William Chislett's Inside Spain reports on the latest events in Spain. On Foreign Policy, two Spanish soldiers were killed and three others wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, bringing to 96 the number of Spanish personnel killed since the start of the Afghan mission in 2002. Prime Minister Rodríguez Zapatero said Spanish troops and police serving with the NATO-led force in Afghanistan would begin to be withdrawn in 2012. The diplomat Bernardino León, Secretary-General at the Office of the Prime Minister, was appointed EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean region by the Union's Foreign Ministers while Miguel Ángel Moratinos, Spain's former Foreign Minister, lost his bid to head the UN's Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to José Graziano da Silva, from Brazil. US Secretary of State Clinton visited Madrid and praised the government's economic reforms. The Domestic Scene has witnessed Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba -the Deputy Prime Minister, Interior Minister and government spokesman- being formally declared the Socialists' candidate for the next general election, due in March 2012, although support for early elections is gathering momentum among Spaniards. And Spain's first comprehensive national security strategy has been published, identifying the most important threats and risks and outlining how they might be addressed and opening up a process of transition towards a new security and defence model to enable the country to face the challenges and opportunities raised by globalisation. On the Economy, although five Spanish institutions failed the Stress Test Carried out on 91 European Banks, the government and the Bank of Spain have explained that this does not mean they need to strengthen their capital as they have anticyclical provisions for loan losses (a cushion for times of crisis) which the EBA refused to include in its stress test. Also, Spain wanted the maximum transparency and presented 25 banks, well above 50% of the financial system, which is the EBA's requirement. CaixaBank has become Spain's first savings bank to be listed as a commercial bank, followed by Bankia, a merger of seven savings banks led by Caja de Madrid.
Our first highlight is an analysis by Dennis Kux which reviews the current crisis in US-Pakistan relations and looks at the interaction between Washington and Islamabad since the events of 9/11. US-Pakistan relations, the author concludes, 'are like a bad marriage where divorce is impossible' but are likely to continue to rock along. Secondly, our senior analyst for Demography, Population & International Migration, Carmen González Enríquez, explains Spain's management of temporary migration from Morocco, now presented by European institutions and international bodies as a success story to be emulated. Finally, the Newsletter's third highlight, in our Asia-Pacific area, deals with the lessons that should be learnt from the Fukushima accident in March 2011; 'Japan'' Haruko Satoh claims, 'needs to re-think nuclear energy first from the perspective of rebuilding and then by honoring the public's trust in the State'; the focus should be, he argues, on public safety.
The 27th edition of the BRIE presents the results of our quarterly public opinion survey. This time, and in addition to the usual questions, 1.100 Spaniards have responded to issues related to the Greek crisis, the war in Libya and the death of Bin Laden. Gonzalo Escribano, Director of our Energy Programme, analyses the recent announcement by the International Energy Agency of the release of 60 million barrels of its members' strategic petroleum reserves in July, in an attempt, according to the IEA, to mitigate the effects of the Libyan crisis; but the move has been interpreted as a call for the Organisation of the OPEC to boost production and not jeopardise economic recovery, giving Saudi Arabia time to make the announced production increase materialise. On International Terrorism, Lorenzo Vidino offers a 'preliminary assessment' on the impact of the events of the Arab Awakening on Muslim radicalisation among European Muslims; and Silvia Montero and Juan Antonio Sánchez, of our Institute, present the 3rd edition of the Dossier on the Arab Unrest, a monthly analysis of the highlights on this issue.
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