From the Mediterranean comes a warning to Eastern European states preparing for membership that surprises are in store for them and that politicians should expect the unexpected.
Spain’s historic predicament as an unstable state unable to sustain the give-and-take needed for liberal-democratic government – the language even lacked a proper word for compromise – offered little but further turmoil after General Franco’s death. Centuries of economic decline and the complete destruction of production and infrastructure in the civil war had produced deep poverty and waves of emigration. Even the industrial base developed in the 1960s with heavy state-support remained uncompetitive or soon become obsolete. Further pain seemed likely as the ﬂedgling democracy was ﬂapping its wings at the gates of the European Union (EU).