Today, the ties that bind the British and Mexican people are stronger than ever. Whether in business, government, education, science, sport, culture, trade, in fighting international crime, promoting human rights, or protecting the urban and natural environment, I am struck by the fascination that we hold for each others' culture—and by the energy and goodwill that are generated when we work together.
I could not be more pleased to have joined with President Enrique Peña Nieto last year in order to celebrate the fact that this already excellent relationship will be further enhanced over the course of 2015 through both the Year of the UK in Mexico and the Year of Mexico in the UK.
The great Mexican writer, Octavio Paz, wrote movingly of the themes that connect people and nations: “Today we all speak, if not the same tongue, then at least the same universal language." How fitting this line seems in light of the friendship between our two nations.
I am struck by how likeminded Mexico and the UK are in a variety of ways. On the international stage on many fronts, we are close diplomatic partners, and Mexico's ability to apply calm neutrality and a spirit of friendly solidarity to the global challenges of our day is widely admired, no more so than in the UK.
And we will need Mexican leadership more than ever as we approach those other important aspects of 2015—the formation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Climate Change negotiations which culminate in Paris in December 2015. I think it is no exaggeration to say that 2015 provides a truly critical and perhaps our last chance to map out a sustainable future for mankind.
I am hugely encouraged to know that Britain and Mexico will continue to be close partners in this endeavor, which could not be more important for ourselves and for those who came after us.
The friendship between the United Kingdom and Mexico dates back many centuries. The archives of the Inquisition record travelers from the British Isles arriving in the earliest days of New Spain, in the 16th century. It seems to me as though we are experiencing a new impetus in our relationship, with more of us visiting, working and studying in each other's countries than ever before. The commitment the two governments have made to achieve mutual recognition of educational qualifications will boost this trend further.
The people of the United Kingdom are more intrigued by Mexican culture than ever before. We are amazed by Mexico's biological and cultural diversity, the strength of your indigenous cultures, the resilience of their agricultural crops and techniques, and the vibrancy of your music, art, film, and culture.
In 2015, our two countries aim to generate a still greater appreciation of what each has to offer the other and, in doing so, foster a momentum that will sustain an even closer, more dynamic partnership for years to come. My wife and I hope that our visit to Mexico will help to launch this process.
Indeed, 2015 will provide a feast of activities that celebrate our relationship, whether in the arts, business, education, science, or innovation. The cooperation between the United Kingdom and Mexico is of the greatest importance. Together, I know we will build a legacy that will last well beyond 2015, into the centuries to come.
Adapted from a speech given in November 2014 at the Mexican Palacio Nacional for the inauguration of the 2015 Year of Mexico in the UK and the UK in Mexico.