The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, urged ambassadors and the whole foreign service to work to stress that Spain is a driving force in Europe during the Spanish Presidency of the EU. In his speech to ambassadors and permanent representatives accredited abroad by Spain, the minister also reiterated that the priority is to restore peace to the continent while guaranteeing our values.
The 7th Conference of Ambassadors, held on 9 and 10 January at Marqués de Salamanca Palace, was inaugurated by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and closed off by His Majesty, King Felipe VI. The event also included the participation of the First Vice-President of the Government and Minister for Economy and Digital Transformation, Nadia Calviño, the Minister for Defence, Margarita Robles, the Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and the Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen.
In a crucial year for Spain, the conference was geared towards anticipating and debating the challenges and opportunities during the term of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year. In this regard, the minister stressed that this is a unique opportunity to mobilise pro-European sentiment and solidarity, but also Spain’s leadership to the benefit of Europe.
“We must do our utmost in these months, as must you”, he asked of them, because the Presidency allows us to stamp our political drive on the European Union “to protect the model of a just, social, supportive Europe that is committed both to the well-being of the European people and beyond its borders, participating in the resolution of the global challenges of our times”.
The illegal aggression against Ukraine and the new global scenario also played a leading role in the debates. Spain, according to Minister Albares, has taken in 150,000 Ukrainians to date and has granted 250 million euros in aid to rebuild the country. The minister asserted that peace is the top priority, but that this must guarantee respect for international law, sovereignty and territorial integrity, human rights, democracy, pluralism and diversity.
In this tumultuous international context that is in transformation, Spain will work with its partners and allies, with the main countries around the world and with international organisations to head up solutions to global problems, claimed the minister.
The meeting also involved debates with the Heads of Mission regarding our country’s position on regional and global questions that are useful to develop their mission, and to raise organisational and operational aspects.
This 7th Conference of Ambassadors is the first fully face-to-face meeting since the pandemic, since the conference in 2021 was still held in a hybrid format as full mobility had not yet been recovered in every country. The conference involved the participation of 123 ambassadors and permanent representatives accredited by Spain, in other words, almost all of those accredited.
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