Traditionally, neighbors don´t get along. Spain and France are no different case, although in the last three decades things have changed for good

Felipe González (1982-1996, President of the Spanish Government)

There are so many examples of early misunderstandings (or really severe problems) between the two countries. Two countries that have fight against each other for a long time in Modern History (notably, when Carlos I of Spain and V of Germany and François I of France held their respectives thrones). That was on the XVI century.

Later, on the XIX century, things got worse: Napoleon decided to invade his ally from the South, Spain. With the invasion, he got the throne of Spain and gave it to his brother, José Bonaparte, apart from achieving the mistrust of the Spanish people, and finally an insurrection that was his first step to a final general defeat. That was called the Spanish War on Independence.

Last, but not least, we have to talk about Franco´s military coup in the 30s. France, governed by Leon Blum at that time, wanted to help the Spanish Republic (the legitimate regime, democratically elected), but instead, it stayed neutral as was accorded in the Non-Intervention Committee (which by the way wasn´t respected first by Germany and Italy and afterwards by the Soviet Union). After the World War II, again, France didn´t do anything (apart from promoting some resolutions on the UN) against the Spanish dictator.

Spain suffered then 40 years of a hardline dictatorship. When Franco died, in 1975, it was clear that the democracy had to finally arrive and stay in Spain. It was a time of so many illusions, a time that was felt as unique; and in that magical and tremendous atmosphere, Spain and all the Spaniards had one common objective: be part of Europe, return to Europe.