The future of the EU after the Irish ‘No’

1. How does the future of the EU after the Irish ‘No’ look like?


The debate in Spain about the con­clu­sions of the Euro­pean Coun­cil of Decem­ber 2008 on the fate of the Lis­bon Treaty was quite pre­dictable. After the sum­mit, the Span­ish gov­ern­ment defend­ed domes­ti­cal­ly the solu­tion that had been agreed with Ire­land – basi­cal­ly, to keep one Com­mis­sion­er per mem­ber state and to clar­i­fy for­mal guar­an­tees about Irish neu­tral­i­ty, cor­po­rate tax­a­tion and fam­i­ly law –, on the grounds that this allows Dublin to call for a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum before Octo­ber 31 2009 and, there­fore, to com­plete the rat­i­fi­ca­tion process. The social­ist Prime Min­is­ter, José Luis Rodríguez Zap­a­tero, admit­ted in the Span­ish Par­lia­ment that he pre­ferred a small­er and “gen­uine­ly supra­na­tion­al” Com­mis­sion but, real­is­ti­cal­ly, some deal with Ire­land was need­ed. On the oth­er hand, he stressed that the com­pro­mise reached among the 27 mem­ber states also includ­ed a very impor­tant pro­vi­sion for Spain; specif­i­cal­ly, that the delay in the process of rat­i­fi­ca­tion would not impede the increase in the num­ber of Span­ish MEPs accord­ing to the Lis­bon Treaty. Thus, although Span­ish elec­tors will elect only 50 rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment in the forth­com­ing June 2009 elec­tions – as reg­u­lat­ed in the Nice Treaty – four addi­tion­al seats will be con­ferred to Spain once the Reform Treaty comes into force.[1]

The future size of the Com­mis­sion was light­ly crit­i­cised by the main oppo­si­tion par­ty. Thus, the leader of the con­ser­v­a­tive Pop­u­lar Par­ty – Mar­i­ano Rajoy – said in the Span­ish Par­lia­ment that he was some­what wor­ried since a sin­gle coun­try, whose pop­u­la­tion rep­re­sents less than 1 per­cent of the total EU, had been able to re-shape the entire gov­er­nance of the Union, prob­a­bly wors­en­ing the future effec­tive­ness of the Com­mis­sion. Notwith­stand­ing this, and “just in order to avoid insti­tu­tion­al paral­y­sis”, the PP accept­ed the agree­ment as well. The Lis­bon Treaty – said Mr. Rajoy – is bet­ter, even with these cut­backs, than the cur­rent fail­ure to make progress in the EU.[2] It is inter­est­ing to note that, despite this “paral­y­sis“ and despite the fact that the Nice Treaty – which increased Spain’s weight in the Coun­cil to a very sim­i­lar lev­el to the four largest mem­ber states – was suc­cess­ful­ly nego­ti­at­ed by the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter and for­mer PP leader José María Aznar, the Span­ish con­ser­v­a­tives have not tak­en the oppor­tu­ni­ty of the Irish ‘No’ to remark on the insti­tu­tion­al advan­tages for Spain of the Nice insti­tu­tion­al frame­work. They did not do so either dur­ing the ‘reflec­tion peri­od’ that fol­lowed the fail­ure of the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Treaty in 2005, since the PP has always offi­cial­ly sup­port­ed the reform and asked its elec­tors to vote ‘Yes’ in the ref­er­en­dum that was held in Feb­ru­ary 2005. How­ev­er, it is true that some voic­es with­in the PP – and, per­haps, with­in the gov­ern­ment – sug­gest that Nice insti­tu­tions are not so ter­ri­ble and that, in par­tic­u­lar, Spain can live com­fort­ably with 27 votes at the EU Coun­cil – and only 50 MEPs – instead of with the dou­ble major­i­ty vot­ing sys­tem – and four addi­tion­al deputies.

Nev­er­the­less, most Span­ish peo­ple and the polit­i­cal elites are unam­bigu­ous sup­port­ers of the Reform Treaty and, there­fore, the post­pone­ment of its entry into force is con­sid­ered dam­ag­ing to Spain’s nation­al inter­ests. How­ev­er, the truth is that a lit­tle addi­tion­al peri­od of uncer­tain­ty, at least, until Jan­u­ary 2010 may be wel­comed by the offi­cials who are prepar­ing the Span­ish EU Pres­i­den­cy dur­ing the first semes­ter of the next year, since the main­te­nance of the cur­rent insti­tu­tion­al archi­tec­ture would help to: (i) ease the organ­i­sa­tion and smooth func­tion­ing of a ‘tra­di­tion­al’ rotat­ing Pres­i­den­cy; and (ii) ensure the vis­i­bil­i­ty of the Span­ish Prime Min­is­ter in the Euro­pean Coun­cil and impor­tant bilat­er­al sum­mits to be held dur­ing the semes­ter – such as the EU-US –, in the absence of the new Lis­bon fig­ures: the per­ma­nent Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Coun­cil and the rein­forced High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, whose pre­cise roles, means and sta­tus have not been specified.[3]

On the oth­er hand, a sec­ond ‘No’ in Ire­land or a fail­ure in the Czech Repub­lic to com­plete the rat­i­fi­ca­tion this year – because of the lack of a major­i­ty in the Sen­ate, a neg­a­tive rul­ing on the Treaty if it is again side-tracked to the Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court, or a refusal of Pres­i­dent Vaclav Klaus to sign the instru­ment of rat­i­fi­ca­tion – might cause many headaches dur­ing the Pres­i­den­cy if the EU looks to Spain in search of ideas to deal with this scenery of insti­tu­tion­al cri­sis. Span­ish offi­cials have already stat­ed that, if this is the case, the first semes­ter of 2010 would be per­haps too pre­ma­ture to launch any ‘Plan C’ initiative.[4] But, even con­sid­er­ing that rat­i­fi­ca­tion con­tin­ues to be sur­round­ed by great uncer­tain­ty and that it is there­fore dif­fi­cult to fore­see the insti­tu­tion­al agen­da of the Span­ish Pres­i­den­cy, it is indeed quite fea­si­ble that the Treaty should come into force in late 2009 or ear­ly 2010. Depend­ing on the exact date, this may affect the Spain’s task to imple­ment or not the new insti­tu­tion­al instru­ments includ­ed in Lis­bon. In any case, what is already clear also is that some oblig­a­tions will not be ful­filled at all; for exam­ple, in the exter­nal and defence fields, where some nov­el­ties such as the EU Exter­nal Action Ser­vice will need some time before they can become ful­ly oper­a­tional. Also linked to the new Treaty pro­vi­sions, but rather affect­ing the Span­ish par­lia­ment, is the def­i­n­i­tion this year of the new pro­ce­dure for the rein­forced input of the two-cham­ber Cortes – and, prob­a­bly, the 17 region­al par­lia­ments as well – in the EU’s leg­isla­tive process through the so-called ear­ly warn­ing sys­tem.

Fur­ther­more, Span­ish offi­cials devot­ed to EU affairs will not only have to pre­pare dur­ing 2009 the six-month rotat­ing Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy but also the 18-month Team Coun­cil Pres­i­den­cy with Bel­gium and Hun­gary. The S‑B-H Trio wants to be the real first one to have a com­mon agen­da which start­ed to be defined in Madrid last Sep­tem­ber 2008 accord­ing to the fol­low­ing five pri­or­i­ties:

(1)   Lis­bon Strat­e­gy.

(2)   New EU poli­cies: glob­al cli­mate change, ener­gy secu­ri­ty, migra­tion and inno­va­tion tri­an­gle.

(3)   Bud­get reform for the next finan­cial per­spec­tives.

(4)   Insti­tu­tion­al reforms (and Stock­holm Pro­gramme in par­tic­u­lar).

(5)   Widen­ing (West Balkan inte­gra­tion and Euro­pean Neigh­bour­hood Pol­i­cy reform).

The upcom­ing Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions in June 2009 are con­sid­ered in Spain, as else­where in Europe, a domes­tic polit­i­cal event rather than a real Euro­pean elec­toral process. Although this is a gen­er­al fea­ture of all EP elec­tions, it is espe­cial­ly true this year, con­sid­er­ing the polit­i­cal weak­ness of Prime Min­is­ter Zap­a­tero in a sce­nario of deep eco­nom­ic cri­sis and the fact that his gov­ern­ment does not enjoy a major­i­ty in par­lia­ment and is not backed by any oth­er par­ty oth­er than its own. Thus, heads of lists in the main can­di­da­tures are impor­tant politi­cians but not specif­i­cal­ly experts on EU mat­ters. Their pre­vi­ous polit­i­cal expe­ri­ence has more to do with inter­nal and not par­tic­u­lar­ly Euro­pean top­ics: a for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter in the case of the Social­ist Par­ty, a for­mer Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter in the case of the Pop­u­lar Par­ty and an econ­o­mist spe­cialised in Cata­lan region­al infra­struc­tures in the case of the most impor­tant periph­er­al nation­al­ist coali­tion.

Regard­ing the for­ma­tion of the new Com­mis­sion in autumn 2009, José Manuel Bar­roso and his Com­mis­sion­ers are gen­er­al­ly per­ceived in Spain as a com­pe­tent team with a cor­rect leader. The over­all assess­ment of both pol­i­tics and pol­i­cy out­puts is pos­i­tive. First, and look­ing to pol­i­tics, this Com­mis­sion has been able to regain its cred­i­bil­i­ty after the con­tro­ver­sial Pro­di Com­mis­sion, estab­lished good rela­tions with the Coun­cil and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, and func­tioned smooth­ly, which is not an easy task in a Europe of 27 Mem­ber States. As con­cerns to poli­cies, three impor­tant achieve­ments should be men­tioned from Spain’s point of view:

a)     The final out­come of the Finan­cial Per­spec­tives 2007–2013, in which the Com­mis­sion defend­ed Europe’s com­mon inter­ests with an accept­able degree of suc­cess.

b)    The basis for a com­mon Euro­pean pol­i­cy on Migra­tion, one of the most impor­tant pri­or­i­ties on the Span­ish government’s inter­nal and exter­nal agen­da.

c)     The tar­get of cut­ting green­house gas emis­sions by 20%, pro­duce 20% of its ener­gy from renew­able ener­gies and increase effi­cien­cy by 20% (the so-called “20/20/20 by 2020”) was high­ly appre­ci­at­ed in Spain, which sup­ports an EU com­mon ener­gy strat­e­gy despite its poor per­for­mance in green­house gas­es emis­sions.

If, as it is fore­seen, the Euro­pean People’s Par­ty gets a major­i­ty of seats in the next EP elec­tions, the Span­ish gov­ern­ment and even social­ist MEPs would be will­ing to back him for a sec­ond term. It is dif­fi­cult to state who will be the next Com­mis­sion­er from Spain, since it is not yet known if the next Com­mis­sion will have 27 mem­bers or less. In prin­ci­ple, Joaquín Almu­nia – mem­ber of the gov­ern­ing Social­ist Par­ty –, who is respon­si­ble for the key port­fo­lio of Eco­nom­ic and Mon­e­tary affairs, should con­tin­ue since his track record is impec­ca­ble: high­ly skilled, with a tru­ly Euro­pean view and very well con­nect­ed with the Pres­i­dent of the Com­mis­sion. In the event of the Lis­bon Treaty final­ly being rat­i­fied by all mem­ber states and the post of CFSP High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive becomes part of the Com­mis­sion, then Spain would prob­a­bly pre­fer to pre­serve this posi­tion and then Javier Solana would be the Span­ish Com­mis­sion­er as High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive. How­ev­er, it is also said that Solana, who is also a mem­ber of the Social­ist par­ty, is some­what tired and, nev­er­the­less, it will be dif­fi­cult for Spain to retain the posi­tion of High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for a new appoint­ment. In any case, it should be under­lined that Spain (with or with­out Treaty into force) will prob­a­bly ‘lose’ one of its two key insti­tu­tion­al posi­tions in the EU machin­ery after autumn 2009.

2. Transatlantic relations renewed after President Bush: top priorities


Spanish priorities for a re-definition or re-vitalisation of transatlantic relations

Accord­ing to the Span­ish pre­pon­der­ant view, the three top pri­or­i­ties for a re-def­i­n­i­tion or re-vital­i­sa­tion of the transat­lantic and EU-US rela­tion­ship would be:

a)     An effec­tive and co-ordi­nat­ed man­age­ment of the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis.

b)    New approach to secu­ri­ty and peace-build­ing com­ple­ment­ing mil­i­tary action with soft pow­er tools in order to deal with new con­flicts and their caus­es. In this con­text, Spain believes that the ‘Alliance of Civ­i­liza­tions’, pro­posed to the UN by Prime Min­is­ter Zap­a­tero in 2005, could be a rel­e­vant instru­ment to defeat vio­lence.

c)     A new US approach to effi­cient mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism beyond secu­ri­ty affairs, espe­cial­ly with respect to the fight against cli­mate change, the inter­na­tion­al law and coop­er­a­tion in the fields of edu­ca­tion, research and devel­op­ment.

Con­sid­er­ing specif­i­cal­ly the rela­tion­ship between Spain and the US[5], we have to bear in mind that, dur­ing the Bush years, rela­tions oscil­lat­ed from warm (thanks to the uncon­di­tion­al sup­port of the for­mer con­ser­v­a­tive Prime Min­is­ter Aznar to the Iraq inva­sion) to cold (because of the with­draw­al of Span­ish troops from Iraq when the social­ist Prime Min­is­ter Zap­a­tero was appoint­ed in 2004). Nev­er­the­less, Spain and the Unit­ed States have main­tained good rela­tions dur­ing the last four years in defence, counter-ter­ror­ism, police and judi­cial coop­er­a­tion and with­in NATO. In the eco­nom­ic realm, the sit­u­a­tion is also very flu­id par­tic­u­lar­ly with regard to mutu­al for­eign direct invest­ment (FDI).

Nev­er­the­less, the Span­ish gov­ern­ment is cur­rent­ly try­ing to rein­vig­o­rate and improve rela­tions with the US. Tak­ing into account the per­spec­tive of the Span­ish EU Pres­i­den­cy dur­ing the first semes­ter of 2010, transat­lantic rela­tions have been defined by Prime Min­is­ter Zap­a­tero as “a pri­or­i­ty task” for the Spain dur­ing its Presidency.[6] In this vein, the gov­ern­ment is now defin­ing a new agen­da for rela­tions with the Oba­ma administration.[7] The Span­ish gov­ern­ment wants to rein­vig­o­rate the frame­work of the Euro­pean Union to face inter­na­tion­al chal­lenges such as the Iran­ian nuclear pro­gramme, the Israel-Pales­tin­ian con­flict, or the rela­tions with Rus­sia. Oth­er impor­tant issues, such as UN reform, post-Kyoto agree­ment (Copen­hagen), the fight against pover­ty, or the rein­force­ment of the EU-US coor­di­na­tion toward Latin-Amer­i­ca may be also includ­ed in the renewed Transat­lantic Agen­da that can be agreed by the EU-US sum­mit to be held next 2010.[8]

It is true that a renewed part­ner­ship may be dif­fi­cult to con­vert into tan­gi­ble real­i­ties, and the EU – and par­tic­u­lar­ly Spain – will find sev­er­al dif­fi­cul­ties in meet­ing US demands, for exam­ple with regard to troop deploy­ments in Afghanistan. How­ev­er, there are also many rea­sons to believe that the hori­zon looks bright for the transat­lantic rela­tions; not only for the EU in gen­er­al but also for Spain in par­tic­u­lar. Oba­ma’s pri­or­i­ty to revive the econ­o­my and reform its reg­u­la­to­ry frame­work, along with his pledge to achieve ener­gy inde­pen­dence and rebuild the coun­try’s fail­ing infra­struc­ture, bodes well for Spain. Not only might Spain share the lessons of the reg­u­la­to­ry expe­ri­ence that has kept its banks from col­laps­ing, it might also – as one of the worlds lead­ers in the renew­able ener­gy sec­tor – offer to cre­ate an ener­gy inde­pen­dence alliance with the Unit­ed States. Spain’s con­struc­tion com­pa­nies – also world lead­ers in their own right, but now feel­ing the effects of a whop­ping hang­over from their own bub­ble – would be will­ing and able to lend a hand in the rebuild­ing of U.S. infra­struc­ture. Final­ly, Oba­ma’s pro­pos­al to cre­ate a new Part­ner­ship for Ener­gy Secu­ri­ty in the West­ern Hemi­sphere, and to send an Ener­gy Corps of young engi­neers into Latin Amer­i­ca, offers Zap­a­tero the oppor­tu­ni­ty to sug­gest some tan­gi­ble con­tent for the kind of pro­duc­tive U.S.-Spanish col­lab­o­ra­tion in Latin Amer­i­ca that Bush and for­mer Prime Min­is­ter José María Aznar used to only dream about.[9]

3. Financial crisis and challenges of global governance: the EU response


Financial crisis and challenges of global governance

The glob­al finan­cial cri­sis that has pushed the EU, and par­tic­u­lar­ly Spain, to eco­nom­ic reces­sion dur­ing the sec­ond half of 2008 has demon­strat­ed, more than ever, the deep inter­de­pen­dence that exists in Europe and the world. Span­ish econ­o­mists, like most inter­na­tion­al ana­lysts, do not ques­tion any longer the fact that we are fac­ing the great­est inter­na­tion­al finan­cial cri­sis since the Great Depression.[10] Since Sep­tem­ber 2008, the world has seen unprece­dent­ed events that are re-shap­ing the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial sys­tem and chal­leng­ing lib­er­al eco­nom­ic ortho­doxy. Now, gov­ern­ments are launch­ing res­cue pack­ages – first for spe­cif­ic finan­cial insti­tu­tions and then for the bank­ing sys­tem as a whole although the Span­ish finan­cial sec­tor had remained rel­a­tive­ly safe from the tur­moil in the mar­kets, thanks to the poli­cies enforced by the Bank of Spain. Cen­tral banks, includ­ing the ECB, have also opened up new chan­nels for increas­ing a liq­uid­i­ty that still is lack­ing. And, what ini­tial­ly appeared to be a liq­uid­i­ty prob­lem is also turn­ing out to be a sol­ven­cy prob­lem that requires a hefty recap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of the bank­ing sys­tem in advanced coun­tries. Fis­cal stim­u­lus pack­ages have also been launched and, final­ly, and above all, deci­sion mak­ers and experts con­sid­er now nec­es­sary to improve reg­u­la­tion of the finan­cial sec­tor. In this con­text, the expec­ta­tions towards the EU in Spain are ambigu­ous, since the per­for­mance of the ECB or the Com­mis­sion has been per­ceived as tech­ni­cal­ly cor­rect (despite being less ambi­tious than the US response) but the real prob­lem of the EU con­tin­ues to be the dif­fi­cul­ty to act with real polit­i­cal will and to gen­er­ate the lead­er­ship that are indeed need­ed at times like these for restor­ing con­fi­dence to the mar­kets. Although it is dif­fi­cult to forge and con­sol­i­date strong polit­i­cal lead­er­ship at a time of cri­sis – and this is par­tic­u­lar­ly true in Europe, where the Lis­bon Treaty is not even into force after near­ly a decade of insti­tu­tion­al debate – there is no oth­er recourse. In the face of pan­ic, tech­ni­cal solu­tions are not enough to restore mar­ket con­fi­dence. For this rea­son, lead­er­ship can only be shared and must be based on coop­er­a­tion among states. All in all, as of mid-autumn, the lead­er­ship emerg­ing from Europe and con­cert­ed gov­ern­ment action restored some degree of con­fi­dence. But cap­i­tal con­tin­ued to flee towards safer assets, the inter-bank mar­ket still had prob­lems and the struc­tur­al caus­es of the cri­sis had not been resolved.

Notwith­stand­ing all this, the cri­sis will serve as well as an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the EU in gen­er­al and for the Euro in par­tic­u­lar as a glob­al reserve cur­ren­cy. First, because it can be expect­ed that the new inter­na­tion­al finan­cial archi­tec­ture that emerges after the cri­sis will have a greater sim­i­lar­i­ty to that of con­ti­nen­tal Europe than to the Anglo-Sax­on mod­el. This will pro­vide an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the Union to take on greater glob­al lead­er­ship, if it is capa­ble of speak­ing with one voice on the world stage. Sec­ond­ly, because the cri­sis gives the Euro a chance to gain ground against the US dol­lar as an inter­na­tion­al reserve cur­ren­cy, a change which needs the polit­i­cal-insti­tu­tion­al struc­ture of the Euro­zone to be suf­fi­cient­ly sol­id. All in all, the cri­sis marks an oppor­tu­ni­ty for the EU if it is capa­ble of using the cur­rent, dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion to strength­en itself and improve its inter­nal eco­nom­ic governance.[11] In this con­text, there is an open dis­cus­sion in Spain as some ana­lysts sug­gest that the per­for­mance of the EU would improve sig­nif­i­cant­ly by chang­ing some aspects of the eco­nom­ic insti­tu­tion­al gov­er­nance in the EU[12] and a sin­gle Euro­pean Trea­sury has even been suggested.[13]

Indeed, the cri­sis will have major geopo­lit­i­cal con­se­quences, which are dif­fi­cult to pre­dict. Nev­er­the­less, this might accel­er­ate reforms of insti­tu­tions of glob­al gov­er­nance and make clear the need to strength­en the forums for mul­ti­lat­er­al coop­er­a­tion beyond Brus­sels or the G7/G8, being prob­a­bly the G20 the bet­ter are­na for co-ordi­nat­ing the inter­na­tion­al response. This means sig­nif­i­cant shift in the inter­na­tion­al pow­er con­stel­la­tion – since now emerg­ing pow­ers such as Chi­na, India, or Brazil are includ­ed in the new glob­al deci­sion mak­ing. The Span­ish gov­ern­ment, which is not a mem­ber of the Group despite being the 8th-11th world economy[14], re-act­ed to be invit­ed to the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial sum­mit organ­ised by George Bush in Wash­ing­ton last Novem­ber 2008 in which ini­tial­ly only mem­bers of the group G20 could par­tic­i­pate. Spain did intense lob­by­ing to be invit­ed to this cru­cial sum­mit and, again, to the fol­low­ing one to be held in Lon­don in April 2009. Where­as it may be under­stand­able that Spain is not part of the G8, it is arguable that Spain is not part of the G20 while much less rich coun­tries such as Argenti­na, Indone­sia, South Africa, or Turkey are. Spain final­ly was invit­ed, thanks to the sup­port of the French Pres­i­dent Sarkozy, who left to the Prime Min­is­ter Zap­a­tero one of his two chairs – one for France as such and the oth­er for being the rotat­ing EU Pres­i­den­cy – at the sum­mit. How­ev­er, Spain is not yet a for­mal mem­ber of the G20 but is doing a diplo­mat­ic effort which should con­clude in the offi­cial admis­sion of Spain and the sub­se­quent enlarge­ment of the G20.




[1] See the address by the PM Rodríguez Zap­a­tero in the Par­lia­men­tary Jour­nal of Debates (Diario de Sesiones del Con­gre­so, IX Leg­is­latu­ra), 53rd Ple­nary Ses­sion, 18 Decem­ber, 2008, Span­ish Con­gress, avail­able at:–1&FMT=PUWTXDTS.fmt&QUERY=%28CDP200812180056.CODI.%29#(Página4) (last access: 30 March 2009).
[2] See the address by the oppo­si­tion leader Mar­i­ano Rajoy in the Par­lia­men­tary Jour­nal of Debates (Diario de Sesiones del Con­gre­so, IX Leg­is­latu­ra), 53rd Ple­nary Ses­sion, 18 Decem­ber, 2008, Span­ish Con­gress, avail­able at:–1&FMT=PUWTXDTS.fmt&QUERY=%28CDP200812180056.CODI.%29#(Página8) (last access: 30 March 2009).
[3] As it has been under­lined (see Atti­la Agg, 2009, “Glob­al Cri­sis Man­age­ment and EU Team Pres­i­den­cies: Euro­pean Insti­tu­tions at the Cross­roads”, paper pre­sent­ed at the sem­i­nar “A Com­mon Pro­gram for the 2010-11 Team EU Pres­i­den­cy”, Madrid, Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute): “the decap­i­ta­tion of the rotat­ing pres­i­den­cies with the ’unem­ployed’ prime min­is­ters can cre­ate ten­sions between the EU bod­ies and the nation states con­cerned, first in Spain. Giv­en the delay of the rat­i­fi­ca­tion process both prob­lems could have been treat­ed but no spe­cial effort can be noticed in this direc­tion. No doubt that the sep­a­ra­tion of the Gen­er­al Affairs Coun­cil and the Exter­nal Rela­tions Coun­cil can solve some prob­lems, since the GAC may pro­vide a job for the prime min­is­ters con­cerned and with an open coali­tion-build­ing role can solve some coor­di­na­tion prob­lems among the mem­ber states. Most like­ly that the ERC will be the area of big pow­er con­tes­ta­tion in the field of the clas­si­cal for­eign pol­i­cy and secu­ri­ty as well as in the EU for­eign pol­i­cy beyond Europe“. To be sure, the divi­sion of the For­eign Affairs from the Gen­er­al Affairs Coun­cil could become very sen­si­tive giv­en the impli­ca­tions for the inter­nal organ­i­sa­tion of nation­al exec­u­tives, includ­ing the Span­ish one.
[4] Nev­er­the­less, in case of a new fail­ure in the rat­i­fi­ca­tion process, some Span­ish offi­cials and ana­lysts start to advance their sup­port to an insti­tu­tion­al reform ori­ent­ed towards dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed inte­gra­tion, with­out need of una­nim­i­ty to go fur­ther. Even if the Lis­bon Treaty com­pletes the rat­i­fi­ca­tion, a mul­ti-speed Europe – per­haps through the effec­tive launch­ing of the enhanced co-oper­a­tions includ­ed in the Treaty – seems to be also unavoid­able in a het­ero­ge­neous EU of, at least, 27 mem­bers. See Car­los Closa, 2008, After Ire­land: Ref­er­en­dum and Una­nim­i­ty (Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute ARI 62/2008), avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[5] See Ali­cia Sor­roza and David Gar­cía Can­ta­lapiedra, 2008, “Spain“, in: Transat­lantic Rela­tions 2009 Euro­pean Expec­ta­tions for the Post-Bush Era, ed. by Jan Techau and Alexan­der Ski­ba. EPIN Work­ing Paper No. 20 / Novem­ber 2008, avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[6] See address by the Prime Min­is­ter Rodríguez Zap­a­tero on the pri­or­i­ties of the 2010 Span­ish EU Pres­i­den­cy on 12 Feb­ru­ary 2009 organ­ised by the Aso­ciación de Peri­odis­tas Europeos, avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[7] It is remark­able that 90% of Spaniards have a pos­i­tive opin­ion of Obama’s elec­tion. More­over, 70% believe there will be sig­nif­i­cant changes in US for­eign pol­i­cy and 70% also believe Obama’s elec­tion will be ben­e­fi­cial for Spain. See 19th wave of the Barom­e­ter of the Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute (Decem­ber 2008), avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[8] See Ali­cia Sor­roza and David Gar­cía Can­ta­lapiedra, 2008 (ibi­dem).
[9] See “Don’t ignore Euro­pean eco­nom­ic pow­er­house”, Paul Isbell, The Mia­mi Her­ald, Novem­ber 11, 2008.
[10] See Fed­eri­co Stein­berg, 2008, The Glob­al Finan­cial Cri­sis: Caus­es and Polit­i­cal Response (Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute ARI, 126/2008), avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[11] See Fed­eri­co Stein­berg, 2008 (ibi­dem).
[12] See Car­los Mulas, 2009, Improv­ing Eco­nom­ic Gov­er­nance in the EU (Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute ARI, 12/2009), avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[13] See Juan I. Cre­spo, 2009, A Tool for the Eco­nom­ic Cri­sis: A Sin­gle Euro­pean Trea­sury (Elcano Roy­al Insti­tute ARI 31/2009), avail­able at: (last access: 30 March 2009).
[14] It depends on mea­sur­ing the Gross Domes­tic Prod­uct nom­i­nal­ly (and, thus, Spain would be the 8th biggest econ­o­my of the world) or mea­sur­ing the GDP derived from pur­chas­ing pow­er par­i­ty (PPP) cal­cu­la­tions, in which Spain places 11th.