Benigno Aquino and Felipe VI yesterday in Zarzuela’s Palace. /Picture: Royal Household
Eduardo González. Madrid
This Monday, the King Felipe VI received, in the Palace of Zarzuela, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino, who has started in Madrid his first official tour of the European Union since he assumed the position, in 2010.
The meeting took place in the audience room, where both leaders dialogued before meeting privately at the King’s office. Aquino also plans to meet the president of the Government, Mariano Rajoy, and the Philippine community in Spain at the School Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas, in Madrid.
Aquino went to Zarzuela accompanied by the Philippine Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alberto del Rosario; the Spanish secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Gonzalo de Benito; and the Spanish Ambassador in Philippines and the Philippine Ambassador in Spain, Luis Calvo and Carlos Salinas, according to information provided by the Royal Household.
The tour’s objective is analyzing the bilateral cooperation and the development cooperation works started by Spain in the archipelago. The Philippines is included as a priority country for the Spanish cooperation. Last March, Aquino met the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel García-Margallo, in Manila, to sign the cooperation plan with the Philippines 2014-2017, with a budget of 50 million euros, as well as to deal with the business cooperation in infrastructures and water treatment.
The Philippines is a priority country for the Spanish cooperation, with 50 million euros for 2014-2017
Last 12 September, the Spanish Government authorized the signing of the agreement with the Philippines on cooperation to fight against transnational crime, which makes express reference to terrorism as “a way of criminality”, including its support and financing.
After his stay in Spain, Benigno Aquino will travel to Belgium, France and Germany with the objective of dialoguing about business and investment projects and getting support in his attempt to solve the sea dispute with China through an international arbitration. The tour, which will last around two weeks, will also include an official visit to the United States, according to information provided by the Philippine press.