Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - Personal » Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister Biography - Found Socialism During College, Garnered Support For The Psoe, Change And Victory For The Psoe

Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister - Took Spain In A New Direction

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Under González's rule, Spain shook off the last vestiges of isolation from the Franco days. Spain had joined the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO) only six months before the 1982 elections, a move that the PSOE had initially opposed. González, taking a longer-term view, expressed his support for the move, and the government agreed to maintain the alliance. The country voted in a 1986 referendum to continue Spain's NATO membership. González led Spain into the European Economic Community in 1986, a significant move that further strengthened ties with the rest of Europe and that helped strengthen Spain's economy. He also managed to attract a considerable amount of foreign investment into the country, a move that won him allies among the business community (not normally known for its friendly attitude toward socialism). While Spain under González did not attempt to ally itself specifically with either the United States or the Soviet Union, the government did work to maintain good relations with the United States. In the mid-1980s Spain and the United States reached a key agreement reducing the number of American military forces stationed in Spain.

Socialism was riding a wave of popularity in Europe when González became Spanish prime minister, and he capitalized on that popularity to develop good relationships with socialist leaders. His brand of socialism, known in some circles as Felipismo, was conservative by traditional socialist measurements, and during his tenure as prime minister both supporters and foes noted that he became increasingly conservative. González answered critics by explaining that he preferred a pragmatic rather than a doctrinaire approach to governing.

Domestically, González's policies met with mixed results. His push to include Spain in the EEC did improve the Spanish economy; inflation in Spain dropped from 15 percent in 1982 to under five percent in 1988, and Spanish gross domestic product grew at a respectable rate. The González government was unable, however, to reduce unemployment demonstrably. The unemployment rate in Spain hovered around 20 percent during much of his tenure. González tried various means of cost-cutting including a freeze on social benefits. A growing trade deficit, coupled with higher interest rates, cost him some of the good will he had garnered from the business community when he first took office. Nevertheless, he remained personally popular.

Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister - Continued To Promote Spain After Term [next] [back] Felipe González Márquez: 1942—: Spanish Prime Minister - Change And Victory For The Psoe

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