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In the Spanish Parliament, European affairs are dealt with in a joint committee made up of representatives of the Congress and the Senate. This committee is in charge of controlling the Government in matters related to the European Union; it is also the body in charge of controlling the Union’s compliance with the principle of subsidiarity. Until very recently, the Spanish Parliament’s control was not very demanding due mainly to three factors: first, because the current legislation obliges the Government only to inform the Cortes about its activities within the European Council and the Council, but does not allow the Cortes to give the Government a compulsory negotiating mandate; second, because the governments formed until recently had a sufficiently large parliamentary majority to be able to govern without parliamentary obstacles; and, third, because also until recently, European issues have generated a broad consensus, in general terms. However, the last two general elections have meant a radical change in the political scenario, which means, on the one hand, that the Government no longer has such large parliamentary majorities and, on the other hand, that the consensus about European affairs has considerably weakened. It is in this new context that the Spanish parliament addresses the Brexit issue: an issue that has an added difficulty for Spain—the Gibraltar question. This chapter thus analyses how the Spanish Parliament deals with Brexit. It studies how the Government-Parliament relations have played out over Brexit and how the Joint Committee for the EU has centralized these relations, and shows how Parliament’s influence on the Government’s position in the negotiations with the EU has been practically nil. It also underlines that the position of the political parties with respect to Brexit did not show great differences—the common position being one of rejection—and how the Cortes have tried to remain informed of public opinion and particular interests through the appearances of experts and professionals, as well as public officials and representatives of various social groups summoned to appear before the Joint Committee and to report to it to this effect.
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- The Spanish Parliament and Brexit
Antonio Bar Cendón
- Chapter 9