Flamenco and Andalusian dinner with two stars in the Alhambra: the parallel agenda of the Granada summit | International
At 11:12 minutes, just at the same moment that Volodymyr Zelensky alighted at the door of the Granada Congress Palace from an armored Mercedes SUV surrounded by members of the Geos uniformed in urban camouflage and heavily armed, the parallel summit designed by the Presidency of the Government for the companions of the 50 leaders attending the meeting of the European Political Community. If the political agenda of this meeting (and the informal European Council this Friday) has been calculated down to the smallest detail in its organizational and logistical aspects for more than a year by the coordination office for the Spanish presidency of the European Union - dependent of the Presidency of the Government and headed by the diplomat Aurora Mejía - and its diplomatic contest for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - its owner, José Manuel Albares is president of the organizing committee -, it has been up to the General Secretariat of the Presidency of the Government construction of an activity program. According to its manager since March, Judith González Pedraz, it has an inclusive, gender-based spirit and is mainly oriented towards showing the diversity and cultural integration of Granada over the centuries.
The bis agenda of the summit has gastronomic elements - one of the aspects that has been most cared for in the Spanish presidency, where in each informal meeting of EU ministers, from Seville to Vigo or Gran Canaria, the value of the dishes from Michelin-starred chefs from each community at the wish of Pedro Sánchez—and performing arts (there will be a show of flamenco singing with Granada roots by Marina Heredia and another of zambra, a flamenco style that refers to Moorish dances). Also, cultural activities - with a talk debate in English with the Granada philologist Alberto Egea about the first European travelers in Spain in the 18th and 19th centuries - and other purely tourist activities, such as a tour of the Albaicín neighborhood, a visit to the Carmen de the Mártires and its gardens, the Alhambra or the viewpoints that surround it. And combining culture, tradition and diversity, a visit to the Madrasah of Granada, founded in the 14th century, the first university in Al-Andalus, in which the scientific and literary knowledge of the time was mixed.
Amidst the general disinterest of the people of Granada, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni (an immaculate white suit and very high-heeled shoes), and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, arrived at the armored Congress Palace, wearing a pearl gray three-piece suit, with General Fabien Mandon, chief of the presidential general staff, carrying his numerous packages. The summit accreditation service confirmed to EL PAÍS that more than 2,000 journalists and 5,000 attendees had registered, of which 600 were part of the leaders' entourage. A litmus test for the Spanish security services never seen since the NATO summit in June 2022 in Madrid, which Joe Biden attended. In this, in addition to the nearly 50 leaders, Zelensky's presence adds another security problem, to the point that, around the city, surface-to-air missiles from the Army have been deployed, in addition to drones and anti-drone systems of the National Police Corps and the Civil Guard.
This Wednesday, the Minister of the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, launched the Coordination Center (Cecor) installed at one end of the Congress Palace, an open room covered with screens, where thirty operators from the National Police Corps, The Civil Guard, the Local Police, the Air Force, Civil Protection, AENA and the different emergency teams direct an entire operation in which up to 9,000 people are integrated, of which more than 5,000 are members of the corps and forces of security. Under the direction of Commissioner José Antonio Rodríguez, general director of Coordination and Studies of the Ministry of the Interior (in the center of the room, discreet, with a tie and without a jacket), all the information from all intelligence sources is received here, They collect real-time images from cameras and aerial media and from the GPS signals of each president's vehicles. According to Interior sources, “on September 30, the alert phase began with the deployment of a specific security plan, and on October 3, the critical phase began.”
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The protection of the leaders and their companions is the direct responsibility of the men and women of the Authorities Protection Unit of the National Police Corps, dressed in dark suits. The main commissioner, María Marcos Salvador, general director of security of the Presidency of the Government - the super police in charge of the president, his family, and the people and facilities decided by the director of the Moncloa Cabinet, Óscar López - explains how, being guests of the president, these people are under the security umbrella of Moncloa, which has designed their routes, as well as the security design of the places that the leaders' companions are going to visit. In the Alhambra, where the Kings will welcome the heads of State and Government, the direction of security will be shared between the Security Department of Moncloa and that of the House of His Majesty the King, which is directed by the General of the Civil Guard Miguel Ángel Herráiz.
The parallel summit, with a tasting of recipes from the Andalusian culinary tradition by chefs Paco Morales, Fernando Arjona and Javier Feixas, culminated with the caravan of leaders to the Alhambra, for a private visit to the complex. Afterwards, the flamenco show at Marina Heredia, from where they will go to the Parador de Granada for a gala dinner. The chef chosen for this is Morales, from the Cordoban restaurant Noor, specialized in the recovery of Al-Andalus specialties. As a gift for the guests, a scarf designed for the Spanish presidency. The same for everyone. “The president did not want there to be ties for them and handkerchiefs for them, it seemed very old to him,” explains a source from the organization.
The authorities attending the summit, so that their digestion would allow them to continue working in the afternoon, ate tapas at midday – another of the city's hallmarks. Among the dishes that were served, the granadino remojón (a salad based on orange and cod), white prawn from Motril and the Segureño lamb typical of the area. The menu was accompanied by Andalusian wines. For dessert, bacon from heaven.
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