Our last Newsletter before the summer break starts with our regular report on the latest news concerning Spain. On the country’s Foreign Policy, Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos, although facing the opposition of the Conservative Popular Party, became the first serving Spanish Minister to officially visit Gibraltar, a British colony since 1713, when the Treaty of Utrecht was signed. Previously, the Foreign Minister made a three-day visit to Equatorial Guinea, the former Spanish colony, with a group of businessmen in search of contracts in the oil-rich but impoverished island ruled by Teodoro Obiang since 1979. Spain held its first summit with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and promised €240 million in aid over the next three years to develop agriculture and combat famine, also in an attempt to reduce irregular migration. And last but not least, and although Spain is not a G-20 member, Prime Minister Rodríguez Zapatero will attend the meeting in Pittsburgh in September; the invitation coincided with the announcement that Alan D. Solomont would be the next US Ambassador to Spain. On the Domestic Scene, the Basque terrorist group ETA assassinated a senior anti-terrorist police officer in its first attack since the Socialists took control of the Basque regional government in May. And, in a significant move backing the government’s tougher policy towards ETA’s supporters, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously agreed with the decision to ban Batasuna and Herri Batasuna, political allies of the terrorist group. The head of the National Intelligence Centre (NIC), appointed in 2004, was replaced by General Félix Sanz Roldán, a former military chief of staff; Alberto Sáiz quit his post amid allegations that he had used taxpayers’ money for private purposes. And on the Economy, and on a brighter note, unemployment fell in June for the second month running, while the government’s reform of the regional financing model –replacing the one introduced seven years ago and providing Spain’s regions with an extra €11 billion over the next four years– received the green light from the multi-regional Financial Policy Committee and is expected to be approved by parliament after the summer. Also, the government granted a four-year reprieve to the Garoña nuclear power plant; the closure was opposed by electricity companies, local authorities and workers at the plant. Finally, some gloomier figures: the number of tourists who came to Spain in the first five months of the year was almost 2 million fewer (-11.8%) than in the same period of 2008.
This month we present three highlights: the first, by João Peixoto and Catarina Sabino, is an ARI on Portugal’s migrants and migration policy and the latest developments related to the economic crisis. The second and third highlights are part of our International Economy and Trade area, where a working paper by Mikel González-Ruiz de Eguino and Antxón Olabe puts the climate crisis into context and, after considering its confluence with the energy constraints and economic crisis, tackles the different existing institutional alternatives, finally exploring the role of the UN Security Council. And Charles Wyplosz adds his views to the series of documents published by the Institute on the Euro.
On Europe, Deniz Devrim and Evelina Schulz present an ARI on Turkey’s rise as a regional power and its growing strategic role in its overlapping neighbourhood with the EU. Also on Turkey, a working paper by William Chislett examines the country’s EU accession negotiations, that started in October 2005, arguing that the government’s continued refusal to open its ports and airports to vessels and aircraft from Greek Cypriot-controlled Cyprus is one of the reasons behind the slowness of the process. Jörg Monar presents an ARI on the EU and internal security; since the 1990s, he writes, the EU has increasingly succeeded in developing a role in the internal security domain, but its role is constrained by the limitations imposed by the Member states. Finally, Daniel Ruiz de Garibay examines another aspect of the EU: its democratic deficit and the role of national parliaments. Still within Europe, but mainly concerning Demography, Population and International Migrations, a paper by Maria Ilies describes how while the EU’s member states have been reluctant to harmonise their policies for the management of legal immigration, cooperation has advanced in the field of the prevention and countering of irregular immigration. On Latin America, our Senior Analyst Carlos Malamud writes on the new phase in the relationship between Latin America and the US following the Fifth Summit of the Americas. A paper by Hein Marais, on Subsaharan Africa, examines the impact of the global economic recession on South Africa’s economy and society, the ways in which the country’s government has chosen to respond to that crisis and its likely social and political fall-out. Finally, our Spanish Language and Culture area includes an analysis by Cristina Fuentes exploring current arts sponsorship trends in times of financial crisis.
Those readers who do not wish to continue receiving both our English-language Newsletter and our Spanish-language Boletín should inform us at
http://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/boletinsubs_eng_new.asp of their preference for one or the other version.