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Diplomacy & Military In Spain: News, Updates & Analysis

News about Spain's foreign affairs, diplomacy and the military.
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16 Jul 12:40
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21 Apr 12:15
06 Apr 15:23
02 Apr 12:50
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Latest Updates
09 Jul 08:38
Obama Cuts Short Visit To Spain After Dallas Shootings

The White House issued a statement on Saturday saying President Obama will cut short his trip to Spain by one day to be able to travel to Dallas at the invitation of that city's Mayor, Mike Rawlings, following the shooting of police officers there this week.

"On Saturday, the President will depart for Madrid, Spain, where he will spend the night", said the statement: "The President will participate in meetings with his Spanish counterpart and other government officials on Sunday then travel to Rota as previously scheduled to speak to military personnel serving there. The President will return to Washington on Sunday night – one day earlier than planned. The President will no longer travel to Seville."

President Obama will not longer take part in a meeting with Spanish entrepreneurs.

"The President has accepted an invitation from Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings to travel to Dallas early next week. Later in the week, at the White House, the President will continue the work to bring people together to support our police officers and communities, and find common ground by discussing policy ideas for addressing the persistent racial disparities in our criminal justice system."

22 Jun 15:23
Vox Leader's Lawyer Arrested In Gibraltar For Taking Photos In Court

Vox announced the lawyer sent to represent their party's Madrid regional chairman Nacho Mínguez in court on Wednesday morning, Pedro Fernández, has also been arrested, according to information provided to them by the Spanish National Police.

Vox leader Santiago Abascal said in a statement that: "the [Spanish] Foreign Office is not doing everything it can and must to ensure the end of Nacho Minguez's kidnapping, now joined by his lawyer".

The Royal Gibraltar Police confirmed to The Spain Report that a 46-year old man had been arrested: "in court this morning for taking pictures within the courtroom. He is currently in police custody".

The RGP did not confirm the identity or employment of the arrested man but Vox confirmed Mr. Fernández was born in 1970 so is 46 years old. Vox was unaware of the reason for his detention.

16 Jun 18:22
British MP Jo Cox Dies Of Her Wounds After Attack

41-year old Labour Party MP Jo Cox has died of her wounds after a brutal stabbing and shooting attack in Birstall, West Yorkshire, earlier in the day, West Yorkshire Chief Constable Dee Collins confirmed at a press conference in the UK shortly after 6 p.m. on Thursday evening.

A 52-year old man has been arrested.

David Cameron cancelled his appearance at an anti-Brexit rally in Gibraltar planned for Thursday evening after news of the attack on Mrs. Cox broke.

13 May 22:14
Gibraltar Admitted To FIFA As 211th Member

Gibraltar was admitted to FIFA on Friday evening as the organisation's 211th member at the 66th FIFA Congress being held in Mexico City. Members voted 172-12 in favour of the Rock's admission.

Bookmaker William Hill tweeted: "It has just been announced that Gibraltar are the 211th FIFA member & will be in the #WorldCup qualifying!"

Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said in a statement that: "The whole of Gibraltar will want to celebrate this decision. Gibraltar is now a full part in its own right of the international football community. This is much deserved, long sought and hard fought recognition of the efforts of the Gibraltarian football fraternity. My warmest and heartiest congratulations to all involved. Michael Llamas spoke not just for all of them but for all of Gibraltar in his gracious and powerful speech upon admission. I very much look forward to celebrating this decision with the whole of Gibraltar in the coming weeks in an appropriate manner that must involve our whole community".

08 May 10:56
Three Kidnapped Spanish Journalists Back In Spain, Government Confirms

The three Spanish journalists kidnapped in Syria last July, Antonio Pampliega, José Manuel López and Ángel Sastre, have arrived back in Spain, the Spanish Prime Minister's Office, Moncloa, confirmed to The Spain Report.

They landed in a Spanish military jet at 10:15 a.m. local time, after a flight from Turkey.

The Prime Minister's Office did not say who, if anyone, had gone to the airport to meet the three men, or offer any details about how they had been freed, beyond the statement on Saturday night that "the work of many public servants and the collaboration of allied and friendly countries"—mainly Turkey and Qatar—had brought about their release.

09 Apr 18:31
Police Investigating "Islamic State" Arms Cache In Spanish North African City Of Ceuta

Spain's Civil Guard was investigating "possible Islamic State links" to a box of weapons and an Islamic State flag found buried in a field in the Spanish North African city of Ceuta, the Home Office said on Saturday.

On Friday, the Civil Guard issued a statement about the arms cache that did not mention the flag, but described the origin of the weapons—"four short weapons, two sub-machine guns and several knives"—as "organised crime".

The image of the weapons published by the Spanish Home Office on Saturday shows that amount and type of guns along with ten knives of different sizes.

29 Mar 12:09
NERC Deletes "Offensive" Spanish Admiral Blas De Lezo As Name For New British Ship

The Spanish suggestion of naming a new Royal Research Ship after a Spanish admiral, Blas de Lezo—who bested the Royal Navy at Cartagena de las Indias in 1741—has been deleted from the website, a spokeswoman for the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) confirmed to The Spain Report.

She said: “We will remove or reject any name suggestion that we deem liable to cause offence”.

The Spanish name, which had received more than 38,000 votes, was removed from the list on Tuesday morning. The Spain Report understands it will not be allowed if suggested again.

NERC declined to comment on the possible foreign relations implications of their decision to delete Admiral de Lezo from the list.

Enterprising Spaniards had suggested the new ship be named after the well known Spanish admiral, describing him, tongue in cheek, as "one of the best sailors in the world and made great contributions to the British undersea research".

He sank dozens of English warships and transport ships during the siege of Cartagena de las Indias in 1741.

22 Mar 11:01
Spanish Foreign Secretary Says Islamic State Responsible For Brussels Attack

Spanish Foreign Secretary José Manuel García Margallo said during a radio interview with Cadena COPE on Tuesday that he thought the Islamic State (DAESH) was responsible for the attacks this morning in Brussels.

  • "Let's stop pretending, let's worry about DAESH, which is the enemy";
  • "We must be aware that as they are hit in Syria and Iraq, they are going to go elsewhere, it is a terrorists cancer that is spreading across the world, they have sleeper cells all over the world and Belgium has a very serious problem";
  • "These terrorists groups have a tremendous sophistication, the commandos are acting on orders, coordinated, they did it in Paris, first an explosion at the stadium to get the police there and then keep operating in the rest of the city";
  • "In Paris we found out they were not lone wolves and what we have found is that as their territory gets smaller, that pressure spills into other parts of the world";
  • He said the situation in Libya was "incredibly worrying";
  • "This is not a joke, we have to take it very, very seriously";
15 Dec 17:11
At Funeral Service, King Awards Posthumous Medals To Policemen Slain In Kabul

King Felipe awarded posthumous police bravery medals to Isidro Gabino San Martín Hernández and Jorge García Tudela on Tuesday evening, during a public funeral service for the two men upon their return to Spain from Afghanistan. The Spanish Air Force aircraft carrying their coffins arrived at the Torrejón airbase in Madrid on Tuesday morning. Queen Letizia accompanied the King, along with the Prime Minister and Home Secretary. The seven surviving police officers were also present, having returned to Spain on the same flight. Mariano Rajoy initially denied there had been more than a single "lightly injured" policeman and that there had been no attack on the Spanish Embassy. Moncloa, the Prime Minister's office, issued a statement on Saturday admitting there had been "an attack on Spain" and that the Taliban had entered the Embassy compound.

12 Dec 14:25
Foreign Secretary Says Security Fine After Deadly Attack On Kabul Embassy

Spain's Foreign Secretary, José Manuel García Margallo, said on Saturday from Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) that security at the Spanish Embassy in Kabul did not need reinforcing after a Taliban attack on Friday killed two Spanish policemen and several others, EFE reported. "I don't think more security measures are needed, all those that could be taken were taken", he said. Mr. Margallo also said that the second Spanish policeman who was killed died in the residential block of the Spanish Embassy.

11 Dec 19:51
Confusion Over Death Of Spanish Policeman In Kabul Embassy Attack

The Spanish government was confused about the death of a Spanish police officer in the attack on the Spanish Embassy in Kabul (Afghanistan) on Friday, which the Prime Minister's office and the Foreign Office both confirmed shortly after 4 p.m. Spanish time but that Mariano Rajoy later denied. During his statements denying his own government's prior declarations that the attack had been directed at the Spanish Embassy with "100% certainty", the Prime Minister said only one Spanish policeman had been "lightly injured". Less than an hour later, whilst speaking at an election rally near Alicante, he told the crowd that "they've told me that the Home Office wishes Spaniards to know a policeman has died during the attack in Kabul". The Spanish Home Office refused to confirm the Prime Minister's statement when asked by The Spain Report.

07 Dec 10:54
LIVE BLOG: (Some) Spanish Candidates Rush To Congratulate Venezuela After Election

Candidates in Spain's election were quick to tweet their congratulations to the anti-Chavist MUD in Venezuela, which was leading President Maduro's PSUV on 99 seats to 46, with 22 still to be counted.

  • Mariano Rajoy (PP) launched a mini tweet-storm, demanding "freedom for @leopoldolopez and all political prisoners". "Despite adversity, the spirit of Venezuelan people won. I congratulate them on elections with civic spirit and courage. Freedom won";
  • Pedro Sánchez (PSOE): "Congratulations to all Venezuelan men and Venezuelan women. The beginning of a new ear of future and hope"
  • Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos: "Today a new day begins for #Venezuela. Congratulations to all Venezuelan democrats for this great victory for freedom!";
  • Andrés Herzog (UPyD): "My congratulations to the Venezuelan opposition for a result that opens up the way to historic opportunity for change in Venezuela";

Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) and Alberto Garzón (United Left) have not yet tweeted.

30 Nov 21:12
LIVE BLOG: Candidates On Islamic State Terrorism And Air Strikes In Syria

The debate begins without Rajoy. The first question is about Islamic State terrorism and Spanish participation in the response. Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) says he wants a legal decision within the framework of the United Nations: "We have defeated ETA and we can do the same now". He says he would not call a referendum on the issue: "Spaniards vote for us to take decisions and responsibility". Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) says that "clearly France can count on the solidarity of Spanish socialists" and "the doors are open to those parties who want to join" the anti-terror agreement. He wants greater connection with the muslim community in Spain and says any decision depends on the Spanish Congress and the United Nations. Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) says the air strikes in Afghan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria were of no use at all and that the air strikes were counter-productive. He says Podemos would call a referendum on Spanish participation.

30 Nov 21:12
LIVE BLOG: Candidates On Islamic State Terrorism And Air Strikes In Syria

The debate begins without Rajoy. The first question is about Islamic State terrorism and Spanish participation in the response. Albert Rivera (Ciudadanos) says he wants a legal decision within the framework of the United Nations: "We have defeated ETA and we can do the same now". He says he would not call a referendum on the issue: "Spaniards vote for us to take decisions and responsibility". Pedro Sánchez (PSOE) says that "clearly France can count on the solidarity of Spanish socialists" and "the doors are open to those parties who want to join" the anti-terror agreement. He wants greater connection with the muslim community in Spain and says any decision depends on the Spanish Congress and the United Nations. Pablo Iglesias (Podemos) says the air strikes in Afghan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya and Syria were of no use at all and that the air strikes were counter-productive. He says Podemos would call a referendum on Spanish participation.

23 Nov 17:52
Islamic State Video Demands France Withdraw From Syria "Like Spain From Iraq"

In a new video, the Islamic State has demanded French people pressure their government to withdraw from the war in Syria if they do not want to suffer any further terror attacks. "Know that this is not the last operation", says the bearded spokesman, named as Abu Tayssir El Faransi, who speaks in French: "it's not our last meeting…unless…unless you pressure your government as the Spanish people did several years ago against the war in Iraq". In March 2004, a series of bombs on trains in Madrid exploded on the morning of March 11. Three days later, on March 14, Spain held its general election and the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) won, contrary to expectations prior to the attacks. The new Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, keeping to his electoral promise, ordered the withdrawal of Spanish forces from Iraq a little over one month later, on April 19, 2004.

20 Nov 11:11
Government Denies Reports Spanish Army To Take Over From France In Mali

The Spanish government issued a statement on Friday morning denying the Spanish Army was set to take over from the French Army in Mali. The government said it: "strongly denies any unilateral offer has been made to France about modifying the military presence following the Paris attacks" and that "for now, neither France nor the international coalition against DAESH has asked our country for any increase in our contribution. El País reported on Thursday night that Mr. Rajoy was ready to order a Spanish relief of French troops in Mali and that the Spanish Defence Ministry was already drawing up plans "to send more troops to different African countries", only awaiting "a specific request from Paris". Mr. Rajoy and several of his ministers, including the Home Secretary and Defence Minister, have avoided questions about any direct Spanish involvement alongside France against the Islamic State following the attacks in Paris last week. Spain's general election will take place on December 20.

17 Nov 18:17
Spanish Defence Minister Dodges Questions On Supporting France In Syria

Defence Minister Pedro Morenés avoided direct answers to questions in Brussels on Tuesday about the level of Spanish support for France following the attacks in Paris last Friday. Mr. Morenés told one reporter he was in "permanent contact" with his French counterpart, Mr. Drian, but told another they had not spoken about action in Syria. "We are committed to what has been asked of us", he said: "bilateral, bilateral and, er, bilateral", listing areas where France and Spain already cooperated. "Don't ask me things that belong to conversations that have to take place". "I prefer not to talk about hypotheses. I repeat: instead of thinking about what we have to do, think […] more about what Spain has been doing without any petition of any kind". "Don't ask me about what I rule out or don't rule out. Ask me about what we are doing". He said assistance "has not been requested yet" by France. Reminded that Mr. Drian had said "the sooner the better", Mr. Morenés replied: "He has my number".

06 Nov 18:15
SPAIN ADVISES AGAINST TRAVEL TO SHARM EL SHEIKH AND RED SEA

The Spanish Foreign Office changed its advice for Spaniards travelling to Egypt on Friday, removing Sharm El Sheikh and Egypt's Red Sea from its list of safe destinations. It now only considers Luxor and Aswan suitable for Spanish tourists, but even then with "medium risk". Spain considers no areas of Egypt to be totally safe. The previous advice, issued on June 24, had also included the "spa area of Sharm El Sheikh" and "the Red Sea tourist centres on the continental African coast" as medium-risk locations, "as long as access [to Sharm] was via its International Airport". The new Foreign Office advice issued on Friday, November 6, removed Sharm El Sheikh and the Red Sea destinations from that already short list. Even in Luxor and Aswan, Spain advises taking "extreme precautions", adding that any travel in North Sinai is "extremely dangerous".

06 Nov 13:41
SPANISH GOVERNMENT SACKS GENERAL WHO JOINED PODEMOS

The Spanish government announced during its weekly post-cabinet press conference on Friday that it had relieved four-star Air Force general José Julio Rodriguez of his post in a senior Royal Order. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría said the government believed there had been a "loss of confidence" in General Rodriguez and that he had failed to fulfil "his duty to maintain political neutrality", even as a member of the reserve. General Rodriguez was Chief of the Spanish Defence Staff under Mr. Zapatero from 2008 to 2011, and was until Friday a spokesman for the Royal & Military Order of Saint Hermenegildo, made up only of officers with the rank of general and former Chiefs of the Spanish Defence Staff, Army, Navy or Air Force. The Order acts as a military advisory body to the Spanish Crown and Ministry of Defence. On Wednesday, Podemos announced General Rodriguez would stand as a senior candidate to become an MP for Pablo Iglesias's party at the upcoming general election.

02 Nov 11:19
MARGALLO SAYS "UPRISING" IN CATALONIA MUST BE "SUFFOCATED"

There is a "fully-fledged uprising" in Catalonia that must be "suffocated", Spain's Foreign Secretary, José Manuel García Margallo, said during an interview with Antena 3 on Monday morning, adding that "every time there is a crisis" in Spanish history: "we see these tensions", referring to similar episodes in 1640, 1714, 1931 and 1934. "it's not time for seduction", said Mr. Margallo: "what we now have underway is a fully-fledged uprising, made more serious by two problems: firstly, that it is being directed by an institution of state, not by a political force, […] and secondly that splitting Catalan society in two has not bothered them at all, or in setting that part of Catalan society, to whom they have promised a paradise lost, against the rest of Spanish society. When one encounters an uprising with these characteristics, the uprising [must be] suffocated.

31 Oct 15:39
BODIES OF THREE MISSING AIRMEN RECOVERED FROM SUNKEN HELICOPTER

The Spanish Defence Ministry said in a statement e-mailed to journalists at 3 p.m. on Saturday that all three bodies of the missing airmen had now been recovered from the sunken cockpit section of the crashed 802 Squadron Super Puma. Bad weather and heavy seas had been hampering the recovery effort, which involved 20 divers working in shifts "in groups of four". The three bodies will be taken to Las Palmas (The Canary Islands) on the Spanish Navy's offshore patrol vessel Rayo, where a forensic pathologist will examine them. The MoD statement said the work by the divers on Saturday, in an effort to beat another bad weather forecast, had been "notably intense: to the point that two of them have had to be put in the decompression chamber to return to a normal state".

31 Oct 13:30
BAN KI-MOON SAYS CATALONIA DOES NOT HAVE RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION

In an interview with La Vanguardia during a visit to Madrid to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Spain's membership, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he did not believe Catalonia was in the group of territories considered by the UN to have the right to self-determination. He said one of the most positive features of Spain was its "respect for cultural, linguistic and historical diversity" and that he hoped a solution agreed upon via dialogue could be found. Asked if laws on self-determination were applicable to the situation in Catalonia, Mr. Ban replied: "Spain has continued to be a sovereign state in itself, including Catalonia. When one talks of self-determination, there are certain areas where the United Nations has recognised that right, such as territories without self-government. But I don't believe Catalonia is included in that category".

28 Oct 17:20
RESCUE OPERATION FINDS HELICOPTER COCKPIT, CREW STILL MISSING

The central government's office in The Canary Islands announced in a statement e-mailed to journalists minutes after 5 p.m. Spanish time that rescue teams had found the cockpit section of the 802 Squadron Super Puma helicopter that crashed last Thursday, October 22. The full statement said: "At 13:41 the military judge in Las Palmas, who is on board [a ship] at the crash site, called me to tell me that he has revoked the secrecy classification on the investigation to report that the cockpit of the 802 Squadron helicopter that crashed has been found on the sea bed. The judge tells me that it will be raised with all necessary precautions, mentioning that there are currently bad sea conditions in the area". The statement made no mention of the three missing airmen.

27 Oct 17:36
DEFENCE MINISTRY SAYS STILL NO SIGN OF MISSING AIR CREW OR COCKPIT

The Spanish Defence Ministry has still not found any signs at all of either the three missing airmen or the cockpit section of their Super Puma helicopter that crashed into the Atlantic on Thursday, October 22 whilst returning from Senegal to The Canary Islands. After five days of fruitless searching, a Defence Ministry spokesman told The Spain Report that "no signs at all have been found of either, but we will keep trying everything until we get confirmation" of one of the lines of investigation. Asked if the search would continue indefinitely, he said it would do "at least until we find the cockpit and see if there is anyone inside". He said no intelligence reports had been received from Morocco or Senegal regarding the possibility of the crew's kidnapping by pirates. A Spanish Navy offshore patrol vessel, the Rayo, will arrive on station today to take over as the search command ship. Defence Minister Pedro Morenés has flown out to the Rayo on another Super Puma helicopter.

22 Oct 22:33
THREE MISSING HELICOPTER CREW FOUND ALIVE, SAYS SPANISH AIR FORCE

The Spanish Air Force tweeted late on Thursday night that three missing helicopter crew members on board a Super Puma helicopter that had crashed in the Atlantic had been found alive and well by a Moroccan patrol boat. "Good news! [An] F18 [from] 46 Wing finds the three crew members from the crashed helicopter. Already on board Moroccan patrol boat", read the tweet. The aircraft had crashed at 4 p.m. Spanish time some 280 miles south of The Canary Islands.

07 Oct 12:16
KING FELIPE SPEAKS TO EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT ON 3OTH ANNIVERSARY

King Felipe delivered a speech to the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, marking the 30th anniversary of Spain's adhesion to what is now the European Union. European President Martin Schulz, speaking in Spanish to welcome King Felipe, said "in these difficult circumstances, Europe needs Spain more than ever".

King Felipe Quotes

  • The King said he spoke as "a Spaniard who feels profoundly European";
  • "Spain is not possible without Europe, nor Europe without Spain".
  • "I am European because I am Spanish";
  • "Be sure to be able to count on a unified Spain, proud of its diversity";
  • "I reject a Europe that is no more than a market, a free exchange area with no soul";
Source: The Spain Report || Spain In Europe, Diplomacy & Military,
18 Sep 18:24
EUROPEAN COMMISSION CONFIRMS CATALONIA WOULD BE OUT ON SECESSION

The European Commission's Vice President for the euro and social dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, made Europe's position on the question of Catalan independence clear on Friday, even tweeting Junts Pel Sí candidate Raul Romeva and pro-independence news site Vilaweb to make sure they got the message. "If part of a member state becomes independent", he said: "the treaties would no longer apply to it and it would become a third country as regards the European Union". Mr. Dombrovskis said the Commission does not normally comment on member states' policies but that: "we are ready to work with the democratically elected authorities in member states". Vilaweb headlined that his comments corrected those made by chief Commission spokesman Margiritis Schinas yesterday but Mr. Dombrovskis clarified to EFE that his comments were in reference to: "Spain as a member state of the European Union", not a hypothetically independent Catalonia.

16 Sep 18:34
MAS RESPONDS TO OBAMA COMMENTS ON A UNIFIED SPAIN

The First Minister of Catalonia, Artur Mas, responded to statements made by US President Barack Obama on Wednesday afternoon, saying he did not "feel alluded to" by the American leader's remarks, which he described as "absolutely normal". President Obama told King Felipe during an Oval Office meeting at the White House on Tuesday that the US is "deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain". The statement was immediately interpreted by Spanish media and politicians as referring to the Catalan question, and described as a diplomatic success for Spain. "Spain can be unified with Catalonia or without her", said Mr. Mas: "They go around the world talking about Catalonia and they don't talk to the Catalan institutions that represent Catalan people". The internationalisation of the question of Catalan independence has long formed part of the separatist strategy.

15 Sep 22:54
OBAMA TELLS FELIPE THE US WANTS A "STRONG, UNIFIED SPAIN"

President Obama told King Felipe during an Oval Office meeting at the White House on Tuesday that the US is "deeply committed to maintaining a relationship with a strong and unified Spain". Whilst not mentioning Catalonia explicitly, the comments were immediately interpreted by Spanish media as signalling the American head of state's backing for the constitutional status quo in the country, and come not long after German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron made similar statements in support of the territorial integrity and rule of law during press conferences with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. King Felipe and Queen Letizia will remain in the United States for the rest of the week. President Obama wants to visit Spain before he steps down as President in 2016.

13 Sep 22:17
ARTUR MAS ACCUSES EUROPEAN LEADERS OF DUPLICITY ON CATALONIA

The First Minister of Catalonia, Artur Mas, accused European leaders of duplicity regarding the question of Catalan independence during a TV interview with La Sexta on Sunday night. Asked by presenter Ana Pastor about David Cameron and Angela Merkel's recent clear statements about the rule of law, constitutional precedent, the territorial integrity of member states and a theoretically independent Catalonia becoming a member of the European Union, Mr. Mas said European leaders say one thing about Catalan independence in public and tell him another thing in private. "European leaders recognise our right to decide because they all recognise Catalonia as a nation", adding that no foreign leaders "dare to admit Catalonia is not a nation". He refused to specify which leaders he had talked to or which ones had made which remarks.

01 Sep 12:10
MERKEL SAYS CATALONIA SHOULD RESPECT TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a press conference alongside Mariano Rajoy in Berlin on Tuesday morning that "respect" should be shown for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states, in reference to the upcoming secessionist challenge at the Catalan regional elections on September 27. "Of course we have talked about the situation in Spain", she said: "and about what is happening in Catalonia, and we have a very similar position. We all have to respect European Union treaties that guarantee the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each state. That is why it is very important national and international law be respected, and we don't have any kind of differences on that". On August 29, the EU's former top lawyer, Jean Claude Piris, said the idea of a newly independent Catalonia joining the EU was "totally illusory".

29 Aug 20:28
EUROPE TO INCREASE TRAIN SECURITY AFTER THALYS ATTACK

Spain's Home Secretary, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and Public Works Minister, Ana Pastor, attended the meeting of European Interior and Transport Ministers in Paris on Saturday to agree on new cross-border and train security measures following the failed terror attack on the Thalys high-speed train in France on August 21. Gilles de Kerchove, the EU's counter-terrorism chief, also attended, the EU said in a press statement issued after the meeting. The new beefed-up rail security measures will include the "swift adoption" of a Passenger Name Record Directive" to detect movements of foreign fighters more efficiently", "initiatives related to detention and to the disabling of weapons" and more cooperation between national intelligence services. The statement also said a "first European forum with internet service providers" would be held on December 2, 2015.

25 Aug 12:09
SPAIN & MOROCCO ARREST 14 ON TERROR CHARGES

Spanish police intelligence forces and Morocco's DGST arrested 14 people in a joint "large anti-terror operation" on Tuesday morning, the Spanish Home Office said in a press statement posted online. The 14 were detained in the Moroccan cities of Fez, Casablanca, Nador and Al Hoceima and the town of Driouch, and the Spanish town of San Martin de la Vega, 21 km outside of Madrid. The suspects "were part of a recruitment network to send foreign fighters to join the ranks of Islamic State, in the Syrian-Iraqi region under its control", said the statement.

Update:

Spain's Home Secretary, Jorge Fernández Díaz, said in televised statements in parliament that the joint operation had begun "when we found out that the group's leader had a strong link to Melilla" and that "they all form part of the same network". He refused to comment on the nationalities of those arrested.

24 Aug 10:55
SPANISH POLICE SAY 800 POTENTIAL JIHADIS ROAMING EUROPE

Spanish anti-terror police believe 800 jihadi radicals who have returned from trips to Syria are roaming Europe and that Ayoub Al Hkazzani, the 26-year old Moroccan who attacked the Thalys train in northern France, "likely" received his weapons and orders from another person "shortly before getting on the train in Brussels", Cadena SER reported on Monday. According to the news report, intelligence services know where "some of them are, but not others", that they have returned after trips to the wars in Iraq and Syria and that they are "waiting for the right moment and specific orders" to carry out more attacks.

22 Aug 12:17
FRENCH TRAIN ATTACKER LIVED IN SPAIN

The 26-year old Moroccan man who attacked a Thalys train in northern France on August 21 lived for a year in Spain—"until 2014"—El País reported, citing Spanish anti-terror sources, who also said Ayoud El Kahzzani had then moved to France before travelling to Syria and returning. The newspaper did not report where in Spain Mr. El Kahzzani had lived.

26 Jun 17:36
SPAIN INCREASES TERROR THREAT LEVEL

The Spanish government has increased the terror alert in Spain from three to four (out of a total of five), signifying a "high risk" of a terror attack and extra reinforcements at key targets, the Home Secretary said in a press conference on Friday evening. The alert level was raised to three following the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January.

26 Jun 16:51
RIU STATEMENT ON TUNISIA HOTEL ATTACK

(UPDATE 1, June 26, 4:51 pm) RIU issued a brief statement on Friday afternoon confirming the attack had taken place on the Imperial Marhaba Hotel's beach. "The Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel in Port El Kantaoui, Tunisia, has been affected by the attack occurred this morning on the hotel's beach. We are collecting all the information about the incident and are in permanent contact with the authorities in order to have full information about what happened. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to the victims and their relatives, and are awaiting to know more about this incident. We will keep you informed through this media and the social networks of RIU Hotels as soon as we receive more information."

22 Jun 19:49
RAJOY MEETS PORTUGAL’S COELHO IN GALICIA

Mariano Rajoy attended a bilateral security and defence summit with the Prime Minister of Portugal, Paulo Passos Coelho, in Galicia on Monday. Ministers from both countries also held talks. Mr. Rajoy said after the summit during a press conference that he would not reshuffle his cabinet before Spain’s general election. He also said, in reference to Mr. Sánchez’s large Spanish flag, that any Spaniard could use the flag but wondered why Mr. Sánchez had done so shortly after allowing “populist, extremist, radical” groups to take charge of town halls around the country. The Prime Minister was due to travel to Brussels for the extraordinary summit of European leaders on the Greek crisis.

10 Jun 10:52
COUSO CASE CLOSED OVER LACK OF UNIVERSAL JUSTICE

A judge in Madrid has closed the case of cameraman Jose Couso, killed by an American tank shell in Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2003, saying the “war crime” will now go unpunished after the Spanish government passed a new law last year limiting Spanish judges’ ability to try cases of universal justice when those crimes had taken place in other countries. Arrest warrants for three US soldiers had previously been issued.

10 Jun 10:52
FELIPE GONZÁLEZ LEAVES VENEZUELA EARLY

Former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González left Caracas earlier than planned on Tuesday night, after the Venezuelan government refused him permission to visit imprisoned opposition leader Leopoldo López or to attend a judicial hearing planned for Wednesday. Mr. González left the country on a Colombian Air Force jet. Demonstrations against his visit were organised by supporters of the Venezuelan regime.

17 May 19:56
PODEMOS TO BAN LEGION’S GOAT

Likely to the horror of Catholics and military men and women around Spain, El Confidencial Digital reports Podemos is planning to stop the Spanish Legion parading during Málaga Holy Week with the Christ of Mena, and even want to get rid of the regimental goat, as part of a plan to make Spain’s Armed Forces non-confessional: “if a soldier cannot go to a protest in uniform, it doesn’t seem very convenient for him to go go to a religious ceremony. They are civil servants of a non-confessional country”, an unnamed Podemos source told the paper. If you haven’t seen it before, this is the Spanish Legion parading the Christ of Mena through Málaga singing “El Novio de la Muerte”.

14 May 17:10
NO IMMUNITY FOR POLICEMAN IN BRAZIL

The Spanish Foreign Office has withdrawn the diplomatic immunity of a senior police officer based at the Brazilian Embassy after he was accused of murdering his wife, and following a request from Brazilian authorities. Foreign Secretary José Manuel García Margallo said on Wednesday that: “If the investigation continues and a case of domestic violence is proven, Spain will immediately withdraw diplomatic immunity which can in no case serve as an alibi for such despicable facts as are being investigated”.

13 May 11:44
WOULD SPAIN TAKE MORE MIGRANTS TO EU?

Would Spain take 1,549 out of every 20,000 immigrants crossing the Mediterranean? That would be how many were sent here if the new European Commission immigrant sharing plan is approved. The Spanish Foreign Minister, José Manuel García Margallo, said Spain was already making great efforts, “far greater than our own strength”, to stem the flow of immigrants from Africa: “which must be taken into account when extra effort is asked for […] this is a European problem, a problem for everyone”. 1,549 people is approximately 0.00003% of the Spanish population.

12 May 10:25
MOD BANS A400M TEST FLIGHTS

Spain’s Ministry of Defence has ‘temporarily’ suspended the A400Ms flight permits, for those units that are currently being built, until the results of the crash investigation become known. The four prototypes currently flying may continue to do so.

12 May 10:25
AIRBUS SHARES HIT BY A400M CRASH

Shares in Airbus fell up to 6% on the Madrid stock exchange on Monday morning, and were down 2.57% in Paris. The list of countries that have grounded their A400M has grown and now includes the UK, Germany, Turkey and Malaysia. The company’s share price fell another 2% in Madrid on Tuesday morning.

12 May 10:25
SPANISH ENGINE PROBLEMS

El Confidencial Digital reports the Spanish Air Force has had enough of the A400M because of all of its technical problems. The engines have a problem with resonance that causes them to malfunction, “which happened on one test flight out of León”, unnamed Air Force sources told the paper. The aircraft weighs seven tonnes more than it was supposed to and the low-level autopilot is missing.

12 May 10:25
MULTIPLE ENGINE FAILURE ON A400M

German paper Der Spiegel published a story on Monday, citing a meeting of European Defence Ministers on Sunday, who in turn were talking about an eyewitness account from one of the injured Airbus employees who survived, saying the A400M that crashed in Seville did so because of “a massive technical problem” and “multiple engine failures”. Miguel Morer, the Chief Press Officer at the Spanish Ministry of Defence, told The Spain Report on Monday that the German story is: “absolutely false…Der Spiegel is lying”.

10 May 12:19
DEADLY FIRST FLIGHT

An Airbus A400M crashed yesterday on take off from Seville airport, killing four. Two casualties were “serious but stable” in Seville hospitals on Sunday morning. There were two pilots, a mechanic and three engineers aboard, all of whom were working for Airbus. One of the survivors is the mechanic. There has been no news of the possible causes of the crash, which happened shortly after take off, at this early stage.

10 May 12:19
HUGE STAKES FOR A400M PROJECT

Airbus confirmed in a statement that the aircraft, MSN23, was to be handed over to the Turkish Air Force in June. It was on its first test flight. After the usual ministerial shut down in times of crisis, Rajoy said last night that he wanted to see “maximum transparency” in the crash investigation. The stakes are very high for Airbus, the Spanish aircraft manufacturing industry, Brand Spain and Europe. The RAF in Britain and the German Air Force have grounded their A400Ms.

10 May 12:19
PODEMOS? WHO’S THAT, THEN?

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Varoufakis was in Madrid on Friday to meet Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos, and said Spain and Greece were now “in perfect harmony” and “clearly have the same interests” following months of acrimonious rumour and mutual interference. Alexis Tsipras came to Madrid to support Pablo Iglesias, and both the Podemos leader and Mariano Rajoy travelled to Athens to support their side in the Greek general election at the end of January. Mr. Varoufakis did not meet anyone from Podemos during his visit this week.