Spain officially welcomes the European Union’s ten new member states

In a ceremony this morning in Madrid, Spain’s foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, presided over a short ceremony in the European Union building in Madrid in which the flags of the ten new EU member states were raised to join the other flags already displayed there. The ambassadors of all ten countries attented the ceremony, as did the ambassadors of the other fifteen EU member states.

Meanwhile Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will make his official debut at a European Union meeting of heads of government in the welcome ceremony te be held today in Dublin. This week has been quite a European-intensive one for the Spanish president, with visits to Germany on Wednesday and France on Thursday. Both visits were considered by political commentators to form an important part of Spain’s “return” to European circles. While the previous Spanish government tended to adopt policies which distanced them from official European policy and favoured a close relationship with the United States and the United Kingdom, Spain’s new government has stressed its commitment to forging closer relations with its European partners.

Both the French and the German heads of state have welcomed Spain’s new pro-European policy, and visits to both countries this week were carried out in an atmosphere of optimism and cordiality.