News article

New British Ambassador arrives in Madrid

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Simon Manley CMG, a member of the UK’s Diplomatic Service since 1990, today (Monday 28 October) succeeds Giles Paxman as Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to Andorra

On his arrival, Simon Manley, the new Ambassador, said:

I am delighted to be here in Spain and look forward to strengthening our broad and deep bilateral relationship. Spain is a key ally within the European Union and NATO and is one of our most important trading partners.

Creating sustainable growth is a priority for both the UK and Spain. I’m delighted that some 400 Spanish companies are registered in the UK and investors such as Santander, Telefónica, Iberdrola and Ferrovial have made Spain our sixth largest inward investor, totalling 40 billion pounds of Foreign Direct Investment stock at the end of 2011.

Meanwhile, British companies exported 14.2 billion pounds (16.6 billion euros) of goods and service to Spain, making it the UK’s eighth largest export market.

Mr Manley said he was looking forward to meeting and working with companies in both Spain and the UK, whether established investors or new entrants keen to secure a foothold in their respective markets.

I am excited by the prospects for cooperation and growth in sectors like energy, car manufacturing and life sciences that are so important for future growth.

Liberalising trade both within the European Union and beyond it is a vital enabler to create jobs and growth. As two open economies with strong Atlantic ties, the UK and Spain share a common commitment to secure an ambitious trade agreement between the EU and the US and to ensure that the EU is at the forefront of moves to free up world trade.

Mr Manley also highlighted the importance of British citizens in Spain.

More than 13 million Britons visit Spain every year, generating 1 per cent of Spain’s GDP. Some 800,000 have made Spain their home permanently or for part of the year, and the UK remains the largest foreign investor in Spain’s property market. I’m impressed by how the British Consulates across Spain work with Spanish partners to do an excellent job of assisting British nationals.

Watch and find out more about the new Ambassador

Before his posting to Madrid, Simon Manley was Director Europe at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) from 2011 to 2013, where he was responsible for policy towards the EU, the UK’s bilateral relations with its European partners, and the FCO’s network of 57 European posts and more than 2000 staff.

He served previously as the FCO’s Director Defence and Strategic Threats (2008-2011), leading the Government’s international counter-terrorist, counter-proliferation and counter-narcotics efforts, as head of Counter-Terrorism Policy (2006-2008) and as head of the EU Economic, Central Europe and Ireland department (2002-2006).

He has been posted to the UK’s Mission to the United Nations in New York (1993-1998), where he worked on Yugoslavia and UN reform, and has twice been seconded to the European Union: to the European Commission (2003), working on State Aids policy, and to the Council of the EU (1998-2002), working on Russia and Ukraine and then East Asia.

Mr Manley was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2009 and a Commander of the Polish Order of Merit in 2004.

Mr Manley read Modern History at Magdalen College, Oxford and International Relations at Yale University Graduate School. He is married to Maria Isabel Fernandez Utges Manley, an intellectual property, competition and regulatory lawyer. They have three daughters aged 13, 12 and 5.

Follow Mr Manley on his Twitter account @SimonManleyFCO