From Sunday June 28 to Wednesday July 1st, the Spanish monarchs Philip (Felipe) VI and Letizia made their first state visit outside the European continent, choosing Mexico because of the cultural, commercial and diplomatic ties between both nations.
Welcoming the royal couple at the International Airport of Mexico City was Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Antonio Meade, who described the visit as ‘very special.’
After the official welcome hosted by the President Enrique Peña Nieto at Mexico City’s Campo Marte, the European monarchs received the keys to the city from the mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Angel Mancera, who also recognized them as distinguished guests.
During a speech Philip VI said: “This recognition is for us an invitation to become ‘chilangos’ [the slang demonym for people from Mexico City] and become a part of the exciting everyday life of Mexico City, one of the most beautiful and fascinating cities in the world.”
Even before becoming King, Philip IV of Spain has been known for his politically active role in diplomatic relations between Spain and Latin American countries, a trait which has led him to represent the crown on several events such as the Iberoamerican Summit.
As part of the agenda, the monarchs paid a visit to the Mexican Permanent Commission of Congress. “Spain is also the second largest investor in Mexico and this confirms the trust that Spain, its businesses and its people, have in the present and future possibilities of such a dynamic country and such a vibrant society,” said the King during his visit. “On the other hand, Mexico has in recent years become the sixth largest international investor in Spain which is testament to the power and global outreach of its large companies.”
With this in mind, Philip VI expressed to the Mexican government Spain’s interest in increasing trade between the two countries and raising investment in areas such as renewable energy and the space industry.
President Enrique Peña Nieto recognized the efforts of the monarchs to promote cooperation and friendship between Mexico and Spain, bestowing upon King Philip VI the honor of the Order of the Aztec Eagle – Mexico’s highest decoration awarded to foreigners – in the form of a neck order, while Queen Letizia was granted the honor in a Special Category sash form.
The royal couple will also serve as honorary witnesses to the signing of an agreement between the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the Cervantes Institute and the University of Salamanca. This document will establish the International Service for the Assessment of the Spanish Language (Siele), through which it may be possible to obtain an official document to accredit one’s level of Spanish online.