The Mediterranean dimension of Spanish national defence policy


The article deals with main areas of Spanish national defence policy within the Mediterranean area. This vital element of the Spanish defence policy is strongly connected with close cooperation within NATO and the EU. It discusses three main fora the Mediterranean policy has been being realized, namely the Mediterranean Dialogue, the Barcelona Process and the 5 + 5 Initiative, their basic principles, assumptions and role in the overall Spanish policy towards the Mediterranean region. It concludes with a few remarks stating that Spain wants to be present on as many for a as possible which deal with cooperation with the non-European countries of the Mediterranean region, being aware, on the other hand that only a synergy of efforts in the field especially between NATO and the EU would be a best solution also to omit duplication.

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Článek se zabývá hlavními oblastmi španělské národní obranné politiky v rámci Středomoří. Tento klíčový prvek španělské obranné politiky je pevně propojen s úzkou spoluprací v rámci NATO a EU. Pojednává o třech hlavních fórech, na nichž je politika oblasti Středozemí uskutečňována, a to Středomořském dialogu, Barcelonském procesu a Iniciativě 5 + 5, jejich základních principech, předpokladech a roli v celkové politice Španělska ke Středomoří. Závěrem je uvedeno několik poznámek, které konstatují, že Španělsko usiluje o svoji přítomnost v maximálním možném počtu struktur zabývajících se spoluprací s mimoevropskými zeměmi v oblasti Středomoří, přičemž si je vědomo skutečnosti, že pouze synergie úsilí v oblasti, zejména mezi NATO a EU, může být nejlepším řešením, mimo jiné pro eliminaci duplicity.

Klíčová slova
Španělsko, obranná politika, regionální spolupráce, bezpečnostní strategie, Středomoří.

Spain, defence policy, regional co-operation, security strategy, Mediterranean area.



Spanish defence policy is concentrated on at least three main areas: cooperation within the European Union, and NATO as well as regional cooperation with respect to the Mediterranean area. It is also focused on bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Latin American countries as well as on transformation and professionalization of the armed forces. Defence policy determines the objectives of national defence and marks the way to obtain them. These objectives are defined in the National Defence Directive[1], which constitutes a base for National Defence and Military Defence Planning. Spanish security policy is settled within an international context through Spanish presence in international organizations, participation in peace-keeping operations, and maintaining proper relations with the countries that Spain signed agreements with.

The National Defence Directive was signed by the prime minister on 30 December 2008 and it is a document in which the government defines the objectives of national defence and exposes general methods to obtain them. At the beginning of the XXI century, strategic scenario is marked by the appearance of new risks and threats to international peace, stability, and security, which is why every country, then also Spain, had to adapt to the new environment. In case of security and defence, Europe is the priority area for Spain, and the country perceives the European Security and Defence Policy to be an appropriate tool to develop its national security within. This priority goes along with the transatlantic relations, which should be strong and balanced. There is one more direction of preference for Spain, namely - Latin America. Spain intensifies bilateral relations and military cooperation with Latin American countries and supports regional initiatives aiming at strengthening multilateral cooperation between the Latin American Community countries. However, the Mediterranean area is of special interest for Spain, which supports firmly all multilateral initiatives within the European Union, NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in the field.

For Spain, it is important that all these organizations are properly coordinated and that their actions are really complementary, so that they form a framework of institutions which enforce each other. The last one is extremely important as far as the Mediterranean area is concerned. Spain believes that only effective cooperation on as many fields and arenas as possible is able to give rational results as far as the Mediterranean dimension is concerned. Spanish defence policy is supposed to develop mainly in the direction of supporting the European Security and Defence Policy (which was expressed by Spanish agreement with the Helsinki Headline Goal 2010), especially with respect to the Mediterranean dimension.

Spain is in a way a border state of the EU which is even sometimes called “door to Africa” or “bridge to Latin America”. In the context of the first one, its foreign and defence policy, directed at neighbouring countries from south-west part of the Mediterranean Sea area is very active in bilateral relations especially with Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia as well as in international initiatives of the EU (Barcelona Process) and NATO (Mediterranean Dialogue). Spain also supported the process of shaping and adapting the European Neighbourhood Policy, even though it had many hesitations about it. They were mainly connected with the Spanish concern about diminishing the importance of the Mediterranean Partnership in favour of the East Europe. Spanish defence policy in the Mediterranean region does not possess untypical or exceptional characteristics, but it is permanently a part of Spanish defence policy. Spain supports the vision of its allies with respect to the region of the Mediterranean Sea, which is perceived as an area of great strategic importance. It is treated as a priority by Spain, as it has always been a traditional area of interest of Spanish activity in the field of defence. Mediterranean defence policy of Spain is generally set in multilateral context directed at cooperation with the EU, NATO, OSCE and the 5+5 Initiative[2] that Spain signed with 9 other countries from the northern and southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Spain treats this policy with a very high level of compromise, which is reflected by Spanish presence in the Middle East[3]. Moreover, Spain supports strongly all initiatives in the Mediterranean region, paying special attention to the Barcelona Process of the European Union and the Mediterranean Dialogue of NATO. Such national interest of Spain in the region is dictated by Spain’s intent to create new initiatives that would fit the scenario and enforce it, which is the case with respect to the 5+5 Initiative[4], established in 2004 in Paris in order to develop multilateral cooperation directed at security in the western part of the Mediterranean.


Spain aims at participating actively in the initiatives of transformed and enlarged NATO, especially in the Prague Capabilities Commitment (PCC) and in NATO Response Force (NRF), and finally, at participating in conflict prevention and crisis management operations. Since the end of the Cold War, Spain (as well as Italy) was promoting the Mediterranean Initiative, as it felt that this area was neglected due to the Alliance’s interest and focus on the East. Originally, Spain’s aim was to force as much as involvement of the International Staff in planning, the participation of the Political Committee in the discussion with the Mediterranean partner countries, and inclusion of Algeria (in the program from 2000) in the dialogue. It also wanted to establish a PfP-like cooperation, including joint military exercises. All these efforts were directed at as close cooperation in many fields as possible to somehow attract these countries with the NATO-like thinking, so they could feel safer having some bounds with NATO and prospects of sharing its priorities in the future[5]. Due to former colonial dependences, Spain was also a strong advocate of inclusion of Mauritania into the Dialogue. Spain was also in favour of the Partnership for the Mediterranean (PfM) concept, which would give the region similar priority treatment as it was given to the East through the PfP program and a greater chance for success at the same time (more funds, more engagement etc.). Military cooperation, on the other hand, is perceived as a useful way of building long-term trust (basing on common experience and possible of learning from the NATO member states, which tightens bounds between the countries) and minimizing harmful overlap between NATO’s and other initiatives in the region. Due to great importance of stabilization in the Mediterranean region, Spain has been supporting political dialogue with the non-NATO countries in this area since 1994. In 1994, with Spanish initiative, NATO began so called Mediterranean Dialogue with allied countries[6] from the south coast to contribute to security and stability in this region.

As a result of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, deployment for Operation Active Endeavour began - an anti-terrorism mission that consists of patrolling the Mediterranean to control maritime traffic. On 4 February 2003, NATO extended the operation area and began to monitor vessels passing through the Straits of Gibraltar in an attempt to prevent terrorist threats, and in March 2004 it was further extended to cover the entire Mediterranean[7]. Moreover, since the events of the 11 September 2001 in the USA and the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns, the potential geographic space for security cooperation between NATO and Dialogue countries has expanded eastward all the way to Afghanistan and possibly beyond[8]. The overall situation suggests moving the Dialogue forward to practical cooperation in a wide range of new areas including the following:

  • combating terrorism;
  • combating weapon of mass destruction proliferation;
  • disaster relief and humanitarian response missions;
  • demining operations;
  • peacekeeping operations;
  • joint media operations;
  • building regional infrastructure.

Together with other southern European countries, especially Italy, Spain noted the rise of new regional security dilemmas and their possible effect on European and Alliance’s security. Due to the pressures of Spain and other European Mediterranean countries, NATO decided at the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in December 2005 “to establish contacts, on a case-by-case basis, between the Alliance and Mediterranean non-member countries with a view to contributing to the strengthening of regional stability”[9]. Thus, it should not be surprising that the National Defence Directive states that the Mediterranean area is of special interest to Spain and it is fundamental that it turns to be a region of peace, stability and economic well-being. With respect to security and defence, the initiatives that speed up the dialogue and have impact on bilateral cooperation (mostly economic reasons) with the countries in the region are indispensable[10]. Within the geostrategic unity of the region, Spain considers the Mediterranean as a neighbouring area that requires much of its attention. This is caused by economic, demographic and cultural tensions between the northern and southern coast. Such situation may increase the risk of more intensified migrations on a bigger and uncontrolled scale or may result in frustrations caused by the lack of perspectives, which may be transformed in more or less intensive crisis. To avoid such situations, there is a necessity to impose political solutions with other EU countries from the north coast, which are more prospective. The cooperation is mainly based on financial sphere and flow of investments capable of mobilizing local entrepreneurs and help them with proper development. These political solutions are also supportive in rising mutual confidence and fostering transparency of security and defence policy development. The Dialogue is designed to complement and reinforce other international efforts to establish and enhance cooperation with the Mediterranean countries, which includes mainly the Barcelona Process within the EU, and initiatives taken by the OSCE.


The EU membership enabled Spain to promote its defence policy in the Mediterranean region on a new multilateral forum. It can also influence the EU policy in this area. In 2003, the European Council established the first strategic concept for the European Union, known as Solana Document[11]. The document refers to multilateralism as a base for the conviction that no country is able to face alone the complex problems and challenges of the contemporary world. Hence, the European security strategy stated the following necessity: “The European Union’s interests require a continued engagement with Mediterranean partners, through more effective economic, security and cultural cooperation in the framework of the Barcelona Process. A broader engagement with the Arab World should also be considered”[12]. “Spain has “exported” parts of its own foreign policy agenda and subsequently managed to have the EU adopt policies on the area of the Mediterranean, in which the EU had minor or marginal interest of its own”[13]. In this way, Spain helped the EU establish a wider European policy towards the region, strengthening it at the same time.

Mediterranean Partnership was initiated with the Spanish initiative in 1995 during the conference in Barcelona when the Euro-Mediterranean Association was established. This partnership, known as the Barcelona Process, is of principal importance for political, economic, and social relations for dialogue and cooperation in the Mediterranean region. It is also treated as the only forum gathering all actors of the region[14]. Political initiatives, changing the qualitative approach of the EU to the mediterranean policy promoted mainly by Spain (as well as France and Italy), reflected by the Barcelona Conference (1995)[15] and further Malta Meeting (1997), served as recognition of economic, political, and social problems in the region, being a common challenge that requires overall and coordinated approach. This laid a stronger basis of partnership with Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, and the Palestinian National Authority. Spain, being a promoter of the Partnership, aims at maintaining its importance for external policy of the EU. Such approach is dictated not only by motives of prestige (support for the initiative, which was a Spanish idea, and leading it). There is no doubt that due to this Partnership, Spain is able to realize important goals of its foreign and defence policy in the Mediterranean region. The initiative also reflected a desire among southern EU members (then Spain as well) to restore a perceived imbalance in the allocation of resources between the East and the South[16]. The main aim of the Partnership is to promote long-term stability through economic development and liberalization that are to be achieved through more opportunities for jobs in home countries, raising the standards of living and decreasing the attractiveness of extremist ideologies - all these were planned to limit illegal immigration causing security problems in the southern European countries, which probably concerned Spain the most.

During the EU Paris Summit in July 2008, the 43-nation Union for the Mediterranean (also called the Mediterranean Union) was established, which is supposed to strengthen the Barcelona Process through realization of concrete projects. The Union may have a significant impact on the (Euro-) Mediterranean Partnership. Being a “project of projects”, the Union institutionalizes the cooperation in the region, which is highly appreciated by Spain. It may be of great economic and political importance if the projects realized within the Union contribute to economic growth of the region and become a real base for common actions. It is especially important for the non-EU countries which should be treated as equal partners in all projects. Such situation is desired by Spain as creating conditions for economic growth of these countries which will gradually reduce the number of reasons for threats these countries generate. The Barcelona Process permits differential treatment of the non-EU Mediterranean countries, while at the same time encouraging gradual harmonization in the fields of economic development, democratization, and the Middle East peace process[17].

It is also worth mentioning two events. In 1996, on Spain’s request, the EU appointed Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process - Spanish ambassador in Israel - Miguel Ángel Moratinos held this function first. In 2002 Javier Solana and Miguel Ángel Moratinos held a diplomatic mission during which they met with Jaser Arafat in Ramallah, which was made at the end of the Euro-Mediterranean conference in Spain held within the Barcelona Process. The EU officials called for a ceasefire and an immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Palestinian areas occupied in a three-week offensive.

Moreover, in 2004 the European Council agreed upon the general strategy of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Spain (with France) had a great impact on directing this policy also at the Mediterranean countries. Spain opposed the idea of directing it only at new eastern neighbours of the EU, as it feared that the Mediterranean region will be marginalized by the policy of the enlarged EU due to appearance of new challenges. Eventually, since 2004 the Mediterranean Partners are also included in the ENP and since 2007 are funded via the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument as the Mediterranean Partnership still remains a basic instrument of the EU external policy towards the region. Spain also expressed its fear that combining aid programs (Phare, Tacis, Interreg CARDS, MEDA) into one Partnership Instrument will cause reduction of financial means for the Mediterranean Partnership. Spain aims at development of the projects directed at especially Morocco and Algeria, hoping that it will help solve social problems in these countries and reduce emigration (especially the illegal one) to Spain.


In July 2004 France presented a new initiative for security in the Mediterranean region, limited to the western area, which was initially known as 4+3 Initiative (France, Italy, Portugal and Spain plus Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia), and then broadened to 5+5 Initiative. Its aim is to develop multilateral cooperation to enforce mutual understanding and confidence to promote security in western Mediterranean. To endow greater rank to the initiative, Spain presented a document in the form of a declaration of intents, which was signed in Paris on 21 December 2004 by ministers of defence of the ten participating countries. It expressed willingness to develop practical activities in the field of security, based on the annual plan of action. At the same time, it also established mechanisms that regulate functioning of the Initiative. At the beginning of 2005, the Initiative constituted the institution of the Committee Director of two persons from the ministry of defence[18] to supervise the annual plans of action. Each country participates in the committee, holding the presidency for one year[19]. Nowadays, most of the activities concentrate in four areas:

  • maritime security;
  • aerial security;
  • armed forces participation in supporting civilian institutions dealing with citizens’ protection and crisis management;
  • education (training).

Spain has always participated very actively in the activities within the annual action plan. For the year 2008, Spain offered to conduct two out of twenty suggested projects. The first one was organization of a seminar on “A Woman in the Armed Forces”, and the second was carrying an exercise on maritime security, which was accomplished with Portugal. Moreover, apart from the annual action plan, there are attempts to establish wide range projects:

  • 5+5 Defence College, which was proposed by France and supposed to start in 2008;
  • Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Control Centre (V-RMTC), proposed by Italy;
  • Centre of Research and Strategic Studies of the Euro-Maghreb Region, proposed by Tunisia;
  • Centre for Humanitarian Demining, proposed by Libya.

The North-South dialogue in the Mediterranean area is realized mainly within the 5+5 Initiative. The five countries of Maghreb share the cautious vision with respect to the European Union and NATO, and are definitely more active within the 5+5 Initiative. It shows the validity and importance of such type of regional cooperation, whose more pragmatic approach complements the actions undertaken by the UE and NATO, and can entail more dynamic realization of the Barcelona Process assumptions in the field of security.


It seems that Spain, being aware of the fact that there are no one-dimensional solutions or sufficient means (including military ones), stands in the position that the fundamental contribution to the process of constructing step by step a more secure world (within the European frames, especially Mediterranean, but also international, in general) can be achieved through missions as well as defence diplomacy and strengthening regional bonds.

It seems obvious that main priorities of Spanish defence policy will remain unchanged, which means that Spain will continue contributing to the European Security and Defence Policy as well as to NATO operations and activities, being especially focused on the Mediterranean region as an area of its special interest. Spain will carry on the initiatives within the Barcelona Process, Mediterranean Dialogue and the 5+5 Initiative. Spanish strategic interests in this field (maintaining peace and stability in the Mediterranean area) have remained unchanged for years, and are repeated by politicians from both leading Spanish national parties - PP (Partido Popular - Popular Party) and PSOE (Partido Socialista Obrero Español - Spanish Socialist Labour Party) and is confirmed by documents issued by the Spanish Ministry of Defence (e.g. in Strategic Defence Review - Revisión Estratégica de Defensa). However, understanding of this priority is a bit different with respect to the ideology of these two main parties. Aznar’s government tried to use NATO to realize the strategic interests of Spain in the Mediterranean region. Zapatero’s attitude towards e.g. Spanish participation in peace support operations and countering terrorism is dissimilar. Zapatero, even though he treats NATO as a guarantee of Spain’s security, views the cooperation with the EU as a vital point of his foreign and security policy, which means a significant change of attitude towards NATO activities. Zapatero aims at strengthening multilateral effort directed at stabilization at the Mediterranean and using the EU, as it disposes of better political, economic and social means of cooperation within the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, rather than NATO. Finally, Zapatero also proposed an alternative to the American “war with terrorism”, suggesting a “civilization dialogue” program within the UN, aiming at peaceful cooperation with the Islamic countries (economic and trade relations, countering reasons of terrorism in a peaceful way).

Spain treats Moroccan pretence to Spanish territories in Africa (Ceuta and Melilla as well as neighbouring islands) seriously. It has used the EU to dilute its bilateral relations with Morocco into a relation consisting of multiple and interdependent layers of interests which forms a part of a wider European policy towards the Mediterranean. EU membership also allowed Spain to transform some of the problems it had with the Mediterranean countries and create a web of interdependence (definition of an overall EU strategy towards the Mediterranean, fisheries started being dealt with in a global package which included market access issues, development aid and technical cooperation[20], which is significant for the Spanish-Moroccan relations). One of the main problems is also the growing migration from African Muslim countries, which can cause internal instability due to growing threat of terrorism, lack of assimilation of the newcomers with the rest of the society, growing unemployment of these people (due to their lack of language proficiency and skills, which results in the growth of delinquency). Another (maybe controversial) decision of Zapatero’s government which is linked (even if indirectly) to the Mediterranean, namely tempering of immigration law, allowed illegal emigrants staying in Spain for a long time to legalize their settlement.

Last but not least is the new dynamic in regard to the issue of Gibraltar. Current government’s policy does not aim at changing Spain’s aspirations or traditional policy, but at putting aside the issues which prevented both sides from building mutual trust and cooperation. “It now seeks to form a part of Spain’s state policy in a definite manner and to contribute to developing cooperation between the two communities help dilute the current differences and, above all, to not waste another twenty years in sterile conflict”[21].

Spain’s wide interest in international security and its contribution to building world’s stability is confirmed not only by its participation in various UN, NATO or EU missions and operations[22] as well as initiatives, but is also engaged in solving the most difficult and complex problems such as the Middle East conflict. Spain also tries to participate in solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is perceived as a factor causing destabilization in the region. Due to countering internal and international terrorism as well as fighting problems connected with illegal immigration, Spain is in favour of further development of the EU as an area of freedom, security and justice (which was initiated within the Tampere process in 1999).

Even though the Mediterranean Dialogue was created mostly because of Spanish initiative, its current state, which is a consequence of weakened interest of the rest of the allies and partner countries of the Dialogue, does not meet Spanish expectations. Spanish initiatives within NATO on stabilization in the Mediterranean region are also conducted within the EU and its Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. Spain under Zapatero’s government, unlike the previous one, will rather try to activize its policy within the EU working closely with France, to strengthen political dialogue and bilateral relations with Maghreb countries. In such a context, it seems important that Spain did not clearly state its position towards the decision made during NATO summit in Istanbul regarding broadening the Mediterranean Dialogue. It is a kind of confirmation of the growing importance of the EU in Spanish defence policy in the Mediterranean dimension.

As far as the further development of the EU as a global actor is concerned, Zapatero’s government is convinced that the EU member states should act in the direction of the European Security Policy development based on multiplicity of instruments in civil and military crisis management (the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership fits this schema) and closely cooperate with the UN, as well as be compatible with NATO at the same time. Aiming at political strengthening of the EU, Spanish government is interested in improvement of relations between the EU and the USA (also in broader, transatlantic aspect). Spain also supports the development of the European Neighbourhood Policy which is treated as an instrument for realization of the Mediterranean Partnership’s aims, as only synergy of efforts may bring a desired effect in every field, so also in the Mediterranean dimension of the Spanish defence policy.

Previous Spanish initiatives and activities which influenced the establishment of the coherence policy as well as the European citizenship were also motivated by the will of strengthening the EU policy in the Mediterranean region. In similar context, Spain treats the European Neighbourhood Policy perceiving it as another instrument of realization of Mediterranean Partnership aims. Spanish government always points towards intensifying the EU policy in the region (which is strongly supported by Portugal, France, Italy and Greece due to similar priorities in the field). Spain would prefer the ENP to support the countries participating in the Mediterranean Partnership rather than East European states. Spain also used the ENP to improve its relations with Morocco which were quite tense after Moroccan invasion on Spanish island, Perejil. Terrorist attack in Madrid in 2004 however, brought out the necessity of tightening cooperation between the two countries in terms of security. In this way, the need of countering terrorism constituted another area of cooperation and another reason of Spanish special interest in close contacts with the Mediterranean countries and the EU’s support for them. As it was presented, the Mediterranean area is important for Spain because of historic reasons as well as current issues, such as security in terms of possible terrorist attacks from the Middle East, illegal immigration, and financial support for the Maghreb countries to prevent destabilization in the region, which causes all the above mentioned problems.

It seems that Spain, and other countries as well, understood that acting on so many fora is not efficient as the programs closely overlap and may undercut each other’s effectiveness. Probably a synergy of efforts in the field especially between NATO and the EU would be a best solution also to omit duplication.


[1] Directiva de Defensa Nacional (DDN) 1/2008, Madrid 2008.

[2] There were a few more initiatives within the Mediterranean area, which were also supported by Spain, it is worth mentioning three of them:

  • the Conference on Security and Cooperation in the Mediterranean (CSCM) - initiative proposed by Spain and Italy in 1990 as a southern counterpart to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE). It was designed to reflect the three-basket approach of the Helsinki process, but faced many difficulties and was never officially approved;
  • the Forum for Dialogue and Cooperation in the Mediterranean, proposed by Egypt in 1991 which was a result of exclusion from the 5+5 Initiative, and it gained Spanish support (as well as France, Portugal, Italy and Greece); the problem with this initiative was that most of its functions are being overtaken by the Barcelona Process;
  • the OSCE’s Mediterranean Contact Group - an idea developed by Spain with France and Italy aiming at establishing an informal contact group with experts from Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Morocco, and Tunisia to allow them benefit from OSCE’s experiences.

Additionally, within the Western European Union Mediterranean Framework, there were created EUROFOR and EUROMAFOR composed of Spanish, Italian, French and Portuguese units, which was treated with suspicion by the north African countries.

[3] Spain has 1100 soldiers serving within the complex UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) mission. Originally, UNIFIL was created by the Security Council in 1978 to confirm Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, restore international peace and security and assist the Lebanese Government in restoring its effective authority in the area. Following the July/August 2006 crisis, the Council enhanced the Force and decided that in addition to the original mandate, it would, among other things, monitor the cessation of hostilities; accompany and support the Lebanese armed forces as they deploy throughout the south of Lebanon; and extend its assistance to help ensure humanitarian access to civilian populations and the voluntary and safe return of displaced persons. (for more information, see: <>).

[4] The 5+5 Initiative was signed by Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Mauritania, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia.

[5] For more information in the field see: S. LARRABEE, J. GREEN, I. LESSER, M. ZANINI, NATO’s Mediterranean Initiative: Policy Issues and Dilemmas, RAND Monograph Report 1998, p. 50-52.

[6] Seven non-NATO countries that participate in the Mediterranean Dialogue are: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan Mauritania, Morocco, and Tunisia.

[7] Spain Today 2008, Ministry of the Presidency, Madrid 2008.

[8] M. K. SAID, Assessing NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO Review, spring 2004.

[9] NAC Final Communiqué, NATO M-NAC-2(94)116, issued at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, NATO Headquarters, Brussels, December 1, 2004.

[10] Directiva de Defensa Nacional 1/2004, Madrid 2004, point 2, p. 3.

[11] A Secure Europe in a Better World - the European Security Strategy, approved by the European Council held in Brussels on 12 December 2003 and drafted under the responsibilities of the EU High Representative Javier Solana.

[12] A Secure Europe in a Better World. European Security Strategy, Brussels, 12 December 2003, chapter II, p. 8, available at: <>.

[13] J. I. TORREBLANCA, Ideas, preferences and institutions: explaining the Europeanisation of Spanish Foreign Policy, “ARENA Working Papers” 01/26. Universidad de Oslo, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State, p. 12.

[14] In the Barcelona Process are involved 38 countries - 26 of the European Union and Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Palestinian Autonomy, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey.

[15] Barcelona Conference was a foundation for the Barcelona Process.

[16] See: S. LARRABEE, J. GREEN, I. LESSER, M. ZANINI, op.cit., p. 24.

[17] Ibidem, p. 32-33.

[18] On the Spanish part, it is the director general for defence policy and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

[19] It rotates in alphabetical order (first presidency was held by Algeria, next by France, then Italy, and in 2008 it was taken over by Libya). The country holding the office is responsible for hosting working meetings and an annual meeting of ministers of defence evaluating actions undertaken during the year as well as approving the course of action for the subsequent year.

[20] J. I. TORREBLANCA, op. cit., s. 12-14.

[21] L. R. BARTUMEUS, Gibraltar: Alternative Diplomacy, “ARI” No 198/2004.

[22] Since the year 1989 (Spain’s official participation in the United Nations missions began in 1989. Before this date, Spain had participated, albeit very sporadically, in similar operations, which we are now called “peace-keeping operations”.), Spain has participated in 52 peace-keeping and humanitarian operations, which nearly 80,000 troops from its three standing forces have made possible with their presence on four different continents.


[1] A Secure Europe in a Better World. European Security Strategy, Brussels, 12 December 2003.

[2] BARTUMEUS, L. R., Gibraltar: Alternative Diplomacy, “ARI” No 198/2004.

[3] Directiva de Defensa Nacional 1/2004, Madrid 2004.

[4] Directiva de Defensa Nacional 1/2008, Madrid 2008.

[5] DOMEJKO-KOZERA, P., Polityka bezpieczeństwa Hiszpanii w latach 1992-2004, Wydawnictwo Naukowe Temper: Warszawa 2006.

[6] FAYANÁS, E., La política de defensa en España, “El Inconformista Digital”, Periódico independiente desde el subsuelo - Periodismo independiente en la red, Barcelona, 22 Noviembre 2003.

[7] GILLESPIE, R., “Spain and the Mediterranean: Southern Sensitivity, European Aspirations”, Mediterranean Politics, 1996.

[8] GILLESPIE, R., “Spanish Protagonismo and the Euro-Med Partnership Initiative”, Mediterranean Politics, 1997.

[9] LARRABEE, S., GREEN, J., LESSER, I., ZANINI, M. NATO’s Mediterranean Initiative: Policy Issues and Dilemmas, RAND Monograph Report 1998.

[10] Ley Orgánica 5/2005 de la Defensa Nacional, “Boletín Oficial del Estado”, núm. 276, 18 Nov 2005.

[11] MAXWELL, K., Spanish Foreign and Defense Policy, Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1991.

[12] NAC Final Communiqué, NATO M-NAC-2(94)116, issued at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council, NATO Headquarters, Brussels, December 1, 2004.

[13] SAID, M. K., Assessing NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue, NATO Review, spring 2004.

[14] Spain Today 2008, Ministry of the Presidency, Madrid 2008.

[15] SZYMAŃSKI, A., B. Wojna, Unia dla Morza Śródziemnego - nowe forum współpracy regionalnej, „Biuletyn Polskiego Instytutu Spraw Międzynarodowych” nr 32 (500), Warszawa 2008.

[16] TORREBLANCA, J. I., Ideas, preferences and institutions: explaining the Europeanisation of Spanish Foreign Policy, “ARENA Working Papers” 01/26. Universidad de Oslo, Advanced Research on the Europeanisation of the Nation-State.

[17] TORREBLANCA, J. I., La europeización de la política exterior española, in C. Closa (ed.), La Europeización del Sistema Político Español. Madrid: Istmo, 2001.

[18] TORREBLANCA, J. I., ¿Aznar o Zapatero? ¿Qué política exterior?, Foreign Policy, número 21/2007.

[19] WOJNA, B., NATO w polityce zagranicznej Hiszpanii, „Biuletyn Polskiego Instytutu Spraw Międzynarodowych” nr 37 (225), Warszawa 2004.

[20] WOJNA, B., Polityka Hiszpanii w Unii Europejskiej, „Biuletyn Polskiego Instytutu Spraw Międzynarodowych” nr 51 (239), Warszawa 2004.

Title in English:

The Mediterranean dimension of Spanish national defence policy

Title in Czech/Slovak:

Středomořský rozměr španělské národní obranné politiky


Anna Antczak






English / Czech


Obrana a strategie (Defence & Strategy)


University of Defence


ISSN 1214-6463 (print) and ISSN 1802-7199 (on-line)




Volume 9, Number 1 (June 2009)



Received: 13 March 2009

Accepted: 10 April 2009

Published online: 15 June 2009

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