The Business Year

His Majesty Felipe VI

PORTUGAL - Diplomacy

His Majesty Felipe VI

King of Spain,

Bio

His Majesty King Felipe VI of Bourbon and Greece is the third child of Their Majesties the King Juan Carlos and the Queen Sofía. In 1981, he received the Collar of the Distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece, granted by His Majesty the King Juan Carlos, Head and Sovereign of the Order. His father, King Juan Carlos, abdicated the Spanish throne and sanctioned the preceptive Organic Law on June 18, 2014. On June 19, 2014, Felipe took the Oath set forth in Article 61 of the Constitution and was proclaimed King before Parliament, taking the name of Felipe VI. The King holds the military rank of Captain General of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, the highest military rank, which corresponds exclusively to the supreme commander of the Armed Forces.

Portugal and Spain have been working closely to foster a culture of innovation to better cope with the demands of an ever-changing environment.

Just a few months have passed since the last COTEC Europe Forum. At that time, we were celebrating, with all due caution, the return to a certain normality, the fact that we were able to meet again at our traditional annual meeting. It was there, in Malaga, that we analyzed the lines to advance in the transition toward an intangible economy in Europe and also where the three COTEC entities, Portugal, Italy and Spain, committed themselves to work together for talent, the “most valuable of the intangibles, the one that makes all the others possible.” On this occasion, we met under the theme “Culture at the meeting point of innovation,” promoting precisely this commitment to talent and giving continuity to a humanistic perspective, essential to respond to the various challenges of our time and which is a sign of COTEC’s identity. However, in order to improve things—processes, products, environments—we first have to know them. Hence the importance of remembering, now more than ever, that nothing can be taken for granted and everything may be at risk if we do not continue to work to defend and protect it.

A culture of innovation also entails knowing that progress does not only occur when knowledge helps to identify and take advantage of opportunities but also when it is used to prevent and counteract threats such as those that are so close at hand in these turbulent times. And in this context of culture, of innovation, of European cooperation, I would also like to remember the Ukrainian people, who are suffering a terrible aggression, and we cannot but think of the suffering that is happening to them these days, and in doing so we appeal to our principles, peace, collaboration, respect for human rights, and the desire for a peaceful settlement of differences.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of the three organizations since their foundation is precisely to have fostered this kind of culture in our countries. Or, to put it another way, to have incorporated innovation among the main attributes of our culture in the hope that, if not for our own, at least for the next generations, innovation will be a behavior—an attitude—assimilated with closeness and full normality, like the rest of the customs we share.

What is now presented as a valid aspiration was not so valid just a few decades ago. Prejudices had to be overcome, complexes had to be shaken off, and examples had to be set. First, for the three countries linked by COTEC to show themselves as imminently innovative economies and societies and, more recently, and in a context of evident complexity, to unite to propose and share from COTEC Europe their own model of innovation inspired by the best values of our shared culture: open and supportive.

It is a model that does not aspire to impose itself, although it does aspire to leave its mark, because in southern Europe, as far as innovation is concerned, we have to continue learning, but we also have some things to teach. COTEC plays an important role at different levels of the education system in the three countries, working to facilitate society’s access to all the tools, knowledge, and skills that will enable them to cope with the demands of an ever-changing environment.

Although our language is one of the few things that we do not share with our dear friends from COTEC Italy and Portugal, beyond their common roots, they have similar and complementary visions that enrich the constructive and transformative conversation that these annual meetings entail.

Undoubtedly, these are times in which culture is also key to economic progress and social well-being. Fora such as this one go into this in greater depth and show that it is possible. Let us therefore promote synergies between culture, innovation and business. Let us therefore promote continuous improvement. 

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