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Vladimir Putin presented Russian National Award to King Juan Carlos I of Spain

July 19, 2012, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin presented King Juan Carlos I of Spain with the certificate and honorary symbol of laureate of the 2010 Russian National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Humanitarian Work.

The Russian National Award was conferred to King Juan Carlos I by presidential executive order of February 23, 2011. For certain reasons, Juan Carlos I was unable to attend the award ceremony on June 12, 2011 at the Kremlin.

The King of Spain donated the monetary portion of the award to restoring temples in the Spanish city of Lorca which suffered an earthquake in May 2011.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Your Majesty, ladies and gentlemen, friends,

It is truly a great privilege for me to present this honorary symbol of Russian National Award laureate to King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

Those who become laureates of the award for outstanding achievements in humanitarian work do not require any introduction as their actions speak for themselves. These are bright, distinguished individuals who have made an enormous input into promoting moral and humanitarian ideals. All of this fully applies to you, Your Royal Majesty.

You are well-known in your homeland; as the King of Spain, you are a symbol of national unity. You have earned this unique trust through your devotion to the interests of your state and your adherence to the high ideals of European culture. You have always been attentive to people, their concerns and their needs. Many in your country rightfully believe that the King understands their problems like nobody else.

You are greatly respected in Russia. We recognise your successes in the humanitarian sector, as well as your support for “people’s diplomacy,” which helps citizens better know and understand one another, eliminating stereotypes and building joint plans. Through your multifaceted work, you truly promote the reinforcement of mutual understanding and trust between peoples.

We know you as a dedicated advocate for intensifying contacts between our countries’ civil societies, citizens, and business communities. It is symbolic that you arrived in Moscow today with a substantial delegation of Spanish entrepreneurs.

We are always happy to see you in our country as a cherished guest and a true friend of Russia.

Please allow me to once again congratulate you, Your Royal Majesty, on being conferred the Russian National Award. Let me wish you personally, all the members of the royal family, and all the people of Spain success and all the very best.

Thank you for your attention.

King Juan Carlos I of Spain (retranslated): Mr President,

I would like to start this speech by expressing my condolences and solidarity on behalf of the Spanish people in connection with the tragedy of the recent flooding in Krasnodar Territory. Through you, Mr President, we would like to express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and everyone who has suffered.

Mr President, I am proud that I will be receiving the honorary symbol of the Russian National Award for Outstanding Achievements in Humanitarian Work from you today. This award confirms the historically friendly ties uniting our nations. I am proud to be in the company of the outstanding individuals who have also received this award.

Russia and Spain are ancient, great peoples and nations. Our relations have roots spanning many centuries. In 1667, the first Russian ambassador to Spain arrived at the port of Cadiz, and it was there, in the city of Cadiz, that the first Spanish Constitution saw the light of day a century and a half later, in 1812. This was a significant year for the history of our countries, since it was the year of the first Patriotic War in Russia. Both of these events have promoted the rise of our nations. This year, we are marking their 200th anniversary. I am pleased to say that Russia was the first country to recognise the Cadiz Cortes by way of a treaty of friendship and sincere union and alliance, which was signed by Emperor Alexander I.

The Cadiz Constitution became an example for all other nations and gave rise to political processes that gripped all of Europe, inspiring the political development of our brotherly nations in Latin America; it also became a symbol of freedom in Russia.

Spanish thinker and philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset said that Spain and Russia are two key points on what he called “the great diagonal of Europe”. And although we are far from the continent’s geographic centre, we are essential to understanding Europe’s identity and humanitarian input.

Spain welcomes the achievements of your country on the path to progress, already being observed in your nation over the last 20 years. Russia has become a first-rate partner for Europe. Our ties go far beyond the framework of geographic vicinity, because Russia and the European Union are members of one large family. And in this sense, you certainly understand that as far as relations with Europe are concerned, you can always count on Spain’s support.

Because of the entrepreneurial spirits of our peoples, our countries have been able to quickly surpass the bounds of their geographic zone and surroundings, building bridges to America, Asia, the Pacific Region and North Africa. I spoke about this in St Petersburg, when we were launching the Year of Russia in Spain and the Year of Spain in Russia – it is impossible to understand Europe without understanding the footsteps and contributions of our states. The challenges we are facing in the 21st century require joint actions.

European countries and Russia have proven their ability to cooperate in overcoming global threats and challenges such as terrorism and maritime piracy. On the other hand, the processes of political transformation and change currently underway in the Arab World and in North Africa open opportunities for building mutual understanding and cooperation. We are responsible for this together and must join forces to put an end to the dramatic events in Syria. No doubt, all of this must occur within the framework of the United Nations.

Mr President, Spain and Russia are strong because of their people and the international community is going through a period wherein our peoples’ values, such as pride in one’s nation, courage, hard work and a sense of purpose, are highly important and necessary. We are living through a very difficult time: we need to develop a vision of the future and work together to achieve our joint goals. Our pan-European space must become an area of prosperity and progress. Our peoples deserve this.

Mr President, it is a great honour for me to accept this award. I know that we must cooperate for the sake of freedom and modernisation, taking into account our joint responsibility for the world’s future. At the same time, I believe that we must not forget about the humanitarian achievements that we have reached. Thus, I would like to say that I am donating the monetary portion of this award to rebuilding the city of Lorca, which suffered from an earthquake in 2011. I very much hope that the damage will be repaired.

I want to once again express my condolences in connection with the recent flooding in Krasnodar Territory.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

July 19, 2012, The Kremlin, Moscow