William Chislett looks at how Spain has been profoundly transformed since the 1978 democratic constitution that sealed the end of the 1939-75 dictatorship of General Franco. Be it economically with the creation of the world’s second largest tourism industry in terms of visitors, politically with a vibrant democracy that ranks high in classifications; socially with the greatly improved status of women or in foreign policy, where Spain has reclaimed its place on the international stage, the country bears no resemblance at all to what it was like 40 years ago. (At that time the border between Spain and Gibraltar had been closed for almost a decade). Spain has enjoyed an unprecedented period of prosperity and stability. EU membership since 1986 has been very positive for Spain, one of the most pro-European countries, as it is closely tied to the nation’s modernisation. Spain would like a ‘soft’ Brexit because of the strong trade, investment and tourism links with the UK. ‘Sprexit’ is not on the cards. The two biggest problems facing Spain now are the push for independence in Catalonia and the stubbornly high unemployment.