Ardern and Spanish PM announce working holiday visa deal

The number of young New Zealanders and Spaniards who will be able to travel and work in each other’s countries has increased from 200 to 2,000 after a meeting between the leaders of the two countries.

By Katie Scotcher from

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Spanish counterpart Pedro Sánchez met in Madrid.

The leaders signed a joint declaration of strategic partnership between the two countries last year.

Ardern said the boost to the working holiday/youth mobility scheme reflected the strength of the relationship between Spain and New Zealand.

“New Zealand and Spain are great friends, with many shared values. Today’s meeting gave us the opportunity to discuss how we can continue to strengthen our ties through trade, cooperation in areas of common interest and our people. I look forward to welcoming President Sánchez to New Zealand in the future,” Ardern said.

The leaders discussed deepening trade and economic ties between the two countries and agreed that a “high quality” agreement between New Zealand and the European Union “would play an important role in creating opportunities for New Zealand and Spanish companies in Europe and the Indo-Pacific”. .

“I shared with President Sanchez my views on what an EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement could look like. This would allow us to showcase sustainability and climate in a trade deal – an issue of deep concern to the EU,” Ardern said.

Ardern and Sanchez discussed regional issues in the Indo-Pacific and the war in Ukraine.

They also officially launched the ‘Global Values ​​Partnership’ which is a ‘reflection of the shared vision between Spain and New Zealand for the world that the countries want to shape together’.

The partnership is based on the will of both countries to support a “rules-based international order through greater and better cooperation, including at the multilateral level”.

The leaders also agreed to adopt a seabird conservation action plan “to enhance cooperation on concrete projects to protect seabirds, including the endangered Antipodean albatross, whose Migration patterns include the area in which New Zealand and Spain operate”.

Speaking to reporters after their meeting, Ardern said Spain had “long supported” a trade deal between New Zealand and the EU as they saw the opportunity to create a “gold standard”, incorporating sustainability and climate awareness in any agreement.

“And we discussed what we can do to make sure we get that deal with the other EU members,” she said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez.

France, keen to protect its own domestic agricultural industry, has strongly rebuffed a deal with New Zealand. Ardern had this message ahead of his meeting with President Emmanuel Macron on NZT night.

“If you can’t sign an agreement with New Zealand, then who can you, because we are showing how and why it is so important that we put into action, all these values ​​that France promotes, for example, around of the climate.”

In the final stages of negotiations, she said “essential” details were for ministers to hammer out; his role was to “make sure those leaders make sure their negotiating teams know what this deal means.”

The objective is to obtain a “commercially significant” and high quality agreement, and it is “not acquired” that this trip will be concluded.

“We are here to keep the momentum around the negotiations going and to put a lot of effort into what has been about four years of negotiations,” Ardern said.

“It demonstrates that these can be very long, and that’s because we’re looking for the best possible deal we can get for our exporters in a very difficult environment.”

While in Madrid, Ardern will address NATO in an “intervention”, having been invited to attend alongside other Asian partners.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Spanish President Pedro Sánchez meet in Madrid.

She wants to give New Zealand’s point of view on the Ukrainian conflict, but also to hear from European leaders who have visited Kyiv recently or who are in regular communication with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Ardern, like Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, has now received an invitation to visit Ukraine, but it is not one she will be able to accept, mainly due to ‘back-to-back’ travel commitments over the next month. .

“But my key message to the Ukrainian leadership would be that our support will continue whether or not there is a visit,” she said.

“New Zealand stands with Ukraine, and I hope they have seen this throughout with their continued support.”

Ardern to attend NATO summit on Wednesday night NZT; it will be a “closed shop” in terms of media access to the leaders’ speeches, but she said New Zealand’s “fiercely held independent foreign policy” will be a key objective.

“And that continues to this day, despite the highly contested environment we find ourselves in, but it will be important for me on this stage to articulate those independent values ​​and what that means with a conflict like the war in Ukraine.”

Ardern will deliver a speech, likely focused on Christchurch’s call to weed out extremist content online, at a conference focused on democracy-affirming technologies.

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