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Few politicians would argue that Spain's main interests are not linked to Europe. But why does this historic opportunity arouse very limited enthusiasm in Spanish citizens?

European Constitution referendum

Despite the support of the PSOE and the PP, and as an incentive by the opposition of Carod Rovira, tomorrow, February 19, a massive participation of Spanish citizens is not expected to support the European Constitution. It is known that the strong nationalist sentiment in European countries is detrimental to the illusion and enthusiasm that surrounds the European movements. In many cases, the idea of ​​Europe is even seen as a useful mechanism to reinforce smaller nationalisms, diluted in a larger territorial dimension and politically weaker.

One might wonder if the political leaders are targeting the construction of Europe well. The answer should be affirmative if we look at the attraction it causes in non-member countries, the tangible benefits it has brought with it for the growth and stability of member countries, etc.

But could it be done better?

The Europe that Zapatero should defend

It is a fact that instead of making its way through the “Europe of the cities, the citizens”, rather a Europe of civil servants, refugees in Brussels and with high salaries, have imposed a few programs that barely reach the citizens.

The Europe of researchers is reduced to an insufficient and badly distributed Framework Program, incapable of bringing together the leadership that in Science, Technology, Innovation ... corresponds naturally to the countries. Something that has to do very directly with the quality of jobs, progress, the future and the well-being of citizens. Europe is located not only behind the United States but increasingly distant from Asian countries that surpass it in strategy and results.

The Europe of the Superjumbo A380 is reminiscent of Titanic. A political image effort far behind the future lines that should be promoted, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, the information society ...

Along the same lines, we all feel proud to belong to a truly impressive culture in the eyes of any external visitor.

Few American citizens who preach chauvinism escape feeling surrendered visiting Europe through cities like Paris, London, Rome, Bucharest, Prague, Madrid, or hundreds of historic cities with impressive heritage and history.

But this culturality, this common heritage is seriously blurred for European citizens in a framework where there is room for press monopolies, relevant restrictions on the action of justice (Berlusconi's Italy), movements of a facistoid sign in various countries (Austria, France …), Poor coordination in the defense of a common foreign policy, or in the fight against terrorism. Europe cannot be supported without solid principles of common coexistence.

Spain in Europe

Zapatero has taken an important turn by radically changing José María Aznar's alliance policy towards the United States. It would seem like a correct twist. But it will be unproductive if the countries with the greatest leadership capacity (Germany, France, England…) do not give Spain a special political status that does not correspond to it (for example beyond Italy) by population or Gross Domestic Product. And this does not seem easy. At least it is not just a matter of diplomacy.

Spain in Europe and Latin America

Zapatero has to realize that the relevant dimension of Spain in Europe, which can excite companies, universities, citizens ... will be achieved through international weight and influence in other parts of the world. More specifically, Spain will gain a natural role in Europe, to the extent that it manages to influence Latin America. Perhaps both parts, Europe and Latin America, are very close for Spain.

It will be good to vote in tomorrow's referendum. But whatever the result in terms of participation, Zapatero will have a pending and urgent matter. That is, politically recovering a certain leadership in Latin America through Europe and Spanish and European companies that help the development of this region of the world, in a decisive fight against poverty.

Otherwise, Spain will remain in an increasingly marginal position within Europe, since the geographical and political epicenter is far from our territory and with each enlargement it will go further (example with Turkey), unless Spain is “Stretch” towards America, also following its historical tradition.

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