- A country that matters
Since its integration in the European Communities in 1986, Spain has had an important role in the development and consolidation of the current European Union (EU). Thanks to this membership, Spain has been able to perform a spectacular economic and social transformation.
Similarly, Spain and the Spaniards have made great contributions to the construction of Europe in fields as different as cultural and linguistic diversity, judicial cooperation or fight against terrorism. Furthermore, thanks to its cultural and geographic proximity, Spain has contributed to Europe a special connection with Latin America and the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
Spain has had and still has a strong presence in the institutions of the EU:
Spain has held the Council presidency of semi-annual turn four times: 1989, 1995, 2002 and 2010. During these presidencies, Spain has got to promote important initiatives as the European Arrest Warrant in 2002 or the EU-Morocco Summit in 2010.
Spain has held the Council presidency of semi-annual turn of the EU four times
In the European Commission, custodian institution of the Treaties, several Spaniards have stand out by their remarkable work as head of different departments as Marcelino Oreja, Pedro Solbes, Loyola de Palacio, Abel Matutes, Manuel Marin and Joaquin Almunia, who has served as European Commissioners in different areas. Currently, Miguel Arias Cañete is Commissioner for climate change and energy.
As member of the EU, Spain participates in the European Council meetings. Besides of the heads of State of each country, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (CFSP), position held by Javier Solana for a decade, participates in meetings.
Three Spaniards have been presidents of the European Parliament: Enrique Baron (1989-1992), Jose Maria Gil-Robles (1997-1999) and Josep Borrell (2004-2007).
Committee of the Regions
Two Spaniards have been presidents of this committee: Pasqual Maragall (1996-1998) and Ramon Luis Valcarcel (2012-2014)
Council of Europe
In addition to its participation in the European Union, Spain actively participates in the defence of the democracy, the Rule of Law and the human rights through the Council of Europe, which is part since 1977. Spain is the sixth largest contributor to the organization, with 7% of the total budget.
European Space Agency (ESA)
Faithful to its innovative and adventurous character, Spain is one of the twenty European countries members of the agency in charge of draw up the European space programme. With 6% of the total, it is the fifth largest contributor to the funding of the agency. In addition, Spain hosts the headquarters of the European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC) located in Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid.
The Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, through the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology, funded the Cervantes Mission of the ESA, led by Pedro Duque, the first Spanish astronaut.