PRESS RELEASE 229
Ministry of Foreign Affairs boosts Spain’s central role in the European Union, multilateralism and feminist foreign policy in 2020

 


 
30/12/2020
  • A year ends in which the largest return operation ever was carried out to ensure thousands of Spaniards could come home
  • A New Year dawns with a new Foreign Action Strategy to provide a response to the challenges we face
  • Strengthening Spain’s supportive commitment in the global response to COVID-19, economic and climate diplomacy, and the digitalisation of consular services – the main challenges in 2021
 
30 December 2020. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation closes off 2020 in which it has backed Spain’s central role in the European Union, its decisive commitment to multilateralism and made a strong push to foster feminist foreign policy.

Spain’s central role in the EU

Spain has played a central role in the approval of the European Budget and the Next Generation EU Recovery Fund, which are essential for the post-COVID-19 social and economic recovery. Spain has also worked to facilitate the agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the EU on their post-Brexit relations.

During 2020, Spain has committed to an ambitious and coordinated response at a European level to tackle the impact of the pandemic. It has facilitated coordination on mobility in the EU, the guarantees for access to medical equipment and medicines at critical moments, safeguarding the internal market, and lastly, the joint management of vaccines.

Spain has made its voice heard in relation to the draft European Pact on Migration and Asylum, advocating a balance between responsibility and solidarity, and strengthening the options for legal migration. The management of migratory flows will also be another of the priorities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the New Year, in which it will seek greater cooperation with the countries of origin of immigrants, stepping up the contacts initiated in 2020 by the minister through visits to Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Chad, Mali and Burkina Faso.
 
Commitment to multilateralism

Spain has backed a multilateral response to COVID-19 with the United Nations at its heart, by redirecting its development cooperation policy, adopting a joint response strategy from Spanish Cooperation to the COVID-19 crisis, and contributing to such UN agencies as UNRWA – the Palestinian refugee agency – the UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The organisation of the Conference of Donors in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants, with the UNHCR and with the IOM, to which Spain contributed 50 million euros; the 100 million euros contributed to the Sustainable Development Goals fund; the 120 tonnes of humanitarian aid just sent to Honduras to alleviate the disaster caused by flooding, and the emergency shipment of humanitarian aid to Lebanon in the wake of the explosion that ravaged Beirut in August, are other examples.

Feminist foreign policy

Spain has backed a resolution of the UN General Assembly on Women, Girls and the response to COVID-19, and has also promoted equal treatment measures and measures against any form of discrimination at an international level. Over the course of 2020, it has also backed particularly important initiatives, including the unanimous approval by the Human Rights Council, upon a proposal from Spain, of the resolution entitled ‘Protecting and Promoting the Human Rights of women and girls in conflict and post-conflict situations’, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325, of the UN Security Council.

It has also created the figure of the coordinator for violence against women at Spanish embassies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has followed the 2020 Annual Plan for Violence against Women Abroad, with such measures as the signing of an agreement with the Spanish Lawyers’ Foundation, the drafting of a manual and the preparation of protocols to receive victims in Spain, as well as other new training and communication actions.

Repatriation

One of the milestones of this exercise we now end was the historic repatriation of Spaniards from abroad that were taken by surprise by the sudden closure of communications and the severe mobility restrictions. The extensive procedures deployed by the consular service facilitated this return for close to 60,000 citizens that were helped by the network of 220 embassies and consular offices, and the 3,500 professionals abroad.

New Foreign Action Strategy in 2021

The activity of the ministerial department will be further boosted with the presentation of the Spanish Foreign Action Strategy following a far-reaching consultation process that began with the announcement by the minister, Arancha González Laya, in February and which has been adapted to the turbulent changes that have taken place since then.

Economic and climate diplomacy, and the digitalisation of consular services

In 2021, a new boost will be given to economic diplomacy to back up the efforts of the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan of the Spanish economy. Specific initiatives will also be launched, such as the creation of a high-level panel on technology and global order.

The government will also grant an important role to climate diplomacy, forging consensuses to give a new boost to the Paris Agreement, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of countries to tackle the effects of climate change.

Another of the ministerial department’s firm commitments in 2021 will be to the digitalisation of consular services with the aim of offering a more effective and personal service to citizens abroad.
 

Access to video summarising the year 2020

Twitter@SpainMFA

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