Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, assisted to the Foreign Affairs commissions of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies to present the bill on Modernization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The initiative aim is to advance towards a foreign policy able to respond to the international challenges which are more changing and complex each day.
The bill was presented today due to previous indications from the past bill, presented to the first administration of President Bachelet in 2008. At the moment the bill is in its second constitutional phase.
The draft law proposes important and progressive changes in the structure and functioning of the Ministry regarding political, economic, trade, cooperation, frontiers, and Antarctic issues.
"This is an important moment for Chile and its foreign policy. But it is also important for the development of Chile as a country based on openness to the world", affirmed Minister Muñoz to the press after presenting the modernization proposal to the Senate. "We need a Ministry for the 21st century that is modern, efficient, and more flexible", he added.
The bill consists of four areas. The first one is an institutional reform of the Ministry's structure. The reform seeks to reinforce the coordination role of the Ministry in relation to other Ministries and the administrative organs of State in all affairs concerned with foreign policy.
The second area will be the reform of the Statutes of the Ministry. It includes, amongst other matters, improvements in positions, skills, allocations, and development programmes. It also establishes norms on hired staff destinations and considers benefits on the family allowance to spouses of public employees of Foreign Service in the case he/she is not allowed to work due to normative of the country of destination.
The third aspect details the creation of an Under secretariat of International Economic Affairs. This department will collaborate hands on with the Foreign Minister in matters of international economic affairs. The Under secretariat will have two services under its direction: General Directorate of International Economic Affairs and General Directorate of Export Promotion with their respective trade offices abroad and regional directorates.
Finally, the project includes the Statutes reform for the Agency for Cooperation and Development (Agcid), the Directorate of Frontiers and Borders (Difrol), and the Chilean Antarctic Institute (Inach).
In Agcid modifications will be made to the Agency, its Executive Director, and Council duties. For Directors of Difrol and Inach services will have a more flexible internal organization. Also, the power for Inach to advise and offer, to some extent, their services to the private sector, and to foreign universities and scientific institutions increases.
"We have done an important work to defend our sovereignty and national interests. But we also need to keep up to date with international changes. In a digital era, there is a constant challenge to export more and better and attract more investments. If we keep modern we will be able to discuss on good practices", affirmed Minister Muñoz.
The national authority added "today we have given an important step by presenting this bill formally. The document took the best international experiences from the Ministry for modernization, and sustainable and integral development". He also expects the next phase for approval will be "as fast as possible to make this draft law a reality".