Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will dine with Spanish King Felipe VI in Madrid tonight, capping off a day of diplomacy in the Spanish capital that saw a new visa deal announced with Spain, fresh ties forged with France and, out of left field, an agreement between Spain and New Zealand to protect seabirds like the Antipodean Albatross.
But the big goal for Ardern's European tour is not visas or the environment, it is signing a long-awaited "high-quality" trade deal with the European Union.
The agreement on the table is understood to lack ambition in the field of agriculture. Ardern said on Tuesday she could leave Europe without a deal.
"We've said that it's not a given that it will be concluded through this period. It's not a given. We are here to keep the momentum up we are putting a lot of effort into roughly four years of negotiations," Ardern said.
She said the protracted negotiations demonstrated New Zealand was "seeking the best possible deal we can get for our exporters in a very difficult environment".
Earlier in the day, Ardern held meetings with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and French President Emmanuel Macron. In both meetings, she made the case for a trade agreement.
Ardern said that Sánchez was supportive of the deal, and would help try and get it over the line with other nations in the 27-member EU.
"We talked about what work we can do to get that deal over the line with other EU members," Ardern said.
Macron was a more difficult prospect. While Macron is open to liberalising trade, trade deals are unpopular in France, and Macron's party recently lost parliamentary elections.
Ahead of her meeting with Macron, Ardern said a trade agreement would align with the climate change values France tries to promote internationally.
"I remember standing on a podium some years ago in France next to the President and I advocated for an FTA with New Zealand on the basis that we are the world's largest food producer but we can be the best for the world," Ardern said.
She said her pitch to Macron would be "if you can't sign up to an agreement with New Zealand, than who can you [sign an agreement with], because we see we are demonstrating how and why we put into action all those values France has been promoting around the world".
She will also make the case for the deal at dinner tonight, and in informal "pull aside" meetings with leaders at the conference.
Ardern is in Spain for the Nato leaders summit, where heads of government from across North America and Europe gather to discuss defence and global threats. Ardern has been invited to the meeting with leaders of the Asia Pacific four, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
Ardern said tonight's dinner would be fairly intimate as only leaders and their partners were invited. Alongside Sánchez and Macron, leaders like US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be in attendance.
The Palacio Real was begun in 1738 and contains some 3418 rooms. It is the largest functioning royal palace in Europe.
Ardern said she hoped to use the dinner for informal connection building with leaders.
She joked the dress code for the event was highly specific, requiring women to wear dresses that did not touch the floor, but that finished below the knee.
"There's a specificity on the length of dresses - I'm not good at interpreting dress codes," Ardern said.
Earlier in the day, at her meeting with Sánchez, Ardern received a Spanish football jersey with her name on it in exchange for an All Whites jersey for a photo op.
While Ardern said the small number of attendees would make the dinner relatively informal, she joked it was not informal enough to wear her football jersey.
"No, the dress code very clearly would suggest that a football jersey on this occasion would not be expected attire."
In private, Ardern also gifted Sánchez a two rugby jerseys, one of the All Blacks and another of the Black Ferns. It is the first time both jerseys have been gifted at the same time.
Meetings with Sánchez and Macron
Ardern kicked off her trip with a bilateral meeting with Sánchez at which both leaders announced a significant expansion of the working holiday visa scheme that allows young Spaniards and New Zealanders to live and work in each other's country for up to two years.
The cap on the number of visas was 200. It has now been lifted to 2000.
Ardern and Sánchez also announced a "Global Values Partnership" which recognises the shared values of New Zealand and Spain. Spain and New Zealand will seek to coordinate efforts to address global challenges using "values-based foreign policy", and seek to bolster the United Nations as the central organ of international diplomacy.
A surprise outcome of the meeting was both countries adopting an Action Plan on seabird conservation to strengthen efforts to protect seabirds.
The endangered Antipodean albatross, whose immense migration covers the area in which both Spain and New Zealand operate, was singled out as a bird that would be protected.
Ardern's meeting with Macron began at 4am New Zealand time.
Ardern stepped aside from the summit to give a speech on technology and democracy, a subject Ardern is becoming known for on the world stage. She focused her Harvard commencement speech earlier this year on the same topic.
Ardern linked the war in Ukraine with harmful online disinformation, noting that disinformation created a new front in the war.
"It is apparent a well-coordinated effort is underway to erode and ultimately to undermine the democracies that enable our citizens to express their collective will."
But she added that it was difficult for governments to stand up to disinformation because it often triggered societal anxieties about excessive state control.
"We are being subjected to a form of reflexive control - whereby governments are invited either to respond in coercive or paternalistic ways or, alternatively, to appear impotent in the face of asymmetric threats and thereby furnish the case for authoritarianism," Ardern said.
Tomorrow, leaders will meet at the summit itself.
Ardern is scheduled to deliver a three-minute "intervention" (a speech, in Nato jargon) to the summit. The meeting is closed, meaning the public do not get to see what leaders discuss, although Ardern said she would share her remarks with the media.
Ardern will hold bilateral meetings with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who is known to be a holdout on the EU FTA.
She will also meet with Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese, who is also attending the summit as a member of the Asia Pacific Four.
She will depart for Brussels tomorrow night, where trade talks will begin in earnest.