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Spain: the Need to Sell a Victory

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Chapter Summary

The attitudes and strategies followed by the Spanish political establishment vis-à-vis the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2000 could be consistently defined, similar to the trends already ascertained throughout the Amsterdam negotiations, as of "change within fundamental continuity". The Spanish public opinion what was at stake during the Nice negotiations was the personal 'international dimension' of Aznar and his negotiation abilities, always with regard to Gonzalez's reputation as an international statesman. Spain's final 'yes' to the extension of qualified majority voting (QMV) was only to be granted on the condition of not harming the Berlin 1999 agreements on structural and cohesion funds. The simplicity of the parliamentary procedure to pass the Organic Law approving the ratification of the Nice Treaty was reinforced by the double fact that no legal complaints whatsoever were raised by any parliamentary group and that the respective amendments proposed by the Basque and Galician 'nationalists' were merely nominal.

Keywords: Amsterdam negotiation; Aznar; Gonzalez's European policy; Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) 2000; parliamentary ratification; qualified majority voting (QMV); Spanish government



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