Ambassador Gonzalo Ortiz of Spain in Seoul said 2017 is a year full of promises after the confirmation of the new Spanish Government in October 2016.
In a recent interview with The Korea Post on the occasion of the New Year Interview with the Ambassadors, Ambassador Oritiz stated, “We do not expect national or regional elections in my country during the next year” and added, “The European Union as such has a number of challenges including economic consolidation, tackling the refugee crisis, and the presidential elections in France and General Elections in Germany.” Details of the interview follow:
Question: Any promotional plans for further development of relations between Korea and your country, including the possible dispatch of an economic delegation to Korea?
Answer: We hope that during 2017 the new Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs will pay a visit to Korea, and maybe to retake the State Visit of His Majesty the King Felipe VI if circumstances permit.
We expect the Korea-Spain Forum organized by Casa Asia and The Korea Foundation to be convened in the first semester of 2017.
Q: Please introduce the Head of Government of your country with a copy of the portrait photograph of the Head of Government.
A: Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey is at the helm of the government since December 2011. After the June elections, he managed to be confirmed by the Spanish National Assembly in October 2016.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is a center right politician, with a long political career, who combines moderation and predictability and has led the economic reform process in recent years..
Q: In what areas are the areas of economy where Korean companies are welcome in your country? Do you have any specific Korean business organizations in mind favorably considered for economic cooperation with your country?
A: In 2017, we expect that the flow of Korean tourists to Spain will continue to grow. We also expect an increase of the Spanish visits to Korea.
Koreans have a big interest in open air activities, our gastronomy and our culture. On the other hand, we feel that the image of Korea in Spain should be further promoted.
Spain offers large real estate opportunities for Koreans, has “rule of law” a good climate, excellent health services, and a very attractive market for apartments or villas.
Q: Please state whatever other important details we might have left out from the above questionnaire.
A: In 2017 we hope to enlarge the scope of our Cultural and Public Diplomacy activities. Spanish is an attractive language for a global oriented economy like Korea.
The creation of an Ibero-american Institute in Korea, promoted by public/private initiative, is a definite horizon. We also envisage the establishment in Korea of a branch of the Cervantes Institute, a government organization, devoted to the promotion of the Spanish Language and Culture all over the world.
The Embassy salutes the creation of a new direct air connection between Seoul and Barcelona. From April 2017, Korean Airlines will fly three weekly frequencies to Barcelona, a route which will complement the existing line between Madrid and Seoul.