“Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country”

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By Marine SUDAN

For my studies’ framework, I needed to interview someone related to my region, Europe. On May, 23th, François Rameau gave me an appointment in his office in Madrid. What about him?

For years, he has been travelling around the globe for his job: Singapore to Mumbai, Hong-Kong to Paris. Few months ago, he had the opportunity to take the general manager of the Spanish branch of the Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, based in the center of Madrid. It is a subsidiary of the French Company. They are dealing with the largest Spanish companies as well as the largest financial institutions as a global client. Not only helping those companies in Spain but also worldwide throughout the rest of their network.

For me it was interesting to interview someone link to my region, with a international background and that have an opinion of his country even if he does not live in it and also about the European Union.

As a French citizen and a European one, the main questions of this interview were to know his points of view about Europe and what happened lately. I wrote this article in a manner to have first his opinion about French election that took place one month ago and their consequences, and then about Europe.

Firstly, I asked him if he did follow the news in Europe. While smiling at me, his response was very clear:

“No choice, I mean Europe is definitely at the heart of our business, so whatever happens in Europe is critical for every country, including Spain”.

Even if he is currently living in Madrid for the next few years, his situation didn’t prevent him from voting for its next President, here in Madrid, as a concern citizen.

So, what about France? My first question was direct: was he satisfied with all the candidates for this presidential election ? Although the company did not have a specific candidate, he could not speak on their behalf. For Rameau, he is quite satisfied with the final outcome of the election because the alternative, if Marine Le pen was elected, it could have been extremely dangerous for the activity. Macron is “everybody’s hope” to make France stronger. Even if there is a lot of waiting for France to adjust with the realities of Europe and those of the world.

My next concern was his thoughts about the younger being a part of Europe. As we seen during the election, lots of them were supporting Melenchon. He understands why many people supported him because young people feel that they don’t necessary belong to the European economy as it is today. But as he said

those are people that have only a short view on the economic reality. They don’t necessarily understand the global environment that we are in”.

If France were to implemented Melenchon’s reforms, it would automatically loose her competitiveness and a lot of jobs would disappear in the process. He thinks that people have a cast of vote of protests because they are not happy with the situation (unemployment is mostly one of the main problems brought during an election and a big concern In French society).

Moreover, this election showed the growth of the populism. Marine Le Pen won a lot of supporters during this election which had not occurred since 2002. For the first turn, she had reached over 21,30%, 3% less than Macron and had won over Melenchon, who didn’t make it to 20% of the voters.

Even if François Rameau don’t have an objective idea on the growth of the populism, he thinks that Europe has reached probably the pic of the populist votes in France. it reflects the fact that many people don’t think they belong to the global economy and don’t necessarily understand it. But in the case of Le Pen, she has targeted the weakest of voters. He means the unemployed people, many of them potentially unemployable, because they have not been properly trained and didn’t adjust to the new reality of the economy. Therefore, Le Pen is promising a kind of a dream as an old France like it was used to be forty or fifty years ago for those people when they were young. It could have been marvelous but it is strictly impossible. Marine Le Pen has no clue on the economy reality shown before the Second turn during a debate.

Thirdly, for years, European Union has weakened and this has not improved with the Brexit. Thanks to the French election happened this year, it will probably be stronger. Many people were concerned about the European project losing its steam. Now that France emerges stronger and is confirming its European commitment together with the support of Germany, the General Manager says that it is “a good opportunity and opening to make it better”. Even if we know that not all countries will agree with those new projects as a common defense, tax system and other things that are not in the current EU treaty. The next thing will be to see if other countries want to be in the same coalition or independent.

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Even if Brexit happened this year, France and Italy almost did. It is still a continue treat because for many years the European Union has benefit more or less to its citizens. For him, EU still benefits to the citizen but those ones are no longer obvious, it is more complicated. It is seen as a huge administration with many problems. Therefore, people think that they have lost a bit of control.  Its shows a strong signal that people want a change. EU has itself understood that it needs to change its ways to process, leave back more power to nations and only get involve in what is important, not being perceive as a substitute for a nation here citizens belong.

After a few minutes exchanging, he finished with this quote:

“I am quite confident that we are coming out of a difficult period, the global economic environment is now stronger, so it will help people to realize that finally the European Union is not that bad. And depending on the outcome of the Brexit negotiation, if and it is my own feeling, that if UK suffers after exiting the EU, then people will think again”.

 

Interview with D. Manuel María Lejarreta Lobo, current Secretary General of the Institution Consejo España-EE.UU.

MR. LEJARRETA

(Source: Transdoc )

Last May 22th I had the honour of interviewing Mr. Lejarreta, the current Secretary General of the Institution Consejo España-EE.UU. I began the interview asking about President Trump and the events that have influenced his election, as well as, commenting if the presidency might be too big for him.

Mr. Lejarreta answered saying that there are two main factors that could explain his victory. The first one is that many people from deep rural America have not benefited from the latest US governments and globalization has hurt them. They have wanted to give a mandate of disruptive power with a new president from a non-traditional political class who has a different mentality.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was a worn out candidate. “A lady who was already very damaged by the establishment” he said. Trump was a hope for those Americans who felt abandoned.

Other factors, like the rise of nationalism, as it is currently happening in Europe with Brexit or the fear of terrorist attacks, have determined his victory. One third of the crimes committed in the United States are by illegal immigrants, a very negative figure against immigration. A speech against immigration or in favour of highly controlled immigration is always welcomed by voters. Trump has exaggerated a lot on the terrorist issue. For Lejarreta, Trump’s messages are simple, populist and very basic, convincing large masses to vote him. Many of his promises made Trump win many followers.

On the question of whether Trump is prepared to be president, the secretary arguments that his profile is effectively not the most suitable to lead the United States seen so far, but the important part is the result.

Mr Manuel gave me an example in the economic area. The American stock market is increasing and the US economy goes quite well which means there is some confidence in Trump’s economic factors. Also many companies have reacted well in his protectionist proposals.

In addition, although the United States has a presidential system in which the president commands, there are some state control devices to help moderate. In that sense, although the work of the president is very important, not all foreign and domestic politics of the country are directed by him. In principle at the intellectual level, he has enough potential. We have to see his personal impulses and his way of leading companies. Being president is something very difficult but Mr Lejarreta puts his trust in Trump and in the possibility that he could be a successful president.

Then, we talked about some of Trump’s promises. We touched on the theme of his desire for the country to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Mr. Lejarreta remarked that Trump is a protectionist and prefers bilateral agreements than multilaterals. He prefers negotiating directly with a country, face to face. The secretary added that we used to have multilateralism with Obama and, under his point of view, he prefers this system.

Regarding the US’ influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr Lejarreta completely agrees that the United States will not lose power in the area, because in his opinion, the Asia-Pacific region is the most important region for the United States and will continue to be.

He explained that the US has plans to make his fleet more present and has begun to establish trade agreements with Japan and South Korea. Consequently, he was sure that leaving the TPP will not entail a withdrawal from the area.

Of course, for China, it is very helpful that the agreement does not enter into force because apart from commercial, it also implied a regional political agreement of the countries and the less presence of the United States in the area, the more benefits China.

Once we talked about Trump’s relations with Asia, we started talking about relations with Europe, as well as talking about the relationship with Spain.

As with Asia, Mr. Lejarreta stated that relations with Europe would follow the same bilateral system. Trump does not want to negotiate with the European Union, but with countries separately.

Perhaps, Trump is not interested in negotiating with the EU, but the secretary thinks that Trump knows the transatlantic relationship is fundamental. He do not think it will even lower the level of relations in the military, security, defence … it may be a major change in the way of negotiating bilateral agreements, but it is difficult because the EU made a compromise in a community agreement and it will not be easy to negotiate separately.

Focusing on Spain, Mr. Lejarreta remarked that we are bound to be the little one and have good relations with the big one. Spain have to get along with the American government and its president, whoever.

Obviously, for Spain it would have been much easier with Hillary Clinton as President. First, because she has come to Spain many times, and secondly because her vice president, Tim Kaine, who is a friend of Spain, precisely presides over the forum Spain- U.S.A. of which the foundation Consejo España-EE.UU. is part. Spain has had to start from scratch with the new republican administration.

Spain is a good partner for the States. In terms of security, the bases of Rota and Morón are essential for security in the Mediterranean and as a platform for deployment in Africa and the Middle East, therefore we have very important elements that make the United States interested to get along with Spain.

As with all other countries, Mr. Lejarreta summarised that Spain cannot accept everything because we have our principles and we are part of the EU. But he thinks the relations do not have to be bad, much less, and of course our government will strive to get along. Only time could show the future actions of Trump and its movements in the international order.

                                                                                                       Laura Cañibano Ponce de León

An interview with the ambassador of Sudan in Spain.

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Mr. Mohamed Abdalla Abdelhameed Ahmed, Ambassador of Sudan in Spain.

On the 31st of May of 2017, I had the privilege to interview the ambassador of Sudan in Spain. Mohamed Abdalla Abdelhameed Ahmed, who has been ambassador of Iran, Canada, United Kingdom and now Spain. He studied Economics and Political Science. The reason I chose to interview Mr. Ahmed was to know more about how the diplomatic life is and have the opportunity to learn more about his country.

The ambassador didn’t know he wanted to be an ambassador as a career, when he finish his career in Economics and Political Science he had the opportunity to do the exams to entering the foreign ministry. He explained that there are a lot of exams, test and interviews you have to make in order to enter. Finally he was accepted, and was send to Iran. If he wouldn’t became an ambassador or studied Economics and Political Science, he would like to study law. Even though his father didn’t like so much the idea of him studying law.

The thing he like the most about his job is the opportunity to get to know different persons around the world and be able to work in so many fields concerning his country and the receiving country where he is working, as economics, politics or culture. I also asked what is one of the difficulties of his job, he thinks the stress that the job could generate. Also one of the difficult thigs about his job is the fact that he is traveling a lot and moving of country. He and his family has to adapt to the new culture of the receiving country, and if the language is different they would have to learn it, also his kids have to attend to international schools. Moreover, when he was ambassador in United Kingdom it was kind of difficult because Sudan was a colony of them, even though they have good relations sometimes they still have tensions.

I asked if Sudan and Spain have a special cultural agreement, he explain me that there are a lot of agreements between the two countries, but one that he could emphasize is one that was more active between the seventies and eighties, where a large amount of Sudanese students came to Spain to study their degrees.

He loves his country, even though as all countries it has their areas to improve. One of the things he miss the most is the hospitality of his people, he explained to me how Sudanese love to receive foreigners and treat them as their own people. Also the social life is one of the things he misses, because as difference as most European countries, Sudanese families tend to have large families. This makes the simple gathering of family be richer. Furthermore he loves the history of his country, which is one of the most ancient in the world, one of the oldest regions is Nubia, which is located at the south of Egypt and north of Sudan, in the Nile River.  Another thing the ambassador likes about his country is the multiculturality of this, even though the official languages are English and Arabic, there are approximately 70 different languages native of Sudan, and are very different between them.

Mr. Ahmed thinks that between Spain and Sudan are some similarities, especially in the personality of the people. As I have said, Sudanese families tend to be large and this is a peculiarity he has observed that is the same in Spain. Moreover he has noticed that Spanish people tend to raise their voice while speaking by phone, he says that Sudanese are tend to be loud. He really likes Spain because of how welcoming are, and reminds him back home.

The ambassador was pleased to explain to me how the relations are between Sudan and South Sudan. For me to understand it better he compared the countries with a family. Where the daughter marries therefore she starts living with the family of her husband. The two families are “different” but still have relations between them. South Sudan independence of Sudan on 2011, they still have good relations, also have economic and trade agreements, and cooperate to dissolve rebel groups in both countries.

Finally Mr. Ahmed encourage young students to work on this field, because is a privilege job, where you can learn a lot, also how interesting the job is because as he said before there are so different fields that you work when you are an ambassador. Furthermore how much the person can offer to the relations that their country is doing.

 

It was an honor to interview Mr. Ahmed.

Written by Emilse Pardo

Interview with the Chancellor and Minister for bilateral cooperation between Haiti and Spain.

In recent years, Haiti has been a country that has been  repeatedly hit by natural catastrophes over and over again. On Thursday, May the 1st, I had the honour to interview Mr. Louis Marie Montford Saintil, Chancellor and Minister for bilateral cooperation between Haiti and Spain.

During this interview we went over different topics such as the 2010 earthquake, the aid provided by the UN, the cooperation between Spain and Haiti, the meeting between the secretary of Internal Security of the United States and finally, the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Matthew last year.

 

The earthquake that occurred in Haiti in 2010 was one of the major catastrophes of this decade leaving behind more than 300,000 deaths and 350,000 wounded.

After this tragic event, countries around the world wanted to contribute with economic and humanitarian assistance in cooperation with the UN bodies to help the Haitian people.

One of the European countries that gave strong support to Haiti during this period of turmoil was Spain being considered a vital partner of Haiti after the earthquake. According to Mr. Saintil, Spain contributed more than 346 million euros in the fund for the reconstruction of Haiti during the donors’ conference in March 2010. It is there that the cooperation between Haiti and Spain began and according to Mr. Saintil it is worth noting that Spain was the third country that gave most help to Haiti after the United States and Canada and the first one in the EU.

Right now, Haiti is one of the 23 countries that the Spanish executive gives more priority to in terms of cooperation and aid. During the last Minister’s visit of Haitian cooperation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spanish Cooperation, assured him that Haiti would continue to be a priority in terms of  providing help to ensure cooperation and development in the island.

The last two agreements that were signed between the two nations are a protocol in relation to the promotion and protection of investments as well as a framework partnership agreement. This framework agreement was signed in June 16th, 2015 between the minister of foreign affairs and cooperation of Haiti, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spanish Cooperation.

According to Luis Marie Montford, Spanish cooperation in Haiti focuses on specific issues, mainly rural development, the fight against poverty, education, water and sanitation; the fight against climate change and cultural development mainly, all of these being Sustainable development goals.

Moreover, the two governments are currently studying how to extend cooperation throughout Haitian territory because currently this cooperation is only centered in the west (the capital), the center and the south east.

It is worth noting that the US also helped Haiti, Mr. Saintil stated. The American Government made available to the Haitians a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) that is renewed every 18 months. Surprisingly, the Trump administration  has decided not to renew this temporary status. On the 31st of May, the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States went to Haiti to see in which conditions the Haitians live in today because of the massive protests being carried out by the Haitians living in the US. The aim of these protest was mainly to have the US government approve a demand for the renewal of the temporary status to the 60,000 Haitians living there, Mr.Santil mentioned.

Six years later another major catastrophe occurred, Hurricane Matthew, destroying Haiti once again and causing problems in the purification of water and favoring the spread of cholera disease. Following this event, the UN Secretary General decided to dedicate the 40 million dollars that were in a reserve fund for Haiti, as the UN had already signed a mission for this country, the MINUSTAH, United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti for the fight against cholera.This figure only represents 10% of what the Haitian government estimates they need to correctly eradicate cholera.

Currently, the Haitian executive is based on aligning the bilateral agreements between Haiti and other countries within their priorities and redirecting those within the framework of cooperation. The objective is no longer to donate funds just for the sake of it, but to have donations that are most importantly effective. In order to do this, the UN and other country´s aid funds have to be guided by the government’s plan because it is the one who knows the needs of the people, the Haitian minister said. It is in our best interest to promote trade and investment with the aim of creating jobs as this is what will ultimately make the Haitian people be autonomous, hence emerge out of poverty, Mr. Saintil said.

Mr. Louis Marie Montford finished the interview by establishing a metaphor between the aid and the real situation his people is living back in Haiti “It is better to provide people with a fishing rod than with fish.” meaning that the means are everything in order to accomplish the targeted objectives.

William Lenôtre Okemba Ongagna

Macron elected President: the world welcomes its victory!

On this day of Sunday, May 7th, Macron has become the new French president. First in polls for several months, French people believed in this young banker to be the one to govern their country. Thanks to his triumph against Marine Le Pen, its competitor, France is no longer divided and finds a semblance of tranquility.

But how did the rest of the world react? Because for some time France has been placed under a microscope almost everywhere. Going from Japan, to the United States, passing through Israel or Venezuela

Firstly, they were also some states in which they offered their support to Marine Le Pen, those special countries had some common characteristics in their political philosophy. The main countries that were backing the ultra-right program in France where; the United States, Russia and the UK government. Especially for UK, which was hoping that France, if Marine Le Pen was elected, that they would not be the only one leaving UE. 

Various political leaders announced by their personal social sites their disagreement to the victory of Macron. As Nigel Farage tweeted “Emmanuel Macron offers 5 more years of failure, power to the UE and open borders. If Marie Le pen sticks in there, she can win 2022”, who directly addresses their support as Le Pen was in favor of leaving the European Union. When the news arrives to Moscow, the reaction of president Putin after his meeting on march 24 with Le Pen was not very likely, as the French leader had included in her political government an exit in NATO and a very friendly relation with Russia.

It is clear that the important influence of the French power had around the world. For this reason the reaction of president Trump wasn’t directly supporting Macron but the past declarations before the elections and the visit of Le Pen to Washington evidently showed a relationship between these right leaders.

On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron was supported by most of the European countries because of Macron’s ideology which is considered pro-European. Many of members of the European departments show their positions as Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and of course, European countries like Germany, where Angela Merkel celebrate the Macron victory by calling him or even Mariano Rajoy, the president of Spain’s government, who sent a telegram to Emmanuel Macron. Furthermore, the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama  announced his support to Macron too, just before the election on May 4th.

After winning presidential elections and becoming the world’s youngest president, Europe was then going to react to this event, some countries feared a victory of Marine Le Pen because they felt that the place of France was in europe.

And it is thus the most pro-European candidate of this campaign which was elected, what did not escape in his from now on counterparts. From Brussels to Berlin, including Rome or Madrid, congratulations streamed, so sincere as relieved. Concerning United Kingdom, the majority of the political leaders greeted the victory of Macron, which falls in the campaign.

Emmanuel Macron carries at the same time the hope of the countries of the South (Italy, Greece, Spain), who hope a little less obligatorily and a little more reflation, and those for countries of the North, which, to save European spirit, are ready for financial concessions if France implements new reforms. With its election and after Brexit  and more still if Martin Schultz beat Angela Merkel in autumn , Europe has maybe just entered a new cycle.

Switzerland under pressure from the European Union; an ambassador’s perspective.

Switzerland is worldwide known as a neutral country and as a tax haven paradise for companies, which is now witnessing a new chapter in its history. The Swiss Confederation is formed by 26 member states, called cantons, with four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh.

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Thomas Kolly, the Swiss ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Image source: DFAE

The wealthy country, is a non-European member “as the majority of people are still unwilling to adhere to the EU. Nonetheless, we have a close relationship since Switzerland and the European Union have several treaties in common like the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the Schengen treaty. Plus, a bilateral agreement in terms of free circulation of people and trade, which has recently been modified on February 2014, causing severe pressure in the EU”, said Mr. Kolly.

Thomas Kolly is the Swiss ambassador to Spain and Andorra who works at the Swiss Embassy in Spain since 2013. He previously exerted the same charge in Guatemala in 2010. Mr. Kolly did his university degree in Law in Freiburg, subsequent to a postgraduate in European studies at the European School of Brujas, Belgium. In 1988, Thomas started to work at the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

Since 2002, he has been in charge of the current affairs between Switzerland and the European Union. In 2005, Thomas became responsible for the International Affairs division of the Federal Office for the Environment, and participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, 2009.

On Monday 30th, I had the real pleasure to meet with Mr. Kolly in his office at the Swiss Embassy in Madrid. During the interview, we discussed the diplomatic relations between Spain and Switzerland, the Syrian conflict related to refugees, and the current situation between Switzerland and the European Union.

“I am the government representative for Switzerland in Spain. I deal with the diplomatic affairs and current issues laying on the table between both states. But, I consider the most important function to talk with the government and foreign ministers about the situation between Switzerland and the European Union”, he started explaining.

When thinking about the contrast between the Swiss and the Spanish economy, as Switzerland being one the richest countries, with a 3% of unemployment against a 20% in Spain. Thomas remarked that ““the Swiss Professional formation is the key for the wealthy Swiss Economy”. Adding that “Switzerland and Spain have a great relationship economically, with lots of investment from Swiss companies in Spain and vice-versa”. Nonetheless, “it is fundamental to consider that Spain has also a solid and strong economy based on the agricultural and tourist sector”, Mr. Kolly pointed out.

Considering now the Swiss immigration referendum “against massive immigration” on February 9th, 2014. Final results showed a 50,3% in favor, highlighting that this initiative goes against the principle of free movement of people between the EU and Switzerland. The approval caused much controversy in the EU, affecting Switzerland negatively. The Erasmus+ program has been suspended, as well as, the possible participation of Switzerland in Horizon 2020.

Notwithstanding the confrontation, Switzerland has been able to recover by extending the same agreements with Croatia as for the rest of the European Union. Thus, the Swiss confederation recovered its participation in Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.  Still, the situation remains delicate. “Both sides must show a good will and relinquish in order to find the best possible solution”, Thomas opined.  “What could happen in the future about Switzerland being part of the EU depends a lot on the eventual development of the European Union”.

After discussing about the controversy among Switzerland and the EU. The interview focused on the Syrian conflict, and most important refugees. Mr. Kolly firmly stated that the media always talk about Germany and Sweden, but do not mention the 38,000 refugees sheltered in Switzerland, and most important, the Humanitarian Assistance that it is providing through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) located in Geneva, and mainly financed by the Swiss Government among other voluntary contributions.

To conclude the interview, we discussed how countries could balance their interests and leave without conflicts internationally speaking. Thomas response was that this is a huge defiance facing our society. It is inhumane how people are dying as they are lacking basic needs, while we have all the required resources to eradicate such injustice. From my personal experience in Guatemala, I would like to share how babies or kids are daily dying due to the dreadful level of undernourishment. The sorrowful situation kept me awake for many nights, thinking of a possible measure to help them.

Finally, he ended by saying that the situation is mainly due to the lack of international political will. If all states would collaborate and reach agreements, it would merely be a question of time that peace will be attained globally.

By Alba del Mar Montoya Sacristán

 

 

 

Spain as “the first fishing power in Europe”

        Rafael Centenera is the actual Deputy Director General of “Agreements and Regional Fisheries Organizations”, belonging to the Spanish “Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.” His work is based on three international areas: fisheries agreements with the EU / third countries; Regional Fisheries Management Organisations; and Reporting. He has managed important international agreements and relationships reaching his actual position.

Captura de pantalla 2015-11-25 a la(s) 18.52.41   Rafael Centenera at the right, with the interviewer, Alejandro J. Cordeiro.

        Rafael studied Biology at the “Universidad Complutense de Madrid” and specialized in zoology. After that, he took a master on Fishing and Aquiculture that gave him the necessary knowledge in order to do a public examination to become “Optional Superior Technician of Autonomous Bodies” of the Ministry. Meanwhile he has been for two years in the European Parliament at the Department of Studies defending Spanish fishing interests. Throughout his career, Mr Centenera has met many people with power within the EU and international relations.

        About this experience in Brussels, he has the opinion that, as it is a co-decision authority, it must be more informed and must take the scientific studies more into account because there is a lot of political power and influences by different lobbies with particular interests. Besides, the “European Commission has become too technocratic, and sometimes forget their obligation to defend the interests of European industry. It should work more with the sectors that are involved.”

        Mr Centenera is so proud of Spain because is “the first fishing power in Europe and therefore has a lot to say, and the Commission listens with attention when we have any problem”. Even though, there is not any special benefit because the UE has to treat each country in the same manner. Mr Centenera says that Spain have “an outstanding fleet in relation to technology and fishing capacity”, with ships “in every ocean and in the whole world”. Spain is “leader in production and commercialization in Europe”, with a fishing value of “2.500 millions of euros per year” and a commercial value of “4.600 million.”

        In the interview he have explained the way international fishing is regulated. First, scientific researches and studies are carried out in order to have a better knowledge. Later, a certain management is applied and regulated. Each country is in charge of its coast until 200 miles and the part of international waters are “regulated by the regional fisheries organizations; all within the Law of the Sea of 82, and a series of standards that had been created”, about the obligation to cooperate. In the same way, there exist international and national laws that regulate the environmental aspects of the fishing activity, “a social, economical and environmental sustainability is necessary” because “in order to have healthy resources we need healthy habitats and we think that this is very important”. He argues that we have to take care of pollution and global warming because they affect the habitat of the fishing species.

        When asked about the international agreements that Spain have reach and its importance, Mr Centenera said that Spain exploit the European waters within the Act of Accession of Spain at 86, and that Spain has 15 international agreements all around the world and by all the oceans, showing that the Spanish fleet is “one of the most dynamic fleets of the world”. For example, there are very important “the agreements with Morocco or Mauritania, the first because of neighbour-ship, and the second because it is the most important for the Spanish fleet by number of vessels.”

        In order to have gotten such agreements, it was necessary a negotiation. Mr Centenera has been actively involved in achieving many Spaniards agreements. He has told us more in detail how it works: “First, you have to show an interest in access to water within a country; the EC requested a mandate to negotiate the agreement and then the negotiation starts with the 3rd country. Obviously you can only access resources that are surplus. And later you begin to discuss technical issues. Rafael has take part in the negotiations like the Mauritanian one, which “has been closed after two years.”

        Rafael also has explained the problem with Gibraltar. Due to de Utrecht Agreement, Gibraltar has not right over the 12 marine miles, but its fishing ships consider that they do have and they do not let the Spanish fleet exploit that zone. So “a truly artificial conflict has been created” that goes “beyond fishing”. Although Gibraltar hasn´t an authorized catch for blue fin tuna, they have assigned themselves “10 tones of tuna without asking anyone”, something that has been already put under the EU knowledge to be regulated.

         To conclude, Mr Centenera talks about the next general elections of Spain, showing his support to every party that allows “to continue defending a sustainable activity as it is done now”, that protects the interests of the fishing sector. He considers that “Partido Popular” (PP) “has performed nice these four years in relation to fishing issues”; that “Partido Socialista Obrero Español” (PSOE) “also has done good thing at their times” and that “Ciudadanos” “suggest measures that we like.”

Author: Alejandro J. Cordeiro, student of Business Management and International Relations.