Speech by His Majesty the King at the lunch on the occasion of the official visit to the Netherlands of Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico

Mr President, Señora Rivera de Peña,


Su visita subraya la calurosa amistad entre los Estados Unidos Mexicanos y el Reino de los Países Bajos.

Mr President, for over five years now you have led one of the largest countries in the world. In those years Mexico has shown itself to be an ally that is willing to share responsibility for the global community.

We have come to know your nation as a valuable UN partner. Mexico has taken on the role of building bridges between North and South, and between East and West. Your country has shown boldness with its ambitious climate targets and its efforts to better protect the rights of migrants. The Netherlands also respects Mexico’s commitment to take part in UN peace missions. We hope to work more closely with you in this area in the future.

This is an important year for your country, as it prepares for elections. We will follow the developments with interest, not least because we are neighbours. Part of our Kingdom lies in the Caribbean. That proximity strengthens the shared bond we feel.

We admire the collective achievements of the Mexican people, including creating a highly developed economy. You yourself have done much to boost these efforts. Historic reforms have been carried out under your leadership that have made Mexico more open and competitive, and brought your country greater prosperity. You have championed free trade and in doing so, found the Netherlands at your side. We hope that the trade agreement between Mexico and the European Union will soon be ratified and implemented.

Mr President, we are aware that your country also faces major challenges. The battle against organised crime is perhaps the biggest. It involves not just curbing gun crime, but also tracing perpetrators and bringing them to justice. Human rights need to be respected and you have worked hard on measures to better protect human rights defenders and journalists. The General Law on Disappearances passed last year by the Mexican Congress is a good example. Implementing this legislation will require ongoing attention in the coming period.

Mexico has shown strength by raising this sensitive issue itself. For instance within the Human Rights Council and in the dialogue with the European Union.

Let me assure you: the Netherlands is ready to increase collaboration with your country wherever possible. We are already one of the biggest investors in Mexico, and our two countries are working together in the fields of agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water management, education and culture. All these partnerships will be boosted by your visit to our country, for which we are very grateful. We share your hope that the fruits of our cooperation will benefit all Mexicans.

Mr President, we work together as partners, and as friends. If we sometimes face each other as competitors, it is only in the sporting arena. Like four years ago in Fortaleza, in the last sixteen of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

I’m aware of the Mexican lament:

‘¡No era penal!’

This year we’ll be forced to watch from the side lines. So you’ll have to wait another four years to get your revenge. At least, we hope it will only be four years!

Mr President, almost 10 years ago, a speech I gave in your country caused something of a stir.

I’m sure you know what I’m referring to…

Today’s first course shows what we like to do best with camarones!

May I now ask you all to please raise your glasses.

To your health, Mr President and to yours, Señora Rivera de Peña.

To our friendship!