Alfonso Dastis during his speech./ Photo: @AlfonsoDastisQ
Eduardo González. 22/12/2016
The new head of the Spanish diplomacy, Alfonso Dastis, made his debut yesterday at the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Congress of Deputies with a call for “consensus” in “four important fields” of the foreign policy: presence in “natural spaces” such as Europe, the US, Ibero-America and Africa; response to conflicts; the “big issues of the global agenda”; and foreign action.
“There will be more Spain there where we must be present because of history, vocation and as members responsible for the international community”, Dastis announced. “This new boost”, he warned, “will only be possible and sustainable if our foreign and cooperation policy has the support of all the political forces represented in Parliament”. This “new boost does not entail discontinuities”, pointed out Dastis, who committed to keep “building” with the “legacy” of his predecessor, José Manuel García-Margallo.
According to Dastis, the Spanish foreign policy will be based on “four important fields for consensus and action”, the first of which refers to “natural spaces to expand our foreign policy” and the need to “consolidate Spain as a main figure with capacity to formulate constructive proposals within the current redefinition of the European Union and the transatlantic connection”.
Regarding the EU and the Brexit, the minister remembered the “generous proposal of joint sovereignty” presented by Margallo for Gibraltar and asked for the “agreement of political powers” to recover the sovereignty over the Rock, “a paradigmatic case of State policy”. As for the United States, he warned that bilateral relations are based on “constant elements” regardless “of the tenant occupying the White House”.
He announces the first Summit Spain-Africa to be attended by important African leaders
In regard to Ibero-America, Dastis announced his support to the peace in Colombia and to the “process of reforms” in Cuba, and he expressed his wish to maintain “constructive cooperation relations with the Venezuelan government”. Besides, he announced a “new strategy for Africa” and the “first Summit Spain-Africa to be attended by important African leaders”.
Concerning the second field, Dastis invited the parliamentary groups to agree on a Motion that helps to “plan a strategy of continuity and boost” of the work carried out by Spain at the Security Council, and urged to “normalize relations and re-establish trust with Russia”, since “the Cold War finished a long time ago and it would be a tragic mistake to reproduce it”.
In relation to the “big transversal issues of the global agenda”, Dastis affirmed that human rights will be an “essential principle” of his foreign policy and remembered that, “the 40th anniversary of Spain’s admission to the Council of Europe”, first stage “of Spain’s reunion with freedoms and the rule of law”, will take place in November 2017.
Concerning the foreign action, Dastis admitted that “one of the unresolved matters” of his department is the need “to undertake a plan of redeployment” of the Foreign Service “for a better attention to the citizens”. “At the moment, we have 118 embassies, 88 consulates, 10 permanent representations and seven diplomatic antennas. It is true that we are where we should be, but sometimes we are not where we should be”, he declared.