Spain | Spain Joins the EU and Aznar's Popular Party Comes to Power
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- Civil War Leads to Franco's Rule and the Reestablishment of a Ceremonial Monarchy
- Spain Joins the EU and Aznar's Popular Party Comes to Power
- Terrorist Bombing in Madrid Leads to Change in Government
- Separatist Group ETA Disarms and Renounces Violence
- Socialists Lose Control of Parliament Amid Financial Crisis
- King Juan Carlos Abdicates
- Hundreds of Migrants Enter Country
- Catalonia's Vote for Independence; First Ebola Patient outside Africa
Spain Joins the EU and Aznar's Popular Party Comes to Power
Spain entered NATO in 1982. Spain, along with Portugal, joined the European Economic Community, now the European Union, in 1986. General elections in March 1996 produced a victory for the conservative Popular Party, and its leader, José María Aznar, became prime minister. He and his party easily won reelection in 2000.
In Aug. 2002, Batasuna, the political wing of the Basque terrorist organization ETA, was banned. The wisdom of driving the party underground instead of permitting it a legitimate political outlet has been questioned.
Aznar's backing of the U.S. war in Iraq was highly unpopular—90% of Spaniards opposed the war. (Spain sent no troops to Iraq during the war but contributed 1,300 peacekeeping forces during the reconstruction period.) Yet Aznar's Popular Party did extremely well in municipal elections in May 2003. The country's relative prosperity and the prime minister's tough stance against the ETA were thought to be responsible for the strong showing.