Foreign relations of Spain

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Foreign relations

After the return of democracy following the death of General Franco in 1975, Spain's foreign policy priorities were to break out of the diplomatic isolation of the Franco years and expand diplomatic relations, enter the European Community, and define security relations with NATO, later joining the organization in 1982.

Spain has established itself as a major participant in multilateral international security activities. Spain's European Union membership represents an important part of its foreign policy. Even on many international issues beyond western Europe, Spain prefers to coordinate its efforts with its EU partners through the European political cooperation mechanisms.

Regional relations[edit]

Spain has maintained its special identification with its fellow Spanish-speaking countries. Its policy emphasizes the concept of an Ibero-American community, essentially the renewal of the historically liberal concept of "Hispano-Americanismo" (or Hispanic as it is often referred to in English), which has sought to link the Iberian peninsula to the Spanish-speaking countries in Central and South America through language, commerce, history and culture. Spain has been an effective example of transition from dictatorship to democracy, as shown in the many trips that Spain's King and Prime Ministers have made to the region. Spain maintains economic and technical cooperation programs and cultural exchanges with Latin America, both bilaterally and within the EU.

Meanwhile, Spain has gradually begun to broaden its contacts with Sub-Saharan Africa. It has a particular interest in its former colony of Equatorial Guinea, where it maintains a large aid program. More recently Madrid has sought closer relation with Senegal, Mauritania, Mali and others to find solutions for the issue of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands.

Spain is also known as a broker in the Middle East. In its relations with the Arab world, Spain frequently supports Arab positions on Middle East issues. The Arab countries are a priority interest for Spain because of oil and gas imports and because several Arab nations have substantial investments in Spain.

Spain has been successful in managing its relations with its two European neighbours, France and Portugal. The accession of Spain and Portugal to the EU has helped ease some of their periodic trade frictions by putting these into an EU context. Franco-Spanish bilateral cooperation is enhanced by joint action against Basque ETA violence. Ties with the United Kingdom are generally good, although the question of Gibraltar remains a sensitive issue.

Today, Spain is trying to expand its still narrow relations with east Asian nations. The People's Republic of China and Japan are the main points of interest for Spain in the region. Thailand and Indonesia are Spain's main allies in the ASEAN region, having a considerable number of agreements and a very good relationship. In the recent years Spain has also been boosting its contacts, relations and investment in other Asian countries, most notably Vietnam, South Korea and Malaysia. Relations with the Philippines are, despite of the colonial past, considerably weaker than the ones Spain has with other countries in the area, dealing mostly with cultural aspects and humanitarian assistance programs.

Disputes - international[edit]

Whilst the Disputed status of Gibraltar with the United Kingdom is perhaps the best known territorial dispute of Spain. Spain has a territorial dispute with Morocco concerning the five places of sovereignty (plazas de soberanía) on and off the coast of Morocco - the coastal enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, which Morocco contests, as well as the islands of Peñon de Alhucemas, Peñon de Vélez de la Gomera, and Islas Chafarinas. Portugal continues to claim Olivenza/Olivença, asserting that under the Vienna Treaty of 1815, Spain recognized the Portuguese claims as "legitimate". The historic disputes with Portugal over the Savage Islands in the Atlantic Ocean were resolved in recent times.

The strategic position of the Strait of Gibraltar has left a legacy of a number of sovereignty disputes. Spain maintains sovereignty over Ceuta, Melilla, Penon de Velez de la Gomera, Alhucemas and the Chafarinas Islands (captured following the Christian reconquest of Spain) based upon historical grounds, security reasons and on the basis of the UN principle of territorial integrity. Spain also maintains that the majority of residents are Spanish. Morocco claims these territories on the basis of the UN principles of decolonisation, territorial integrity and that Spanish arguments for the recovery of Gibraltar substantiate Morocco’s claim.[1]

Olivenza (Spanish) or Olivença (Portuguese) is a town and seat of a municipality, on a disputed section of the border between Portugal and Spain, which is claimed de jure by both countries and administered de facto as part of the Spanish autonomous community of Extremadura. The population is 80% ethnic Portuguese and 30% of Portuguese language. Olivenza/Olivença was under continuous Portuguese sovereignty since 1297 until it was occupied by the Spanish in 1801 and formally ceded by Portugal later that year by the Treaty of Badajoz. Spain claims the de jure sovereignty over Olivenza/Olivença on the grounds that the Treaty of Badajoz still stands and has never been revoked. Thus, the border between the two countries in the region of Olivenza/Olivença should be as demarcated by that treaty. Portugal claims the de jure sovereignty over Olivenza/Olivença on the grounds that the Treaty of Badajoz was revoked by its own terms (the breach of any of its articles would lead to its cancellation) when Spain invaded Portugal in the Peninsular War of 1807.

Portugal further bases its case on Article 105 of the Treaty of Vienna of 1815, which Spain signed in 1817, that states that the winning countries are to "endeavour with the mightiest conciliatory effort to return Olivenza/Olivença to Portuguese authority". Thus, the border between the two countries in the region of Olivenza/Olivença should be as demarcated by the Treaty of Alcanizes of 1297. Spain interprets Article 105 as not being mandatory on demanding Spain to return Olivenza/Olivença to Portugal, thus not revoking the Treaty of Badajoz. Portugal has never made a formal claim to the territory after the Treaty of Vienna, but has equally never directly acknowledged the Spanish sovereignty over Olivenza/Olivença.

Spanish public opinion is not generally aware of the Portuguese claim on Olivenza/Olivença (in contrast to the Spanish claim on Gibraltar or the Moroccan claims on Ceuta, Melilla and the Plazas de soberanía). On the other hand, awareness in Portugal has been increasing under the efforts of pressure groups to have the question raised and debated in public.

Bilateral relations[edit]

Europe[edit]

Country Formal relations began on Notes
 Albania September 12, 1986[2] See Foreign relations of Albania and Albania–Spain relations
  • Albania has an embassy in Madrid.
  • Spain has an embassy in Tirana.
 Belarus February 13, 1992
 Bulgaria May 8, 1810
 Croatia March 9, 1992 See Croatia–Spain relations
 Cyprus See Foreign relations of Cyprus
 Denmark See Denmark-Spain relations
 Estonia See Foreign relations of Estonia
 Finland See Foreign relations of Finland
 France

Spain has very good relations with France, especially since May 16, 2007, when Nicolas Sarkozy was elected President of France. The police of Spain and France are now cooperating to suppress the armed separatist group ETA.

 Germany

Spain had very good relations with Germany, until March 14, 2004 when Zapatero was elected Spanish Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's relationship with the present Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is less close but remains civil.

 Greece See Foreign relations of Greece
 Holy See 1530 See Holy See – Spain relations
 Hungary See Foreign relations of Hungary
 Ireland See Foreign relations of the Republic of Ireland
 Italy See Italy–Spain relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations after the unification of Italy. Relations between Italy and Spain have remained strong and affable for centuries owing to various political, cultural, and historical connections between the two nations. In the Early modern period, southern and insular Italy came under Spanish control, having been previously a domain of the Crown of Aragon. This extended period of foreign domination left marked influences in the modern southern Italian dialects. During the Spanish civil war, the Corps of Volunteer Troops, a fascist expeditionary force from Italy, supported the Nationalist forces led by Francisco Franco. It's estimated that around 75,000 Italians fought in the war.

 Malta 1977
 Moldova January 30, 1992 See Moldova–Spain relations

As of 2009 Spain does not have an Embassy in Chişinău. Spain is represented in Moldova through Ambassador D. Juan Pablo García-Berdoy Cerezo in Bucharest in Romania.

In 2008, the Spanish government indicated that 12,582 Moldovan citizens were legally working there.[9] Spain is a significant investor in Moldova through Unión Fenosa which owns three of Moldova's five energy distribution companies.[10]

 Portugal See Portugal–Spain relations

Relations between Portugal and Spain are also good. They cooperate in the fight against drug trafficking and tackling forest fires (common in the Iberian Peninsula in summers), for example. These close relations are facilitated by similar governments: the government of conservative Spanish PM José María Aznar coincided with the government of also conservative José Manuel Durão Barroso in Portugal; today, both José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of Spain and José Sócrates of Portugal are socialists.

Portugal also holds claim to the disputed territory of Olivença in the Portuguese-Spanish border.

 Romania January 5, 1967 See Romania–Spain relations
 Russia 1520

See Russia–Spain relations

  • Russia has an embassy in Madrid and a consulate-general in Barcelona.
  • Spain has an embassy in Moscow.

Spain and the Grand Duchy of Moscow first exchanged envoys in 1520s; regular embassies were established in 1722. Soviet-Spanish relations, once terminated after the Spanish Civil War, were gradually reestablished since 1963 and fully established in 1977. Trade between two countries amounts to two billion Euros (2008); in March 2009 two countries signed an energy agreement providing national energy companies access to other party's domestic markets.

 Serbia October 14, 1916
 Turkey See Spanish–Turkish relations
 Ukraine January 30, 1992
 United Kingdom See Spain–United Kingdom relations

The 2001 UK Census recorded 54,482 Spanish-born people living in the UK.[20] In comparison, it is estimated that 100,000 British-born people live in Spain.[citation needed]

Latin America[edit]

With Latin American countries: During Aznar's government, Spanish relations with some Latin-American countries like Mexico, Venezuela and Cuba worsened, but were exceptionally good with others like Colombia, Dominican Republic and several Central America republics. Zapatero's victory in the 2004 general elections changed this setting. Despite long-standing close linguistic, economic and cultural relations with most of Latin America, some aspects of Spanish foreign policy during this time, such as its support for the Iraq War, were not supported or widely favored.

Today, relations with Venezuela are quite good, which has caused some controversy with the United States, who have been in recent disagreements with Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and its growing relations with "Anti-American Nations", such as Cuba, China, Russia and several Islamic Middle Eastern countries. However, due to a notable public incident in 2007, Venezuelan-Spanish ties were briefly suspended,[21] though were later re-established.

The Spanish government has strongly increased its relations in recent years with Brazil, Argentina and Chile.[citation needed]

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Argentina See Argentina–Spain relations
 Bolivia

A diplomatic crisis with Bolivia in 2005 due to a misunderstanding was quickly resolved by Zapatero and Spain became the first European country visited by Evo Morales on January 4, 2006. However, there remain problems surrounding the exploitation of oil and gas fields in the country by Spanish corporations like Repsol.

Bolivian President Evo Morales met King Juan Carlos and held talks with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero during a visit to Spain in September 2009 with the intention of resolving issues concerning the nationalisation of the Bolivian energy sector. The move has the potential to hurt some Spanish companies however relations were said to be "positive" between the Bolivian state and Spanish private sector energy companies. Evo Morales said that Bolivia is ready to accept outside investment in its energy and natural resource industries as long as foreign firms do not act as owners and that Bolivia is "looking for investment, be it from private or state sector. We want partners, not owners of our natural resources."

It was suggested that Bolivia would also negotiate with Spanish companies to produce car parts and lithium batteries in the future.[24]

 Colombia 1881
 Cuba
 El Salvador June 24, 1865
 Mexico December 26, 1836 See Mexico–Spain relations
 Paraguay September 10, 1880 See Paraguay–Spain relations
 Uruguay See Spain–Uruguay relations

Elsewhere[edit]

Country Formal relations began on Notes
 Armenia January 27, 1992
 Canada See Foreign relations of Canada
 Israel 1975 See Israel–Spain relations
 Morocco See Morocco–Spain relations

Spain continues to focus attention Morocco. This concern is dictated by geographic proximity and long historical contacts, as well as by the two Spanish exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla on the northern coast of Africa. While Spain's departure from its former colony of Western Sahara ended direct Spanish participation in Morocco, it maintains an interest in the peaceful resolution of the conflict brought about there by decolonization. These issues were highlighted by a crisis in 2002, when Spanish forces evicted a small contingent of Moroccans from a tiny islet off Morocco's coast following that nation's attempt to assert sovereignty over the Spanish island.

 North Korea 07/02/2001 With the normalization of diplomatic relations with North Korea in 2001, Spain completed the process of universalizing its diplomatic relations.
 Pakistan See Pakistan-Spain relations

Pakistan and Spain enjoy extremely cordial and friendly ties.[41] Relations were established in late 1950s. Pakistanis form the largest Asian immigrant community in Spain. Pakistan has an embassy in Madrid and a consulate-general in Barcelona and Spain has an embassy in Islamabad and honorary consulates in Karachi and Lahore.

 Philippines See Philippines–Spain relations

Philippine former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo concluded her second state visit in Spain in July 2006, bringing back millions of dollars of Spanish investments, particularly in Tourism and Information Technology. The Spanish king, Juan Carlos I, also reiterated in Mrs. Arroyo's visit, his support for her project in the Philippines to re-establish Spanish as an official language in the country. He and his wife, Queen Sofia attended the 1998 centennial celebrations in Manila, commemorating 100 years of independence from Spain. The mediation of King Juan Carlos I is said to have produced the pardon and liberation of 2 Filipina domestic workers sentenced to death in Kuwait and the UAE. The Philippines has an embassy in Madrid. Spain has an embassy in Manila.

 United States See Spain – United States relations

Under the government of José María Aznar, Spain developed exceptionally good relations with the USA, in great part due to the personal empathy between Aznar and George W. Bush. Following Zapatero's decision to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq immediately after the 2004 general elections, relations predictably soured, although important commercial links remained intact. When elected, President Barack Obama expressed his wish to enhance cooperation between both countries, especially in policies like the Green Energy plan from Zapatero,[42] introducing the AVE (the Spanish High Speed Train) in United States [43] and aiding US by receiving in Spanish prisons Guantanamo Prison detainees [44]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Historical[edit]

  • Black, Jeremy. The Rise of the European Powers, 1679-1793 (1990) excerpt and text search, 220pp
  • Cortada, James W. Spain in the Nineteenth-Century World: Essays on Spanish Diplomacy, 1789-1898 (1994)
  • Cortada, James W. Spain in the Twentieth-Century World: Essays on Spanish Diplomacy, 1898-1978 (1980)
  • Elliott, J. H. Imperial Spain: 1469-1716 (2002) excerpt and text search
  • Elliott, J. H. Spain, Europe and the Wider World 1500-1800 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Langer, William. An Encyclopedia of World History (5th ed. 1973), very detailed outline
  • Mckay, Derek and H.M. Scott. The Rise of the Great Powers 1648 - 1815 (1983)
  • Mowat, R. B. A History of European Diplomacy, 1451-1789 (1928), basic introduction
  • Parker, Geoffrey. Philip II (4th ed. 2002) excerpt and text search
  • Payne, Stanley G. The Franco Regime, 1936-1975 (1987)

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Dr Gerry O’Reilly, GIBRALTAR: SOVEREIGNTY DISPUTES AND TERRITORIAL WATERS, IBRU Boundary and Security Bulletin, Spring 1999
  2. ^ "España y Albania establecen relaciones diplomáticas" (in Spanish). El País. September 13, 1982. Retrieved June 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ Bulgarian embassy in Madrid
  4. ^ Spanish embassy in Sofia (in Bulgarian and Spanish only)
  5. ^ Croatian embassy in Madrid (in Croatian and Spanish only)
  6. ^ Spanish embassy in Zagreb (in Spanish only)
  7. ^ List of Maltese representations in Spain
  8. ^ Spanish embassy in Valletta (in Spanish only)
  9. ^ "Extranjeros con tarjeta de residencia en vigor incluidos en el Régimen General según nacionalidad y tipo de autorización de residencia. 31-12-2008". Secretaría de Estado de Inmigración y Emigración. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  10. ^ "Moldova". Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  11. ^ Romanian embassy in Madrid(in Romanian and Spanish only)
  12. ^ Romanian general consulate in Barcelona (in Romanian and Spanish only)
  13. ^ Romanian general consulate in Sevilla (in Romanian and Spanish only)
  14. ^ Spanish embassy in Bucharest (in Spanish only)
  15. ^ Serbian embassy in Madrid (in Serbian and Spanish only)
  16. ^ Spanish embassy in Belgrade (in Serbian and Spanish only)
  17. ^ Turkish embassy in Madrid
  18. ^ Spanish embassy in Kiev (in Spanish and Ukrainian only)
  19. ^ Ukrainian embassy in Madrid (in Spanish and Ukrainian only)
  20. ^ "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  21. ^ Chavez freezes relations with Colombia, Spain
  22. ^ Argentine Embassy in Madrid (in English and Spanish only)
  23. ^ Spanish Embassy in Buenos Aires (in Spanish only)
  24. ^ http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2009/09/2009914223014746611.html
  25. ^ Embassy of Colombia in Madrid
  26. ^ Embassy of Spain in Bogota
  27. ^ Embassy of Cuba in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  28. ^ Embassy of Spain in Havana (in Spanish only)
  29. ^ Embassy of El Salvador in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  30. ^ Embassy of Spain in San Salvador (in Spanish only)
  31. ^ Embassy of Mexico in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  32. ^ Embassy of Spain in Mexico City (in Spanish only)
  33. ^ Paraguayan embassy in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  34. ^ Paraguayan general consulate in Barcelona (in Spanish only)
  35. ^ Paraguayan consulate in Malaga (in Spanish only)
  36. ^ Spanish embassy in Asuncion (in Spanish only)
  37. ^ Embassy of Spain in Montevideo (in Spanish only)
  38. ^ Embassy of Uruguay in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  39. ^ Israeli embassy in Madrid (in Spanish only)
  40. ^ Spanish embassy in Tel Aviv (in Hebrew and Spanish only)
  41. ^ http://www.daily.pk/spain-and-pakistan-enjoy-cordial-relations-6135/
  42. ^ "Renewable Energy in Spain: Details on the Government's New FIT Regulation". 
  43. ^ "Obama's Transportation Secretary Impressed by Spain's AVE". 
  44. ^ "Spain offers to help Obama in closing Guantanamo".