Spain after Covid-19: The good, the bad and the ugly

Spanish flag on mask

Spain after Covid-19: The good, the bad and the ugly

Tuesday, 1 November 2022 - 5:00pm to 6:45pm
ESC Seminar Room
Charles Powell (Director, Elcano Royal Institute)
Hartmut Mayer (St Peter’s College, Oxford)
Frances Lannon (Former Principal, Lady Margaret Hall)
European Studies Seminar

Registration through Eventbrite is recommended but not compulsory

Few countries in Europe were hit harder by Covid-19 than Spain. When the pandemic struck in 2020, the country had not yet recovered fully from the impact of the 2008 financial crisis. The combination of these unprecedented external shocks has exacerbated some of the long-standing challenges the country already faced, such as its consistently high unemployment levels, low productivity and growing social inequality. Additionally, the political system continues to suffer from widespread disaffection, in a context of extreme polarization and fragmentation. What is more, the country’s complex semi-federal system of government has failed to meet the demands for greater autonomy (if not outright independence) that dominate the political agenda in several of its seventeen autonomous communities. Despite these daunting challenges, however, in recent years Spain has also displayed remarkable societal resilience, and its institutions have adapted better to rapidly changing circumstances than is often acknowledged. Consequently, and notwithstanding the magnitude of the difficulties Spain currently faces, there are reasons to feel moderately optimistic about its future.

Dame Frances Lannon DBE FRHistS is a retired British academic and educator. After teaching at Queen Mary's College and holding a Fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, she was in 1977 appointed Fellow and Tutor in Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall. She was Vice-Principal 1992–97 and became Principal in 2002. She retired on 30 September 2015. Lannon is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. In 2006, she was a visiting scholar at the Australian National University Research School of Social Sciences and Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Incorporated Centre for Social Research. She has published extensively on the cultural and political origins and significance of the Spanish Civil War, including ‘Privilege, Persecution and Prophecy: The Catholic Church in Spain 1875-1975’ (1987), and recent articles on women in the Civil War. Lannon was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours for services to higher education.

Charles Powell has been the director of the Elcano Royal Institute, Spain’s leading international relations think tank, since 2012, and a professor of Contemporary History at CEU San Pablo University since 2001. He read History and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford, which also awarded him a Doctorate in History for a thesis on Spain’s transition to democracy. While at Oxford, he was a lecturer at Corpus Christi College, a J. A. Pye Fellow at University College, and a Junior Research Fellow at St. Antony's College. He has also been a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Lisbon and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr Powell has published six books and dozens of articles on Spanish political history and foreign policy, European integration, and the so-called liberal international order. He is an Officer of the Order of the Star of Italy (2015), a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (2017), a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Romania (2020), and a Knight of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (2021). During his career, he has supervised eight doctoral theses, examined thirty, and taught and lectured in more than forty countries in Europe, Africa, America, and Asia. Further details about his academic career and activities are available at:


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