Spain's Crown Prince Felipe on Tuesday called for an Ibero-American Community that is "ever more consolidated and present in the world" and encouraged the fostering of "closer agreement and cooperation" among the partner countries to face the current "big challenges" in the region.

The prince and his wife, Princess Letizia, presided at the Casa de America in this capital at a dinner to honor, on his departure from office, the first head of the Ibero-American Secretariat, Uruguay's Enrique Iglesias, whom Felipe said had "brilliantly" fulfilled the duties entrusted to him over the past eight years by heads of state and government.

He also congratulated Iglesias' successor, Costa Rican economist Rebeca Grynspan, and wished her much success, expressing his conviction that her efforts "will result in an Ibero-American Community that is ever more consolidated and present in the world."

"Today, we can say, loudly: 'Mission accomplished,' Enrique," declared the heir to the Spanish throne, who emphasized the Uruguayan's "intelligence and efficient efforts" in contributing to making "the voice of Ibero-America ... more present in the rest of the world," before recalling Iglesias' status as a "good friend of Spain" and the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

In the face of the challenges that she will face during her mandate, Grynspan called attention to the need to strengthen the integration of small businesses and cooperation projects of those companies with large firms. EFE