At the public discussion held in Madrid, “Fórum Europa”, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle not only praised Spain’s reform efforts but also made it clear that Germanywould stand by Spain in dealing with the economic and financial crisis. Westerwelle had already emphasised the deep friendship between the two countries and their joint commitment to Europe on Monday.
At the beginning of his visit to Madrid, Westerwelle received the Spanish “Grand Cross of the Order of Civil Merit”. The “Gran Cruz de la Orden del Mérito Civil” was awarded by the Spanish King Juan Carlos I and presented to the Foreign Minister by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy at the palace of La Moncloa, his official residence.
Rajoy called the German Foreign Minister a great friend of Spain. Westerwelle had made a key contribution to enhancing bilateral relations as well as to European unification, Rajoy stated.
In his speech, Foreign Minister Westerwelle said, ”the order is an expression of the deep friendship our countries enjoy. This friendship is based on common values, mutual trust and the firm desire to shape the future together“.
With regard to cooperation on European issues, Foreign Minister Westerwelle said that Spain had been a “valued partner in Europefor many years. Our countries are traditional and reliable supporters of European integration.”
Common values, mutual trust
Afterwards, Foreign Minister Westerwelle met his Spanish opposite number García-Margallo for a bilateral discussion. As part of his visit to Madrid, on Tuesday Foreign Minister Westerwelle went on to take part in the public discussion “Fórum Europa” at the Nueva Economía Fórum. At this event, the topics of German-Spanish cooperation in managing the crisis as well as the future of the European Union are on the agenda.
When he addressed the Forum, Westerwelle spoke of Spain's determined policy of reform. The Minister noted that Germanyhad supported its partner in these efforts from the outset, and now they were both pleased to see signs that Spain was on the path to recovery.
Westerwelle equally stated that “the real competition is (...) between Europe and the world”. Common values needed to be protected, as “Our fundamental values are our trump card in this globalised world.”
Staunch supporters of Europe
Germany and Spain are connected by multifaceted relations, both the countries’ economies as well as their societies are closely linked. The Governments in Berlin and Madrid regularly consult each other on issues relating to European policy.
At the joint invitation of Foreign Minister Westerwelle and his Spanish counterpart García-Margallo, 16 European Foreign Ministers, a Vice-President of the EU Commission and Members of the European Parliament met recently, on 19 and 20 July 2013, in Palma de Mallorca for a “Roundtable on the future of Europe”.
They agreed on the Declaration of Mallorca for a strong, competitive and engaged Europe. The latest German-Spanish intergovernmental consultations took place in Berlin in February 2013. Most recently, Prime Minister Rajoy was in Berlin on 3 July 2013 for the Conference on Youth Unemployment.