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Spain at the helm: The Spanish presidencies of the Council of the European Union

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Since its accession to the European Community (EC) in 1986, Spain has presided over the Council of the European Union (EU) on four occasions. The first presidency took place in 1989, only three years after its entry into the EC. The second term was in 1995, after the accession of Austria, Finland and Sweden to the EU. The third occurred in 2002, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks against the United States. Last but not least, the country’s fourth presidency was in 2010, following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. This article examines and compares these four Spanish experiences at the helm of the EU. It sheds light on constancy and change in terms of priorities, strategies and institutional constraints, both at the domestic and European levels, and demonstrates the extent to which the presidency is a lens through which the evolving nature of Spain’s commitment to European integration as a whole can be captured.

Keywords: Council of the European Union; European Council; European Council Presidency; European integration; Spain; Spanish presidency

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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