With the arrival of the Transition, the old desire to “go back to Europe” became a reality. Joining what was then called the European Community was a vital step for Spain towards the consolidation of its democracy and the social and economic progress of the country and its greater international influence.
This is the way the Spanish have viewed things since that time and their resilient Europeanism is proof of their committment. Even though today, the EU is a Project which is still under construction and the Spanish continue to believe in it and in the major role that Spain has to play.
A society that feels strongly European
The sense of belonging is firmly rooted. That’s why 83% of Spanish people feel that they are citizens of the European Union (according to data from the Standard Eurobarometer 90 of the European Commission, Autumn 2018). For the Spanish, the EU essentially means the freedom to travel, study and work anywhere in the EU (46%), having a common currency (37%) and cultural diversity (26%).
According to data from the same barometer, 78% of Spanish people are in favour of the European Economic and Monetary Union of having a common currency, the Euro, and 86% say they are in favour of a common European migration policy. In the same way, 72% of the Spanish are in favour of a single digital market in the EU and 85% advocating for a common energy policy between the Member States.
This Europeanism is also reflected by the study Global Attitudes Survey by the Pew Research Center (Spring 2018) which places us as the second ranked country with the most favourable vision of the EU. In this survey, the Spanish consider that the EU promotes peace (71%) and that it does so with democratic values (68%). On the downside, only 38% of the Spanish agree with the EU’s response to the economic crisis and 26% to the refugee crisis.
Trust in the EU
According to data from the Sociological Research Centre (CIS) from December 2018, the EU is an institution that is trusted by everyone, although it is true that 72% of the Spanish consider that they should have more influence in the EU. According to data from the 40th wave of the Barometer of the Elcano Royal Institute (BRIE) in Autumn 2018, the EU is regarded by the Spanish as the fundamental area in its international relations, way ahead of Latin America, Morocco, North Africa and the USA.
According to the same BRIE, 83% of citizens believe that Spain benefits from being a member of the Union and 67% is optimistic about the future of this shared project. Despite the confidence and importance afforded to the institution, only 37% of the Spanish believe that they are quite well or very well informed about the EU.
Europeanism in Spain is in good health. Despite the impact of the serious economic crisis of recent years, the majority of indicators point towards a positive assessment of the common project by the Spanish. However, this does not mean that they believe that European action has always been exemplary or that there aren’t things that can be improved upon. In any case, the most relevant aspect is that the Spanish believe that to respond to the challenges of the present and the future, the community project is the way to achieve this.