Looking back to 1985: Spain joins the EU

Looking back to 1985: Spain joins the EU

Caption: EUROPEANS NOW: Manuel Marin, Fernando Moran look on as Felipe Gonzalez signs Treaty Photo credit: Pool Moncloa

TWO THOUSAND editions ago, Spain’s entry into Europe was in the news.

On June 12 1985, Felipe Gonzalez, president of the Spanish government, signed the Treaty of Accession in Madrid’s Palacio Real, accompanied by the Foreign minister Fernando Moran and Manuel Marin, junior minister for Relations with European Communities.

Fernando Moran (1926-2020), an author and diplomat before his 1982-1985 term as Foreign Minister, was responsible for much of the spadework that led to Spain’s entry into the European Economic Community, which then had 10 members.

On March 29 that year, Moran gave details of his negotiations in Madrid to a plenary session of the national parliament in Madrid.

“Our history is in Europe and outside Europe, but we shall all be part of Europe,” he told MPs.

“Spain will put an end to the historic inferiority complex that has caused its isolation and it will definitively regain its course and role in Europe. 

“I take for granted everybody’s European vocation and favourable support for our negotiating position in the last stage of the negotiations,” Moran concluded. 

After receiving the backing of MPs from all parties to forge ahead with the plans to join Europe, Moran and Marin were received hours afterwards by King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia who earlier that day had also had a meeting with Felipe Gonzalez. 

Next day, March 30, the EEC’s Council of Ministers approved the application following exactly eight years and three hours of negotiations after the then-president Adolfo Suarez formally applied to the EEC in 1977.

After signing the Accession Treaty on June 12, 1985, Spain officially entered Europe on January 1 the following year along with Portugal, and brought the number of EEC countries up to 12.

In fact Spain had originally knocked on Europe’s door on February 9, 1962, with a letter sent by Foreign minister Fernando Maria Castiella to Maurice Couve de Murville, the president of the Council of Ministers of the EEC.

Castiella’s letter cited “Spain’s European vocation”, its geographic situation and its economic interests and hopes of aligning the country’s economy with the conditions of the Common Market.

The EEC would have been more welcoming had Spain been a democracy and not governed by Franco’s dictatorship.   Couve de Murville’s reply to Foreign ministry was limited to an acknowledging receipt which arrived in Madrid on March 6.

There were further contacts in 1964 and 1966 with import duty reduced on some Spanish goods in 1970 but little headway was made until after Franco’s death in 1975 and the Transition to democracy.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca province and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.

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