Diplomats complain to Foreign Affairs about Albares’ “personnel policy” and “political appointments”

01/11/2024 The Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares (3i) and King Felipe VI (c), pose in the family photo after the second and last day of the VIII Conference of Ambassadors, at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, on January 11, 2024, in Madrid (Spain). The main objective of the meeting is to analyze and debate the priorities and main lines of foreign policy in the coming years at the start of this 15th legislature, as well as “the lessons learned and the results of the Presidency of the Council of the EU” that will be It closed on December 31. POLITICS Alejandro Martínez Vélez – Europa Press

The diplomats have conveyed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation their “discomfort” at the “personnel policy” being carried out by its head, José Manuel Albares, and in particular the “political appointments” that he has made. at the start of the new legislature. The Board of the Association of Spanish Diplomats (ADE), the majority among the members of the Diplomatic Career, took advantage of the meeting held on January 18 with the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Cuesta, in which the Director General of the Foreign Service was also present. and the Deputy Director of Personnel, to convey this complaint. This is explained in the information note sent by the ADE to its members with a view to the General Assembly of the association that was held last Tuesday and to which Europa Press has had access. The ADE Board conveyed to Cuesta “the deep discomfort of the Diplomatic Career as a whole in relation to the personnel and human resources management policy” being carried out by the minister, himself a career diplomat. Among the examples they mentioned are “the political appointments of heads of mission” as well as “the criteria for attributing embassies”, issues that they had already complained about a few weeks ago in a statement after the appointment of former ministers Héctor Gómez and Miquel Iceta as ambassadors respectively to the UN in New York and to UNESCO. Traditionally, career diplomats do not take kindly to outsiders, mainly politicians, occupying positions in embassies, but in this case the election of Gómez to the UN Embassy has particularly bothered them, a position that requires extensive technical knowledge and which the former minister has no experience. Nor has it been liked by diplomats, although this point is not mentioned in the aforementioned document, the fact that three of the four positions in the Foreign Affairs leadership are occupied by politicians linked to the PSOE, a circumstance that had only occurred during Miguel’s time. Ángel Moratinos, a diplomat like Albares. Thus, the only diplomat is the ‘number two’ of the Ministry, Diego Martínez Belío, while the new Secretary of State for the EU is Fernando Sampedro, from the PSOE of Palencia and who now worked in the team of the president of the Commission European, Ursula von der Leyen. The new Secretary of State for Ibero-America is the socialist deputy Susana Sumelzo, while for the Secretary of State for International Cooperation the person chosen has been the former socialist spokesperson in the Senate Eva Granados. Likewise, the ADE criticized “the assignment of numerous embassies outside of ‘Embabombo”, the system by which the minister on duty publishes a list of vacant positions so that diplomats can apply for them based on their rank and experience. It is the Diplomatic Career Board that prepares a shortlist based on these requests and the minister usually chooses based on it. POSITIONS RESERVED BY THE MINISTER In relation to this issue, diplomats also did not like “the inclusion of eleven new additional positions with an asterisk in the drum, most of which are difficult to justify due to service.” It is customary for the minister on duty to reserve a series of positions to be filled that, due to their importance to foreign policy or the sensitivity of the position, he wants to grant to people he trusts. These types of positions are marked with an asterisk. Regarding this issue, according to the aforementioned informative note, the undersecretary stressed that the 31 current positions with an asterisk – including the 11 new ones among which, according to ‘El Mundo’, is that of ‘number two’ before the Council of Europe – , “they only represent 8% of the total positions in the pot.” The ADE does not share this argument, since it considers that “the asterisk positions directly harm the higher categories of the Career, who see their possibilities of going abroad limited, and indirectly to the younger colleagues, since there may be an effect cascade of these measures”. Faced with these arguments, Cuesta maintained that “the fact that an asterisk is given to a position does not mean that one cannot aspire to it if one has the necessary category,” although among the members of the ADE there is “the fear that many of these positions are already pre-assigned”, something that the undersecretary “strongly denied”. During the meeting, the Regulations of the Diplomatic Career were also discussed. Its preparation began with Arancha González Laya as minister and is motivated by the decision of the Supreme Court to annul by formal defect the regulation approved in July 2014 by the Government of Mariano Rajoy, understanding that it had not been subject to collective bargaining after the appeal presented by the Independent Union of the State Foreign Service (SISEX). In this sense, Cuesta explained to the ADE that “after having received a favorable opinion from the Council of State” before the dissolution of the Cortes due to the July 23 elections, “the compatibility of the text with the Royal Decree Law is being evaluated of Urgent Reforms of the Public Service” and “in principle no further additional procedures are expected before approval” by the Council of Ministers.

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