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Democratic Transition, European Economic Community Accession and Southern Europe

Spanish Accession to the EEC: A Political Objective in an Economic Reality

Vanessa Núñez Peñas
p. 59-70

Résumés

Les historiens ont souvent considéré la Communauté européenne comme l’horizon naturel de l’Espagne et non en tant que partie extérieure ayant ses propres intérêts et ses propres règles, différentes de celles des gouvernements à Madrid. Cet article se propose de recentrer l’analyse de l’intégration espagnole en la reliant à l’histoire plus large de l’élargissement de l’Union européenne, elle-même fortement influencée par la situation interne de chaque État membre. Si les changements sociaux, économiques et politiques dans l’Espagne postfranquiste conditionnent les approches, les objectifs et les stratégies de ses partenaires européens, il en va de même pour le délicat scénario économique international des années 1970, les dialectiques de la Guerre froide ou les calendriers électoraux dans plusieurs pays. Tout ceci sans oublier le conflit d’intérêt permanent entre les institutions supranationales et le Conseil européen.

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Texte intégral

1Relations between Spain and the European Economic Community (EEC) had a long history before the political transition following November 1975. The strict isolation after the defeat of fascism in 1945 was soon overcome. Spain signed treaties with the USA and the Papal States in 1953, and later joined the United Nations (1955), the International Monetary Fund (1958), the World Bank (1958) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (1959). When the transition began in Spain, only the Council of Europe, NATO and the EEC remained closed to the Spanish government. Bilateral relations were normalised for all countries with the exception of Israel, Mexico and the communist regimes. An economic agreement was signed with the EEC in 1970, and commercial relations were completely regularised. However, a great majority of Spaniards saw the political change after Franco’s death as the beginning of a new international project with crucial internal consequences.

  • 1 . Those who came back to Spain were jailed, deported or sentenced to exile. In the attempt to prev (...)
  • 2 . Fernando Álvarez de Miranda, Del “contubernio” al consenso, Barcelona, Planeta, 1985; Julio Cres (...)

2The Fourth Congress of the European Movement, in Munich in June 1962, was a decisive moment for Spanish democrats. There, a resolution was approved demanding a democratic system in Spain before any accession or association with the EEC. Similarly decisive was the subsequent action of the dictatorship against the participants1 after the up-to-then diversified opposition came together and contemplated a common project for a future without Franco: accession to the EEC as a member with full rights.2 The repression was criticised at first by the member states and European institutions, but the possibility of opening the Spanish economy to the European Community remained on the table until exploratory talks for a commercial agreement started in 1964.

  • 3 . Antonio Moreno Juste, Franquismo y construcción europea (1951-1962), Madrid, Tecnos, 1998; Charl (...)

3A Preferential Trade Agreement was signed in 1970. No one saw it as a real change; its basis was strictly limited to the area of economics. Politics were left aside, at least by the European authorities and the Francoist regime. However, European institutions regularly condemned the lack of democracy and the violation of human rights in Spain, though they never called into question the relationship between Spain and the EEC. Only after the execution by firing squad of five leftists on 27 September 1975 did the European Commission decide to suspend negotiations for the revision of the Trade Agreement. These revisions were requested after the first enlargement resulting from the accession of the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark in 1973. Even though the member states withdrew their ambassadors from Madrid, in just one week it was decided that normality should resume due to evidence of approaching political change in view of the dictator’s weak health.3

4The lack of consensus on actions against Franco’s dictatorship could be explained by a diversity of interests and by the fact that political integration was not yet defined in the mid-1970s. Furthermore, the European project was restricted to the economic sphere. This paper discusses how an economic and technical entity could influence a political process such as the Spanish transition to democracy, taking into consideration the global consequences of this process.

The political influence of the accession negotiations

  • 4 . Elena Baracani, “The EU and Democracy Promotion: A Strategy of Democratization in the framework (...)
  • 5 . François Duchêne, “The European Community and the Uncertainties of Interdependence”, in Max Kohn (...)

5It would be easy to make the mistake of identifying the EEC of the 1970s or 1980s with the more developed version of the 1990s. After the USSR was dissolved, the European Union could more directly influence the transitional process, as integration became more political. Until then, the nature of the communitarian influence on international relations was strictly conceptual. It was not a question of direct actions such as those of the member states and their foreign policies, but of concepts like Europe or Europeanization.4 This meant that the EEC did not have the same influence as a national state; instead, it had François Duchêne’s notion of civilian power, a focus on non-military means, primarily economic, to secure national goals, and a willingness to develop supranational structures to address critical issues of international management.5

  • 6 . Raimundo Bassols’ memo to the Spanish Minister, Madrid, 25 November 1975, General Archives of th (...)
  • 7 . On Portugal, see Alice Cuhna’s paper in this issue of the Cahiers de la Méditerranée.
  • 8 . Maria Elena Cavallaro, “La integración europea de España: los organismos comunitarios y los deba (...)

6A meeting in Madrid on 25 November 1975, after the coronation of Juan Carlos I, between Edmund Wellenstein, director general of external relations in the European Commission, and Alberto Ullastres, Spanish ambassador to the EEC, serves as an example of these methods. They discussed very general affairs, but by the end of the evening they were tackling the future of relations in light of the change in the leadership of the state.6 The commissioner emphasised the importance of amnesty for political prisoners, and of caution in order to prevent a radicalization like the one that occurred in Portugal.7 The development of real governmental change was seen as more important than hastily legalising the Communist Party. Such suggestions were collected months later in a report signed by Maurice Faure and presented to the European Parliamentary Assembly. The report directly connected political change in Spain with a redefinition of its relationship with the EEC.8

  • 9 . José María de Areilza, Diario de un ministro de la monarquía, Barcelona, Planeta, 1977, p. 90; R (...)
  • 10 . Meeting of the Mediterranean Working Group of the Nine, Luxembourg, 13 January 1976, The Nationa (...)

7Submission of this report coincided with a trip by the minister of foreign affairs, José María de Areilza, to the European capitals during the spring of 1976. The main goal of this tour was to assess possible changes in the relationship with the Community and to find out the minimum changes required before presenting the accession application.9 It was obvious that Franco’s death was not enough. States and European institutions insisted on reliable advances towards a democratic system, though it was harder to reach consensus on the speed of progress and international recognition. Even simply scheduling the meetings with Areilza in each capital was reason for debate because everybody knew that these meetings would determine future relations with the EEC and NATO, and opinions about the political change differed among member states.10

  • 11 . Preliminary restricted session of Foreign Affairs Council: EEC-Spain, Brussels, 20 January 1976, (...)

8This meeting was the precursor to further discussions about the European attitude towards the Spanish transition. There was widespread belief that Spain would not be able to accomplish in a few months the same political results that Portugal had achieved in almost two years. Nor was the EEC more demanding with the new government than with Franco’s regime before the September 1975 executions.11 The Nine rejected any possibility of considering accession for the moment, though resuming positions held before September 1975 would not pose a problem. The Commission was more cautious than the member states at this point, warning about the risk of creating false expectations in Spain. The main problem was that the relationship, strictly economic and defined by the Preferential Trade Agreement, had been politicised when the Commission decided to suspend negotiations after the executions.

  • 12 . Telegram No. 4369 from Goldsmith, Brussels, 2 October 1975, TNA, FCO 193/79; Note au sujet des é (...)
  • 13 . Council of Ministers (Foreign Affairs): EEC-Spain, Brussels, 17 September 1976, TNA, FCO 98/17.

9Over the next weeks there were many misunderstandings among European institutions. The member states were concerned because a political complaint could have embarrassing consequences for their economic relationship with Spain,12 and because each country had different interests. Britain was the party most concerned about signing a new trade agreement with Spain as it would be the country most affected by any new terms. In contrast, Denmark simply wanted to declare it invalid, the governments of France and Italy tried to avoid any change that involved Mediterranean agricultural products, and the main objective of Germany was to encourage the political reform program, especially following the appointment of Adolfo Suárez as prime minister in July 1976.13 However, worst was the collision of interests between the Commission and the Council, which directly affected relations with Spain.

  • 14 . Visit of EEC Commission representatives to Madrid, Madrid, 23 December 1976, TNA, FCO 98/18.
  • 15 . Memo about Pierre Duchâteau’s visit to Madrid, Madrid, 28 March 1977, AMAEC, file R12558, folder (...)

10An enlightening incident with regard to this point was an official trip to Madrid in December 1976 by a Commission delegation. Some of the ambassadors in the Spanish capital complained about the excessive secrecy of the agenda, saying that the Commission could not assume responsibility for discussing politics with a state. The competent authorities were the national governments, but the Commission said that it was in charge of relations and economic negotiations with third parties.14 In an attempt to counteract the influence that national embassies wielded over the Spanish government, the Commission suggested the establishment of an official delegation with semi-diplomatic status to promote effective relations.15 Until it was established, in December 1978, the meeting point was the Spanish mission to the European Communities established in Brussels in 1965 –led first by Alberto Ullastres and then by Raimundo Bassols in 1976.

  • 16 . Letter from Raimundo Bassols to Marcelino Oreja, Brussels, 3 February 1977, AMAEC, file R12557.
  • 17 . Speech of Ludwig Fellermaier, President of the Party of European Socialists, Strasbourg, 22 Apri (...)
  • 18 . Though EEC influence was limited, the role played by national governments, political parties and (...)

11There were regular meetings to share impressions and information about the strategies to pursue. The Spanish mission recommended presenting the accession application as soon as possible to take advantage of the proceedings already started by Greece and Portugal.16 From the EEC’s point of view, the main worries were the collapse of institutions and new competition within the European market. Meanwhile from the European Parliamentary Assembly there were some voices in favour of strengthening the political responsibility of Europe with new democracies.17 However, the political influence of the European Community as a supranational organization was very limited.18

  • 19 . Memo about preparations for the Spanish accession to the EEC, Madrid, 29 December 1976, AMAEC, f (...)
  • 20 . Memo from the Directorate General for International Economic Relations, Madrid, 18 January 1977, (...)

12The principal way to influence the Spanish transition was to inspire a new public administration promoting particular legislation and governmental organisation. There were many internal studies about the consequences of accession and the subsequent Europeanization,19 all of them coordinated from an interdepartmental commission for relations with the EEC. This governmental body was created just a few weeks after signing the Preferential Trade Agreement in order to coordinate all the ministries affected by the new situation after 1970. However, its new duty in December 1976 was to get detailed information about European law in order to be able to adjust national legislation and facilitate the future adoption and implementation of the acquis.20

  • 21 . Interviews with De Kergolay and Duchâteau in Madrid on 1 October 1977, Brussels, 10 October 1977 (...)

13Every branch of the state had to present a comprehensive report within two or three months considering the possibility of presenting the accession application before summer 1977. Thanks to these preliminary studies, and those done by the interdepartmental commission over the subsequent years, the Spanish government was able to gradually prepare the country for the EEC reality. All the same, when the Commission staff visited Madrid in October 1977 to start working on Spain’s application for membership, they did not find any authority clearly designated as responsible for the negotiations.21 They understood that the main problems were the difficult economic situation, national political priorities and some significant differences within the government regarding how to manage the negotiations team.

  • 22 . Raimundo Bassols, España…, op. cit., p. 203-205.
  • 23 . Marcelino Oreja, Memoria y esperanza. Relatos de una vida, Madrid, Esfera, 2011, p. 191-198; Mat (...)
  • 24 . Memo from the Directorate General for International Economic Relations, Madrid, 30 October 1978, (...)

14The Commission recommendation was to designate an independent body from the traditional ministries with a direct connection to the head of government and with full authority over other ministries.22 At first, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was concerned on account of the likelihood of losing control over the main chapter of the new democratic foreign policy. Finally, given the magnitude of the purpose, Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja accepted the creation of a separate Ministry for Relations with the European Communities in February 1978, led by Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo (1978-1980) and Eduardo Punset (1980-1981).23 Although the primary objective was to improve coordination during the negotiations, the diplomatic service soon observed the lack of clear jurisdictions between the ministries.24

  • 25 . Matthieu Trouvé, L’Espagne et l’Europe…, op. cit., p. 374 and following pages; Fernando Morán, E (...)
  • 26 . Ignacio Molina Álvarez De Cienfuegos and Fernando Rodrigo Rodríguez, “Las transformaciones organ (...)
  • 27 . Enrique González Sánchez, “El procedimiento decisorio comunitario. Participación de las Administ (...)

15This structure was preserved until March 1981, when it was replaced by a secretariat of state dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Raimundo Bassols, who had been ambassador to the European Communities up to then. The socialist government did likewise after the general elections in October 1982, designating Manuel Marín to the position.25 Ultimately, the Spanish administration needed to learn from experience about a process such as European integration.26 And it was a great challenge to prepare a team of experts to collaborate in negotiations and fill the consequent positions in Brussels after the final accession.27

One reality, different concerns

  • 28 . Conclusions of a Meeting of the Cabinet (CC (76) 4 Conclusion), London, 5 February 1976, TNA, CA (...)
  • 29 . 838th meeting of COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union), 15 Dece (...)

16The Community’s concern over the Spanish situation was associated with the broader context of the Mediterranean transitions, the accession negotiations with Greece, and the accession applications by Portugal, Spain itself, and even Turkey. An enlargement of this dimension presented serious consequences for the European economy, so the negotiations would need to be long and thoughtful to avoid problems. In the case of Spain, the rhythm of reforms was made obvious after the designation of Adolfo Suárez, who expected that the application would be presented in July 1977 at the earliest.28 This date was not arbitrary: it coincided with the entry into force of the customs union between the Six founding members and the three new ones. This meant that the Preferential Trade Agreement signed in 1970 had to be renegotiated.29

  • 30 . Raimundo Bassols’ dispatch to Minister Marcelino Oreja, Brussels, 15 December 1976, AMAEC, file  (...)

17The Spanish delegation disagreed with the priority given by European institutions to the renegotiation of the agreement. First, the imbalance was mainly against the three new member states, and second, Spanish diplomats did not understand the need for a short-term solution when accession with full rights could not be prolonged, in their opinion, beyond 1980. European predictions were less optimistic because of the problems caused after the first enlargement, the debates about a possible internal reform, and the context of the economic crisis in the mid-1970s.30 Furthermore, despite all the advance notice from Brussels, mutual understanding between both parties was difficult, a significant handicap in subsequent negotiations.

  • 31 . Ricardo Martín De La Guardia, “La ampliación y la profundización de la Europa comunitaria: de lo (...)
  • 32 . Marcelino Oreja, Memoria…, op. cit., p. 191-194.
  • 33 . Memo by Raimundo Bassols on institutional problems resulting from enlargement, Brussels, 11 Nove (...)

18The need to reform the EEC had been on the table for years. The heads of government and state, assembled in Paris in December 1974, ordered a proposal on European integration from Leo Tindemans, the Belgian prime minister.31 It was presented to the European Parliamentary Assembly in January 1976, practically at the same time that Areilza started his European tour. The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs knew about all these debates and tried to avoid meddling. The strategy was always to remain silent rather than expressing an opinion on the subject, at least before enlargement.32 However Raimundo Bassols and some diplomats suggested a compromise in favour of supranationalism and a stronger Community even though the Spanish position on this was purely symbolic.33 But the only statements they obtained were those which criticised the negative consequences of the pace of negotiations.

  • 34 . Thirteenth General Report on the Activities of the European Communities, Brussels, February 1980

19During the early months, the main task for Madrid was to finalize the opinion on the Spanish application and open negotiations as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the European agenda included enlargement towards the South, deterioration of the economic situation (with the European Monetary System as the main solution), the first direct elections to the European Parliamentary Assembly, debates on institutional reform, and the increasing role of foreign policy.34 While for the candidate country accession was a national priority, it was just a small part of a larger process for the European institutions. This situation remained true from the beginning to the end, with specific exceptions that focused international attention on the Spanish transition.

  • 35 . Spain-EEC, London, 8 March 1979, TNA, FCO 98/427; Spanish accession negotiations: first meeting (...)

20Along with this problem, member states observed with astonishment the excessive optimism of the Spanish government representatives towards negotiations. After the first meeting, at the level of deputies, European diplomats emphasised their lack of awareness about the true nature of negotiations. In this sense, they understood that the forecast for accession was wrong because the Spanish team had muddled the preparation of the opinion and the Fresco on enlargement –within the competency of the Commission–, with the comprehensive vue d’ensemble –within the competency of the Council.35 The importance of this first stage of negotiations had been totally underestimated in Madrid although it was a crucial part of the solution of subsequent problems. In practice this posed a real problem, because it was almost impossible to make any progress in meetings where negotiations were interpreted very differently by both sides.

  • 36 . Telegram No. 104 sent by Parsons, Madrid, 10 March 1981, TNA, FCO 8/3287; Seventh meeting at min (...)

21Probably, the main difference between the candidate country and the EEC was the former’s subordination of economic contents to political interests, while the concept of negotiations was strictly technical for the latter. The candidate country must accept the acquis communautaire as a starting point and make European law part of its own national legislation, the adaptation and implementation of this body of common rights and obligations being the basis of the accession negotiations. However, the lack of cooperation by the Spanish government as it tried to force the timing without assuming a realistic position towards the transition period was seen as an insurmountable obstacle. From the other side, particularly after the attempted coup of 23 February 1981, European institutions and member states were accused by Spain of underestimating the risks, and Spain called for new political determination to find common solutions.36

  • 37 . Emilio Attard, Vida y muerte de UCD, Barcelona, Planeta, 1983, p. 248-277; Marcelino Oreja, Memo (...)

22Attention must also be paid to the internal situation in the Spanish government. Despite criticism about European attitudes, the real possibility of getting involved in political negotiations was limited, given the circumstances surrounding the party in government. There had been problems since 1980, but as long as the negotiations were essentially technical this was not an obstacle. But when the vue d’ensemble was almost concluded and the moment came for political decisions, the ruling UCD (Democratic Centre Union) was already collapsing due to internal dissent on diverse questions such as divorce law, regional policy, integration in NATO, and simply power struggles.37 While debates in the EEC about its own internal situation and the future of integration were detrimental to enlargement, the context of the political transition in Spain was also a handicap. The socialist victory after the general elections in October 1982 instigated a change, both regarding internal coherence and strength and a new climate of mutual understanding.

Toward the enlargement: the convergence of objectives

  • 38 . Andrew Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastric (...)

23Spain’s relationship with the EEC was always defined as a purely national issue: it was an economic necessity for Franco’s regime and a political aspiration for democrats. Similarly, other European countries had their own national priorities, as shown by the cyclical crises that have affected integration due to the egotistical attitude of member states.38 The great difference is the reciprocity between national and European interests: there have always been moments when the national concerns of member states have depended on the development of the integration project. But it was not until 1982-1983 that the Spanish negotiation team changed its mind about the internal debates on the reform of the EEC and understood the necessity of conceiving the need for reciprocity. Accession with full rights was still the main objective, but the promotion of a stronger EEC was now also a public concern for the candidate country.

  • 39 . Official notice about negotiations between Spain-EEC, Madrid, 27 December 1982, General Administ (...)

24The new administration after the general elections of 1982 tried to identify every country’s position toward Spanish accession. Member states had different interests and doubts, so the new Spanish team considered it crucial to find a balance between them all in order to successfully finish the negotiations. In doing so, diplomacy made an attempt to reinforce bilateral relations, mend fences and come to an agreement. If Germany approved a new system for its own resources, British complaints about the Preferential Trade Agreement were handled, relations with France were ameliorated, and Italy’s role was publicly recognised, the negotiations would not take a lot of time.39 However, the difficulties persisted.

  • 40 . European Council (17-19 June) and Solemn Declaration on European Union, Paris, 20 June 1983, AMA (...)
  • 41 . Enrique González Sánchez, “Las negociaciones de adhesión de España a las Comunidades Europeas: e (...)
  • 42 . Declaration of the Commission, Brussels, 7 December 1983, AH-COMM: Summits and European Councils (...)

25The European Council of Stuttgart, held 17-19 June 1983 at the end of Germany’s presidency, launched a huge program for the future of European integration. Results in the short term were limited, and even the solemn declaration on the European Union signed by the ten heads of state and government was criticised as too weak by some, and overambitious by others.40 With regard to enlargement, a bond between budgetary reform and the signing of the new treaty of accession was formalised, mainly relating to the increase in resources.41 The Spanish team perceived all these results as a first step towards raising the blockade on negotiations. However, the second semester of the year was defined as a real failure by almost everybody. There were scarcely any meetings, and the Greek presidency closed without agreement. Not even a final declaration was adopted.42

  • 43 . Marie-Thérèse Bitsch, Histoire de la construction européenne de 1945 à nos jours, Brussels, Comp (...)
  • 44 . Ulrich Krotz and Joachim Schild, Shaping Europe: France, Germany, and Embedded Bilateralism from (...)
  • 45 . European Council of Brussels held 19-20 March 1984, Brussels, 20 March 1984, AH-COMM, Summits an (...)

26Despite this fiasco, and while the member states had found it impossible to come to an agreement, the European Parliament put the finishing touches to its second direct elections and presented its own reform project, the Spinelli draft Treaty for a European Union.43 According to article 42, the draft could enter into force if the majority of member states and two-thirds of the population of the EEC approved it. With its wide scope, it encouraged major diplomatic action among the member states to end the blockade of decision-making in the Council.44 Indeed, the next Council, held in Brussels three months later, showed specific results on economic and commercial policy, Common Agricultural Policy, Structural and Cohesion Funds, financial programming and European budget, and even enlargement. The heads of state and government set a deadline for concluding the accession negotiations, 30 September 1984, and linked their success with the increase of the VAT ceiling to 1.4 per cent, the first step towards an achievable reform.45

  • 46 . “El Gobierno prefiere retrasar el ingreso en la CEE antes que firmar un mal acuerdo, según Marín (...)
  • 47 . Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE). Antonio Alonso, España en el Merc (...)
  • 48 . European Council held 25-26 June 1984 in Fontainbleau, Brussels, 27 June 1984. AH-COMM, Summits (...)

27Alongside this renewed political interest in enlargement there was a change in Spanish attitude: the deadline was not imperative, because what was most important was for everyone to come to a good agreement.46 This was interpreted by the EEC as a self-defence strategy for domestic debates, chiefly the criticisms expressed by the Spanish Confederation of Employers’ Organizations toward the economic consequences of enlargement in certain markets –especially in the industrial sector.47 From the beginnings, it was questionable whether a consensus on the economic cost of accession would be reached. When negotiations were almost concluded and the political transition seemed to be consolidated, disagreement appeared not in opposition to the political objective of accession. Nevertheless, negotiations continued and the French presidency finished in the European Council held in Fontainebleau, where the points agreed to in Brussels were confirmed and completed.48

  • 49 . Fernando Morán, España…, op. cit., p. 388 and following.
  • 50 . Andrés Ortega, “La CEE decide dar un impulso político al ingreso de España, vinculándolo a la pe (...)
  • 51 . “Community Enlargement: moves by EEC and Spain to break deadlock and speed up negotiations”, Bul (...)

28It was impossible to finalize negotiations for the enlargement in September, as the heads of state and government gathered in Brussels had required six months earlier to the negotiations team. In the opinion of Foreign Minister Fernando Morán, the Irish government, which was to preside during the second semester of the year, was not prepared for the assignment. Furthermore, competition between the two countries in the fishing sector would be a hindrance.49 On the other hand, journalists and some specialists were of the opinion that member states were delaying things until the end of the year, when the Socialist Party (PSOE) would be making a decision about Spain’s membership in NATO.50 Either way, the Spanish government from the start tried to concentrate on the strategy of bilateral relations. Various ministers met with their European counterparts to discuss specific pending problems, while representatives of member states at the ministerial level met in the Council of Ministers to negotiate a final agreement. At the same time, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand and Margaret Thatcher also urged the European Council to definitively finalize the enlargement negotiations.51

  • 52 . Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street years, London, Harper Collins, 1993, p. 546.
  • 53 . Fernando Morán, España…, op. cit., p. 442-452. Although we have analysed just the Spanish negoti (...)
  • 54 . Clive H. Church and Dermot Keogh (eds.), The Single European Act. A Transnational Study, Cork, C (...)

29However, none of these measures were conclusive. It was the prospect of change in Eastern Europe and the USSR that mobilised the heads of state and government to make a decision without further delay. The death of Soviet leader Konstantin Chernenko in March 1985 and the appointment of his successor, Mikhail Gorbachev, the youngest member of the Politburo and considered a liberal –or at least a transformational leader–, was taken by European leaders as the opportunity for Europe to increase its international power. On the occasion of the state funeral in Moscow, Kohl, Thatcher, Mitterrand, Bettino Craxi and Felipe González held a meeting in the German embassy to unblock all the pending negotiations.52 Over the following weeks, there were several phone calls and face-to-face meetings at diverse levels and in different capitals, until the enlargement was resolved the night between 28 and 29 March.53 Just a few hours later, the European Council congratulated everybody involved in the negotiations and moved towards institutional reform, which would result in the first intergovernmental conference of the EEC in the following months and the signature of the Single European Act in February 1986, two months after the entry into force of the enlargement.54

Conclusions

30None of the contemporary predictions made on Spain’s application to the European Communities were similar to the actual events required to formalize enlargement. The Spanish authorities were ambitious, even including the possibility of Spain becoming a full member state in a matter of three years. Despite the skills of the Spanish team members responsible for the negotiations, their knowledge of both functional and institutional Community structures was indirect. Though Spanish authorities counted on previous experiences in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark, and even in Greece and Portugal, the starting point of each one and the situation in which the negotiations took place made each case unique. Neither could negotiations for the Preferential Trade Agreement signed in 1970 serve as a model, because the working method was different, the Community institution responsible was different, and so too was the ultimate goal.

31This forced negotiators to learn about the organization, procedure, networks of influence and internal functioning of the European Community, building on the framework established in negotiating conferences, formal and informal meetings, and sometimes with national delegations in bilateral summits outside the Community framework. It could be said that this was the main influence that the EEC, as a supranational institution, had on the Spanish transition. On a national level, member states could have been persuaded one way or another. However, the impact from the European institutions was seen most in legislation adapted to future membership to the Community and the implementation of a new administration. Finally, while most accepted chronologies consider the transition to have been consolidated in 1982, it was precisely after then that the negotiations entered a more political stage and the possibility of action was most likely.

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Notes

1 . Those who came back to Spain were jailed, deported or sentenced to exile. In the attempt to prevent further opposition movements, the right of free residence was suspended as well for two years in Spain.

2 . Fernando Álvarez de Miranda, Del “contubernio” al consenso, Barcelona, Planeta, 1985; Julio Crespo Maclennan, Forjadores de Europa. Grandes europeístas y euroescépticos del siglo XX, Barcelona, Destino, 2009, p. 225; Joaquín Satrústegui (ed.), Cuando la transición se hizo posible. El “contubernio de Munich”, Madrid, Tecnos, 2013.

3 . Antonio Moreno Juste, Franquismo y construcción europea (1951-1962), Madrid, Tecnos, 1998; Charles T. Powell, “La larga marcha hacia Europa: España y La Comunidad Europea (1957-1986)”, in Francesc Morata and Gemma Mateo (eds.), España en Europa, Europa en España (1986-2006), Barcelona, CIDOB, 2007, p. 47-51; Julio Crespo MacLennan, España en Europa, 1945-2000: del ostracismo a la modernidad, Madrid, Barcelona, 2004, p. 111-158; Matthieu Trouvé, L’Espagne et l’Europe. De la dictature de Franco à l’Union européenne, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2008; Vanessa Núñez Peñas, Entre la reforma y la ampliación (1976-1986). Las negociaciones hispano-comunitarias en tiempos de transición y approfondissement, unpublished PhD dissertation, Madrid, Universidad Complutense, 2013.

4 . Elena Baracani, “The EU and Democracy Promotion: A Strategy of Democratization in the framework of Neighbourhood Policy”, in Fulvio Attinà and Rosa Rossi (eds.), European Neighbourhood Policy: Political, Economic and Social Issues, Catania, Università di Catania, 2004, p. 37-57; Antonio Moreno Juste, “España ante el espacio público europeo: entre la herencia del franquismo y una nueva identidad democrática”, Revista de Estudios Europeos, No. 44, September-December 2006, p. 97-116; Geoffrey Pridham, The Dynamics of Democratization: a comparative approach, London, Continuum, 2000, p. 299-312; Alberto Sabio Alcutén, “La intervención de Estados Unidos y de Europa Occidental en la transición a la democracia en España, 1975-1977”, in Damián A. González Madrid (ed.), El franquismo y la transición en España. Desmitificación y reconstrucción de la memoria de una época, Madrid, Catarata, 2008, p. 243; Philippe C. Schmitter, “The Influence of the International Context upon the Choice of National Institutions and Policies in Neo-Democracies”, in Lawrence Whitehead (ed.), The International Dimensions of Democratization: Europe and the Americas, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1996, p. 26-54.

5 . François Duchêne, “The European Community and the Uncertainties of Interdependence”, in Max Kohnstamm and Wolfgang Hager (eds.), A Nation Writ Large? Foreign-Policy Problems before the European Community, London, Macmillan, 1973, p. 19; Hanns Maull, “Germany and Japan: The New Civilian Powers”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 69, No. 5, 1990, p. 92-93; Stelios Stavridis, “Why the ‘Militarising’ of the European Union is strengthening the concept of a ‘Civilian power Europe’”, EUI Working Papers, No. 17, 2001; Bertrand Vayssière, “L’élargissement de 2004 au regard des précédents espagnol et portugais: un jeu de miroires?”, European Review of History, Vol. 16, No. 4, August 2009, p. 479-480.

6 . Raimundo Bassols’ memo to the Spanish Minister, Madrid, 25 November 1975, General Archives of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (henceforth AMAEC), file R15571.

7 . On Portugal, see Alice Cuhna’s paper in this issue of the Cahiers de la Méditerranée.

8 . Maria Elena Cavallaro, “La integración europea de España: los organismos comunitarios y los debates políticos en las Cortes”, in Charles Powell and Juan Carlos Jiménez (eds.), Del Autoritarismo a la Democracia: Estudios de Política Exterior Española, Madrid, Silex, 2007, p. 145.

9 . José María de Areilza, Diario de un ministro de la monarquía, Barcelona, Planeta, 1977, p. 90; Raimundo Bassols, España en Europa. Historia de la adhesion a la CE, 1957-85, Madrid, Estudios de Política Exterior, 1995, p. 147-149.

10 . Meeting of the Mediterranean Working Group of the Nine, Luxembourg, 13 January 1976, The National Archives of the United Kingdom (henceforth TNA), FCO 98/11.

11 . Preliminary restricted session of Foreign Affairs Council: EEC-Spain, Brussels, 20 January 1976, TNA, FCO 9/2436.

12 . Telegram No. 4369 from Goldsmith, Brussels, 2 October 1975, TNA, FCO 193/79; Note au sujet des événements d’Espagne, Paris, 17 October 1975, Archives Diplomatiques du ministère des Affaires étrangères (hencefoth AMAEF), Paris, file 395 bis.

13 . Council of Ministers (Foreign Affairs): EEC-Spain, Brussels, 17 September 1976, TNA, FCO 98/17.

14 . Visit of EEC Commission representatives to Madrid, Madrid, 23 December 1976, TNA, FCO 98/18.

15 . Memo about Pierre Duchâteau’s visit to Madrid, Madrid, 28 March 1977, AMAEC, file R12558, folder 1; Opening of a Commission Delegation in Madrid, Madrid, 16 December 1978, AMAEC, file R14581.

16 . Letter from Raimundo Bassols to Marcelino Oreja, Brussels, 3 February 1977, AMAEC, file R12557.

17 . Speech of Ludwig Fellermaier, President of the Party of European Socialists, Strasbourg, 22 April 1977, Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Archives of the Spanish Secretary of State for the European Union, Madrid, file 1016.1.III ESP, folder 8d.

18 . Though EEC influence was limited, the role played by national governments, political parties and private foundations was another matter: Encarnación Lemus, En Hamelín… La Transición española más allá de la frontera, Oviedo, Septem, 2001; Juan Carlos Pereira, “El factor internacional en la transición española: la influencia del contexto internacional y el papel de las potencias centrales”, Studia Histórica. Historia Contemporánea, No. 22, 2004, p. 185-224; Charles Powell, “La dimensión exterior de la transición española”, Afers Internacionals, No. 26, 1993, p. 37-64; Walter Bernecker, “España y Alemania en dos momentos decisivos de sus historias: la transición española y la reunificación alemana”, Iberoamericana, Vol. 7, No. 26, 2007, p. 153-165; Antonio Muñoz Sánchez, El amigo alemán. El SPD y el PSOE de la dictadura a la democracia, Barcelona, RBA, 2012; Matthieu Trouvé, “Solidarités et réseaux hispano-allemands. Le cas des relations entre le SPD et le PSOE”, in Jürgen Elvert and Sylvain Schirmann (eds.), Zeiten im Wandel: Deutschland im Europa des 20. Jh. Kontinuität, Entwicklungen und Brüche, Brussels, Peter Lang, 2008, p. 141-158; Charles Powell, El amigo americano. España y estados Unidos: de la dictadura a la democracia, Barcelona, Gutenberg, 2011; Rosa Pardo, “EE.UU. y el tardofranquismo: las relaciones bilaterales durante la presidencia Nixon”, Historia del Presente, No. 6, 2005, p. 11-41; Pilar Ortuño, Los socialistas europeos y la transición española (1959-1977), Madrid, Marcial Pons, 2005; Fernando Guirao and Víctor Gavín, “La dimensione internazionale della transizione politica spagnola (1969-1982). Quale ruolo giocarono la Comunità europea e gli Stati Uniti?”, in Mario Del Pero, Víctor Gavín, Fernando Guirao and Antonio Varsori, Democrazie. L’Europa meridionale e la fine delle dittature, Florence, Le Monnier, 2010, p. 173-264.

19 . Memo about preparations for the Spanish accession to the EEC, Madrid, 29 December 1976, AMAEC, file R12558, folder 1.

20 . Memo from the Directorate General for International Economic Relations, Madrid, 18 January 1977, AMAEC, file R12558, folder 1. The community acquis constitutes the body of EU legal principles and obligations which member states are submitted to.

21 . Interviews with De Kergolay and Duchâteau in Madrid on 1 October 1977, Brussels, 10 October 1977, Historical Archives of the European Commission, Brussels (henceforth AH-COMM), BAC 250/1980, file 675.

22 . Raimundo Bassols, España…, op. cit., p. 203-205.

23 . Marcelino Oreja, Memoria y esperanza. Relatos de una vida, Madrid, Esfera, 2011, p. 191-198; Matthieu Trouvé, L’Espagne et l’Europe…, op. cit., p. 257-264.

24 . Memo from the Directorate General for International Economic Relations, Madrid, 30 October 1978, AMAEC, file R14582, folder 3.

25 . Matthieu Trouvé, L’Espagne et l’Europe…, op. cit., p. 374 and following pages; Fernando Morán, España en su sitio, Barcelona, Plaza & Janés, 1990, p. 45.

26 . Ignacio Molina Álvarez De Cienfuegos and Fernando Rodrigo Rodríguez, “Las transformaciones organizativas de la política exterior española”, Revista de estudios políticos, No. 117, 2002, p. 173220.

27 . Enrique González Sánchez, “El procedimiento decisorio comunitario. Participación de las Administraciones nacionales. Referencias al caso español”, Revista de Instituciones Europeas, Vol. 14, No. 3, 1987, p. 687-720.

28 . Conclusions of a Meeting of the Cabinet (CC (76) 4 Conclusion), London, 5 February 1976, TNA, CAB 28/58/4. For more information, see Michael Bruter, “Diplomacy without a state: the external delegations of the European Commission”, Journal of European Public Policy, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1999, p. 183-205; James Moran and Fernando Ponz Canto, Taking Europe to the world: 50 years of the EC’s External Service, Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2004.

29 . 838th meeting of COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union), 15 December 1976: relations with Spain, Brussels, 16 December 1976, AH-COMM, BAC 79/1982, file 247 (1975-1977).

30 . Raimundo Bassols’ dispatch to Minister Marcelino Oreja, Brussels, 15 December 1976, AMAEC, file R15571.

31 . Ricardo Martín De La Guardia, “La ampliación y la profundización de la Europa comunitaria: de los Tratados de Roma a la Unión Europea”, in Salvador Forner (ed.), La construcción de Europa. De las “guerras civiles” a la “unificación”, Madrid, Biblioteca Nueva, 2007, p. 107-109.

32 . Marcelino Oreja, Memoria…, op. cit., p. 191-194.

33 . Memo by Raimundo Bassols on institutional problems resulting from enlargement, Brussels, 11 November 1977, AMAEC, file R12558, folder 3.

34 . Thirteenth General Report on the Activities of the European Communities, Brussels, February 1980.

35 . Spain-EEC, London, 8 March 1979, TNA, FCO 98/427; Spanish accession negotiations: first meeting at deputy level, Brussels, 15 June 1979, TNA, FCO 98/429.

36 . Telegram No. 104 sent by Parsons, Madrid, 10 March 1981, TNA, FCO 8/3287; Seventh meeting at ministerial level, Brussels, 16 March 1981, AH-COMM, file “Conférence entre les Communautés européennes et l’Espagne”.

37 . Emilio Attard, Vida y muerte de UCD, Barcelona, Planeta, 1983, p. 248-277; Marcelino Oreja, Memoria…, op. cit., p. 416-418.

38 . Andrew Moravcsik, The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht, Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 1998, p. 160-161; Ángel Viñas, “Interés europeo versus Intereses nacionales (An Insider’s View)”, Ayer, Vol. 77, No. 1, 2010, p. 55-78.

39 . Official notice about negotiations between Spain-EEC, Madrid, 27 December 1982, General Administration Archive, Alcalá de Henares (Madrid), file 66/3942; Memo about Secretary of State’s visit to Brussels, 20-21 January 1983, AMAEC, file R14558.

40 . European Council (17-19 June) and Solemn Declaration on European Union, Paris, 20 June 1983, AMAEF, file 4969.

41 . Enrique González Sánchez, “Las negociaciones de adhesión de España a las Comunidades Europeas: enero 1983-marzo 1984”, Revista de Instituciones Europeas, Vol. 11, No. 1, May-August 1984, p. 478-479.

42 . Declaration of the Commission, Brussels, 7 December 1983, AH-COMM: Summits and European Councils, 1981-1987; Motion for a resolution tabled by Mr. Glinne on behalf of the Socialist Group on the Athens Summits (PE 88.044), 12 December 1983, Archives and Documentation Centre of the European Parliament (CARDOC), European Parliament Working Documents 1983-1984.

43 . Marie-Thérèse Bitsch, Histoire de la construction européenne de 1945 à nos jours, Brussels, Complexe, 2006, p. 225-226.

44 . Ulrich Krotz and Joachim Schild, Shaping Europe: France, Germany, and Embedded Bilateralism from the Elysée Treaty to Twenty-First Century Politics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2013, p. 119-120.

45 . European Council of Brussels held 19-20 March 1984, Brussels, 20 March 1984, AH-COMM, Summits and European Councils, 1981-1987.

46 . “El Gobierno prefiere retrasar el ingreso en la CEE antes que firmar un mal acuerdo, según Marín”, La Vanguardia, 4 May 1984, p. 15; “EEC-Spain: differences between Mr. Natali and Mr. Marín on the deadline for concluding accession negotiations”, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 3843, 5 May 1984, p. 8; “Dificultades para que España concluya en septiembre la negociación con la CEE”, El País, 5 May 1984, p. 1 and 14.

47 . Confederación Española de Organizaciones Empresariales (CEOE). Antonio Alonso, España en el Mercado Común. Del Acuerdo del 70 a la Comunidad de Doce, Madrid, Espasa Calpe, 1985, p. 169-188; Joaquín Estefanía, La larga marcha. Medio siglo de política (económica) entre la historia y la memoria, Barcelona, Península, 2007, p. 230-237.

48 . European Council held 25-26 June 1984 in Fontainbleau, Brussels, 27 June 1984. AH-COMM, Summits and European Councils, 1981-1987. Julio Crespo, España…, op. cit., p. 240-246.

49 . Fernando Morán, España…, op. cit., p. 388 and following.

50 . Andrés Ortega, “La CEE decide dar un impulso político al ingreso de España, vinculándolo a la permanencia en la OTAN”, El País, 12 September 1984. Although Spain joined the Alliance in May 1982, there was not a consensus and the PSOE had promised a popular referendum on a possible withdrawal from the NATO in the event of a socialist victory (Charles T. Powell, El amigo americano…, op. cit., p. 306 and following; Ángel Viñas, En las garras del águila. Los pactos con Estados Unidos, de Francisco Franco a Felipe González (1945-1995), Barcelona, Crítica, 2003, p. 473-486).

51 . “Community Enlargement: moves by EEC and Spain to break deadlock and speed up negotiations”, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 3951, 18 October 1984, p. 5-6; “Bilateral summits: Dublin preparations”, Bulletin Quotidien Europe, No. 3971, 17 November 1984, p. 3.

52 . Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street years, London, Harper Collins, 1993, p. 546.

53 . Fernando Morán, España…, op. cit., p. 442-452. Although we have analysed just the Spanish negotiations, the Portuguese ones were finalized the same night.

54 . Clive H. Church and Dermot Keogh (eds.), The Single European Act. A Transnational Study, Cork, Canterbury Consortium, 1991, p. 39-115; Jean De Ruyt, L’acte unique européen: commentaire, Brussels, IEE-ULB, 1987, p. 57-65.

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Vanessa Núñez Peñas, « Spanish Accession to the EEC: A Political Objective in an Economic Reality », Cahiers de la Méditerranée, 90 | 2015, 59-70.

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Vanessa Núñez Peñas, « Spanish Accession to the EEC: A Political Objective in an Economic Reality », Cahiers de la Méditerranée [En ligne], 90 | 2015, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2015, consulté le 27 mars 2017. URL : http://cdlm.revues.org/7883

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Vanessa Núñez Peñas

Vanessa Núñez Peñas earned a PhD in contemporary history at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (September 2013). She has recently published Tres escenarios para una negociación: la adhesión de España a la CEE en tiempos de transición, reforma y guerra fría (Madrid, Cuadernos de la CEHRI, 2013); “Les sources orales pour l’étude de la dimension internationale de la transition espagnole”, Revue d’histoire diplomatique, No. 4, 2014, p. 349-366; and coordinated “La ampliación al sur de la CEE: nuevos enfoques de integración europea”, Circunstancia, No. 32, May 2014. vanessa.nupe@gmail.com

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