Unions Press King on Cuts

The leaders of Spain’s two main labor unions — the Unión General de Trabajadores and Comisiones Obreras — met with King Juan Carlos today amid the nation’s ongoing economic turmoil.

Meeting at Zarzuela Palace.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

The leaders expressed their opposition to a recent flurry of budget cuts, which they say are hurting workers and the needy.

The King has spoken in favor of European cooperation and integration. However, he has stressed the need for a balanced approach to dealing with the debt crisis.

The labor leaders expressed their discomfort with further EU intervention in Spain’s economy, which may come with painful strings attached.

Pay Cut for King, Prince

King Juan Carlos has decided to cut his own salary by 7.1 percent to conform with the latest austerity measures announced by the Spanish government.

Prince Felipe and the head of the Royal Household will also see a cut, as will other members of the Royal Family, according to various media outlets.

King meets with Socialist leader Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Also, in a change of events, Infanta Cristina and her children will join Infanta Elena and Queen Sofia on vacation at Marivent Palace in Palma De Mallorca. Media reports have indicated that the Queen wanted the family together for at least part of the summer.

Infanta Cristina’s husband, Duke of Palma Iñaki Urdangarin, who is under investigation for corruption allegations, is not expected to attend. The Royal Family has been keeping him at a distance.

The Royal Household announced that King Juan Carlos will meet with Balearic officials and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy during his own visit to Marivent Palace. Media reports also indicate that Queen Sofia will attend the opening of the London Olympics by herself.

Prince Felipe will be on hand for the awards ceremony of the annual King’s Cup regatta in Mallorca. He will also preside over a meeting of foreign ministers at Almudaina Palace, also in Mallorca, to discuss the future of Europe.

King Juan Carlos meeting with King’s Cup organizers at Zarzuela Palace last week.

Tomorrow King Juan Carlos leaves for a trip to Russia.

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Prince, Princess Lobby for Stronger U.S. Ties

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia visited New York, New Jersey and Boston last week to call for stronger ties between the U.S. and Europe, and highlight the importance of Spain in American history and its future.

The week ended on a high note with an appearance with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the end of the United States – Spain Council’s forum in Jersey City.

Prince Felipe and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Their Royal Highneses met with Hispanic luminaries, Spanish business officials and other leaders, including the heads of media giants Telemundo and Univision, to boost Spain’s image in the U.S. and relations between both countries, which took a hit during the debate over the war in Iraq.

Post-Franco Spain has sought to boost its influence in the world, with a focus on Latin America. It appears the Royal Family and other leaders hope to make further inroads in the U.S. through the growing influence of Hispanics.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia with top Obama administration officials, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. Also, U.S.-Spain Council Honorary Chairman Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

During a speech at Harvard University in Boston titled “Spain: An American Nation” as in other events throughout the week, Prince Felipe highlighted the common histories between Spain and the U.S., and the growth of Hispanic economic, linguistic and cultural influence.

“I see Spain not only as a European, Mediterranean or American country, but one with universal reach,” he said. “The Spanish Monarchy,” he added, “remains profoundly committed to the cause of Democracy in Latin America.”

Princess Letizia at New York’s Emily Dickinson School.
© Agencia EFE

Royal Whirlwind, Prince In New York, King Near Gibraltar

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia arrived in the U.S. yesterday and visited IESE Business School’s campus in New York today.

Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Like his father, Prince Felipe spoke about Spain’s ongoing economic troubles. He touted recent reforms and called for “more Europe” to solve the continental crisis. He said the monetary union was “weak” and suggested the need for a stronger pact.

Their Royal Highnesses participated in a business colloquium and met with students on campus. IESE is an outpost of the University of Navarra and the first European business school to set up a permanent facility in New York.

The Prince and Princess of Asturias are also scheduled to visit Harvard University this week.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Just yesterday, Prince Felipe was in Morocco. He met with Prince Moulay Rachid and business leaders from both countries.

© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos

Meanwhile, King Juan Carlos visited Civil Guard facilities near Gibraltar, as scheduled.

Some critics in that British outpost are calling to Monarch’s visit as a hostile act. Fishermen wanting access to disputed waters are calling on the King to intervene on their behalf. Spanish forces have already escorted them on fishing trips.

Queen Sofia is holding down the fort in Madrid. She presided over a meeting of the Royal Patronage for Disabilities and assisted an event organized by the Indian Embassy. She went with her sister Princess Irene.

Queen Sofia with the Indian ambassador to Spain.
© Casa de S.M. el Rey / Borja Fotógrafos