Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy plans to highlight Spain's economic recovery and bolster relations with the nations attending the Ibero-American Summit later this week in Panama.

The summit will be the first one not attended by Spain's King Juan Carlos, who recently underwent hip surgery.

Spain considers the summit in Panama an "excellent opportunity" to show Latin America that it has put the economic downturn behind it and the economic reforms implemented by Rajoy's government are bearing fruit despite the challenges that remain, Spanish officials said.

Rajoy told the leaders who attended the summit in Cadiz a year ago that his country's doors were open to any nation from the Ibero-American community that wished to help Spain and the European Union deal with the economic crisis, the officials said.

A year later, the prime minister wants to thank the nations that helped his country and continue to spread the message he has taken to the G-20 and other forums that Spain has put the recession behind it, the officials said.

Rajoy plans to make it clear that Latin America will continue to play an important role as Spain moves forward, with the region a preferred destination for investment by Spanish businesses, especially small- and mid-sized companies, helping spur the economic recovery and boost job creation.

The prime minister plans to convey his message both at the formal sessions and during one-on-one meetings with leaders during the summit.

Spain plans to express its full support for the planned overhaul of the Ibero-American summits, which will be held every two years starting after the gathering in Mexico in 2014. EFE