Frequenty Asked Questions

What is the Elcano Royal Institute?

The Elcano Royal Institute is a private, non-profit making foundation that is non-party political and independent of both the Spanish government and the companies that finance it. Its task is to study international reality and the position of Spain in international society, placing the result of its analyses at the disposal of Spanish society. All this is undertaken with the utmost academic rigour, promoting open debate and within a framework involving the defence of democracy, multilateralism, the social and market economy, freedom and human rights.

When and why was it created?

It was formally set up in December 2001 and started work in early 2002. The core mission of the Institute, as the leading Spanish think tank, is to serve as a focus for deliberation and the generation of such ideas –in the context of international and strategic relations– as may prove useful to political office-holders, the leaders of public and private institutions and the shaping of public opinion.

How is the Elcano Royal Institute financed?

Almost 80% of the Institute’s annual budget comes from the private sector and consists of annual contributions from the companies that make up its Board of Trustees and the Business Advisory Council. Rather less than 20% comes from the Spanish government via four Ministries: Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Defence, Economy and Competitiveness, and Education, Culture and Sport.

For the sake of maximum transparency, all the Institute’s economic and financial information, as well as its sources of finance, are available in the Transparency section of the website

What are its governing bodies? Who makes up its management team?

The Institute’s main governing body is its Board of Trustees, under the honorary presidency of H.M. the King. It comprises a maximum of 40 trustees.

It is made up of the chairs of the companies that have signed up to the project and contribute to its funding, the former Spanish Prime Ministers Felipe González, José María Aznar and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Defence, Economy and Education, and, finally, a trustee nominated by the main opposition party. The Board of Trustees is chaired by José Juan Ruiz since February 2021.

The Executive Committee, the delegated body of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the direct management of the Institute and meets on a regular basis (normally every two months).

The Business Advisory Council is also consulted about the annual Action Plan.

The Director of the Elcano Royal Institute is currently Charles Powell.

Is the Elcano Royal Institute dependent in any way on the government of Spain? Or businesses?

The nature and composition of the Institute ensures both its non-party political status and its independence, integrating and representing the interests of public bodies, private enterprises and other political, academic and social agents. Through the Board of Trustees and its Executive Committee, both the government and the companies participate in the running and the day-to-day functioning of the Institut

What is the Scientific Council?

The Scientific Council is the Institute’s consultative body for all those activities geared towards the effective fulfilment of the founding goals and, in particular, those involving research, publications and institutional relations. It comprises academic, political, diplomatic, business and media figures with wide experience of issues related to international politics. Its members number no fewer than 40 and no greater than 60, and they are appointed by the Board of Trustees on the suggestion of the Executive Committee for a renewable period of five years.

What is the Business Advisory Council?

The Business Advisory Council is made up of the Institute’s collaborating organisations, which also contribute to its financing. It is responsible for advising the Board of Trustees and the Executive Committee on drawing up the annual Action Plan and supporting the Institute in organising dissemination activities and encounters.

What do the companies and organisations that finance the Elcano Royal Institute receive?

The companies and organisations that finance the Institute receive a series of services set out in the Foundation’s Corporate Members’ Programme, in accordance with their ties to the organisational structure and their economic contribution to the Institute, within the framework of the institution’s founding goals

What documents does the Elcano Royal Institute publish?

The Institute produces three basic types of document: the Expert Comments, which are rapid responses (1,000-1,500 words long) to an international event with relevance to Spain; Analyses of the Elcano Royal Institute (known by their Spanish acronym, ARI), which are short and concise analyses (around 3,000 words long) of an issue of current international concern that has some bearing on Spanish policy; and the Working Papers (WP), which are longer (around 12,000-15,000 words) academic studies (with footnotes and bibliographies) on subjects of relevance over the medium to long term.

The Institute also publishes Elcano Reports, and books of various formats and characteristics, some of which are released on a periodic basis, such as the Elcano Global Presence Index.

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

  • All the information is available on our Website and Blog.
  • Subscribe to the Institute’s electronic publications (the monthly bilingual Boletín/Newsletter in Spanish and English, Novedades en la RED and CIBER elcano) and receive information about its activities.
  • Follow the Institute on the social media: TwitterFacebookLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.