The arrival of the North American president, Joe Biden, at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base, in Madrid, marks the informal opening ceremony of the NATO Summit that is being held in the capital from today until next Thursday. The president landed at 3:05 p.m. aboard Air Force One from Germany, where he participated in the G-7 leaders’ meeting. The first lady, Jill Biden, arrived in the Spanish capital on Sunday, and yesterday she shared an agenda with Queen Letizia: after a meeting in Zarzuela, they visited the headquarters of the Spanish Association against Cancer.
Biden was received by King Felipe VI, with whom he spoke briefly. He greeted the ministers of the Government of Spain present at the aerodrome (the ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, Margarita Robles and José Manuel Albares) and the US ambassador, Julissa Reinoso.
After the formal greetings, the US president traveled in the armored limousine known as ‘The Beast’ to Madrid. On his first trip to Spain since he became president, Biden is traveling with a veritable entourage not only of ministers, advisers, and aides (around twenty have accompanied him from Munich, where the G-7 summit took place) but also of Secret Service agents. There are usually more than 400 police officers who travel with the president. Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State, and Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense, arrive on another flight.
His agenda for the day includes a meeting with Pedro Sánchez in La Moncloa at 4:30 p.m. and, an hour later, with the King at the Royal Palace. In the bilateral meeting of both presidents, the central issue, according to the White House, is expected to be joint support for Ukraine and finding ways to penalize Russia for its aggression. Later, he will participate with the rest of the Heads of State and Government in the official reception of the King and Queen in the Throne Room of the Royal Palace, in the group photograph in the Hall of Alabarderos, and in the dinner offered by the Monarchs in the dining room.