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Main | Archive | Issue 6/2008

Juan Antonio March
Column: Introducing a New Ambassador

His Excellency Mr. Juan Antonio March, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Spain to the Russian Federation, answered Diplomats questions about his diplomatic career and plans in his new post.

I started my career in Brussels in 1987-88 in the cabinet of the external relations commissioner of the European Commission Mr.laude Cheysson. I was dealing with the Mediterranean policy - Turkey, Maghreb, Mashreck. It was the moment of accession of Spain into the European Union and I was sent to Brussels as the first Spanish diplomat to be member of a non-Spanish Cabinet. Then for 5 years I was posted to Paris to the OECD as a member of the European Commission Delegation. After that I went back to the Spanish Diplomatic Service and was sent to our Embassy in Rome. Back in Madrid I was nominated Director-General for cooperation with Latin America, then Vice-President of the Spanish Aid Agency. Then I was posted for 5 years to London and 3 years to Mexico. After that I became Spanish Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. And from Geneva I came to the lovely city of Moscow.

I think that a big advantage in the relations between Russia and Spain is that for the last 30 years since Spain became a full-fledged democracy we always have had very good and friendly ties. At this moment both in Russia and in Spain we are living through a special period socially and economically which gives us a very good chance to take these relations to a higher stage. So my task here is to try to go ahead in deepening the relationship between Madrid and Moscow.

I think we are going to have new important actors in world affairs like China and India, so we have to think more about Europe in this new context of the 21st century. And I think that Russia and the European Union should try to get closer and to be able to develop some kind of strategic relationship. We have a common geographic space, a common history; we are quite close in many values and objectives.

In economic terms I think the opportunities are enormous for both sides. Spain is diversifying its economy and there are many opportunities for investment and new Russian managers should take advantage of that. At the same time Russia has to push forward important projects in infrastructure, in improving the quality of transport, in protecting the environment. And we can share the important experience of transforming the economy.

Culture is very important in Russia. The Spanish contribution to world culture and history has been great, but obviously Russia also has outstanding people in literature, in music, in arts. So we are thinking that maybe in 2009 we could organize a gathering of decision makers in the area of culture, heads of foundations, museums, opera houses of both sides to see how they could program more events of Russian culture in Spain and of Spanish culture in Russia. I think it is a very promising area.

-, 2006