President Vladimir Putin: Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Ladies and gentlemen!
Please allow me to thank you, Your Majesty, and all our Spanish friends for the warm welcome. It has been more than simply official protocol, it has been a real display of friendship and warmth.
I would like to assure you that these feelings are mutual. They are a product of the fact that the Russian people greatly appreciate and are interested in Spain. I would say that they have a truly romantic image of the country of Cervantes, Lope de Vega and Picasso. This follows from the ingenious works your compatriots have produced. And at the same time that there is the same appreciation and understanding of modern Spain and its recent social, economic and cultural achievements.
The history of Russian-Spanish relations goes back more than a century. And I believe that today we should recollect the leaders of our countries: Emperor Carlos V and Grand Duke Vasilii III. They exchanged letters that referred to 'a sincere friendship and alliance' almost four centuries ago.
For Russian citizens Spain always was and will remain among the most respected and attractive states in the world. At the junction between Europe and Africa, Spain has been a historical crossroads for the religions, customs and traditions of different peoples. And it has united this variety into its own unique culture.
The influence that Spain has had on Europe's destiny and on the development of our civilization is well known. The Great Age of Discovery took place under Spanish banners. And in many respects it is thanks to art and the fearlessness of Spanish sailors that humanity crossed the ocean and pushed back the barriers of the known world.
In antiquity Spain was called the country of the evening star and is really inexhaustible and generous concerning its talents. And I would suggest that the wonderful talents of your people are found, first of all, in Spaniards' original character. In their life values, the basis of which is fidelity to origins and customs, a respectful attitude to one's national heritage and to its spiritual and cultural values. But in practice the most important thing is fully identifying one's private destiny with the destiny of one's country.
Strong spirited freedom-loving Spaniards have a powerful feeling of natural advantage, true nationalism. And these laudable qualities helped your people overcome their most dramatic trials with honour.
They helped withstand the severe times of the Reconquista. They helped during the fighting with Napoleon's armies, armies that first learned about the force of national resistance here, in Spain.
And we are proud of the long-lasting strong ties between our peoples, and the multifaceted and successful cooperation between our two states. And we see you as reliable partners, open to dialogue and ready for new things. We believe in our cooperation's prospects and its rich potential. And, of course, we expect that this visit will contribute towards strengthening our common ability for fruitful work and opening new areas for cooperation.
In fact all of this is absolutely equitable to the interests of our countries and peoples. To the interests of our common house, to the interests of safety, justice and a social conscience in Europe.
I propose a toast:
To the health of the Spanish royal family!
To the health of all those present!
To strengthening friendship and cooperation between Spain and Russia!
To peace and well-being for the peoples of our states!