Spanish Summit, major progress has been made in Europe, as shown by the decision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the adoption of the recovery plan, the launch of common borrowing and the strengthening of our public health cooperation. Wishing to contribute to the strengthening of the European project, France and Spain recall their desire to contribute actively to the Conference on the Future of Europe. This forum for democratic reflection is essential to enable the EU to rise to the challenges of the 21st century, to work for the advent of a genuine European citizenship, and to strengthen the sentiment of joint belonging.

5. In line with the commitments made under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals, France and Spain reaffirm their desire to work to ensure ambitious environment and climate results at COP15 in Kunming and COP26 in Glasgow. This joint commitment will also involve supporting ambitious implementation of the European Green Deal and the creation of a European Union border carbon adjustment mechanism by 2023. We will conduct common actions to foster biodiversity and support the adoption of new European regulations to combat imported deforestation, promote corporate responsibility, support the development of renewable energy, and promote energy efficiency, including through modernization of the Energy Charter Treaty in order to align it with the Paris Agreement.

6. Our two countries reaffirm their continued commitment to pursuing the development of electrical interconnections, which will help strengthen the integration and greening of our respective energy grids and step up the decarbonization of our economies. Electrical interconnections between France and Spain are essential for the good functioning of high-voltage networks within the European Union.

7. Our countries wish to enhance their digital transition cooperation and are convinced that Europe has an essential role to play in strengthening our digital autonomy, particularly when it comes to cyber security. We share the same vision of a safe, neutral and open cyber space, thanks to investment in semiconductors and microprocessors, quantum computing, major critical infrastructure for high-performance computing, 5G, cloud computing, satellite communications, cloud computing and data storage and reuse. The digital autonomy of our countries and Europe will also depend on our capacity to regulate major platforms and networks and achieving sovereignty over data. France and Spain wish to limit the spread of damaging content and foster a regulated digital market conducive to innovation and fairer for all actors. We welcome the European Commission’s initiatives on digital services and markets and data governance. Our two countries reaffirm their commitment to a global solution concerning international taxation of the digital sector and are prepared to move forward at European level if a global solution is not reached.

8. We reaffirm our determination to work for the implementation of a new global taxation system for the 21st century, which needs to be fairer, more redistributive and suited to the new models of the digital economy, as well as enabling a transition towards the strategic goals of sustainable competitiveness. The Next Generation EU recovery plan will support these two transitions and enhance our economies’ resilience to the consequences of the public health crisis. Our two countries will work to coordinate the implementation of their recovery plans to preserve employment, foster the creation of decent, quality jobs, and invest in promising sectors for the future.

9. France and Spain welcome the Commission’s proposal to maintain the activation of the general escape clause of the Stability and Growth Pact, and underline the importance of implementing a fiscal policy supporting activity in order to ensure a sustainable, inclusive recovery.

10. France and Spain wish to work to strengthen the governance of the Economic and Monetary Union and to deepen it, in order to better account for developments in the European and global economic context and to ensure a long-term macroeconomic stabilization function. our countries also underline the importance of continuing to deepen the Banking Union and completing the Capital Markets Union.

11. Our two countries undertake to speed up actions identified to create quality cross-border connections in Mediterranean and Atlantic corridors, and to promote ongoing work for connection through the Central Pyrenees.

12. As part of a sustainable mobility policy, France and Spain welcome the resumed activity of the Gijón-Nantes and Vigo-Nantes Motorways of the Sea and undertake to promote international rail transport, including by rationalizing and accelerating procedures to authorize rolling stock and personnel which are essential for free competition. In this respect, the two countries reaffirm the need to continue promoting the work of the Franco-Spanish Observatory of Traffic in the Pyrenees (OTP), a tool which has proven very useful for monitoring the evolution of mobility between the two countries and, therefore, the effectiveness of the decisions made.

13. The resilience of our economies also depends on the European Union’s ability to contribute to the creation of a new system of global economic governance based on an ambitious, balanced trade agenda in which the World Trade Organization (WTO) has a central role, and to establish a trade policy that contributes to EU strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. France and Spain want a level playing field for European and third-country businesses, through the creation of European instruments to ensure fair access to public procurement, to combat coercive or extraterritorial practices on the part of certain partners, and to address the effects of foreign subsidies within the internal market. We also share the belief that the multilateral trade framework needs to be modernized, through reform of the World Trade Organization, including by finding a long-term solution to the current crisis in its dispute settlement system and by modernizing its rules of procedure, in order to rise to the challenges of e-commerce and environmental, social and public health issues, including compliance with the Paris Agreement.

14. In the context of the current serious public health crisis, our two countries will continue coordinating their strategies to fight the COVID-19 epidemic and will work on the creation of a genuine Health Europe, which requires enhanced EU resilience to serious cross-border health threats; a pharmaceutical strategy for Europe, to address shortages of drugs and medical devices; an industrial strategy in the health field, ensuring European strategic autonomy; a long-term European approach to public health issues, including better digital health coordination at European level; and European support for WHO reform.

15. We must continue protecting the oldest and most vulnerable people, as well as women and young people. We call for a recovery focused on people, decent, quality jobs, labour rights and social protection, and which ensures that nobody is left behind. France and Spain welcome the work by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and wish to contribute to the success of the Porto Social Summit on 7 and 8 May 2021 by increasing their involvement in the European Social Agenda and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its 2021-2025 Action Plan. A Europe that protects is a social Europe that inclusively guarantees every individual’s right to quality education, training and lifelong learning; guarantees a decent minimum wage for all; fosters pay transparency to achieve real and effective workplace gender equality; and provides a fair legal framework for platform workers. To this end, social dialogue needs to be fostered at all levels, and the fight against poverty, particularly child poverty, needs to be stepped up, as does the fight against social exclusion through effective mechanisms such as minimum income schemes. We call for a general mobilization of the European Commission and the Member States for Europe’s young people, including through the reinforced Youth Guarantee.

16. France and Spain undertake to implement the European Consumer Agenda, working together in particular to defend consumer rights.

17. Our countries reaffirm their will to support the cultural and creative sectors, which have been hit hard by the public health crisis, including through their national recovery plans. Discussions will continue to work on the creation of European mechanisms to support creators. Growing digitization of culture means it is essential to harmonize the implementation of European directives on copyright and audiovisual content. We will work to regulate the platforms and ensure they make a fair contribution to the creation and payment of cultural content.

18. France and Spain reaffirm their support for the preservation of the free movement of persons within the Schengen Area, including by ensuring coordination and the proportionality of decisions concerning European internal borders. Its survival must be ensured through modern and effective management of controls at external borders, improved Schengen governance, and enhanced police cooperation. Cooperation in the fight against terrorism remains a shared priority.

19. Building on the good results achieved so far, the two countries undertake to continue working together to minimize the impact that particular circumstances could have on the free movement of goods across the Pyrenees. To this end, they will continue supporting the EU “green lanes” initiative and coordinating positions with a view to the Union’s mobility strategy.

20. On asylum and migration, our countries reaffirm the importance of working to ensure regular, safe and orderly migration and call for a reform strengthening the European asylum system, fostering integration and social inclusion of regular migrants, and controlling migration flows. That will require tangible and effective implementation of the principles of humanity, solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility between Member States, management of joint responsibility for migration flows at our external borders, and ambitious, heightened cooperation with countries of origin and transit, focused on preventing irregular migration, particularly in the Maghreb and West Africa, to address the root causes of migrations, promote regular migration and curb irregular immigration. Along with their European partners, France and Spain wish to foster the implementation of tangible, effective projects with third countries under the European Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI), in the joint work spirit of the Team Europe initiatives, such as that presented by Spain for migration.

21. France and Spain are fervent defenders of the rule of law, a fundamental value of the European Union, and welcome the European rule of law instrument launched by the Commission in 2020. France and Spain welcome the establishment of a new general regime of conditionality for the protection of the Union budget.

22. Since the last Summit in 2017, the Member States have decided to strengthen Defence Europe both operationally and in terms of capacity-building. Permanent Structured Cooperation, the European Defence Fund and the European Peace Facility are the pillars of a Europe capable of shouldering greater responsibility and acting more autonomously. A stronger European Union in the security and defence fields will be an asset for its partners globally. The Strategic Compass will set a course for 2030: more robust missions and operations; a more resilient industrial and technological Europe; guaranteed free access to disputed strategic spaces, including maritime, cyber and air spaces, as well as space, in the face of continued or aggravated threats and ever-more-determined competitors. We have already begun to act in this framework, such as through our joint participation in the coordinated maritime presence in the Gulf of Guinea and ambitious partnerships with our traditional allies and our partners in Africa and the Indo-Pacific. Our respective Presidencies of the Council of the European Union will be an opportunity to adopt and follow up the Compass.

23. Strengthening the capacities of European countries to defend their sovereign interests, and the resources they dedicate to that, will be a decisive contribution to the solidity and cohesion of the transatlantic relationship and NATO. Our countries support the strategic reflection launched at the London Summit and will work together to prepare the next NATO Summit, where the allied Heads of State and Government will determine the parameters for the Alliance’s adaptation to current and future challenges. Moreover, France and Spain are fully aware of the importance of revitalizing the transatlantic relationship to address the worsening security context and common challenges.

24. In addition, the public health crisis has proven the ability of France and Spain’s armed forces to adapt swiftly to new operational requirements. In this context, our two countries undertake to develop a process to learn lessons from this crisis in order to strengthen the resilience of the European Union, particularly at the EU’s first congress on military medicine which Spain will organize by the end of the year.

25. In the arms field, where France and Spain are already partners within many major programmes (Tiger helicopter, A400M, Eurodrone, FCAS, ESSOR, etc.), our two countries will continue working together actively to complete the cooperation underway, which is essential to fulfil the needs of our armed forces and strengthen the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, currently challenged by the ongoing public health crisis. Franco-Spanish cooperation will also be stepped up in other technological fields, such as software-defined radio. This cooperation, building on existing elements and aspects to be developed, will enhance the interoperability of our armed forces and further strengthen collaboration between our industries.

26. Within the Coalition for the Sahel and following the N’Djamena Summit, our two countries will maintain excellent field cooperation, like Spain’s constant and considerable support for Operation Barkhane. The operational readiness of Sahel forces remains our shared priority, including commitment within the EU Training Mission in Mali, of which Spain holds the command, and our determination to support European initiatives in the Sahel. France and Spain are also showing the way when it comes to stabilization and capacity building for Sahel internal security forces; they highlight the success of the GAR SI Sahel project in which the Spanish Guardia Civil and French Gendarmerie participate and support its prolongation. At the initiative of the Spanish Presidency of the Sahel Alliance’s General Assembly, the Alliance and its members committed to focus their efforts on the most fragile areas, supporting the action of the G5 Sahel countries.

27. France and Spain share a strong interest in the development and prosperity of their southern neighbourhood. They have committed to act as common spearheads in the process to strengthen the relations between the European Union and its southern neighbourhood partners under the European Neighbourhood Policy. Within the EU, the two countries advocate promotion of these relations and enhanced political importance, through greater dialogue with our southern partners. As such, they have committed to implementing the new agenda for the Mediterranean.

28. France and Spain are particularly committed to strengthening their relations with Latin America, of which they are strategic partners. Our two countries would also like the adoption in a framework document of an ambitious, open, inclusive and cooperative EU strategy for the Indo-Pacific.


29. The 26th Franco-Spanish Summit was an opportunity to:

  • Sign the convention on nationality between the French Republic and the Kingdom of Spain, a significant step in our shared history. It opens up the possibility for nationals of the two countries to acquire the nationality of the other, and will simplify the daily lives of thousands of our citizens.
  • Strengthen our commitment to work together in the context of the economic recovery, recovery and resilience plans and the promotion of Europe’s industrial, technological and digital autonomy through the development of industrial projects, including Important Projects of Common European Interest in fields such as electronics, connectivity and cloud computing. Convinced of the major role hydrogen will play in decarbonizing industry and heavy transport, France and Spain undertake to cooperate to promote and develop the sector.
  • Sign the declaration of intent on the promotion of sustainable aviation fuels, in order to intensify joint work aimed at developing capacities for their provision.
  • Reaffirm the importance of bilateral cooperation in the agricultural and agrifood fields, particularly as regards animal and plant health and the wine and fruit and vegetables sectors. We will continue promoting common initiatives at EU level on the future CAP and the Farm to Fork Strategy.
  • Strengthen cooperation between our internal security services to forcefully fight terrorism, which has hit our two countries particularly hard, promoting joint investigations and projects, such as the counter-terrorism Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in Niger and a Franco-Spanish border police unit. We will continue collaborating and coordinating in the fight against organized crime, drug trafficking and irregular immigration networks at bilateral, European and international levels. We will continue coordinating on projects in Africa and Latin America.
  • Strengthen exchanges of information in the identification, seizure and confiscation of criminal assets, involving judicial authorities, in accordance with the declaration of the Justice Ministers.
  • On 7 October 1983, France and Spain signed a defence cooperation agreement. Given developments in the strategic environment and the relations between the two countries, France and Spain have agreed to review its content to reflect their shared desire to maintain closer cooperation on the common security and defence policy. The aim is in particular to strengthen our common response to new threats, including hybrid threats, to protect strategic flows, defend our freedom of action in disputed strategic spaces, including maritime, cyber and air spaces, and to step up the already intense cooperation between our armed forces. In this respect, our two countries will soon organize a defence-format meeting of the Franco-Spanish Defence and Security Council, which will also be an opportunity to update the roadmap produced during the last meeting in 2013.
  • Continue cross-border public health cooperation, including to facilitate the freedom for French and Spanish health professionals to provide medical services on both sides of the border and the automatic recognition of their qualifications, to strengthen the hospital model, unique in Europe, of the binational Franco-Spanish hospital at Puigcerdá, and to define the terms of cross-border cooperation concerning emergency medical assistance, building on the joint reflection already underway.
  • Strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of labour and employment, with the shared goals of enhancing the social dimension of the European Union and continuing cooperation between their labour inspectorates on cross-border work, so as to fight fraud and labour precarity and improve the situation for posted workers.
  • Continue aligning the educational systems of our two countries, as enabled by the signature of the amended BachiBac agreement. Strengthen knowledge of French and Spanish language and culture by developing high-quality linguistic and cultural programmes (BachiBac binational sections, Spanish international sections and Francophone bilingual sections); establish cooperation between French and Spanish vocational training establishments, to facilitate recognition of skills obtained by students during mobility; facilitate the integration of new students in French and Spanish universities; and promote the mobility of future teaching staff and students.
  • Continue the work on our shared history initiated with the implementation of the bilateral agreement of 24 April 2006 concerning Spanish Civil War, exile, resistance and deportation archives. Work together to exploit the great value of the historical archives of the French Office for Refugees and Stateless People (OFPRA) on the Spanish refugee population, and give renewed impetus to cooperation on the subject, drawing on recent work by the French party.
  • Create a bilateral commission to prepare events in 2023 linked to the life and works of Pablo Picasso, a Franco-Spanish embodiment of our European history, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his death.
  • Welcome the dialogue underway between the CEOE and MEDEF business federations and their desire to organize a business forum alongside future summits, and acknowledge the work of the official Chambers of Commerce.


30. At this 26th Summit, France and Spain, bound by centuries of friendship which continues to be woven every day in the intense human, cultural, political and economic exchanges between our two countries, sought to further deepen their bilateral relations within and in support of European integration.

31. Through its tangible impact for many of our citizens, cross-border cooperation cements our bilateral relationship. Joint work will be launched to establish a cross-border strategy between our two countries.

32. In their European commitment, our two countries share many common interests and wish to strengthen their cooperation and convergence through greater coordination, promoting regular monitoring of decisions. To this end, France and Spain have decided to launch work for the conclusion of a treaty on Franco-Spanish bilateral cooperation.