Ideas, preferences and institutions: Explaining the Europeanization of Spanish Foreign Policy

This paper accounts for the influence held by EU institutions on the foreign policy of post-Franco Spain; it is argued that throughout this period, EU membership rather than regime change has been the driving force behind foreign policy change.

ARENA Working Paper 26/2001 (html)

José I. Torreblanca

Though the literature on Europeanization rarely addresses the impact of EU membership on member states’ foreign policies, I will show in this paper that, in fact, EU membership has left a very visible imprint on Spanish foreign policy. Changes in Spanish foreign policy are part of the wider process of political, economic and social modernization which the country set in motion after Franco’s death in 1975. Yet, it is the claim in this paper that EU membership, not the transition to democracy, ultimately explains these changes. Changes Whereas the major force behind policy convergence has been the search for recognition as a full and loyal member of the Western democratic community, the rationale of policy transfer has been to take advantage of EU membership to promote very specific national interests in Latin America and the Mediterranean. In both cases, existing European foreign policy-making institutions have been decisive to structure not only preferences, but also outcomes. However, EU influence has been mitigated throughout by political parties and public opinion in Spain.

Tags: Spain, democracy, Europeanization, international relations, political culture
Published Nov. 9, 2010 10:52 AM