Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez emphasized this week the growing relevance of Spain in Latin America, where Spanish firms have made 130 billion Euros worth of investments.
Addressing members of the Lower House of Parliament, Jimenez praised Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero foreign policy during the past 7 1/2 years.
This is a policy, she said, based on “the traditional axis” of trans-Atlantic relations, relations with Latin America, with the Mediterranean countries and within the European Union.
The minister said Spain is now respected internationally and has become a “key” country for Latin America, where Madrid’s economic role and the 130 billion Euros that Spanish corporations have invested, have been decisive for the development of that region and to the benefit of Spain.
However, Foreign affairs spokesperson for the conservative opposition Popular Party, Gustavo de Aristegui, blasted the Socialist government for using foreign policy as an “electoral instrument”, when Spain’s foreign policy is a matter of state and not of a party.
Rodriguez Zapatero announced last July that he was moving up the general elections previously scheduled for March 2012 to Nov. 20 in the “general interest” of the country, amid an economic crisis and pressures from international markets.
The prime minister is not seeking re-election and the Socialist party, PSOE, is now led by former Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, who currently trails by over fifteen points in the polls behind the conservative Popular Party.