Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís on Monday announced that next month he will embark on an official visit to France, Spain and Italy.
During a ceremony to inaugurate Costa Rica’s 2015 school year, Solís said the first leg of his tour will include a stop in Paris on March 16, where he will promote Costa Rica’s candidacy for a full member spot in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The next day, the president will travel to Madrid for a two-day visit, followed by Rome on March 19-20. Still pending is confirmation of a possible visit to Vatican City, where Solís would meet with Pope Francis.
The president said the tour’s main goal is to lobby for Costa Rica’s chance at an invitation for full membership by an OECD member country. He did not comment on the schedule for his trips to Spain and Italy, saying “the agenda is still being planned.”
The president’s announcement stirred criticism from opposition parties, who already have spoken out against Solís’ trips in the first few months of his administration.
In the first seven months of his presidency, Solís traveled to the United States, Canada, Panama and El Salvador. This year he has traveled to Brazil, Mexico, China and Bolivia.
As president-elect, Solís traveled to several Central American countries, except Nicaragua.
On Monday, Rolando González, the National Liberation Party’s top lawmaker, said he believes Solís should focus more on domestic politics.
Costa Rica has been working to bring its public institutions up to speed with OECD standards, including passage of tax and financial transparency legislation in 2012 that removed the country from the Paris-based organization’s tax haven list.
The OECD has 34 members states, mostly from Europe and North America. Chile and Mexico are currently the only Latin American OECD member states.
Check out all the places President Solís has visited so far: