King Felipe VI presents the Charles V European Award to the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres (R), in a ceremony held at the Yuste Monastery, Cáceres, Spain, 9 May 2023. EFE/J.J. Guillen

Spain King lauds European values, hands UN chief Charles V award

Caceres, Spain, May 9 (EFE).- Spain’s King Felipe VI said Tuesday that “lasting solutions” to challenges such as the war in Ukraine can only be found with dialogue, understanding and consensus.

The monarch was speaking at a ceremony being held in the Yuste monastery in the western Spanish city of Caceres, where the secretary-general of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, was given the Charles V European Award.

The ceremony was held on the same day as Europe Day, which commemorates the end of World War II on the continent.

Spain’s King Felipe VI (C) chats with Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa (2nd-L) as they pose for a family picture after presenting the Carlos V European Award to UN Secretary General, Portuguese Antonio Guterres (2nd-R), at Yuste Monastery in Caceres province, western Spain, 09 May 2023. EFE/ J.J. Guillen / POOL

Among the challenges facing Europe, the king highlighted the war in Ukraine, triggered by the “unacceptable” Russian invasion, which he said called for “reaffirming and uniting with even greater strength” to try to achieve peace.

The Spanish head of state stressed that, in the current context, “mutual support” is needed as a basis to define the configuration of the international system, in addition to “rebuilding trust” among UN member states.

It is also necessary “for the world to have an architecture based on strong and effective multilateral institutions and international relations based on and governed by law,” he said.

As usual in this ceremony, Felipe VI made a Europeanist plea, saying the EU is “the best place for democracy, rights, freedom, equality and solidarity”.

After accepting the award, Guterres – a former prime minister of Portugal – urged nations to use their “diplomatic arsenals” rather than “bullets” in securing peace in Ukraine and other countries affected by wars.

“Negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration? We must try everything to resolve our disagreements peacefully,” Guterres said after receiving the Charles V Award.

UN Secretary General, Portuguese Antonio Guterres, at the ceremony he has been awarded the Carlos V European Award at Yuste Monastery in Caceres province, western Spain, 09 May 2023. EFE/ J.J. Guillen / POOL

Guterres condemned Russia’s invasion for violating international law and the UN Charter, and stressed that for peace to be lasting “it must be based on the respect and protection of human rights in their entirety.”

“Peace must never be underestimated or taken for granted. We must work for it, every day (…). In a world that is tearing itself apart, we must heal divisions, prevent escalations, listen to grievances. Instead of bullets, we need diplomatic arsenals,” he said.

For the head of the UN, “today more than ever, in a fractured world, building bridges is the only option”.

The Charles V Award, granted by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation, recognizes the work of individuals, organizations or initiatives that have contributed to the construction of Europe and the promotion of its values. EFE