In a poll of 1,500 in Spain conducted last weekend, Redfield & Wilton Strategies sought to get a sense of what members of the Spanish public thought about the European Union. Whereas its southern neighbour, Italy, had a sizable faction of Eurosceptics, as we found in a previous poll in Italy, Spain has almost no enthusiasm for leaving the EU.
In fact, nearly 80% of respondents to our poll indicated that, in a referendum, they would vote for Spain to remain a member of the European Union. A similar range of support can be seen in membership of the Euro currency.
Such overwhelming support may seem surprising in comparison to other southern European states as Italy and also Greece, which nearly left the Euro in 2015. However, Spain has had a unique history with the European Union and with democracy. Its accession into the bloc came in 1986, just a little more than a decade after the death of General Franco and the reinstitution of parliamentary democracy. In this sense, the memory of joining the EU is embedded in the memory of the return of democratic norms to Spain.
Asked about whether they thought membership of the European Union has had a positive or negative effect on their country, our Spanish respondents overwhelmingly thought membership had been a good thing.
As such, even the anti-austerity and anti-immigration parties are supportive of the European Union in Spain––making the country somewhat of an outlier among European nation-states. Whereas Italy and France primarily send Eurosceptic parties to the European Parliament, the pro-EU Socialist Party forms the largest bloc of European Parliamentarians from Spain. In some respects, therefore, the future of the EU will depend on leadership and enthusiasm coming from this nation, more so than even the founding members of the institution.