Arancha González Laya

María Aránzazu "Arancha" González Laya (born 22 May 1969) is a Spanish lawyer who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation in the Spanish government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez from 2020 to 2021.[2][3][4]

Arancha González Laya
Arancha Gonzalez in 2020
Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation
In office
13 January 2020 – 12 July 2021[1]
Prime MinisterPedro Sánchez
Preceded byMargarita Robles
Succeeded byJosé Manuel Albares
Executive Director of the International Trade Centre
In office
September 2013 – 13 January 2020
Preceded byPatricia Francis
Succeeded byDorothy Tembo (acting)
Personal details
María Aránzazu González Laya

(1969-05-22) 22 May 1969 (age 52)
San Sebastián, Spain
EducationUniversity of Navarra
Carlos III University of Madrid

Earlier in her career, González served as assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, a joint agency of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization from August 2013 until January 2020.[5]

Early life and educationEdit

Born in San Sebastián in 22 May 1969, González grew up in the Basque municipality of Tolosa. She graduated in Law from the University of Navarre and has a postgraduate degree in European law from Carlos III University of Madrid.[6]


Career in the private sectorEdit

González began her career in the private sector as an associate at German law firm Bruckhaus Westrick Stegemann in Brussels, advising companies on trade, competition and state aid matters.

Career in the public sectorEdit

Between 2002 and 2005 González was the European Commission’s spokeswoman for trade and adviser to the European Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy. She subsequently served in various capacities in the Commission in the area of international trade and external relations, including negotiations of trade agreements between the EU and Mercosur, Iran, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Balkans and Mediterranean countries. She also assisted developing countries in benefiting from trading opportunities in Europe.

González served as Chief of Staff to Pascal Lamy in his role as WTO Director General between 2005 and 2013. In that capacity she was intimately involved in setting up the WTO's Aid for Trade initiative[7] as well as the Enhanced Integrated Framework, a joint venture of several international organisations helping to build trade capacity in the world's poorest countries. She served as the WTO Director-General's representative (Sherpa) at the G-20.

During her tenure as Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, González spearheaded global efforts to empower women economically. This included the launch in 2015 of the SheTrades Initiative, which aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs to market by 2021. She also played a leading role in the adoption of the Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade at the 11th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December 2017. In 2019, González co-edited "Women Shaping Global Economic Governance", a collection of essays by 28 women leaders from across the globe.[8]

In 2014, González launched the first Trade for Sustainable Development Forum, gathering public and private sectors in an effort to drive the debate on the greening of trade and addressing trade and climate change. The 6th edition of the Trade for Sustainable Forum was held on 7-9 October 2019.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and CooperationEdit

On 13 January 2020 González was sworn in Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation in the Sánchez Second Cabinet, succeeding Margarita Robles as acting Minister.[9][10][11]

In May 2020, some media echoed rumors implying González would be the favorite to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) following the announcement that the Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, would resign in August 2020;[12] by July, she ruled out any candidacy for the role.[13]

In December 2020, González said that Spain welcomed the normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel, but reminded that the issue of Western Sahara remained to be settled within the United Nations.[14]

On 31 December 2020, she reached an agreement in principle with the United Kingdom regarding Gibraltar, amid the end of the Brexit transition period.[15]

In 2021, she presented a new "Strategy on Foreign Action", the blueprint for Spain’s foreign policy for the next three years.[16]

In July 2021, González was replaced with José Manuel Albares in a cabinet reshuffle affecting five other posts.[17]

In September 2021, European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni appointed her as chair of the Wise Persons Group on Challenges Facing the Customs Union.[18]

Other activitiesEdit

Political positionsEdit

González has been an advocate for Spanish unity and dialogue on the Catalan independence issue.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

González has taught extensively on trade and development, including at the College of Europe (Bruges), the IELPO (Barcelona), the World Trade Institute (WTI) and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade. She speaks six languages: Spanish, Basque, English, French, German and Italian.[6] Her hobbies include trekking and arts.


  1. ^ "Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announces government reshuffle". 10 July 2021.
  2. ^ Belén Carreño (January 10, 2020), Spain's PM names UN's Arancha Gonzalez as foreign minister Reuters.
  3. ^ "Arancha González Laya será la nueva ministra de Exteriores". El País (in Spanish). 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 January 2020.
  4. ^ Belén Carreño (10 July 2021), Spanish foreign minister goes, economy minister stays in cabinet reshuffle Reuters.
  5. ^ ITC Communications (15 August 2013). "UN Secretary-General appoints Arancha González of Spain as Executive Director of ITC". International Trade Centre. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  6. ^ a b "La jurista vasca Arancha González Laya, nueva ministra de Asuntos Exteriores, UE y Cooperación". Europa Press (in Spanish). 10 January 2020. Retrieved 11 January 2020.
  7. ^ Ryan Heath and Eline Schaart (2018), Women Who Shape Brussels - 2018 Ranking: Arancha González Politico Europe.
  8. ^ "Women Shaping Global Economic Governance".
  9. ^ "Real Decreto 8/2020, de 12 de enero, por el que se nombran Ministros del Gobierno". Boletín Oficial del Estado (in Spanish). 12 January 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  10. ^ "Toma de posesión de los ministros del Gobierno Sánchez Últimas noticias y reacciones, en directo". La Vanguardia (in Spanish). 13 January 2020. Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  11. ^ País, El (13 January 2020). "La toma de posesión del nuevo Gobierno de Pedro Sánchez, en imágenes". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 January 2020.
  12. ^ "Spain Foreign Minister Gonzalez Favorite to Lead WTO, WiWo Says". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  13. ^ Inti Landauro (July 8, 2020), Spain's Foreign Minister Gonzalez rules out running to be WTO chief Reuters.
  14. ^ "'Doesn't serve Palestinians': Israel-Morocco to normalise ties". Al Jazeera. 11 December 2020.
  15. ^ "Spain and UK reach draft deal on post-Brexit status of Gibraltar". the Guardian. 2020-12-31. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  16. ^ González, Miguel (2021-01-26). "Spain drafts new foreign policy that incorporates gender perspective". EL PAÍS. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  17. ^ "Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announces government reshuffle". euronews. 2021-07-10. Retrieved 2021-07-26.
  18. ^ "Wise Persons Group on Challenges Facing the Customs Union (WPG)". Retrieved 2021-09-17.
  19. ^ Members European Council on Foreign Relations.
  20. ^ High-Level Group of Personalities on Africa-Europe Relations Africa Europe Foundation (AEF).
  21. ^ Board of Trustees Elcano Royal Institute for International and Strategic Studies.
  22. ^ Members International Gender Champions (IGC).
  23. ^ Arancha González succeeds Michael Møller as Chair of the IGC Global Board International Gender Champions (IGC), press release of July 1, 2019.
  24. ^ ITC Advisory Board on TISI StrengtheningInternational Trade Centre.
  25. ^ Advisory Council Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
  26. ^ Strategic Committee Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA).
  27. ^ Arancha González Laya World Economic Forum (WEF).
  28. ^ Ryan Heath and Eline Schaart (2018), Women Who Shape Brussels - 2018 Ranking: Arancha González Politico Europe.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by