Spain is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with a head of government - the prime minister - and a head of state - the monarch. A council of ministers is the executive branch and is presided over by the prime minister. Spain is a unitary state, composed of 17 autonomous communities and 2 autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy.
Trade and economy
The most important sectors of Spain’s economy in 2016 were wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food services (23.4 %), public administration, defence, education, human health and social work activities (18.9 %), and industry (17.8 %).
Intra-EU trade accounts for 67% of Spain’s exports (France 15%, Germany 11% and Italy 8%), while outside the EU 4% go to the United States and 3% to Morocco.
In terms of imports, 62% come from EU countries (Germany 15%, France 12% and Italy 7%), while outside the EU 7% come from China and 4% from the United States.
Spain in the EU
Council of the EU
In the Council of the EU, national ministers meet regularly to adopt EU laws and coordinate policies. Council meetings are regularly attended by representatives from the Spanish government, depending on the policy area being addressed.
Presidency of the Council of the EU
The Council of the EU doesn't have a permanent, single-person president (like e.g. the Commission or Parliament). Instead, its work is led by the country holding the Council presidency, which rotates every 6 months.
During these 6 months, ministers from that country's government chair and help determine the agenda of Council meetings in each policy area, and facilitate dialogue with the other EU institutions.
Dates of Spanish presidencies:
Jan-Jun 1989 | Jul-Dec 1995 | Jan-Jun 2002 | Jan-Jun 2010
The Commissioner nominated by Spain to the European Commission is Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission.
The Commission is represented in each EU country by a local office, called a "representation".
European Economic & Social Committee
Spain has 21 representatives on the European Economic and Social Committee. This advisory body – representing employers, workers and other interest groups – is consulted on proposed laws, to get a better idea of the possible changes to work and social situations in member countries.
European Committee of the Regions
Spain has 21 representatives on the European Committee of the Regions, the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives. This advisory body is consulted on proposed laws, to ensure these laws take account of the perspective from each region of the EU.
Permanent representation to the EU
Spain also communicates with the EU institutions through its permanent representation in Brussels. As Spain's "embassy to the EU", its main task is to ensure that the country's interests and policies are pursued as effectively as possible in the EU.
Budgets and Funding
How much does Spain pay and receive?
How much each EU country pays into the EU budget is calculated fairly, according to means. The larger your country's economy, the more it pays – and vice versa.
The EU budget doesn't aim to redistribute wealth, but rather focuses on the needs of Europeans as a whole.
2018 figures for Spain:
- Total EU spend in Spain – € 12.270 billion
(equivalent to 1.02 % of the Spanish economy)
- Total contribution to EU budget – € 10.314 billion
(equivalent to 0.85 % of the Spanish economy)
More figures on the EU budget, revenue and spending:
EU-funded projects in Spain
The money paid into the EU budget by Spain helps fund programmes and projects in all EU countries - like building roads, subsidising researchers and protecting the environment.
Find out more about how Spain benefits from EU funding.