While many in her government had fears about possible French aggression, Alba always believed that dialogue rather than ignoring a feared opponent was the superior approach. The French Queen had certainly acted peculiar, there were no significant territorial disputes she could use to fight, and even she had to be open to diplomacy. If for nothing else than being able to not worry about one border. At her request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would extend an invitation to the Queen to meet with Alba in Madrid.
“Interesting, I didn’t expect the Portuguese girl to be the first to reach out” Jeanne thought aloud as she read the message from the Iberian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We’ll see what they have to offer, plus Madrid will be great for my tan” She said as she put down the letter on her desk. “Send a reply to accept the invitation and that I will be traveling to Madrid on an A380”
With confirmation received the Royal Air Force and Royal Army would coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their French counterparts to guarantee the security of the French Queen on Iberian soil. With the reputation of France, an assassination of their beloved Queen on Iberian soil was after all the last thing Iberia desired. On the agreed date the A380 would be escorted by fighters from the Royal Air Force and land at the military airfield near Madrid rather than the international airport. From there the French Queen would be taken by a secured convoy to the Royal Palace in Madrid, after an initial welcome ceremony at the airbase, where Alba was awaiting her first international guest.
Jeanne underwent the regular welcome ceremony, while she understood it was international protocol it had always been something she disliked. In her view the focus on form of many world leaders often took away from doing actual important things. Her arrival at the Royal Palace for that part was the thing she looked much more forward to. As she noticed the Queen she approached her and as was common for two heads of state of the same rank would simply extend her hand in greeting.
Alba shook the hand with a smile before motioning for the blonde woman to follow her inside. “Thank you for making it to the Iberian Union, Your Majesty” She said. “I look forward to discussing the future of relations between our countries”
Jeanne returned the smile with her own, she liked this young Queen. They might not have had the same rise to power but she could sense a commitment in her that she had for the prosperity of her own people. “Likewise. There are a lot of areas where our two countries could fight but there are even more where we can find unity and form a stronger front against our international rivals” She said as she followed Alba inside.
Alba nodded as Jeanne outlined her desires for this meeting. “I couldn’t agree more” She said as they arrived at her office and stepped inside. Alba would grab a glass of orange juice and take a seat on one of two opposing sofas. She had a feeling this meeting would benefit from something slightly less formal than her meeting with the United Kingdom had been. “I’ll start off with what Iberia would like to see from this. We recognize the Kingdom of France is a major player in Europe. Combined with the Byzantine League we could completely dominate the Mediterranean and use it as a stepping stone to the world. I do not know what your longterm objectives are but I suspect they would benefit from not having to worry about the Spanish border or in fact the south-eastern coastline. As such by the end of this I would like to see a military and economic treaty between Iberia and France”
Now she truly knew why she liked this Queen, she went straight to business. “I will say the Byzantine League has given some of my advisers some concerns as it seems somehow our own invitation seems to have been lost in the mail. I am sure this was only a mistake by the host. However you are right in that a secure southern border would significantly ease some of our plans for the future. France is willing to sign a security and trade treaty with the Iberian Union, but in turn we will need guarantees that the Byzantine League has no designs that would affect France in any way”
Alba smiled, this was going a lot easier than expected. “I am very happy to hear our desires are so in sync. I can personally guarantee you that the Byzantine League has no plans regarding France. In fact I do even believe that if the Kingdom of France were willing to join, I could probably compel the Council to agree to at the very least your Candidate status. And depending on how those three months go, I see potential for a permanent full membership.”
“That sounds perfect, in that case I will ask my aides to prepare a treaty document and will formally request entry into the Byzantine League as a candidate member. I look forward to seeing what this experiment in regional unity can achieve”