The European Gatekeeper: The Netherlands, Spain and the European Community, 1973-1977
Forty-one years have passed since the start of the Spanish transition from dictatorship to democracy in 1975. This regime change did not unfold in isolation from external influences. Researchers have mainly investigated the role of major actors, while involvement of smaller players has had less emphasis placed on it. In this article, the foreign policy of the Netherlands regarding Spain and the European Community (EC) is examined during the last phase of the Francoregime (1973-1975) and the first phase of the transition to democracy (1975-1977). This period corresponds with the office term of the most progressive cabinet in Dutch parliamentary history, led by social democrat Joop den Uyl (May 1973 - December 1977). Research in the Dutch archives reveals that the Den Uyl government tried to act as a gatekeeper in Europe, demanding democratization as a condition for Spanish accession to the EC.
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