The Spanish National Parliament and the European Union: Slow Adaptation to New Responsibilities in Times of Crisis
Almost three decades have passed since Spain joined the European Union (EU). Despite the deep crisis that has hit Spain recently, the period 1985–2014 has undoubtedly been the most politically stable, socially dynamic and economically successful in Spain’s modern history. This emphatic statement, however, needs to be qualified in two ways: first, in the light of the volatile and troubled history of Spain during most of the 19th and 20th centuries; and, second, because it is not easy to isolate the exact impact of the EU accession in the context of the tremendous changes that have occurred in Spain in the past three decades. EU membership has coincided with at least three other highly significant factors: (i) the transition, starting in 1976, from the Franco dictatorship to a quasi-federal parliamentary democracy, which was fully consolidated in the early 1980s; (ii) the implementation of a social market economy, or ‘welfare capitalism’; the beginnings of which date back to 1959 although its design came to bear fruit only in the mid-1980s; and (iii) the impact of globalization, which had been gestating over a long period and has been characterized by increased trade interdependence and technological advances which crystallized in the late 1980s with the end of the Cold War and the birth of the Internet.
KeywordsEuropean Union European Union Member State National Parliament European Union Level Lisbon Treaty
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