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Bilateralism in the Spanish presidencies of the Council of the European Union: Alliances for the development of European foreign policy

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One consistent strategy of Spain’s European policy has been bilateralism, that is to say, the development of intense relationships with certain other member states in order to gain influence in decisions regarding the process of European integration. In addition, finding allies has proven essential for the success of Spanish proposals in the European Union (EU), especially during the four Spanish presidencies of the Council of the EU. In this sense, successive Spanish governments have promoted a bilateral rapprochement with the EU’s large member states (France, Germany, Italy and secondarily the United Kingdom) through regular meetings with their governmental leaders. One of the fields where Spain’s bilateralist strategy has been more active is European foreign policy, which has become a privileged sphere for the analysis of the power of states within the EU. This article will look at the four Spanish experiences of holding the rotating presidency of the EU Council and compare the different bilateral strategies developed by each Prime Minister in office.
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Keywords: European Union; Spain; Spanish EU presidencies; Spanish foreign policy; bilateralism; cooperation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI)

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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