José María Bové Montero, Honorary Consul General of Austria for Catalonia and Aragón, has been awarded the Grand Badge of Honour for services to the Republic of Austria by the Ambassador to Spain, Enno Drofenik. This is one of the highest honours awarded by the Central European country.

Known as the Order of Merit of the Republic of Austria, it is one of the first Austrian orders to be awarded to individuals for their achievements in the political, economic, cultural, intellectual or voluntary fields. It is awarded by the Republic of Austria on an exceptional basis to honour persons (from Austria and abroad) who have rendered meritorious services to the country. Recipients are selected by the Government and are awarded by the President in accordance with the respective laws.

In his acceptance speech for the Grand Decoration of Honour, José María Bové emphasised “the privilege of having worked with the current and former Austrian ambassadors from whom he has learned so much”. He also echoed part of a statement by former Federal Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik regarding the fact that “the task of an Honorary Consul is to protect and promote the interests of the Republic of Austria and its citizens”. And he stressed “the strong connection we have at the consular level with the Embassy in Madrid, which provides us with support and advice at all times”. Bové’s geographical demarcation as Honorary Consul General during his years of service to the Republic of Austria consists of Catalonia and Aragón. “Barcelona is the third city in the world that is not the capital of a state with the most consulates, which is a sign of the internationalisation and robustness of the Catalan economy,” Bové pointed out.

José María Bové is the president and founder of the professional services firm Bové Montero y Asociados. In July 2006, he was appointed Honorary Consul General of Catalonia and Aragón. This Decoration of Honour coincides with the celebration of 17 years of Bové’s work as Honorary Consul General in the service of the Republic of Austria.