The world's cameras focused on Rajoy as he walked down the red carpet outside Brussel's Justus Lipsius building, just moments before meeting Europe's other Heads of State.
The Spanish PM skipped all questions by journalists and decided to make his way into the EU summit along with his team.
But the move proved somewhat flawed as the rush he appeared to be in led security guards at the door to question who he was.
"He is the Spanish President," his political colleagues stammered.
Only then did one of the guards check the accreditation hanging from Rajoy's neck and give him the all clear to enter.