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TABLE 7 TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS

It seems as if Spaniards' feelings about the European Union were more generalist at first, when expectations predominated but no consequences had yet been experienced. As more and more individuals have had direct or indirect contact with decisions and policies emanating from the European Union, however, opinions have become more discriminative and less generalist. Public opinion accepted the common currency since the beginning, probably because Spaniards thought it would be more secure than the peseta. The general acceptance of the European Armed Forces also solves some historical fears from the near past, when the Spanish Armed Forces were more involved in internal than external security, and is coherent with the general acceptance of their new role in humanitarian international missions outside Spain. Spaniards are more hesitant about transferring to European institutions the power to establish taxes, however, knowing that most European countries have higher taxes than Spain, and therefore fearing that empowering Brussels with tax policies might result in higher personal costs. The more conservative orientation of Spaniards toward decisions that might be taken by the European Union is reflected on the three surveys conducted since 2000, where about two out of every three respondents agree that ‘EU decisions should be implemented in Spain only if the Spanish government voted in favour of them’, and where more than 40 per

cent of respondents prefer the European Parliament and only 20 per cent prefer the Council of Ministers to make the most important decisions.