From the Constitution to the Lisbon Treaty
Edited by Maurizio Carbone
Chapter 10: Spain and Portugal: Continuity and Consensus in Iberia
Mary Farrell INTRODUCTION Spain and Portugal have much in common beyond their position on the Iberian Peninsula. A period of turbulent history and authoritarian rule characterized each country’s past for several decades of the twentieth century before both countries cast out the dictatorial regimes, and embarked on a democratization process that culminated in their simultaneous entry in 1986 to the then European Community (EC). More than twenty years of membership have not dampened the initial enthusiasm. This is not to suggest the absence of critical and questioning attitudes towards the European Union (EU), for there is plenty of vocal opposition to different aspects of the European political and policy processes across the political spectrum in both countries (Teixeira, 2008). Spain and Portugal have displayed their continued commitment to European integration in its most recent phase, the EU’s constitutional process (IEP, 2008). There was no dramatic rejection of the Constitutional Treaty, as happened in France and the Netherlands. Nor was there any delay in the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. In fact, former Spanish Prime Minister (PM), Felipe Gonzalez, sought to relaunch the failed constitutional process early in 2007 with the ‘Friends of the Constitution’ meeting in Madrid. The tepid response by the other Member States suggested that Spain’s influence in the EU may be less than such a pro-integrationist partner would wish for. Portugal had supplied the president of the European Commission, in the person of José Manuel Barroso, and his compatriots were no less keen to make their own...