This year we celebrate the 40th anniversary of restoring Spanish-Hungarian diplomatic relations and this served as another reason for the March event of the Ambassador’s Forum at Ludovika. In his presentation, José Ángel Lopez Jorrin mainly focused on why the country’s performance is evaluated by stereotypes based on historical experiences rather than on real facts. His Excellency added that after the financial crisis of 2008 Spain recognized how important was the configuration of the country’s image, which broadly defines a country’s international reputation. Following the continuously growing crisis, the Spanish government in 2012 chose a new way for organization, which accentuated the global presence of Spanish values. To strengthen the country’s image, the project called Marca España (Spanish Brand) had been launched. The ambassador also participated in the elaboration of this project prior to his accreditation to Hungary in 2014.
HIS Excellency said that Spanish people like to enjoy life, but they are also hardworking. Based on the countries’ GDP, Spain is the fourth largest economy in the Euro Zone, the fifth biggest economy in the European Union and the 13th in the world. In addition, Spain is the world’s 11th largest investor with 650 billion US dollars, which means 3% of the total investments of the world. The Spaniards are particularly active in Latin America where, after the United States, they are considered the second largest investors: they carry out high quality infrastructure improvements, such as building high-speed railway networks.
According to Mr. Lopez Jorrin, the Spanish nation is caring and represents family values. These values are also shown by the fact that the Spain has the highest proportion of organ donation. “Currently there are 3000 Spanish soldiers serving in various international missions, representing their nation” – added José Ángel Lopez Jorrin.
During the roundtable discussion, the participants talked about the rise in unemployment between 2009-2013 and its consequences, the possible effects of Brexit and the migration crisis that Europe is facing. The participants of the roundtable discussion were Dr. János Bóka, Dr. Mónika Szente-Varga, Vice-Deans of the Faculty of International and European Studies, and Dr. Edit Inotai, senior fellow at the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Integration and Democracy. After the discussion, the participants could watch a travelling exhibition that commemorated ex-Spanish ambassador, Ángel Sanz Briz and his colleagues, honouring their lifesaving work during WWII.
The event took place in the Chapel of the Ludovika main building, where the ambassador’s main topic were the importance of European Neighbouring Policy, energy and information security, the European Union’s policy towards Russia as well as the status of Crimea. In her speech, Ms. Liubov Nepop focused on the present and future of EU-Ukraine relations: it is currently uncertain how the European and U.S. perspectives on Ukraine will be affected by the inauguration of Mr. Donald Trump as the new President of the United States.
Her Excellency also highlighted that the Ukrainian state is dedicated to European values and it wishes to implement future policies and conflict resolutions in accordance with these values. During the presentation, it was also stated that the impact of the ongoing Ukrainian-Russian military conflict poses a challenge not only to Ukraine but also to the stability of the entire European continent. The ambassador added that support of international communities might be a key element to solve the current issues.
The opening speech of Her Excellency was followed by a roundtable discussion with the participation of Dr. László Póti, lead researcher of the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Anton Bendarzsevszkij, director of Pallas Athene Geopolitical Foundation, and Dr. János Bóka, Vice-Dean for Research and International Affairs. The guests discussed, among others, whether the situation in the Ukraine could be considered a frozen conflict, and how the outcome of the upcoming German and French elections could affect the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy as well as its crisis management concept.
The next Ludovika Ambassadors’ Forum event will be held on the 22nd of March, with special guest H.E. José Ángel López Jorrin, Ambassador of Spain.