The article presents the situation of Spain in the context of its accession to the European Communities in 1986. In the first part the changes and problems that accession caused in Spain are discussed. This is followed by discussion of the benefits gained by Spain within the EU's structural policy. In the last part of the article Spain is compared to the other member states of the EU. The comparison is based on eight socio-economic indicators for the period from Spain's accession to the Communities up to 2009.