Spain and France

Spain and France

While the Soviet Union appeared to most Spaniards to be too far away to pose any immediate threat, Spain's most difficult relations in the postwar years were with its European neighbor to the north, France. Spain's relations with France had been troublesome since 1945, when France called for an Allied invasion of Spain to remove the last fascist dictator. When the United States and Britain refused to agree to such a course of action, France permitted anti-Franco forces to use France as a base for organizing raids into Spain. When some of these infiltrators were apprehended and executed in Spain in 1946, the Allies declared that Spain would be forbidden to join the UN while under the control of Franco. France was also the major obstacle to Spain's entry into the EC. Responding to the pressures of a strong agricultural lobby, the French government succeeded in delaying Spanish membership in the EC.

French policies also exacerbated Spain's most volatile domestic political problem, that of Basque terrorism. For years, France maintained a policy of providing sanctuary to terrorists, who were seen as "resistance fighters." This policy became less tenable, however, after the democratization of Spain. Following the appearance of terrorist activity within France itself, the policy of sanctuary was markedly restricted, and by 1986 France was cooperating with Spain in efforts to combat terrorist activity.

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