On May 25, 2015, IE Center for European Studies celebrated the first seminar of a series called “Spain : A key player in the European institutions? 30 years of membership in the European Union” sponsored by the program “Hablamos de Europa” form the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
The speakers were Charles Powell, Director of the Real Instituto Elcano and Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, Director of the Madrid office, European Council on Foreign Relations ECFR.
In his presentation, Charles Powell reviewed the various stages through which Spain has passed since its integration in the EU: a first long phase of institutional adaptation (1986-1992); then a second phase of affirmation whose objective was to “Europeanize” Spain ‘s priorities (1992-2000) followed by a phase of redefinition for the years 2000-2004. The 2004 EU enlargement obliged Spain to enter into a phase of correction in which prevailed the idea that Spain had lost weight within the EU. This phase ended when the crisis worsened. We are currently at the beginning of a new stage of the economic recovery.
Jose Ignacio Torreblanca focused his analysis on the consequences and the institutional changes brought to Spain with its membership to the European Union. While there was a sense of a general consensus in favor of joining the European Union in 1986, it is also true that Spain’s membership has led to a disguised constitutional reform (due basically to the European principle of primacy), with the loss of powers of the Parliament and a new distribution of responsibilities between the regions and the Central Government .
After both presentations an interesting debate started between the speakers and the audience composed of lawyers, judges, government officials, professors from IE and other universities and students.