The EU and democratic leverage:are there still lessons to be learnt from the Spanish transition to democracy?


The issue of conditionality and how the EU should seek to influence positive transformations in its periphery is as relevant today as it was in the early 1990s. There are some important lessons that can still be learned from the Spanish transition to democracy in this respect. By combining strict conditionality with its ‘normative power’, the European Community managed to shape—if not make—the Spanish transition to democracy. The consensus surrounding European integration worked as a unifying factor amongst all of the elite groups by giving them a common goal. This broad consensus ensured that no elite group could act in the sort of irresponsible way that could jeopardise the democratisation process and, by inference, the integration of Spain with the Community. At the same time, the EC worked as a sort of moderating force. Neither of these positive effects would have occurred had the EC not used its leverage potential and remained firmed in its stance of conditioning accession to Spain taking clear steps towards democratisation.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: Languages & Social Sciences
Languages & Social Sciences > Spanish
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of contemporary European studies on 11/12/2014, available online:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spanish transition,democratic conditionality ,EU leverage ,linkage and leverage,democratisation
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Related URLs: http://www.tand ... 804.2014.978748 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Special issue
Published Date: 2015-11
Published Online Date: 2014-12-11
Authors: Calderón Martinez, Pablo ( 0000-0001-5666-9836)



Version: Accepted Version

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