The Elcano Royal Institute is a private entity, independent of both the public administration and the
companies that fund it, that was established under the honorary presidency of HRH the Prince of
Asturias on 27 December 2001. The Institute’s prime mission is to generate ideas on the
international scenario and on Spain’s strategic options in international relations that are of practical
use to politicians, the business world, academics the media and public opinion at large.
In Inside Spain William Chislett comments on the latest events in our country. On the Foreign Policy front, Parliament overwhelmingly approved Spain’s participation in the NATO-led operation in Libya, but -although the deadlines can be extended- set a one-month limit on the contribution of four F-18 fighters and a B-707 refuelling aircraft and a three-month limit on the participation of its frigate the Méndez Núñez, the submarine Tramontana and the maritime patrol aircraft CN-235 in the blockade. In another development, the government airlifted 37 Cuban political prisoners and 209 members of their families to Madrid, thereby implementing the agreement with the government and the Roman Catholic Church in the Communist-ruled island to release the prisoners -he total number freed and flown to Spain so far is 115 prisoners and 647 family members-. But the most important news was on the Domestic Scene, with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who became Spain’s Socialist Prime Minister in 2004, announcing that he would not seek re-election in early 2012: the Socialist party will choose its next leader after the local and regional elections on 22 May. Also, the Supreme Court decided not to legalise the new Basque radical party Sortu on the grounds that it is a continuation of Batasuna, the banned political wing of the terrorist group ETA, and so barred it from taking part in the municipal elections in May. As regards the Economy, the news is somewhat brighter as, although unemployment remains high and growth sluggish, Spain is having some success in distancing itself from the sovereign debt crises in Greece, Ireland and now Portugal. On the financial world, the Bank of Spain’s restructuring of the ailing savings-bank sector suffered a setback when the plan for Caja Mediterráneo (CAM), a caja weighed down by bad property loans, to merge with three other cajas collapsed. And Spain’s foreign debt fell in 2010 for the first time in almost a decade to €1.74 trillion, 1.2% less than in 2009 according to the Bank of Spain. In GDP terms it dropped from 166.9% to 164.1%.
Our April newsletter includes the summary of the most recent results of Elcano’s BRIE, a quarterly survey of Spaniards’ views on international issues, focused this time on the economic crisis and Spain’s image, the changes in the Arab world and the Libyan intervention.
Among our highlights, within the Mediterranean & Arab World Andreu Claret has written an interesting analysis on different aspects of the so-called ‘Egyptian Revolution’ of 2011: ‘the rapidly unravelling events in various North-African countries have shifted the focus of the debate regarding the Arab world’, he argues, adding that ‘approaches focusing on the religious identity and/or pre-eminence of the Middle-East conflict are gradually giving way to a renewed interest in social and cultural transformations’. In the same section, the Yemen uprising is analysed by Abdullah al-Faqih who claims that ‘many Yemenis believe that the number-one threat to Yemen’s security and stability at this point is Saleh himself and that the longer he stays in power the more likely the country will slip into a civil war’. On Europe, and specifically on the EU-Turkey Accession Negotiations, a working paper by Mahir Ilgaz & Ýlke Toygür attempts to provide an outline of the state of play, with an account of Turkey’s history with the EU and an explanation of the reasons for the obvious slowdown in the negotiations: ‘the current impasse’, they claim, ‘has both the EU and Turkey to blame’.
And back to the Mediterranean & Arab World, Renata Capella-Soler has written an ARI on human rights and the Western Sahara conflict, suggesting that a human-rights monitoring mechanism would change the underlying dynamics of the conflict and allow for progress in the negotiation process. Haiti, another troubled region, faces a potential political stalemate whilst confronting the massive reconstruction needs created by last year’s earthquake: in International Cooperation & Development Marc J. Cohen & Amélie Gauthier write about reconstruction and political uncertainty in the island. And, lastly, on International Economy & Trade, the debate over the reform of the Euro-zone’s fiscal governance is analysed by Luis Guirola, who argues that the current approach to fiscal governance is flawed and that a more integrated framework based on permanent institutions is required.
26th edition of the Barometer of the Elcano Royal Institute
The 26th edition of the BRIE -a survey carried out three times a year of a sample of 1,200 people considered a fair cross-section of the Spanish population- focuses on issues such as the changes in the Arab world and intervention in Libya, the economic crisis and Spain's image and the 10th anniversay of the Foreign and Defence Policy and the evaluation of the Spanish Armed Forces.
Some Comments on the ‘Egyptian Revolution’ of 2011 (ARI) Andreu Claret
The so-called ‘Egyptian Revolution’, led by the country’s middle-class urban youth, has led to sweeping social and cultural changes that constitute the main asset for a transition towards a more democratic regime, despite the uncertainties regarding the political future following the fall of Mubarak.
Human Rights: An Obstacle to Peace in the Western Sahara? (ARI) Renata Capella-Soler
The establishment of a human rights monitoring mechanism in the Western Sahara, preferably through an expansion of MINURSO’s mandate, would change the underlying dynamics of the conflict and allow for progress in the negotiation process.
Document of Interest UN - Security Council Resolution 1973 (2011)
The resolution adopted by the Security Council -at its 6498th meeting on 17 March- imposes a ban on all flights in Libya’s airspace - a no-fly zone - and tightened sanctions on the Qadhafi regime and its supporters.
Document of Interest Council of the EU - EUFOR Libya
The Council of the European Union Decision 2011/210/CFSP on EU military operation in support of humanitarian assistance operations in response to the crisis situation in Libya (EUFOR Libya), issued on 1 April 2011.
Document of Interest World Bank - e-Atlas of Global Development
It is a free, online, interactive tool of the World Bank, which maps and graphs more than 175 indicators from its development database. It also covered critical issues such as poverty, food production, population growth, climate change, international trade and foreign direct investment.
Document of Interest WTO - International Trade Statistics 2010
Published by the World Trade Organization (WTO), the ITS 2010 offers a comprehensive overview of the latest developments in world trade, covering the details of merchandise trade by product and trade in commercial services by category.
The Elcano Royal Institute does not necessarily share the views expressed by the authors of its Working Papers and other
texts which may appear on its Website or in any other of its publications.The Institute’s primary goal is to act as a
leading forum for research and analysis and to stimulate informed discussion of international affairs, particularly with regard
to those issues which are most relevant from a Spanish perspective, and which will be of interest to policy-makers, business leaders,
the media, and society at large.