Spanish diplomat discusses United Nations

Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Sánchez Alonso addresses this month’s Hot Spot lecture, “The European Union: Results of the Spanish Presidency,” Wednesday in La Fetra Auditorium. Sánchez Alonso is currently serving as the consul general of Spain in Los Angeles and has previously held positions in the Spanish diplomatic missions of Venezuela and Argentina. / photo by Abelina J. Nuñez
Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Sánchez Alonso addresses this month’s Hot Spot lecture, “The European Union: Results of the Spanish Presidency,” Wednesday in La Fetra Auditorium. Sánchez Alonso is currently serving as the consul general of Spain in Los Angeles and has previously held positions in the Spanish diplomatic missions of Venezuela and Argentina. / photo by Abelina J. Nuñez

Taylor Moore
Editor-in-Chief 

Juan Carlos Sánchez Alonso, senior Spanish diplomat and Consul General of Spain, presented his Hot Spots Lecture “The European Union: Results of the Spanish Presidency” Wednesday to roughly 35 University of La Verne students, staff and faculty in the La Fetra Auditorium. 

Julio Minoves-Triquell, associate director of the International Studies Institute and associate professor of political science, opened the lecture by listing off Alonso’s previous diplomatic roles. 

Alonso served as Ambassador of Spain to Peru and Consul General of Spain in Santiago de Chile, and he held several posts in the Spanish Diplomatic Missions of Venezuela and Argentina. He has also held various positions in the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Madrid, such as Vocal Advisor of Inter-American Affairs, Deputy Director for Countries of the Andean Community, Cabinet Director of the Secretary of State for Latin America and Director General of Foreign Policy for Latin America.  

“Europe has been and is the main ally to the United States,” Alonso said. “And my country, Spain, has had a long relationship with this area of America. Apart from the economic importance of this area and its global strategic projection, California, (specifically) Los Angeles is one of the two gateways of the U.S. for Latin America… which determines an area of cultural cooperation with the role of projection.” 

Alonso said he would divide his lecture in three parts: delivering some basic facts about Spain and the European Union, summarizing the work and progress of Spain’s European presidency and delivering a reflection on the European Union-United Nations relations.  

Alonso explained that Spain, like other European countries, is a parliamentary monarchy, meaning that the king is the head of the state and represents a large amount of the government. The government is born from the majorities that exist in the Spanish Parliament, the Congress and Senate, with officials being democratically elected every four years. 

He said Spain is divided into 17 regions called autonomous communities, each with significant powers, mainly in education and health. 

In regards to the European Union, Alonso said Spain is progressing by growing political, commercial, economic, social and military integration. Spain uses classical constitutionalism, meaning that the 27 countries that make up the U.N. still retain their sovereignty. 

“We Europeans intend to reach that level (of unity), but the road is slow and thorny, since it is not easy to harmonize the interests of the nations that have been proudly independent countries for hundreds of years,” he said.

Alonso said progress has been made with the U.N. using a single currency. 

“There is still a long way to go, but given the international reality that is taking shape in the world, I think our way is inevitable and we will be a single country,” he said. 

Alonso said Europe must act as a single country for its own survival. 

Alonso said the Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez began his presidency with a trip to Ukraine to demonstrate the European Union’s support in the war in Ukraine. The E.U. and all the member states made close to 100 billion euros available to finance assistance to Ukraine. 

“I would say that the European Union and the U.S. share a global responsibility; To provide common values – democracy, peace, freedom and the rule of law,” he said. “The U. S. is the European Union’s foremost strategic partner in promoting peace and stability around the world.”

He explained that the E.U. and U.S. are two largest donors of humanitarian aid and development assistance around the world, working together to confront global security challenges like terrorism, violent extremism, nuclear weapons proliferation and transnational crime. Additionally, the EU and the United States economic partnership is the single most important driver of global economic growth, trade and prosperity. 

Alonso urged for the E.U. and U.S. to work together to save the future. 

Rania Kartouch, freshman political science and musical theater double major, asked how Spain has become one of the more influential members of the E.U.

Alonso reiterated the significance of Spain joining the E.U. in 1986, emerging from a dictatorship to a democracy. Now, Spain has become one of the countries that can participate in political discussions in the E.U., allowing for integrated structure that is necessary for the future. 

“I appreciate the lack of bias that we saw from him,” Kartrouch said. “It felt like mainly he was informing us and I felt like I learned a lot about Spain. I’ve been there twice, so I felt like I was inclined to come today.” 

Catherine Rescue, senior political science major, asked about Moldova’s application for E.U. status and if there any protections that the E.U. is willing to put in place for countries who are awaiting E.U. status. 

Alonso explained that the E.U. is negotiating to discover the problems for countries applying to join, then undergoing processes of understanding and solving the differences. 

Rescue said she asked about Moldova specifically since she has family there wanting to invest in businesses, but with the upcoming elections in Moldova and the U.S. looming, they are hesitant to do so. 

“My main takeaways is that the E.U. has been showing signs of trying to become more independent from the U.S. militarily, which may be a good thing,” Rescue said. “But also it shows a little bit of a level of confusion and… hesitation among the E.U. So we’ll have to see how it plays out.” 

Gabriela Capraroiu, Spanish professor, said the importance of dialogue and democracy between the E.U. and U.S. stuck with her. 

“In spite of the fact that these are very trying moments historically and politically in the world, we believe in this dialogue and we stand strong,” Capraroiu said. “It is very important (for students) to have exposure to this expertise, international expertise, all the time.” 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu.

Spanish Ambassador Juan Carlos Sánchez Alonso takes questions during this month’s Hot Spot lecture, “The European Union: Results of the Spanish Presidency,” Wednesday in La Fetra Auditorium. Sánchez Alonso earned a law degree from the University of Oviedo in 1984 and joined Spain’s diplomatic corps in 1991. He has held several positions in the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Madrid and worked as a vocal advisor of inter-American affairs. / photo by Abelina J. Nuñez

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

Abelina J. Nuñez, senior journalism major, is a photography editor for Campus Times and staff photographer for La Verne Magazine. She previously served as LV Life editor, arts editor social media editor and staff writer. In Fall 2023, Nuñez was La Verne Magazine's editor-in-chief and was previously a staff writer as well. Her work can be found on Instagram @abelinajnunezphoto.

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