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Mr President, Distinguished Members of the Government of the United Mexican States, Your Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, Mr President, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for your very warm words of welcome. I have been looking forward to coming ever since accepting your kind invitation to pay an official visit to Mexico when we met last year at the Summit in Madrid of European, Latin American and Caribbean Heads of State and Government.
This is my first visit to Mexico. Although my schedule will be very busy judging by the programme I hope very much that it will allow me time and opportunity for a first impression of this magnificent country and its splendid culture.
My visit offers a most welcome opportunity to strengthen even further the excellent bilateral relations, which have existed for so long between our countries. Denmark and Mexico may be far apart geographically, but we have maintained ties for a very long time, both on governmental and individual level.
Still, my visit should not be seen as exclusively bilateral. I come also as a representative of a united Europe. In December last year in Copenhagen, in fact during Denmark’s presidency of the European Union, an agreement was reached on the enlargement of the EU. A few months from now, the European Union will encompass 25 Member States and will stretch from the North Eastern corner of Finland to the South Western corner of Portugal, from the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus to the Western Atlantic coast of Ireland.
Still, the geographical extension of the European Union is not the most important aspect. To me and, indeed, to most Europeans, both in the present and future Member States, the significance lies in the historic fact that after two world wars and a Europe divided down the middle for more too many years, we Europeans may now look forward to a common future.
During our talks later today, I am sure we shall have an opportunity, Mr President, to discuss this historic event and its repercussions for Europe's relations with Latin America in general and Mexico in particular. I should like to emphasize already now, however, that the expansion of Europe will not in any way diminish the privileged relations that Mexico has with the European Union thanks to the global agreement that the EU has with your country. On the contrary, the agreement will open new opportunities for Mexico's relationship with an enlarged Europe.
Mr President, I am looking forward to hear your assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the global society in which we are all living. In Denmark as well as in Europe, we have followed with keen interest and admiration your efforts to bring Mexico into this global society.
Your election to the Presidency of the Republic of Mexico marked a turning point in your country's modern history. With you at the helm, Mr President, Mexico is moving toward becoming a modern, democratic State. A state where the rule of law and the principles of good governance are respected.
You made it clear from the moment of your election that respect for human rights and democracy; transparency in Government and the struggle against corruption and impunity in Mexico would be the guiding forces behind your presidency. In Europe, we know and appreciate this and look forward to working with you and your Government towards the attainment of these worthy goals.
Accompanying me on my visit is a delegation of prominent Danish businessmen representing the best of Danish enterprise. It is my hope that the next couple of days will provide not only me, but also them with an opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest with you and representatives of your Government.
I am convinced that the Danish-Mexican Business Forum tomorrow as well as bilateral contacts that may arise from the forum will provide an excellent basis for establishing long term co-operation between Danish and Mexican business to the mutual benefit of our respective countries.
Once again. Thank you very much, Mr President, for the courteous reception here at the beautiful Palacio Nacional in the heart of Mexico City and of the great nation, which is Mexico.