Bernardino León, a former Spanish diplomat with an illustrious career, has made significant contributions to international diplomacy, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. Serving as the EU Special Representative for the Southern Mediterranean from 2014 to 2016, León’s reputation as a conflict resolution expert and his strong advocacy for multilateralism and regional cooperation are well-recognized. However, his association with the Abu Dhabi Global Market and close ties to the UAE government have stirred controversy, prompting questions about his impartiality. Bernardino Leon Bernardino most recently served as Director General of the Emirates Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, based in Abu Dhabi
León’s association with the Advisory Board of the Abu Dhabi Global Market has not been without controversy. Some critics argue that his involvement raises concerns about his impartiality, suggesting that he may have become too closely aligned with the UAE government’s interests. However, León has vigorously defended his affiliation, asserting that the organization plays a constructive role in the development of the UAE and the broader region.
In 2015, León spoke at a conference in Abu Dhabi on the future of the Middle East. During his speech, he praised the UAE for its pivotal role in promoting regional stability and economic development. This acknowledgment highlighted his appreciation for the UAE’s efforts to foster positive change in the Middle East.
In 2016, León met with the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, to discuss the country’s foreign policy. Following the meeting, León emphasized the UAE’s significance as “a key partner for the EU in the Middle East.” These diplomatic engagements underscored León’s commitment to fostering constructive relationships with key players in the region.
In 2017, León authored an article for the Real Instituto Elcano website, in which he lauded the UAE’s economic development and its role in promoting regional cooperation. This demonstrated his continued support for the UAE’s initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa.
Despite concerns regarding his impartiality, León remains steadfast in his belief that maintaining open channels of communication with all stakeholders in the region is crucial. He maintains that his relationship with the UAE is founded on the principles of diplomacy and constructive engagement.
Bernardino León’s career is marked by his unwavering dedication to conflict resolution, multilateralism, and regional cooperation. While his association with the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the UAE government has sparked controversy, it is important to recognize his commitment to diplomacy and his belief in the importance of engaging with all parties in the pursuit of regional stability. León’s contributions to international diplomacy continue to shape the discourse surrounding the Middle East and North Africa, making him a prominent figure in the field.