19 july 2012

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets with King Juan Carlos I of Spain

“I am glad that we have met, because each such meeting advances the Russian-Spanish dialogue and cooperation,” Dmitry Medvedev told King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:

Dmitry Medvedev: Your Majesty, colleagues, I am happy to welcome you to Russia. I am glad that we have met, because each such meeting advances the Russian-Spanish dialogue and cooperation. On this occasion you have come to Russia to receive the state prize that you have been awarded. I signed the order relating to this some time ago. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations, because you are a good friend of Russia and it is thanks to your active contribution that Russian-Spanish cooperation has advanced to such a high level. It is for this reason why I have made this decision, which will now be implemented by the incumbent president, Vladimir Putin.

Of course, I am glad to have this opportunity to exchange opinions on the development of cooperation and mutual relations between our countries, in particular economic cooperation, which seems to be proceeding quite well, considering the problems facing the global and European economies. Despite these problems, our trade has grown to reach the pre-crisis level. There have been quite a few positive events recently. Last year we held the Year of Spain in Russia and the Year of Russia in Spain, and we both attended the opening ceremonies of these events. These events were rich and striking, and they allowed Russians to better understand the Spanish soul and the Spanish to learn more about life in Russia and about Russian people.

Your Majesty, I am honoured and very glad to welcome you to Russia.

Juan Carlos I (via interpreter): Thank you, Mr Prime Minister! I was very pleased to hear your words of friendship, your warm words. The truth is that Spain is indeed Russia’s friend, and our objective is to improve relations between us, which are already good anyway. Spain is a true friend of your government and country.

We have done a lot recently. The Year of Russia in Spain and the Year of Spain in Russia was a very important event that helped strengthen our relationship. Unfortunately, you could not attend the closing of the event because of the elections, but it was still very successful. I am also very happy to receive this award. Unfortunately, I could not come immediately, but nevertheless I am very happy to receive it now. Thank you.

I would also like to express our sorrow and condolences over the floods that hit your country. If there is anything we can do to help, we are ready. Also important is the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement between our countries, as it confirms the nature of our relationship. It will be a major contribution.

Mr Prime Minister, a delegation of the Moscow Mayor visited us recently. We discussed infrastructure projects and the development of Moscow.

I would like to mention one issue we discussed today, in particular at the ministerial level. The issue of visas is important for the development of our industry. I think that we should accelerate this process even more as it will help to further the long-term development of the tourism sector. As our Tourism Minister told me, the number of Russian tourists visiting Spain has already reached one million. Russians are always welcome visitors. Historically, our countries are on the opposite ends of Europe, but this has never been an obstacle for communication between us. Mutual exchanges help to promote integration and better understanding between our peoples.

I would also like to thank you for the traditional warm reception I am being given in Russia. I love visiting your country.

Dmitry Medvedev: Your Majesty, to conclude the public part of our meeting, I would like to pass on my heartfelt congratulations to you and the entire Spanish nation on your team’s splendid performance at Euro 2012 and on a quite fantastic achievement which has never been done before: Spain is simultaneously world champion and two-time European champion. I won’t say more because anything I add would be too much for our fans to bear.