In his first ever speech at the United Nations Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the General Assembly that Spain has “not let itself be radicalized by xenophobia”.
The Socialist Party (PSOE), leader defended diversity and legal immigration, stressing that Spain is one of the few European countries without an openly prejudiced party sitting in parliament.
“Spain has suffered the blows of the economic crisis like few other countries in Europe. Yet despite this, the vast majority of Spanish society has never turned its back on the dramatic reality of immigration,” said Sánchez.
“I feel proud of a society that has not allowed itself to get radicalized by a xenophobic rhetoric based on fear of the other,” added Sánchez. When asked several times during his visit to New York why racism has not taken hold in Spain as much as other European countries, the prime minister said that it is “because we were once a nation of emigrants, and also of refugees.”
The 46-year-old will sign the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Marrakech, Morocco in December, and listed the steps he considers as essential to combat the rise of xenophobia. “Investing in education and in youth, adopting an integrating approach to the immigration issue, giving the media the tools to fight hate speech, and combating stereotypes are all essential,” he said.
Sánchez went on to talk about New York as an example, calling it “a city that saw millions of human beings arrive here, fleeing poverty and ideological or religious persecution, most of them Europeans. Today, a veil of collective amnesia extends over the memory of what we are: pure diversity.”
The Spanish PM also spoke against the discrimination of women, and pointed out that 60% of the members of his own government are female “because we want to lead by example.”