Viewing cable 10MADRID133, SPANISH REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING U.S.-EU
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|10MADRID133||2010-02-03 14:02||2010-12-07 12:12||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Madrid|
VZCZCXRO5250 RR RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR DE RUEHMD #0133/01 0341451 ZNY CCCCC ZZH R 031451Z FEB 10 FM AMEMBASSY MADRID TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1853 INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE RUEHLA/AMCONSUL BARCELONA 4330 RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MADRID 000133 SIPDIS FOR P - U/S BURNS, ALSO FOR EUR - A/S GORDON E.O. 12958 DECL: 02/04/2020 TAGS PREL, SP SUBJECT: SPANISH REACTION TO ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING U.S.-EU SUMMIT MADRID 00000133 001.2 OF 002 Classified By: Ambassador Alan D. Solomont, Reasons 1.4(b),(d). ¶1. (C) Summary. In the last 48 hours the Ambassador has spoken with
Spanish National Security Advisor Leon, FM Moratinos, and President
Zapatero regarding the announcement that President Obama will not
attend a U.S.-EU Summit in Spain. Spanish disappointment -- both among
senior government officials and in the media -- is profound.
Nevertheless, the GOS is taking the high road, stressing the health
of the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Spanish relationships. We are taking a similar
approach privately and publicly, aggressively reaching out to media to
urge that they not read into this decision some hidden and inaccurate
message about U.S. policy. The Spanish still hope for a Presidential
visit, and will probably raise that with Washington at every opportunity.
End summary. ¶2. (C) It is important we all continue to reiterate a consistent message
about what has and has not happened. There was never U.S. agreement to
a summit. The GOS was told that on many occasions. The decision made
this week has everything to do with the President’s very busy agenda and
nothing to do with the importance the U.S. attaches to Europe and Spain.
The U.S. has no more important relationship than the one its enjoys
with Europe, and Spain is an important and valued ally. The President
traveled to Europe six times last year. He met twice with President
Zapatero in recent months, will see him again at the National Prayer
Breakfast this week, and will receive King Juan Carlos at the White
House February 17. The Spanish press is covering the story heavily.
Our message is being repeated in the media, although commentary is
running heavily towards characterizing the decision as a slight to Europe
and Spain. ¶3. (C) The Spanish reaction is colored by the hopes they had pinned on
this summit. The domestic economic news has been uniformly bad for
Zapatero for a long time. That is not likely to change in the near future.
Zapatero looked to the EU presidency as a chance to burnish Spain’s
international standing, especially as a leader within the EU. The summit
with the U.S. -- the first visit of a U.S. President in eight years --
was to be the climax of Spain’s presidency. Early on Spain proposed late
May as the date and began working to convince U.S. officials of the
value of a summit. Regrettably, and despite being told repeatedly that
no dates were agreed, the GOS treated the summit as a fait accompli
when talking to the media. ¶4. (C) The Spanish did take seriously U.S. injunctions that a summit
needed concrete and worthwhile deliverables and began working on an
agenda that would be meaningful to the U.S. In discussions with the
Department of State and the NSC, the Spanish stressed some worthwhile
topics such as data protection/information sharing, removing trade
and regulatory barriers, climate change, and -- most recently as
described to the Ambassador -- having Zapatero personally lead an
effort to persuade other EU countries to accept more Guantanamo
detainees. The Spanish did appear to have taken seriously their role
as a transitional EU presidency, trying to find a balance with EU
President Van Rompuy and High Representative Ashton, dividing up
meetings, and agreeing on appropriate roles for both Van Rompuy and
Zapatero in a proposed U.S.-EU Summit in Spain. ¶5. (C) By the time the new U.S. Ambassador arrived January 9, the
GOS was clearly becoming nervous about the summit. In his first
days, senior GOS officials raised the issue with the Ambassador,
including Moratinos, Leon, Zapatero, and the King. In each instance,
the Ambassador made clear that the USG had not yet agreed to a summit.
His Spanish interlocutors made it equally clear that they placed
great importance on having a summit. ¶6. (C) At this point, the Spanish do not feel betrayed, but they are
deeply disappointed. Naturally they regret, as does everyone, that
the bad news first appeared in the press. Despite that, the GOS is
trying to put the best face on this situation. The Ambassador has
explained personally to Leon, Moratinos and Zapatero that Spain
remains an important and valued ally. In a February 2 conversation,
Zapatero told the Ambassador he understands President Obama has a
complicated agenda and that he traveled several times to Europe in
the past year. Zapatero assured the Ambassador he understands the
decision has nothing to do with U.S. feelings towards Spain or Europe.
He said he hopes President Obama will find a convenient moment to
visit Spain and suggested he would tell the President that when he
sees him at the National Prayer Breakfast. MADRID 00000133 002.2 OF 002 ¶7. (C) Comment: Zapatero has taken a serious political blow at a time
when he can ill afford it. Nevertheless, bilateral relations will
survive intact. We expect Spain to follow through on its commitments
to send more troops to Afghanistan, accept five Guantanamo detainees,
and be helpful on Iran sanctions. The Spanish are still hopeful for
a Presidential visit this year, perhaps in conjunction with the
President’s visit to Lisbon in November. In that regard, we have
advised the Spanish not to create false expectations. We do believe
such a visit would be useful in terms of strengthening relations with
an important ally who has demonstrated an increasing willingness to
support U.S. priorities. The use of Spanish military bases by our Navy
and Air Force has long been of great value to us as is Spain’s commitment
in Afghanistan and its cooperation on CT, law enforcement, etc.
Although Spanish leaders may voice their desire for a visit to senior
USG officials, they should avoid making the same mistake twice of
speaking publicly about a visit that has not been committed to.
End comment. SOLOMONT