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Greece joined the European Union in 1981 because to become a member was a priority for Karamanlis but also since the sixties, Greece has been in association with the European Union with the Association Agreement in 1961. The country had difficulties at the beginning to fill the criteria because of a poor economic performance and hard to compromise. But its profile improves since the nineties with a rapid economic growth and the qualification to Eurozone in 2000, which was a success for Greek’s people. Spain joined the European Community in 1986, why so late, “a decade after the beginning of the country’s transition to democracy”11?

After Franco’s death, the integration to the European Community was unanimously supported, “Spaniards aimed to be Europeans to break with isolation, their hopes about the benefits they would obtain from joining Europe seem to have been accomplished”12, but it took time for Spain to consolidate its democracy. Hamann explains it: “many observers had by then concluded that Spanish democracy was consolidated and that the prospect of becoming a member of the European Community had contributed to this consolidation process”. 13.

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The impacts of the European anchorage in Greece, Italy and Spain were the following: a political stabilisation, a chance to join a big and unique market, economic convergence and to get an improved international profile: “entry into the European Community marked the beginning of a period of adaptation and harmonization”. 14 An economic convergence was really important, “the creation of a European Internal Market was expected to enhance the competitive position of European firms, that would exploit the comparative advantages of member-states and of European regions”15.

A political stabilisation was a very important point because it permitted to peer pressure and institutionalised scrutiny but also joining a “community of values” offered a new, and good, direction for domestic issues and reforms. To be sure that the quality of democracy in Southern Europe doesn’t become poor, they have to deal with the challenges of the future. First, the economic crisis underlines development disparities within theses countries: North versus South in Italy, large cities and touristic areas versus countryside in Spain and Greece.

Moreover, the burden of the public debt will be a threat for the future and will encourage “easy” answers from populist parties, like getting out of the Eurozone for example. Finally, the economic development models will have to be reinvented, particularly in Spain where the weight of real estate in the economy is too high and makes it more vulnerable to conjectural crisis and in Greece, which is too dependent on its tourism and not able to reimburse its debts.

Also, in Italy the country will have to restore its international image and get back to “humble” governing after the Berlusconi Era. The recent financial crises reinforced Italy, Greece and Spain anchorage to Europe, three countries with magnificent histories, from the invention of democracy in Athens to the ancient Roman republic in Italy and to the Golden Age of Spain. Let’s bet that they will have the talent to reinvent and revitalize their current political regimes to become again an inspiration for the world and prove that the quality of their democracies is everything but poor.

1630 Words BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. DIEZ-NICOLAS, Spaniards’ long march towards Europe in Spain and Portugal in the European Union, Frank Cass, London, 2003, 338 pages H. GIBSON, Economic transformation, democratization and integration into the European Union: Southern Europe in Comparative Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2001, 360 pages K. HAMANN, European Integration and Civil Society in Spain in Spain and Portugal in the European Union, Frank Cass, London, 2003, 338 pages D.

HINE, The consolidation of democracy in post-war Italy in Securing Democracy: Political parties and Democratic consolidation in Southern Europe, The Centre for Mediterranean Studies, Bristol, 1990, 227 pages T. LAWLOR and M. RIGBY, Contemporary Spain, Addison Wesley Longman Limited, New York, 1998, 416 pages E. MALEFAKIS, Spain and its Francoist heritage in From Dictatorship to Democracy, Greenwood Press, London, 1982, 311 pages P. McCARTHY, Italy Since 1945, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000, 264 pages G.

PRIDHAM, Securing Democracy: Political parties and Democratic consolidation in Southern Europe, The Centre for Mediterranean Studies, Bristol, 1990, 227 pages H. PSOMIADES, Greece: From the Colonels’ rule to Democracy in From Dictatorship to Democracy, Greenwood Press, London, 1982, 311 pages WEBSITES: http://www. economiaindustriale. unina. it/papers/Corr2004. pdf 1 G. PRIDHAM, Securing Democracy: Political parties and Democratic consolidation in Southern Europe, The Centre for Mediterranean Studies, Bristol, 1990, p.1 2 P. McCARTHY, Italy Since 1945, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000, p. 1 3 D.

HINE, The consolidation of democracy in post-war Italy in Securing Democracy: Political parties and Democratic consolidation in Southern Europe, The Centre for Mediterranean Studies, Bristol, 1990, p. 62 4 T. LAWLOR and M. RIGBY, Contemporary Spain, Addison Wesley Longman Limited, New York, 1998, p. 3 5 Ibidem 6 E. MALEFAKIS, Spain and its Francoist heritage in From Dictatorship to Democracy, Greenwood Press, London, 1982, p. 230 7 E.

MALEFAKIS, Spain and its Francoist heritage in From Dictatorship to Democracy, Greenwood Press, London, 1982, p. 230 8 H. PSOMIADES, Greece: From the Colonels’ rule to Democracy in From Dictatorship to Democracy, Greenwood Press, London, 1982, p 254-255 9 P. McCARTHY, Italy Since 1945, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000, p. 170 10 http://www. economiaindustriale. unina. it/papers/Corr2004. pdf 11 K. HAMANN, European Integration and Civil Society in Spain in Spain and Portugal in the European Union, Frank Cass, London, 2003, p. 47 12 J.

DIEZ-NICOLAS, Spaniards’ long march towards Europe in Spain and Portugal in the European Union, Frank Cass, London, 2003, p144 13 K. HAMANN, European Integration and Civil Society in Spain in Spain and Portugal in the European Union, Frank Cass, London, 2003, p. 47 14 T. LAWLOR and M. RIGBY, Contemporary Spain, Addison Wesley Longman Limited, New York, 1998, p. 103 15 H. GIBSON, Economic transformation, democratization and integration into the European Union: Southern Europe in Comparative Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2001, p. 81.

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