The crisis hits but does not knock the Spain’s international presence out
Spain’s global presence both in the EU and worldwide remain steady, despite the crisis, according to the “Real Instituto Elcano’s” report “Elcano’s Report on Global presence 2016”.
Spain keeps its political and economic presence in the international arena through the Elcano’s Global Presence Index (IEPG, in Spanish), Which is the result of an annual projection of international weight of around 90 countries in three different areas: economy, military, and soft-power.
The given value by this think-tank to Spain is 177.9 IEPG’s points. Spain is the 12th power regarding worldwide presence. After a meteoric rise in the international arena after the Transition and the entry in international organizations like the EU or the NATO, the Spanish weight in the international community has been stabilized. It cannot be denied that the economic crisis has strongly beaten Spain, however, during the 2010-2015 period, Spain’s global presence has only decreased four decimals.
Other countries like Italy, Germany, France and the United States have decreased their presence even more, at the expense emerging countries such as China, the EAU, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, India, and Singapore.
177.9 Spanish points represent up to 3% of global presence in 2015. The variable that provides the most to this international presence is that of the soft power, with up to 49.2%, followed by the economic (49%), and marginally, the military one, with up to 1.8%.
Looking at the “soft” variable, the most important three sub-variables represents up to 18.9% for tourism, services have up to 13.9% and Information, up to 12.7% of this correspondent percentage. Others like education (2.2%), R&D (1.5%) or technology (0.6%) are clearly marginal.
The European Union is the platform from with Spain are projected abroad and it is also its main international field of action, being the sixth European power with up to 6.6% of foreign presence. In 2015, up to 65% of Spanish exportations and up to 61% of imports were made within the European framework. The Spanish’s IEPG in the EU at the economic field have decreased 3.1 points (from 50.3% in 2005 to 49.9% in 2015) while the soft one has increased the same (47% in 2005 and 50.1% in 2015).
The Spanish economy is suffering from a clear outsourcing process, with services having more productive weight each time. Tourism is the main Spanish soft presence weapon, worldwide, 13.9%, and in Europe, 14%. British citizens are those who are visiting Spain the most, representing up to 23.2% of the total of tourists.
In the European context, services (8.2%), tourism (14%) and information (11.7%), in this order, are the sub-variables concentrating the Spain’s presence in the EU in 2015. Culture (0.8%), Technology (0.9%) and Education (2.4%) have barely importance.
Spanish presence in the EU has increased in five years (since 2005) up to 0.5%. If it is compared to the first power, the United Kingdom, distance from both countries has been decreased. London has lost two decimals in this period (from 19.8% in 2005 to 19.6% in 2015).
The European Union’s worldwide presence is led by the United Kingdom, Germany, and France that concentrate the biggest international influence’s percentage. This trend on influence concentration (and also the power) in few countries are also happening in Spain: the Autonomous Communities that provides the most to Spanish foreign strength are, in this order, Catalonia, Madrid and Andalusia.
This report shows four keys:
– The European Union’s worldwide weight is mainly concentrated in three countries: The United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Spain is the sixth country with the most weight, with a considerable difference.
– The economic crisis has affected the international leadership and position of Spain in the world and in the EU, although it has not provoked a drastic drop of the Spanish influence worldwide or in Europe, despite the difficulty of the crisis.
– The geographical power concentration process in the European Union is being repeated in Spain: Catalonia, Madrid, and Andalusia are the leading Autonomous Communities, the first one in the “soft” field and, the latter two in the economic one.
– The Spanish economy is living an outsourcing process, with service markets each time having more productive weight. Besides, this is a low-level technological outsourcing.
Spain should develop its figures in fields like education or technology, in order to not to rely on services and to establish a qualified labor force that can compete in the Knowledge economy. If despite the crisis, Spain has got to keep its foreign influence position, not to perform those measures would mean in the long-term that Spanish economy ends up falling behind with regard to its competitors.
Del Canto Chambers’ Editorial Board