The PP and Ciudadanos have charged against the “terrible unpredictability” of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, who has left the Spanish embassy in London vacant despite knowing since last fall that the ambassador was going to retire and that would leave his post after the consummation of Brexit. As this newspaper announced yesterday, after the publication of the dismissal of Ambassador Carlos Bastarreche in the BOE, which occurred on Wednesday, the Spanish diplomatic legation to the United Kingdom will be vacant and without a headline at least in the coming weeks, if not months, since the appointment of a new ambassador requires a lengthy procedure that has to be approved by the British Government.
For this reason, the PP and Ciudadanos yesterday presented batteries of written questions in which they demand that the minister be as quick as possible to occupy this important diplomatic position, aspired by many officials of the career. The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman for the main opposition party, Valentina Martínez, denounced in conversation with this newspaper the “enormous irresponsibility” of the minister and demanded explanations from her in the face of a situation that she described as “incomprehensible.” Last November, the former ambassador in London turned 70, the age at which diplomats retire. Then, the Government asked him to continue for a few more months, at least until the Brexit agreements that were closed at the end of the year were reached. In all this time, the Executive has not started the process to relieve the ambassador, who has extended his mandate until the Council of Ministers last Tuesday, which has already approved his dismissal.
Foreign Affairs prefers not to give details of the plea that it is going to ask the United Kingdom to name the new representative of Spain, a position for which a woman is calling for the first time. But he does say that “very soon” his appointment will take place, which will take weeks to become effective, as they recognize. In the questions that the Popular Group registered yesterday and to which Press had access, MartInez asks “how is the Government going to defend the national interests of Spain concerning the United Kingdom by not having the maximum representation that our relationship requires?”
The PP directly asks the minister “how she explains” her “lack of foresight” when she knew that her retirement was “imminent”, as well as the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. The CS deputy Marta Martín also denounced that the Government knew perfectly well that this was going to happen. In his opinion, having reached this situation is “an example of a terrible lack of foresight paid by Spanish citizens and companies in the United Kingdom”.
Martin wonders what is happening with the embassy in London and if the Executive is now waiting to “place a friend.”For this reason, and in writing, Cs has demanded that Foreign Affairs clarify whether it is going to publish “objective and professional career criteria” to proceed with the appointment or whether it will choose an ambassador “with political criteria” and not professional.
London is not the only embassy that the government keeps vacant. Another strategic destination, India, has also been without a holder for three months. In diplomatic sources, they also criticized that Foreign Affairs has left without a plenipotentiary ambassador to an emerging country in an area of maximum interest such as Southeast Asia.The vacancy in India occurred on October 27, when the ambassador, Jose Ramon Baranano, also turned 70. In both New Delhi and London, charge d’affaires have taken over the functions of ambassador. Diplomatic sources are very critical of Laya’s delays in making new appointments, as they may have negative effects on the interests of Spain.