Cablegate: Opposition Economic Spokesman: We're Watching

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) Summary. The Popular Party's (PP) Economic
Spokesman in Parliament Arias told us his party is watching
closely the development of the Socialist economic policy,
which he characterized as a work in progress. He described
both sides of the political aisle in Spain as strongly in
favor of a successful Doha Round, though he expected more
anxiety for Spain on cotton. Arias found the Socialist
government's decision to abstain on recent biotech votes as
encouraging, having anticipated a complete reversal of
support on biotechnology. Arias lamented the excellent shape
in which the PP had left the economy, predicting the economic
foibles of the new government wouldn't catch up them for at
least two years. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a brief June 2 meeting, PP Economic Spokesman in
Parliament (and former Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries)
Miguel Arias Canetes told us he is watching the formation of
the government's new economic policy closely and plans to be
very active in his role as opposition economic spokesman. Of
particular concern is the budget, and how the Socialist
government will implement its many electoral promises while
maintaining promised fiscal discipline. "We'll be watching
closely" said Arias. He encouraged us to reach out to him
with any issues of concern regarding legislation in his
committee. He predicted the Zapatero government would become
less strident in its "Europe vs. the US" rhetoric after June
13 European Parilament elections.

3. (SBU) Arias described the excellent shape in which the
Aznar government had left the economy as a gift to the
Zapatero government. He predicted the Socialists would have
at least 18 months to two years of strong economic growth
before any possible economic repercussions of new policies
would begin to take effect. If the economy then started
taking a turn for the worse, he predicted the government
would call early elections to ensure they stayed in power for
another term.

4. (U) Arias predicted that Spain would continue its "helpful
and supportive" role within the EU pressing to conclude the
Doha Development Round negotiations. He took encouragement
from Commissioner Lamy's letter supporting the elimination of
agriculture subsidies, predicting the Spanish agriculture
community would go along with whatever was decided without
too much noise and difficulty. He predicted the most serious
area of concern for Spanish farmers would be cotton.

5. (SBU) To our surprise, Arias took encouragement from the
recent Spanish abstention votes on biotech events in EU
bodies. Arias had anticipated the Zapatero government would
be ardently anti-biotech. Arias interpreted the abstentions
as a sign that the professional staff of the Agriculture
Ministry was exerting an positive influence. Spanish farmers
were very pro-biotech. The professional staff at other
relevant ministries -- Environment and Health -- were also
generally pro-biotech. If the Ministers relied on their
staffs, he predicted the Zapatero government would continue
to support biotech, if not as pro-actively as the Azanr

6. (SBU) Comment: Arias had an air of resignation about him,
clearing getting used to his small Parliamentarian's office
and new opposition role. We found his comments on biotech to
be encouraging, recognizing that the Spanish interagency
process has not yet met to decide a formal stance. The
appointment on Friday of Jose Ignacio Arranz as the head of
the Spanish Food Safety Agency is also an encouraging
development. We have worked closely with Arranz on biotech
over the past several years and found him to be generally


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Myanmar: UN Condemns Escalating Violence In Deadliest Day Of Protests So Far

In response to the killing of at least 18 protesters demonstrating against Myanmar’s military coup, the UN human rights office (OHCHR) on Sunday together with the UN chief, strongly condemned the “escalating violence” and called for an immediate end to the use of force... More>>

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UNFCCC: Greater Climate Ambition Urged As Initial NDC Synthesis Report Is Published

UN Climate Change today published the Initial NDC Synthesis Report, showing nations must redouble efforts and submit stronger, more ambitious national climate action plans in 2021 if they’re to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise by 2°C—ideally 1.5°C—by the end of the century... More>>

2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>

Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>