Merkel and Macron Wish Sanchez Luck for Spain Election Campaign

(Bloomberg) -- Pedro Sanchez’s key European Union allies wished him luck for the rigors of an election campaign at the final summit meeting scheduled before he faces voters on April 28, according to a Spanish official.

The Spanish prime minister held bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, where they discussed medium-term issues on the European agenda such as the next multi-annual budget negotiations and the challenge of managing a more fragmented parliament after the EU elections in May, the official said, asking not to be named discussing private conversations.

Without signaling their preferences for the outcome of Spain’s election, Merkel and Macron offered Sanchez encouragement as colleagues for the unique pressures of an election campaign, the official added. Spanish newspapers had earlier reported the pair had gone as far as to endorse him.

Sanchez, 47, has been a more convivial figure in European politics than his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy, who he ousted in a no-confidence vote last June. Whereas Rajoy often cut an awkward figure at summits, Sanchez has sought to engage more with his EU colleagues, most notably defusing a fight on immigration last year by offering refuge to immigrants rescued at sea after they’d been denied access to Italy.

Still, he faces a battle to cling on to his job in April. Although Sanchez’s Socialists are set to become the biggest party in the next parliament, the prime minister will be well short of a majority and is vulnerable to a possible alliance of three rival parties from the right.

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