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Mariano Rajoy presents New Economy Forum Prize 2016 to Juan Manuel Santos

Madrid, Wednesday 14 December 2016

Mariano Rajoy began his speech by stressing that the "wonderful" bilateral relations between Spain and Colombia "are based on historical ties, daily work and a shared future". A fine example of these good relations is the decisive support provided by Spain to Colombia's goal of joining the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "This is a process already under way that Spain firmly supports and we hope will be achieved soon".

The President of the Government also recalled that, in addition to their bilateral relations, cooperation between Spain and Colombia has many other areas of action, such as the European Union, the United Nations and the Ibero-American Summits.

European Trust Fund for the Post-Conflict in Colombia

Mariano Rajoy also expressed his satisfaction at the signing on Monday of the Constitutive Agreement of the European Trust Fund for the Post-Conflict in Colombia, an initiative that Spain backed, and indeed made the first contribution to, approved at the last Council of Ministers, and which is now made up of 19 countries.

This fund, explained the President of the Government, "will help contribute to financing rural development projects in Colombia", now that the armed conflict has been vanquished.

Peace process

Pool Moncloa/Diego CrespoThe President of the Government stated that Spain has always been present, in one form or another, "at all the peace processes in Latin America". That is why our country has supported the peace process that has commenced in Colombia, he reiterated, as was made clear on 2 September, when the Lower House of Parliament unanimously approved an Institutional Declaration in support of this agreement.

He added that "peacebuilding has now begun" and "its definitive success" depends on it "being a peace agreement for everyone and on never forgetting the victims and their suffering".

Spain, the best advocate for Latin America to the EU

The President of the Government pointed out that Spain is "the best advocate for Latin America in Brussels", because "it is both a European and an Ibero-American country".

In this regard, Mariano Rajoy referred to the Multiparty Agreements with Colombia and Peru which came into force in August 2013, "decisive" agreements that "shaped the modern framework of our relations, including trade relations", and which led to the removal of visa requirements for Colombian and Peruvian citizens for short-term stays in the Schengen Area. The success of this agreement opened the door for Europe to sign another similar agreement with Ecuador in November.

New Economy Forum Prize

The award of the New Economy Forum Prize 2016 for Economic Development and Social Cohesion to the President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, took place at the Teatro Real in Madrid. The President of the Government was preceded in his speech by the Chairman of New Economy Forum, José Luis Rodríguez García; the Speaker of the Lower House, Ana Pastor, who stated the merits of the award-winner; and President Santos, who expressed his gratitude for the award.

Following the event, the President of the Government met with the President of Colombia and, following their meeting, the two leaders attended a lunch with business leaders at the Ritz Hotel.