CONFERENCE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE
“IN THE INTEREST OF SPAIN: ENGAGEMENT AND FOREIGN POLICY”
Museo del Prado, 16 June 2008
Dear Kofi Annan, Ministers, Ambassadors, ladies and gentlemen,
In the first place, I would like to thank the Instituto Elcano, the Cidob, the FRIDE, the ICEI and the INCIPE are Spanish centres of excellence whose aim is to reflect in depth about the world and about the role of our country in the world. I would like to thank you for having invited me to present the main guidelines of my Government in the area of foreign policy.
I would like to thank, in particular, Mr. Kofi Annan, for his speech and for his presence, which, as everyone knows, is highly meaningful. His leadership in the United Nations and his ethics, his defence of the rule of law have been and still are a permanent inspiration.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I believe in engagement as far as foreign policy is concerned. Engagement with the values shared by most members of the Spanish society and engagement with the scenarios where our presence can be relevant.
I am convinced that such foreign policy is the best one in order to defend our interests as a country; the interests of a growing world power that plays a strategic role in this multi-polar world; the interests of a nation whose relevance in the International Community will grow if we are able to prove our capacity, through dialogue and persuasion, our relevance as link between nations, cultures and rich and poor countries.
I believe in the foreign policy of a liberal Government, a foreign policy conceived and implemented as a State policy, that is, a policy conceived to serve Spanish society as a whole; not just conceived for Spanish society, but conceived and implemented with Spanish
society; that is, taking the public and private agents into account.
I believe in a foreign policy in consonance with the one that we have been implementing since our Transition, in consonance with an essential continuity that strengthens us as a country, reflecting the willingness of the majority in Spain, generation after generation.
Thus, I believe in a natural, vocational policy, both European and
Europeist, a wide-scope historic fate that makes us feel at ease if we are able to make the Union move in the right direction.
I believe in a natural, vocational foreign policy concerning Latin America, contributing to the democratic consolidation, to progress and to the regional institutionalisation of the Latin American Community.
I believe in a foreign policy based upon an intelligent, respectful complicity with our neighbours, especially with Morocco, a foreign policy beyond regional limits that may serve to build up a relationship with the U.S.A., strengthening our common ties, which are many and which are always the most relevant thing, for they lay beneath the friendly, honest understanding between our countries.
We could say that these are the „traditional‟ guidelines of the foreign
policy of democratic Spain, which I intend to keep up and reinforce. But, then, the changes we have been through have made us develop and enhance other lines of foreign action that had already been undertaken during the previous Legislature.
A new era involves a renewed emphasis on our values and new scenarios to prove these values.
Thus, I believe in the convenience of our growing responsibility in the Mediterranean, in the steadfast approach to Africa and Asia and in a greater involvement in the organisations and in the initiatives
that contribute to the rationalisation of international governability, namely, the United Nations and the actions it promotes.
I believe in a foreign policy that reflects, clearly, the challenges that Spain is facing right now. I want to achieve projection into the future, both in Spain and abroad. And a shared notion of national identity. Because, after thirty years of successful democracy, Spain has fulfilled its collective hopes and it has joined the most developed nations of Europe, of the whole planet. And now we can aim at new goals and leaderships.
I believe in a foreign policy whereby Spain may become a synonym of solidarity, justice and humanity all over the world.
Thus, I believe that foreign policies must be the main concern of the Government and they must be permanently supported by the
Therefore, over the next few years I intend to keep on assuming the main responsibility to set up the goals and to shape our foreign policy in this Legislature, which in spite of financial difficulties, which are our priority, will make things easier. I believe in this, honest; and this is a good chance to express my willingness.
My speech will be divided into three main parts. In the first place, I will refer to those challenges that, in my opinion, are more important as far as international governability is concerned, those challenges that make it necessary for Spain to implement an engaged foreign policy.
Next, I will go into another great challenge that, given its specificity, deserves to be dealt with separately: the need to contribute efficiently to our economic growth and to promote the governability of globalisation through our foreign policy, becoming aware of the relevance of Spanish investments all over the world.
Finally, I will analyse the scenarios of Spanish foreign policy.
In the first place, I would like to talk about the current challenges of international governability. In my opinion, there are four and these are, in order of priority: the fight against poverty, the promotion of peace versus insecurity and terrorism, the fight against extreme poverty all over the world, the well-organised management of migration and climatic change and energy.
The fight against poverty
The fight against poverty, extreme poverty, hunger and disease, which affect millions of persons all over the planet, is no longer a relatively secondary concern of the great international agents; it has become one of the main matters in the international agenda.
This latent anxiety in the international conscience has become an ethical duty. An issue that time before would have given way to punctual conflicts is now perceived as a structural factor of progressive instability.
Spain feels highly involved in this change in the moral and political paradigm as far as the fight against poverty is concerned; and we assume it entirely, as we are fully aware of it, and we assume this compromise. We are facing a great challenge to the solidarity of nations, a great challenge to our human dignity, a challenge that we can face; a challenge that is the very cause of the objective all developed countries intend to achieve, namely, devoting 0.7% of our Gross Internal Product to Aid for Development. An objective that is shared by Spain, an objective that is shared by the Government, an objective that is shared by society, an engaged, responsible society, an objective that we will attain, just as we did in the case of the aid
for development, which we doubled over the last four years, reaching 0.5% of Spain‟s Gross Domestic Product.
Meeting the Millennium Objectives is and will always be one of the main axes of the actions of the Government. We will devote 50% of our aid for development to this from 2009 onwards, 50% of our aid for development.
Two weeks ago, during the FAO Conference, I undertook to host a High-Level Conference in Spain, next autumn, to deal with the food crisis and to continue with the tasks that we undertook to fulfil during the meeting in Rome, assuming specific compromises, more specific compromises, just like Spain, in order to face this great challenge.
Even in spite of the current situation, developed countries must increase their investment in cooperation and coordinate their efforts efficiently.
The construction of peace
The second challenge that Spain feels ready to face is the construction of peace.
The world must be governed through coordination and agreements in order to build up a long-lasting, fair peace. “Preserve the
generations to come from the scourge of war“, this was stipulated by
the UN Charter.
But nowadays the battle is being fought not only by regular armies, but also by forces that are halfway between guerrilla, terrorism and organised crime. Conflicts affect the civilian population mainly: nine out of ten casualties all over the world are civilians.
We need new means in order to face the new conflicts and their causes. The new governability guidelines we need in order to promote peace demand a global vision of human security; they demand the action of strong democratic nations, engaged States concerned with human rights and a watchful, active International Community, able to help those weak Sates that aren‟t even able to
exert a minimum control over their territories.
We have seen this recently, in Somalia and in different parts of Africa. Thus, our country is present in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in Afghanistan and in Lebanon, where our soldiers are paying a high price, as we saw yesterday. And we will remain there. In the name of our partners, in the name of peace and security and in our name.
When the conflict is caused by the spread of hatred, the means we
have prove to be insufficient. We need new answers. Such as the Alliance of Civilisations, an initiative that was supported by the United Nations and by the European Union and that has recently received the support of the general Secretary of the NATO and the support of the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council.
During this Legislature we will focus on reinforcing the important task of the High Representative, Jorge Sampaio. We will also promote the National Plans –some ten countries have already
implemented them- in order to set up legal measures to enhance understanding and dialogue and to prevent intolerance.
I will just give one example today: the Balkans, one of the areas that have suffered the most serious consequences of new conflicts. We and Prime Ministers Erdogan, Tadic and Karamanlis are working together in order to achieve this. Because the National Plans of the Alliance of Civilisations in Turkey, Serbia, Greece and Spain, and those that are being elaborated by other countries in that region, namely, Romania, Bulgaria and Albania, can be a good instrument of constructive, preventive diplomacy.
We will not defeat international terrorism, which has hit us so hard, which we suffered in Madrid last 11 of March 2004, if we keep approaching it as if it was a war. It takes national decisions and firmness but also international coordination. Spain‟s contribution can be very useful, for we are one of the most efficient countries in the fight against terrorism and our efficiency issues from respect, which is the only way to be efficient: respect to the Rule of Law and to international legality.
In the global architecture of security, regional organisations must keep playing an essential role. And, in my opinion, the NATO is still, almost 60 years after its foundation, a necessary, valuable alliance, because it is built upon sound values that we all share.
The well-organised management of migrations
Nearly two million Spanish citizens live outside our frontiers. I have explained our migration policy to different audiences, yet, they are the ones that support more intensely the vision of Spain as a country that is open to those who, according to our law, can be offered a job and good living conditions.
Migrations demand an effort to set up dialogue, cooperation and agreed governability. In my opinion, there aren‟t enough instances of joint work in the international community.
So far, we have started to share our policies, trying to build up a common European policy, which in Europe started out back in 2005, promoted, mainly, by our country. We should bear in mind that when we set up the normalisation process, the European frame did not exist and that it was promoted by Spain, mainly.
Both in Europe and in the United Nations, Spain focuses on this task, defending lines of action that were implemented in our country long ago.
In the first place, in order to guarantee cooperation with the countries of origin and with those that serve as a corridor for migration, from a global point of view, as this is the first step to implement a good management of migratory flows.
In the second place, to promote the fight against clandestine emigration mafias, which threat immigrants and the countries where they operate.
In the third place, to guarantee the protection of national borders against illegal immigration as well as expulsion and repatriation.
Finally, to set up efficient systems to protect migrants and refugees, favouring their integration.
According to these premises, after my first journey to Africa in this legislature, I intend to summon - together with President Wade, President of Senegal, and with the Community of West African States - a high-level regional meeting to deal with the economic context, agriculture, infrastructures, migratory flows, institutional development and reinforcement, regional integration and energy.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Climatic change and energy
The costs of climatic change for international economy could be very high, according to the Stern Report, between 5% and 20% of the Gross Domestic Product; but as far as human lives are concerned, these costs are even higher. We face the challenge to turn this into a chance to change and transform things, to move towards a
sustainable model of economic and social growth, sustainable as far as the environment, health and social welfare are concerned.
Our priority is to meet the compromises undertaken by Spain in the Kyoto Protocol, supporting renewable energy and saving in connection with energy efficiency.
Developed economies must help growing countries to adapt to the risks issued from climatic change. Spain will increase its contribution to help the most vulnerable countries mitigate and adapt to climatic change.
Spain is going to promote the creation of an International Agency on Renewable Energies. Next 30 of June I will travel to Denmark, a country that has fostered an outstanding progress in the area of renewable energies. And I have already agreed with Prime Minister Rasmussen that this visit will focus on renewable energies, which comes to prove the joint compromise of our countries. Thus, I intend to turn Spain into a leader in the area of renewable energies.
As you all know, uncontrolled globalisation, instability in the Middle East and speculation are giving rise to serious distortions in the area of energy, which demand measures to guarantee security as far as energy is concerned, not just guaranteeing supplies but
guaranteeing supplies at reasonable prices.
I held a meeting this afternoon with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, the greatest world producer of oil, and I met the President of Mexico, the other great producer, last week. I have also talked about this with President Sarkozy and we have agreed to set up joint initiatives and efforts within the EU context.
It is time to work for a sensible foreign policy, in order to reduce the political risks. Thus, I hereby repeat that the crisis with Iran must be solved with decision but through dialogue. Similarly, we will also