Sánchez Shouldn’t Fear Federalizing Spain

Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016
Spanish Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez listens during a meeting in Madrid, April 12, 2016 (PSOE)

There is hope here in Catalonia that the new Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, will be more conciliatory than the last. But he mustn’t make the same mistake as his predecessor, I argue in an op-ed for the Netherlands’ NRC newspaper. Read more

Spain Lifts Catalan Spending Controls, Hints at Constitutional Reform

Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party January 30, 2016
Pedro Sánchez addresses a conference of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party January 30, 2016 (PSOE)

Spain has lifted controls on Catalonia’s public finances and called for constitutional reforms to dissuade the region from breaking away.

The goodwill measures of the new Socialist government are an about-face from the clampdown under conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy, who was ousted in a confidence vote last week.

Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez, the new prime minister, backed Rajoy when he suspended Catalonia’s autonomy in the wake of the October 1 independence referendum. But he also argued for talks to convince a majority of Catalans to stay in Spain. Rajoy refused to so much as sit down with the region’s separatists. Read more

Sánchez Seek Leading Role in EU, Conservatives Play Petty Politics

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy and Socialist Party leader Pedro Sánchez wave at photographers before a meeting in Madrid, December 23, 2015 (PSOE)

Pedro Sánchez is filling his cabinet with what the Financial Times describes as respected European figures:

  • Nadia Calviño, the European Commission’s director general for budget, becomes Spain’s economy minister. She is considered “one of the brightest talents in the EU institutions.”
  • Josep Borrell, a former president of the European Parliament, is to become foreign minister. A native of Catalonia, he opposes independence for the region.

The appointments suggest Sánchez intends to be “a driving force in Brussels” while he is around. He is keen on French president Emmanuel Macron’s proposals for EU reform — unlike his conservative predecessor, Mariano Rajoy, who allied with Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel. Read more

Rajoy Steps Down as Party Leader. Here Are His Possible Successors

Then-Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría of Spain gives a news conference in Madrid, October 13, 2017
Then-Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría of Spain gives a news conference in Madrid, October 13, 2017 (La Moncloa)

Mariano Rajoy has stepped down as leader of Spain’s center-right People’s Party.

Resignation was inevitable after Rajoy became the first prime minister in Spanish democratic history to be removed from office last week. The opposition Socialists cobbled together a majority consisting of left-wing and regionalist parties to end the conservative’s six-and-a-half year tenure. Read more

Spain Isn’t Italy

The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011
The sun rises in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2011 (Wendy Rauw)

Given the timing over the political turmoil in Italy and Spain, it’s tempting to lump the two together and see one big threat to Europe’s political stability emanating from the south. (One example here.)

That’s not the wrong interpretation for Italy. The new government, of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League, really is opposed to EU principles of liberal democracy and shared sovereignty.

In Spain, though, the change in government could work out in Europe’s favor, as I explain in my latest contribution to the Atlantic Council’s New Atlanticist blog. Read more

Spain’s Rajoy Forced Out, Sánchez Elected Prime Minister

Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016
Spanish party leaders Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias meet in Madrid, February 5, 2016 (PSOE)
  • Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has lost a confidence vote in parliament in the wake of a corruption scandal in his conservative party.
  • The Socialist Party’s Pedro Sánchez takes his place with the support of far-left and regionalist parties. Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Confidence Vote in Spain

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014
Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy makes a speech in parliament in Madrid, November 19, 2014 (La Moncloa)

Spanish lawmakers are debating whether or not to remove Mariano Rajoy as prime minister. A no-confidence motion introduced by the opposition Socialist Party is due to be voted on tomorrow.

Here is everything you need to know about the vote, including its chances of success. Read more