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Spain in Ibero-America

Ibero-America has always been a priority for Spain's foreign policy. Human, historical, social, cultural, political, economic and linguistic ties have made Ibero-America a constant feature of the foreign policy of successive Spanish governments.

In recent years, the Ibero-American and Caribbean countries have undergone profound changes that have prompted a new approach to Spain's relations with the region. The Ibero-American economies have modernised, their middle classes have grown and integration and concertation projects have multiplied.

In this context, Spain maintains its bilateral relations in accordance with the specific characteristics of each country, seeking to maintain a privileged dialogue with all of them. The aim is to strengthen the mechanisms of political dialogue, to coordinate amongst themselves in international organisations and to explore economic opportunities for mutual benefit.

Spain is one of the main investors in Ibero-America and has a significant presence in key sectors of the development and social modernisation process, such as banking, energy, communications, construction and infrastructure management, tourism and the provision of public services. Spain considers it essential not only to strengthen dialogue and foster co-operation in order to contribute to the institutional strengthening of the Ibero-American nations, but also to support effective economic reform processes that foster growth and favour the redistribution of wealth and equity.

Minister José Manuel Albares together with his counterpart from Costa Rica. Madrid, November 2021. Photo: NOLSOM-MAUC

​International cooperation for development is one of the fundamental instruments of foreign policy for Ibero-America. This foreign policy is adapting to a new and successful environment in which a significant number of the countries to which economic and technical resources have been allocated in the past have reached levels of development that will make them donors in the short term, and for which Spain offers new measures focused on the knowledge economy, technology transfer and collaboration between research centres of excellence. Spain continues to cooperate in the fight against poverty in those Ibero-American countries that need it.

Furthermore, Spain plays an essential role in the design of the European Union's policy towards Ibero-America and the Caribbean. As a promoter of integration and multilateralism as the best response to the new international environment, Spain supports the different processes of economic, political and commercial integration and observes with interest the new integration drives that are developing in the region. One of these integration movements, the so-called Community of Ibero-American and Caribbean States (CELAC), maintains a preferential dialogue with the European Union. The European Union and CELAC represent sixty-one countries (about one third of the members of the United Nations) and more than one billion people (about 15% of the world's population). This means that the European Union-CELAC partnership impacts on the lives of many people and has the potential to shape a rule-based world order. Both the EU and the countries of Ibero-America and the Caribbean support the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. They have also been the main drivers of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In 2010, Madrid hosted the 6th European Union-Ibero-America and Caribbean Summit, with innovation and technology for sustainable development and inclusion as the central theme.

Spain's role in Ibero-America is furthermore reinforced by our participation in various Ibero-American multilateral organisations as an observer. This is the case of the Organisation of American States (OAS), since February 1972, and the Ibero-American Integration Association (LAIA), since November 1982. Spain has also had observer status in the Central American Integration System (SICA), since 2004, and in the Andean Community of Nations (CAN - Spanish acronym), since 2011. In November 2012, Spain became the first country to join the Pacific Alliance as an observer.

Additionally, Spain's role in Ibero-America is very active in financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), to which it contributes both in the bank's ordinary capital and in the budget for special operations, including the Spanish Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation in Ibero-America and the Caribbean, the Spanish General Cooperation Fund, the Fund for Sustainable Energy and Climate Change or the Spanish Trust Fund for the Social Entrepreneurship Programme.

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Related documentation

Community of Ibero-American and Caribbean States (CELAC)It opens in new window

Organization of American States (OAS)It opens in new window

Ibero-American Integration Association (LAIA)It opens in new window

Sistema de Integración Centroamericana (SICA)It opens in new window

Andean Community of Nations (CAN)It opens in new window

Pacific AllianceIt opens in new window

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)It opens in new window

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