Spain/letter from M. François Hollande
Paris, June 18, 2014
As Your Majesty ends his reign and abdicates the Spanish crown, on France and the French people’s behalf, and personally, I want to extend to him my most sincere wishes and express our gratitude for the essential part he has played in strengthening Franco-Spanish friendship.
On this day, French people remember the young king who, on 23 February 1981, stood up to the putschists. On that day, you pitted your courage and your determination against those who looked back nostalgically to a bygone era. The image is lodged in our memories as an example of your unfailing devotion to democracy, unity and reconciliation, a devotion rewarded by Spain’s European Union membership and its economic, social and cultural renaissance.
Our two countries share a history stretching back centuries. By forging ties of unshakeable trust with the French people and their representatives, you have strengthened this legacy. Spain and France have a shared understanding of the challenges of making the values of peace, security, prosperity and solidarity prevail in Europe and the world. Our exceptional cooperation, throughout your reign, has borne witness to this; I am sure that the future will bear it out.
A new page in Spanish history is now being turned, at a time when Spain – on which the [economic] crisis has taken a heavy toll and which has made painful efforts – is beginning its recovery. You can rest assured that Felipe VI will enjoy the deep friendship and trust which France showed you and it will stand unfailingly at his side. I shall happily maintain the best relations with him.
Convinced that you will use your experience for a long time yet to serve Spain, the Spanish people and the friendship between our two countries, I look forward to continuing with you our discussions and welcoming you to France, where you are always welcome. Please also send my regards and convey the French people’s affection and respect to Her Majesty Queen Sofía.
(complimentary close, with handwritten addition)./.