Frequenty Asked Questions

  1. What is the Elcano Royal Institute?

  2. The Elcano Royal Institute is a private non-partisan, foundation. It is independent of both the Public Administration and the companies that largely finance it. Its aim is to study the interests of Spain and Spanish society in an international context and to make its research available to policy-makers, academics, business leaders, the media and society in general. The Institute is the result of a twofold agreement: between the government and the main opposition party on the one hand, and between the public and private sectors on the other.

  3. When and why was it created?

  4. The Institute was formally established in December 2001 and started to operate in early 2002. Its mission is to serve as a focal point for thought and the generation of ideas in the field of international and strategic relations. Its activities are designed to be of use to political leaders and the heads of public and private institutions, while also helping to shape public opinion.

  5. How is the Elcano Royal Institute financed?

  6. Slightly less than 10% of the Institute’s annual budget of around 3 million euros is provided by the Public Administration through the medium of four Ministries (Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Defence, Economy and Competitiveness, and Education, Culture and Sport). The remaining 90% is financed by the private sector in the form of annual contributions from the firms represented on its Board of Trustees or Business Advisory Council.

  7. Who is in charge? What are its governing bodies? Who manages it?

  8. The Institute’s main governing body is its Board of Trustees which, under the honorary presidency of HM the King , ensures that both public and private interests and those of the government and opposition are evenly balanced. Board members include the formers Prime Ministers Felipe González, José María Aznar and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero; and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Defence, Economy and Competitivity, and Education, Culture and Sport; the chairmen of companies that support the Institute; and, finally, an appointee of the country’s main opposition party. The Board’s chairman is Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, Professor of Sociology and Former Director of the Elcano Royal Institue between 2001 and 2004.

    An Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the Institute’s direct management and meets on a regular basis (usually every two months).

    The Director of the Elcano Royal Institute is Charles Powell.

  9. Is the Elcano Royal Institute subject to the Government in any way? Or dependant on any individual company?

  10. The Institute’s nature and composition guarantee both its non-partisan character and its independence, by integrating and representing the interests of public bodies, private companies and other political and social players. Both the Public Administration and the firms that support the Institute have a say in its governance and day-to-day running through the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee.

  11. What is the Scientific Council?

  12. The Scientific Council is the Institute’s advisory body for the efficient fulfilment of all activities enshrined in its mission statement, especially those pertaining to research, publications and institutional relations. The Council’s members include leading personalities in the academic, political, business and media worlds, who contribute a wide-ranging knowledge and experience of international politics.

  13. What is the Business Advisory Council?

  14. The Business Advisory Council is made up of the firms that support the Institute and is responsible for advising the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee, proposing activities and cooperating in the organisation of meetings and the dissemination of research.

  15. What documents does the Elcano Royal Institute publish?

  16. The Institute produces thre basic types of document: the Expert Comments, which are an immediate response to international events relevant to Spain (800-1,000 words), the Analyses of the Royal Institute (or ARI), concise papers of around 3,000 words on a relevant international topic; and Working Papers, which are longer academic studies (including footnotes and comprehensive bibliographies) of around 12,000-15,000 words on medium- or longer-term issues.

    The Institute also publishes the Elcano Reports and books in different formats. Some, such as the Elcano Global Presence Index, are released on a regular basis.

  17. Does the Real Instituto Elcano draw up other confidential or secret documents?

  18. No, the Institute’s entire production is released on its website and made available to Spanish and international society at large. The Executive Committee formally decided it would not carry out consultancy work as such, ie, for individual clients.

  19. How can I receive information on the Elcano Royal Institute’s activites and work?

  20. You can visit our website and blog, and also subscribe to our newsletters  (monthly and bilingual Boletín/Newsletter, Novedades en la RED, CIBER elcano) and receive information about our events.

  21. How can I become a Trustee of the Elcano Royal Institute?

  22. The Institute aims to open its Board of Trustees to leading academic, cultural and social personalities and also to companies interested in supporting its activity. The firms represented on the Elcano Royal Institute’s Board of Trustees help to finance its activities through an annual contribution.

  23. … And a member of its Business Advisory Council?

  24. Companies represented on the Institute’s Business Advisory Council make a smaller annual contribution than the Trustees.