On the 9th of October H. E. Mr. Alejandro Polanco, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Spain, and his wife

gave a reception at the Lozenets residence on the occasion of the country's national holiday. It was attended by numerous guests: officials, ambassadors, representatives of Bulgarian institutions, business, media, Spaniards living in our country, friends of the Spanish language and culture.

This is the first national holiday of H. E. Mr. Alejandro Polanco in Bulgaria, since he recently delivered his credentials - on the 20th of June this year. In his welcome address to the guests, listened to with great interest by everyone, the ambassador noted:

Last year in Spain, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of our constitution and in 2019 the 5th anniversary of the ascension of His Majesty King Felipe VI to the throne.

During these four decades, Spain has established itself as one of the most democratic, advanced, modern, solidary and tolerant countries in the world. Spain has deeply affirmed its European affiliation and commitment to the 2030 Goals. The last 40 years have been the best of our history in political, economic and, above all, social matters.

Prestigious international indexes put us at the forefront of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Spain enjoys a modern society with strong institutions that has overcome the challenges we had faced over the last 40 years. This we have achieved hand in hand, with friendly countries like Bulgaria, by sharing the processes of European and Atlantic integration and democratic institutional transition.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Bulgaria on its recent international institutional appointments in the management of the International Monetary Fund and the Innovation and Youth Commission within the new European Commission. This is a significant recognition of the international weight of Bulgaria, as well as of the presence of women in Bulgarian politics.

Spain is also pleased with the appointment of Mr. Josep Borrell as High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Policy and Security. He will undoubtedly approach the great challenges ahead with motivation and desire.

Spain has an important economic partnership with Bulgaria. The trade relations and the exchange of goods and services are significant, but I believe that there is room for improvement in the reciprocal investment and that all policies leading to better mutual understanding should be encouraged. Tourism is playing an important role in the economies of both countries and we must look for possible synergies.

Modernity and progress are also reflected in the Spanish society. Many of my fellow countrymen present in Bulgaria like me are an example of this - an example of Spanish professional talent and emotional intelligence, of the importance of understanding and loving the country in which you live. Therefore, you are also our country's ambassadors, contributing to its prestige so that, year after year, Spain holds a higher place among the leading countries.

Thank you for this daily and often tacit effort, which, however, is extremely important for getting to know our society and the Spanish cohabitation project. In this way, the image of true Spain will be recognized outside; the image of this great country to which we belong and which has formed so many friends worldwide.

Today I would like to emphasize the support of Roca, Indra, Atus and the Arenales Foundation. Especially here in Bulgaria, where the number of mixed marriages is large and a significant part of the Bulgarian population shares with us their daily routine in Spain. That is why a new Consulate will open in Barcelona tomorrow. In Bulgaria, where there are 13 Spanish-language schools, where the new Queen Sofia School will be opened on the 19th October, and where the Universities of Sofia, Plovdiv and Veliko Turnovo continue to provide the starting point for linguists in the Balkans.

Let us also not forget the Sephardic community in Bulgaria, pointing out that this year the process of granting Spanish citizenship to those who left their homeland 500 years ago is ending. These are 127,000 applications of people, including those of Bulgarian origin, who have received a passport from the country they have always carried in their hearts.

Next year will be a special one for the Spanish-Bulgarian relations as we will celebrate the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between our countries. Let me quote here the conversation between the then king Ferdinand I and the first Spanish envoy. The king says: "I very much wish the good relations between the two peninsulas at the end of Europe to be ever closer and more intense." This is a message to which we all join today and recall it on the occasion of this anniversary, for which we are already preparing a special program.

Before I finish, let me thank the Bulgarian authorities for their hospitality and welcome, which is not a novelty in itself, but which impressed me with their warmth and sincerity.       

The speech was followed by applause and lively conversations, and many of the guests got acquainted with the ambassador and wished him a successful mandate.

All guests had the opportunity to taste the traditional delicacies of the Spanish cuisine and enjoy the wonderful Spanish wines.

Photos: "Diplomatic Spectrum"