Spain’s king advocates for Ibero-American unity and EU ties

Santo Domingo, Mar 24 (EFE).- Spain’s King Felipe VI on Friday wrapped up a day full of events ahead of the XXVIII Ibero-American Summit in Santo Domingo during which he raised the challenges facing the region and advocated a strengthening of relations between countries and with the European Union (EU).

The Spanish monarch had a busy schedule with bilateral meetings, including with the president of Uruguay, Luis Lacalle Pou, and host Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader.

He also met with a representation of young Ibero-American leaders, with whom he talked about the future of the region and participated in an event of support for the Ibero-American Disability Program, aimed at the inclusion of this sector that makes up about 15 percent of the Latin American population.

Felipe VI later attended the closing of the XIV Ibero-American Business Meeting with President Abinader, the leaders of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso; Paraguay, Mario Abdo Benítez, and the Chilean secretary-general of the Ibero-American General Secretariat, Andrés Allamand.

In his speech, the king of Spain encouraged the strengthening of links between Ibero-American countries to “jointly take advantage of all the opportunities” offered by this space, a “great project that requires a common strategic vision and the greatest commitment of all.”

The challenges facing the region “justify, even more so, the need for this type of meeting to share the concerns that affect our societies and thus seek recommendations that lead us to implement joint measures,” he said.

In order to overcome these challenges, the monarch highlighted the importance of the Spanish presidency of the European Union in the second half of the year.

He also highlighted the EU-Community of Latin American and Caribbean States summit in July in Brussels, “in which a portfolio of strategic investment projects for the region that will have the support of the EU and its member states will be presented.”

In addition, among the priorities of the Spanish EU presidency, he indicated support and greater impetus for the signing of pending bilateral agreements, the objective of which is to liberalize trade and establish a framework for strategic relations between the EU and Latin America.

Among these agreements, the Spanish monarch referred to the Mexico Global Agreement and the Association Agreement with Chile with Central America and with Mercosur.

After closing the Ibero-American Business Meeting, Felipe VI was received along with the rest of the summit participants by the Dominican president, first lady Raquel Arbijos and Allamand at the foot of the Spanish Ozama Fortress, the first permanent military structure in the Americas.

In this historic setting, the official opening of the regional meeting took place, which on Saturday will hold its most important day with the plenary sessions.

The Spanish monarch’s day concluded with a dinner for heads of state and government at Casa de Bastidas, in the colonial zone of Santo Domingo, a historic building whose construction dates back to the 15th century.

On Saturday, after the plenary sessions and the official closing of the summit, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Costa Rica’s President Rodrigo Chaves before flying back to Spain.

This is the fifth Ibero-American Summit in which Felipe VI participates as king of Spain. EFE


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