Remarks Prior to a Meeting With King Felipe VI of Spain in Madrid, Spain
King Felipe. Mr. President, welcome. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.
[At this point, King Felipe made remarks in Spanish; no translation was provided. He then continued in English as follows.]
Mr. President, as I said earlier on when I welcomed you at the Torrejón Air Force Base, it is truly a pleasure to welcome you to Spain, to our nation's capital, Madrid.
We've had the opportunity actually to meet on previous occasions, in our previous capacities as well. [Laughter] And I always treasure those opportunities in my memory. And we've had chances to talk in the—about things in the past, and I really look forward to do that on this occasion as well.
The Kingdom of Spain and the United States of America share profound historical and cultural ties—we all know that inside out—and we're very proud of them. But more importantly, we share common values and principles that are, today, the foundation of a rich and wide-ranging relationship and a sincere friendship which we highly value and which we want to continue strengthening every day.
President Biden and his delegation, with Secretary Blinken ahead of it—to which we also extend a warm welcome—are visiting us to attend a very important NATO summit here in Madrid. This is without a doubt an especially relevant summit, one in which the allied countries must continue to show unity and determination to defend our freedom and our democratic values.
Mr. President, Queen Letizia and I, our Government, the Spanish people are all delighted to have you here with us, together with your delegation and together with your wife, the First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden. And we wish you a very happy, albeit short, stay in Madrid.
Thank you very much.
President Biden. Thank you very much. Well, thank you Your Majesty. There's an old expression in a little town in Delaware called Claymont, Delaware, a little steel town. And they say: "We're like poor relatives. We show up when we're invited, and we stay longer than we should." So be careful. We may not go back. [Laughter] This is my second opportunity to be in this magnificent facility. And it's—the royal palace is just incredible.
And notwithstanding the majesty of this palace, we do have—share the same values. As a matter of fact, some suggest we wouldn't be an independent country were it not for you guys some years ago. And—but I've traveled to Madrid as Vice President. And quite frankly, it's wonderful to return here again to discuss the consequences of what particularly is happening today in the world.
This is—we're at a moment of historical—an inflection point in American—in world history. Things are changing. They're changing drastically not only in terms of the politics of the world, but everything from pandemic diseases to dealing with everything from climate change.
And so I want to thank you for hosting this NATO meeting because it's been almost—40 years; 40 years now you've all been members of NATO. And we're all better off for it. All of us.
And today, NATO is united and as united and galvanized as, I believe, it's ever been. And we are ready to face the threats of Russian aggression, because quite frankly, there's no choice. It's been a—the most significant abuse of power since World War II and an invasion of that many people into another country in Europe. Some people thought that was not likely to happen again, but it did.
But we responded. We responded in unison. And when we agreed we were going to respond, we acknowledged there was going to be some costs to our people. They were going to—in us—our imposition of sanctions on Russia.
But our people have stood together. They stood up, and they've stood strong. And you know, as I told President Sánchez, who I met with a moment ago, that—I want to thank you, Your Highness, for the support of the Spanish people, and not only as it relates to what is going on in Europe and—but what's happening in North Africa, as well as Latin America. The help and support and the input has been extremely valuable.
You know, I tell people that the idea—we've always—we've had great migrations, flows into the United States over the years. We're a nation of immigrants. But an interesting statistic, Your Highness, that—I think it's 24 out of every 100 students in grade 1 through 12 in America speaks Spanish—speaks Spanish—as their original language. And so the future of my country depends considerably on the assimilation of a population that is going to have all the same values that we possess and have.
And your help in Latin America is also extremely important, and I look forward to—from here to—and Europe to Latin America, to the Caribbean, to Africa. The partnership between our countries is going to determine a good—large part how well things look 10 years from now and 15 years from now.
So we have to stay together. The unity is important. And I think we're off to a very, very good start demonstrating the power of democracies in the second quarter of the 21st century, because there is a contest between autocracies and democracies, and we have to succeed. And I'm confident we will with your help.
NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 6:05 p.m. at the Palacio Real de Madrid. In his remarks, he referred to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón of Spain.
Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to a Meeting With King Felipe VI of Spain in Madrid, Spain Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/356629