Spanish foreign policy monitor: April-June 2012

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Series Details No.132, June 2012
Publication Date 28/06/2012
ISSN 1989-2667
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The deterioration of the banking crisis and pressure on Spanish debt have dominated Spanish current affairs during the past three months, which culminated in the European Union (EU) granting up to €100bn to back the Spanish financial sector on 9 June.

This difficult situation has set the tone for the government's external action, dominated by a reactive and crisis management approach. Although more visible in its actions towards Europe, this approach has also been present elsewhere, such as the in response to Argentina’s nationalisation of YPF, the tension surrounding Gibraltar or the decision to postpone the launch of the
'Marca España' (Spain Brand) campaign.

Facing these often difficult situations, the Spanish government has been unable or unwilling to demonstrate that it is following a defined strategy. This lack of clarity and internal coordination has given the impression that foreign action is limited to ad hoc response to events. The ministry of foreign affairs and cooperation (MAEC by its acronym in Spanish) is developing strategic plans of action, but the process is slow and inconspicuous.

The lessons learnt from these past months do not only suggest the need to speed up this process, but also that coordination and communication must be improved to achieve a proactive and effective foreign policy.

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