On January 11, 2024, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares, and King Felipe VI posed for a family photo after the second day of the VIII Conference of Ambassadors in Madrid, Spain. The main objective of the meeting was to analyze and debate the priorities and main lines of foreign policy in the coming years at the start of the 15th legislature, as well as the lessons learned and the results of the Presidency of the Council of the EU that closed on December 31.
The diplomats have expressed their discomfort over the personnel policy being carried out by José Manuel Albares, particularly the political appointments he has made at the start of the new legislature. The Association of Spanish Diplomats (ADE) conveyed their deep discomfort to the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, Luis Cuesta, regarding the personnel and human resources management policy being carried out by the minister.
The ADE criticized the political appointments of heads of mission and the criteria for attributing embassies. They also expressed their displeasure with the fact that three of the four positions in the Foreign Affairs leadership are occupied by politicians linked to the PSOE. The ADE also criticized the assignment of numerous embassies outside of the usual system, known as ‘Embabombo’.
The ADE 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. The undersecretary stressed that the 31 current positions with an asterisk only represent 8% of the total positions in the pot. However, the ADE does not share this argument, as they believe that the asterisk positions directly harm the higher categories of the Career and indirectly affect younger colleagues.
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 the regulation approved in July 2014 by the Government of Mariano Rajoy. The undersecretary explained that the compatibility of the text with the Royal Decree Law is being evaluated and no further additional procedures are expected before approval by the Council of Ministers.
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