Spain: looking to the United Nations Security Council for 2015-2016

The General Assembly of the United Nations will vote on 16 October to choose the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council for the two-year period 2015-2016. This UN organ is a key institution for maintaining international peace and security. Spain is one of the candidates, which will have Turkey and New Zealand as adversaries, and will need a majority of two thirds of the Assembly to be elected. Why does Spain deserve one of the non-permanent seats in the UN Security Council?

Reasons for the Spanish candidature

Spain: Candidate country to the United Nations Security Council 2015-2016Spain needs at least 129 votes among 193 Member States to be elected. It is not enough to assert that Spain is a country committed to international peace and security, to solidarity and to the fight against poverty, as well as to the defence of human rights.

These words make only sense if they have a factual basis and figures which support those claims. Spain perfectly represents these statements. Without any doubt, Spain works for maintaining international peace and security sending 138.500 members of Spanish forces to peacekeeping operations since 1989 and participating in 28 UN peacekeeping missions, in 13 EU missions and in 6 NATO operations. The Ministry of Defence of Spain invested 25 million euros for the UN Support Base in the Spanish town Quart de Poblet, which allowed doubling the communications in UN peace missions, where more than 100.000 UN staff work. Moreover, Spain was the first country to ratify the UN multilateral conventions against terrorism currently in force, the promoter of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the leader in supporting victims of terrorism and co-sponsor of the Alliance of Civilizations, among many other actions.

Spain also shows a strong commitment and solidarity with the fight against poverty when we see that this country is the sixth donor to the UN system, giving 900 million dollars to the UNDP/Spain Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Fund, as well as 40 million dollars in 2014 to bridge the gap between the MDG and the Sustainable development goals. Twenty years of experience in food security make Spain one of the world’s top ten donors, having donated one billion dollars since 2008 to the Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation. We also have to highlight that Spain is the top donor to UN Women since 2010 in aggregate figures and top contributor in aggregate figures since 2009 to the Fund for Gender Equality. Regarding the defence of human rights, the commitment of Spain with the treaties on the defence of human rights is clear, with the protection of children, with fostering the recognition of the human right to water and sanitation and promoting the rights of persons with disabilities, etc.

These are just some of the figures which make Spain a committed partner to the international community, to the maintaining of international peace and security, to the economic and social development, to the defence of human rights and the international law.

UN Security Council 2015-2016: Spanish and European interest

Spain is a State with international presence. Even if Spain establishes fundamental areas to develop its foreign policy (Europe, Latin America, Mediterranean region and United States), the Spanish external action reaches all continents.

Being part of the UN Security Council during 2015-2016 is one of the priorities of the Spanish diplomacy, as presence in this organism allows the country to take part in the activities and decision making process which affect the maintaining of international peace and security and, therefore, gaining greater visibility and international weight during this two-year period. Furthermore, the Council has the power to impose embargoes or economic sanctions, as well as to authorise the use of force in order to enforce measures.

United Nations Security Council

United Nations Security Council

However, a seat for Spain as non-permanent member of the UN Security Council would be not only positive for Spain, but also for the interests of the European Union as a whole. Spain would join during 2015-2016 the United Kingdom and France, the two European countries which are permanent membes, two countries with clear international presence. It is convenient for Europe to have a European partner with a privileged geostrategic relation  and with experience as mediator between countries and regions such as Latin America and other southern Mediterranean countries, from the Maghreb to the Middle East; and Spain can do an optimal job there. In addition to these three States, Lithuania will keep its seat in the UN Security Council during 2015, a country with higher sensibility to the Eastern neighbourhood of the EU due to its geographic situation. That is why the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Lithuania could perfectly represent the interests of the European Union towards three of its geostrategic areas: the Atlantic (the United States and Latin America) and both EU eastern and southern neighbourhoods. This common work between the four EU States, which have different sensibilities and geostrategic preferences towards diverse areas but complementary for the EU interests, could make easier to share and to merge the European interests with the view to their implementation in the UN Security Council with a European single strategic guideline.

To sum up, during the Assembly’s vote to decide which will be the next non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, not only the interests of Spain and a greater presence of this country in the international stage are at stake, but also the interests of the European Union and the unique opportunity to merge the European interests in a common and single voice in foreign affairs and in the framework of important international fora such as the organs of the United Nations, particularly the UN Security Council.

Author: Rubén Ruiz Calleja


All the information about Spain’s candidature on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain:

About Rubén Ruiz Calleja

Alumnus of the College of Europe (Natolin) - Marie Skłodowska- Curie Promotion 2011-2012.
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