US PRESIDENT Joe Biden has invited Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to the White House for a visit that will take place in the run-up to local and regional elections scheduled in Spain for May 28.

The official trip will mark the first time that a Socialist Party prime minister from Spain has made such a visit since tensions were caused between the two countries by the decision of Sanchez’s predecessor, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq after the 2003 US-led invasion of the Middle Eastern country.

Prime Minister Sanchez had a scant relationship with Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, but has sought close ties with the current US president since he came to office. 

The May 12 visit will come at an important time for Sanchez and the Socialist Party, with the local and regional elections expected to be hotly contested. 

Dinner At The Prado Museum For Nato Leaders
Joe Biden and Pedro Sanchez in June 2022, at an informal meeting in Madrid’s Prado Museum of heads of state and government. Credit: Cordon Press.

The visit was announced by La Moncloa, the official residence and workplace of the Spanish prime minister. It said in a statement that the trip would ‘allow for the close relations between Spain and the United States to be strengthened further’, describing the countries as ‘two friends, partners and allies’. 

Sanchez has made a series of foreign trips in recent months ahead of Spain taking over the rotating presidency of the European Union in July. The prime minister has sought to portray the country as an important player on the international stage.   

According to Spanish press reports, the Socialist Party leader has been seeking the invitation to the White House for some months now.

Both Sanchez and Biden are aligned on issues such as the role of NATO, the environment and support for Ukraine in the war against Russia. 

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