Spain has assumed its seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the period 2015-2016, amidst increasing tensions and challenges to international security, including the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Ukraine, among others. At European level, the fight against jihadist terrorism and the European energy union have dominated debates. At national level, Spain has begun to recover (albeit slowly) economically, while the country continues to search for business opportunities with both traditional and new trade partners.
Around a quarter of the world's states are classified as 'fragile', meaning that they generally suffer from weak governance and persistent poverty while being prone to conflict. State fragility is a particularly urgent challenge for EU foreign policy, partly because a large proportion of fragile states can be found in Europe's extended neighbourhood, stretching from West Africa via the Middle East to Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and partly because of the EU's strong commitment to more effective development policies around the world.
Spanish foreign policy recorded important achievements in the last three months of 2014, including non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council and the approval of the first Foreign Action Strategy. Meanwhile, the Veracruz Summit concluded the reform process of the Ibero-American dialogue. In addition, economic diplomacy and Brand Spain continue to be the government’s best bet to reignite the economy and improve its international image.
At the start of each year, FRIDE looks at the challenges for European foreign policy in the following twelve months. This year, at a time of growing geopolitical stress across the world, our central theme is how others deal with disorder. The book analyses the strategies of nine different countries for coping with instability – ranging from major powers with the ability or aspiration for global influence (i.e. China, the United States) to others with a regional focus (i.e. Iran, Turkey) – and the implications of those strategies for Europe.
Unparalleled in scale and loss of life, the challenge of cross-Mediterranean migration to the EU is rightly receiving much attention. Around 165,000 individuals have already crossed to Europe in 2014 so far, twice the figure for 2013. Yet this grave (and growing) humanitarian crisis has scarcely been tackled in policy terms, and the EU still lacks a clear approach to migration across its southern flank. Policy-makers have struggled even to conceptualise the challenge of cross-Mediterranean migration, let alone to identify the right mix of policy tools to cope with it. This working paper argues that EU defence policies could help plug a major gap in the bloc’s approach to migration in the Mediterranean.
Spanish foreign policy throughout summer was marked by the first moves of new Spanish King Felipe VI on the international stage. The priorities of Spanish external action included, among others, Spanish efforts to obtain a non-permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council, the celebration in Madrid of the Conference on Stability and Development in Libya and the prominence of economic and public diplomacy with a view to improving Spain’s image and investments abroad.