- A country that matters
Spain’s foreign policy on the other side of the Atlantic has an important focus on North America. Bilateral relations between Madrid and Washington have been strengthened in recent years.
Spain and the United States
The Spanish community resident in the United States is made up of around 100,000 people and Spanish is the second most spoken language in a country with 52 million Spanish speakers (16.7% of the population). Furthermore, it is the most studied foreign language, both in secondary education and in higher studies.
At a diplomatic level, five key dates stand out:
- 1976: Signing of the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation.
- 1988: Signing of the Convention on Defence Cooperation.
- 1994: Cooperation, Educational and Scientific Culture Agreement.
- 1995: Spain launched the New Transatlantic Agenda during its Presidency of the EU Council.
- 2004: Extradition and Legal Cooperation Agreement.
From a commercial point of view, more than 700 Spanish companies have been set up in the United States, providing around 70,000 jobs in sectors, such as renewable energies, infrastructures or financial services.
With the aim of strengthening these relations, the Spain-United States Council Foundation organises the annual Spain-US Forum, in which certain economic sectors are analysed, such as infrastructures, the technological or energy sectors and the situation of triangular relations between Spain, United States and Latin America are debated.
Spain and NATO
Spain is the seventh contributor to NATO
Spain is the seventh contributor to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), of which it has been a member since 1982.
Spain’s significant contribution of resources to NATO includes the Excellence Centre against Improvised Explosive Devices (COE C-IED), located in Hoyo de Manzanares (Madrid); the Readiness Land Headquarters, in Bétera (Valencia) and the North American AEGIS destroyers at Rota Naval Base (Cadiz).
The Spanish armed forces took part in their first peace mission within the framework of NATO in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the 1990’s.
The Spanish Army also formed part of KFOR, the multinational task force led by NATO which was deployed in Kosovo in 1999. More than 22,000 Spanish soldiers participated in the mission, which led to the return of around 800,000 refugees, during which 245 explosive disposal missions were performed. Spanish deployment terminated in March 2009.
In 2003, NATO assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF), in its first ever mission outside Europe. Spain is the eighth contributor in this field. The first Spanish units arrived in the Asian country at the end of January 2002 to carry out actions of a diverse nature for the Government and the Afghan population.
In 2004, a Spanish detachment consisting of 82 people participated in a NATO airspace surveillance mission in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania de la NATO. From 1st August until 30th November of this year, Spain provided air police cover in the Baltic States.
In 2005, Spain participated in the Solidarity Response II humanitarian aid operation, launched after the earthquake in Pakistan. The Spanish Army led part of the NATO Rapid Reaction Force (NRF-5). Our units provided logistical and life support to our contingent and to others from allied countries (France, United Kingdom, Poland, Lithuania and Slovenia) until 11th January 2006.
In 2013, Spain took command for one year of the NATO Task Force Number 2 (SNMG2), deployed in the Mediterranean, part of the Active Endeavour operation, within the framework of the Ocean Shield operation, in the waters of the Horn of Africa to support the fight against piracy in the area.