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New Impulses from Europe's South

Spain and Portugal regrasp the Initiative in the Process of European Integration

SWP Comment 2005/C 13, 15.03.2005, 8 Pages Research Areas

At the end of February 2005, nearly twenty years after their accession to the then European Community, Spain and Portugal have once again given a clear signal of their identification with the European Union (EU): In Spain the first national referendum on the ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE) ended in a positive result, with 76.7% in favour; albeit that the low turnout clearly indicates the limits of this enthusiasm. In Portugal, a new government with a stable majority was elected. Prime Minister José Sócrates is keen to take on a central role in the process of European integration. A decisive factor in the future success of their efforts will be the question of whether Spain and Portugal are ready - beyond their shared interest in maintaining the inflow of money from the Structural and Cohesion Funds - to take on the political costs arising from their newly sworn European identity.