© 2019

Spain and the Wider World since 2000

Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy during the Zapatero Era


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 1-12
  3. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 13-42
  4. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 43-75
  5. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 77-112
  6. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 113-148
  7. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 149-183
  8. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 185-208
  9. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 209-240
  10. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 241-277
  11. Morten Heiberg
    Pages 279-292
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 293-314

About this book


This book offers the first comprehensive study of Spanish foreign policy since 2000. Based on privileged access to some of Spain’s most important foreign policy actors – including Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos – the book offers an insider account of how Spanish foreign policy was shaped within the context of international diplomacy. It offers crucial new insights into the foreign policy of the PSOE governments (Spanish Socialist Workers' Party, 2004 to 2011). The volume considers the changes on the international stage since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, showing how regional conflicts and tensions affected the policy agendas of the West. To increase security and prosperity at home, the 2004 Spanish socialist government reasoned that they could no longer rely exclusively on unilateral measures, old Cold War alliances or a ‘Spain-first’ approach. Against the backdrop of this changing world, the book explores the concept of ‘effective multilateralism’ put forward by the PSOE, in which Spain abandoned its hitherto unconditional support for the US and instead engaged in a series of multilateral collaborations with regions around the world. Above all, this study seeks to provide a new international history of contemporary Spain, demonstrating how domestic changes intersected with global transformations, and put forward the argument that diplomacy works.    


José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero Miguel Ángel Moratinos Spanish prime minister Foreign minister Madrid terrorist attack Contemporary history Al Qaeda Spanish forces Iraq Financial crisis of 2008 Spain-first approach Cold War alliances Effective multilateralism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English, Germanic and Romance StudiesUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

About the authors

Morten Heiberg is Professor of Spanish Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He is an appointed member of the Royal Danish Academy and was awarded the Research Prize of Her Majesty Queen Margaret II of Denmark in 2018. He is the author of nine books, including a monograph on US-Spanish relations in the period 1975-1989 (2018).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Spain and the Wider World since 2000
  • Book Subtitle Foreign Policy and International Diplomacy during the Zapatero Era
  • Authors Morten Heiberg
  • Series Title Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World
  • Series Abbreviated Title Security, Conflict and Cooperation in the Contemporary World
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-27342-2
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-27345-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-27343-9
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 314
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Modern Europe
    World History, Global and Transnational History
    Political History
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Is it possible to write a diplomatic history of Spain in the early 21st century? Not only is this compelling book the best documented account of Spanish foreign policy by far, Heiberg takes readers on an intriguing journey across four continents to make us understand how diplomacy works today. He uniquely combines the insider’s well-honed understanding of international politics with the analytical skills of the trained historian. Truly unforgettable.” (Ángel Viñas, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain)


“Morten Heiberg shows once again his great skill in understanding the complexity of Spanish foreign policy. Written like a political thriller, this magnificent book on the foreign policy of the Zapatero government is based on extensive research and interviews with Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, who worked overtime to restore good relations with the global hegemon, US, after Prime Minister Zapatero decided to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq in 2004. A must read for any scholar of contemporary Spanish history and politics.” (José M. Magone, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Germany)