Circulo Mars et Mercure Espagña

A first attempt to create a Spanish Mars & Mercury circle took place starting 1986 under the leadership of the President of the Inter-Nations Mars & Mercury Liaison Commission (CLIMM), N D van Goethem (1981-1985) from the Netherlands and the President of the Royal Mars & Mercury Circle of Belgium, Karel Engelen (1989-1992), but this attempt had to be abandoned at the end of the year 1990.

A second attempt took place in 1998.

Indeed, the Belgian President Roy Van Handenhove and his predecessor Michel Courtin were invited to the National day of the ” Union Nacional de las Milicias Universitarias ” (UNAMU).

Local contacts were made and the creation of a Mars & Mercury section within UNAMU, called Circulo Mars et Mercure Espagña took place.

The affiliation of Mars et Mercure España was introduced by the President Roy Van Handenhove on 22 August 1999. The membership was unanimously accepted at the General Assembly of Mars & Mercury Europe in Brussels on 8 October 1999.

The first elected President of Mars et Mercure España was Fernando Piris Rodriguez.

In 2003, the status of complementary officer, the main source of recruits for Mars & Mercury was abolished, which gave a heavy blow to the enrollment of new members.

The status of contract officer was created, but this creation, along with the decrease in interest of the Ministry of Defence had again a negative influence on the recruitment.

Two Mars & Mercury subgroups within UNAMU with about 20 members each were located in Zaragoza and Madrid, and a third, the largest one with some 50 members, in Barcelona.

In 2007, many of the members were retirees and mainly engaged in personal friendship relations  and commemorations.

At that time, Juan Batista Bartroli and Joaquin Illa Juando were two very active members.

The latter even took over the function of General President of Mars & Mercury Europe from 2008 to 2009, but the national recruitment problems increased also due to the increasing antimilitarism of young people.

2011 saw the death of the Zaragoza group’s liaison officer and UNAMU lost interest and members were aging with no new recruitment.

Juan Batista Bartroli died in 2013. Disengagement increased sharply due to the economic crisis, unemployment and health problems – meetings were no longer organized.

The Circulo Mars et Mercure Espagña was reduced to its simplest form.

Joaquin Illa Juando continued to hold the torch, but passed away on 10 January 2020. Mars et Mercure Espagña lost their last President.


The time had come to relaunch Mars & Mercury Spain.


Indeed, the secretariat of the former circle Mars et Mercure Espagña informed the members of the Board of Mars & Mercury Europe that a a new association was created in Spain, the association Círculo Ave Fénix, sharing the same values as Mars & Mercury.

Indeded, the association Círculo Ave Fénix started its activity at the beginning of 2019, promoting meetings and fraternisation lunches between former members of the Armed Forces and the Civil Guard (officer and non-commissioned officer scale) and the National Police (executive scale and higher scale) to exchange experiences and support each other in their new jobs. Currently, more than 150 members are registered, most of them in the Community of Madrid, although the association has a national scope of action.

The association’s aims include maintaining contact and support among colleagues, disseminating the Defence and Security Culture in companies, as well as promoting the Spain Brand beyond their borders, providing value, talent, and experience in the new working environment, encouraging, and facilitating the transition and incorporation of other colleagues into the world of work, as well as strengthening the ties between the companies where they work and the institutions they come from.


After fruitfull exchanges between Mars & Mercury Europe and Circulo Ave Fénix, the approval of both general assemblies, it was commonly decided that Circulo Ave Fénix would become an effective member of Mars & Mercury Europe.

The accession convention was signed during the general assembly of Mars & Mercury Europe in Strasbourg, 20 October 2023.