Conservative premier Mariano Rajoy has reportedly accepted an invitation that was extended to him when Merkel visited Galicia last year, according to a report in Spain’s El Confidencial Digital on Thursday
Last August the two leaders walked a stretch of the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago, together when the Chancellor made a two-day trip to Rajoy’s native Galicia, in the region in Spain’s northwestern corner.
Now, this year, the Christian Democrat Union will return the hospitality inviting Rajoy to spent a few days in Stralsund, the Hanseatic port on the Baltic Sea that Merkel has represented since German reunification in 1990.
Stralsund is located in the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern region and draws a certain comparison to Rajoy’s own Galicia, as both are coastal regions whose main industries have traditionally been fishing and ship building.
The historic town of Stralsund. Photo: Klugschnacker / Wikimedia Commons
Like Sanitago de Compostela, which the pair visited together last year, the historic Stralsund old town island is a UNESCO world Heritage site.
Both said to be keen hikers, Merkel, 62 and Rajoy, 60 could well take to the neighbouring hills of Stralsund, repeating last year’s experience along the Way of St James when they strolled comfortably alongside each other in a symbolic show of unity between their two countries.
Rajoy will spend the first week of his holidays in a villa in the Doñana national park in southern Spain before heading north to his hometown of Ribadumia in Galicia, reported El Confidencial Digital, flying to Germany during the last week of August.
He will not be the first leader to be hosted by Merkel in her constituency town. George W Bush visited in 2006.
Rajoy will be looking for external support from the leader of the EU’s strongest nation and an endorsement of his economic reform and budget restraint as he heads into the campaign for relection ahead of a national vote in November.