In the last quarter of 2013, Spanish foreign policy was marked by five main issues: Gibraltar; US espionage; the Ibero-American Summits; the difficult balance between commercial expansion and foreign policy; and the so-called ‘Catalan’ question.
At the start of each year, the FRIDE team looks at the challenges likely to dominate European foreign policy in the following twelve months. With a view to 2014, we target the developments taking place in the increasingly volatile extended neighbourhood of the European Union (EU). The new FRIDE annual publication calls for a paradigm shift in the EU’s approach to the neighbourhood, building on a broader definition of its geographic scope and focusing on the political and security trends connecting different regions. It also looks at the foreign policies of pivotal regional actors such as Iran, Russia and Turkey and at the projection of external powers in the regions surrounding Europe.
The diplomatic incidents with Bolivia on the one hand and over Gibraltar on the other, the new foreign action and service law, the Syrian crisis, the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Afghanistan, the elections in Germany and the commercial shift towards Asia and Africa have marked Spanish foreign policy over the past three months.
In the past three months the Sahel, Syria, national security, commercial diplomacy and the ‘Spain Brand’ have been at the core of Spanish foreign policy.
The military intervention in Mali, negotiations on a new law concerning Spanish external action and services and the eurozone crisis have dominated the Spanish foreign policy agenda in the first quarter of 2013.
Europe’s growth strategy is based on a larger trade surplus with the rest of the world. The continent’s short-term problem is a lack of domestic demand. The long-term problem is a slow rate of productivity growth.