Brunssum, the Netherlands – Welcoming the guests, General Campins presented the National Cross of Merit (with white ribbon) to thirteen Spanish officers and non-commissioned officers, which is a tradition on Spain's National Day. This award is presented to recognise distinguished service and consistent demonstration of the values of the Spanish Army.
General Campins began by welcoming the Commander and all the guests to this event, which marks Spain's National Day. He paid tribute to those who had just been awarded military honours. General Campins went on to explain the origins of Spain's National Day, which dates back to the discovery of America in 1492, which subsequently led to extensive cultural and commercial exchanges between Europe and the Americas.
He explained that Spain's Armed Forces are contributing to a total of 20 different operations under the UN, NATO and EU, as well as bi-lateral commitments to Columbia, Mali, Somalia, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. The General further highlighted Spain's commitment to the Baltic States, Baltic Air Policing, and standing maritime tasks, and therefore its strong commitment to the 'Northern family'.
General Campins concluded by stating that although far from home, the Spanish contingent are grateful for the demonstrable comradeship and support from all of its allies in the Brunssum community, and therefore wish to offer their hospitality in return. Finally he toasted His Majesty The King Felipe VI.
General Marchió replied by congratulating those who had just been honoured. He also recognised the tremendous contribution that Spain makes to peace and security, specifically to NATO, but also globally. Finally, he paid tribute to the esprit de corps of the Spanish contingent who contribute enormously both to the Headquarters, and also to the life of the wider military community.
Guests enjoyed delicious Spanish food, including a traditional Paella to the accompaniment of guitar and other musical instruments, all played by the Spanish military contingent in Brunssum.