Since 2008, Spain has actively participated in the international coordination of joint reform initiatives such as the response to the financial and economic crisis (as one of the leading EU member states, and as a guest at the G-20 summits held in Washington, London, Pittsburg and Toronto). It has participated in international forums and actions responding to challenges such as climate change (including the 2009 Copenhagen summit), energy supply, illegal migration (in part through bilateral agreements in Northern Africa), global terrorism (mainly through transatlantic relations), and peacekeeping (with Spanish troops deployed as a part of UN, NATO and CFSP missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Lebanon, Somalia, and until 2009, Kosovo). This international engagement was particularly active during the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010, coinciding with the preparation for and exercise of the country’s EU Council presidency.
In recent years, the Spanish government has actively favored a multilateralist approach, but has also pursued a specific set of goals through its international cooperation (including economic development in the poorest countries of Latin America and Africa, institutional strengthening of weak states, a death penalty moratorium, gender parity, access to water, etc.). This broad agenda is among the current government’s most prominent priorities, and after several years of increases in spending on bilateral and multilateral initiatives, Spain reached its highest level ever in international development aid during 2008 and 2009 (around €5 billion, or 0.45% of its GDP), the seventh-highest level of aid among the world’s donor countries according to the OECD annual report. In some initiatives (such as humanitarian aid after the 2010 Haiti and Chile earthquakes, or the United Nations Development Fund for Women) Spain is even the world leader. However, despite Spain’s relatively recent democratization and the high international reputation of its transition to democracy, the country is not particularly active in supporting democracy abroad or in adopting a hard-line behavior vis-à-vis authoritarian regimes.
At the diplomatic level, Spain cosponsors the UN-affiliated “Alliance of Civilizations“ initiative, and generally acts as a medium-sized world power with global interests, although these are concentrated in the Western Mediterranean and Latin America. In the latter region, Spain takes advantage of its cultural, historical and more recent economic and business links (institutionalized today in the Ibero-American Summits), playing a fundamental role as a bridge between the European Union and Latin America.
-OECD Development Aid Committee Report “Development Aid at its highest level ever in 2008”
-UNIFEM’s 2009-2010 annual report,