Farewell to the ‘Spain Brand’: Albares reorders Foreign Affairs and abolishes the position created by Margallo

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, EU and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albares, has completed the restructuring of the department that began after his appointment on July 10 and has left the ‘Marca España’ out of it, according to the organization chart of the Ministry published this Wednesday in the BOE.

Albares thus abolishes a position that was established with Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo as Foreign Minister in June 2012. Then, the figure of the High Commissioner of the Government for the Spain Brand was created with the task of proposing “measures to improve the foreign image of Spain.”

The high commissioner had the rank of Secretary of State and, although organically he depended on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he functionally depended on the Prime Minister, then Mariano Rajoy. The first to occupy the position, which had to be approved by the Council of Ministers, was Carlos Espinosa de los Monteros.

With the arrival of the PSOE to the Government and with Josep Borrell in charge of Foreign Affairs, in October 2018 the designation was changed to Global Spain and he was put in charge of the Secretary of State with that name to Irene Lozano.

After taking the reins of the Santa Cruz Palace in January 2020, Arancha González Laya maintained the Secretariat of Global Spain and put in charge of it Manuel Muniz, who after knowing the dismissal of the minister in July presented his resignation immediately.

Since then, Albares had not revealed what would happen to Global Spain, which ceased to exist as Secretary of State within the Foreign Ministry at the time when the new minister chose to recover the defunct Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean.

In the new organization chart of the Ministry that is published in the BOE this Wednesday, said secretariat is not mentioned and the addresses that depended on it have passed to other hands or have been suppressed. Thus, “the General Directorate of Strategy, Prospective and Coherence is abolished,” according to the text.

Regarding the General Directorate of Communication, Public Diplomacy and Networks, within which is the Diplomatic Information Office (OID), and the General Directorate of Economic Diplomacy, both will come under “directly from the person who owns the Ministry”.

‘Spanish in the World’

On the other hand, when recovering the Secretary of State for Ibero-America, at the head of which is Juan Fernandez WheatAlbares also added to his name “y del Español en el Mundo”. By virtue of this, within this secretariat a specific general direction of Spanish in the World has been created.

According to the BOE, its function will be “to ensure the coherence, within a common strategy, of the action of the different institutions in charge of ensuring the defense of Spanish in the world, without prejudice to the competences of the Ministry of Culture and Sports”.

Likewise, it should “contribute to the expansion and promotion of the presence of Spanish both in traditional areas and in fields of technology and innovation.”

In reality, the modification of the royal decree on the structure of the Ministry is mainly motivated by the fact that Spain will hold the semester Presidency of the EU in the second half of 2023.

General Secretariat for the EU

For this reason, Albares has made the decision to recover “the General Secretariat for the European Union, which has also existed on previous occasions when Spain has assumed the six-monthly Presidency of the Council,” according to the royal decree published in the BOE.

Before Spain assumes the rotating presidency, “it must be part of the team of the Trio of Presidencies, together with Belgium and Hungary, which will extend for a period of eighteen months to coordinate the respective six-month presidencies,” the text explains.

This will imply “an increase in the coordination tasks to be carried out by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, both in the field of the General State Administration and in the field of cooperation with our European partners”, hence the need to “strengthen the Secretary of State for the European Union”, which heads Juan González-Barba, with the General Secretariat.


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