EU history and future Ian Waldie/Getty Images

El reverso de la ampliación euroatlántica

MADRID – Habitualmente, nos tomamos la licencia retórica de equiparar a la UE con Europa, lo que nos lleva a pasar por alto algunos matices. Vista desde una perspectiva histórica, podría decirse que en realidad la UE encarna la antítesis de lo que ha sido Europa, al haber contribuido a romper con siglos de violentos conflictos entre sus actuales Estados Miembros. En términos geográficos, es cierto que las sucesivas adhesiones a la Unión le han permitido reflejar algo más fielmente la extensión que suele atribuirse al continente europeo, pero todavía perduran algunos desajustes. Además, el Brexit nos ha recordado algo fundamental: esta tendencia expansiva no es irreversible, y la propia existencia de la UE —en tanto en cuanto se trata de una construcción política— no puede darse por sentada.

Existen dos dinámicas primordiales que han marcado la trayectoria de la UE y, anteriormente, de las Comunidades Europeas. Por un lado, la integración se ha hecho cada vez más profunda, y por el otro, los beneficios de esta integración se han extendido a un número cada vez mayor de Estados. La caída del muro de Berlín hizo que surgiesen nuevas oportunidades, que se convirtieron en retos mayúsculos. Ya no se trataba únicamente de incorporar a Estados pertenecientes a la órbita Occidental, sino de ampliar tanto la UE como la OTAN a Estados que habían formado parte del Pacto de Varsovia. Desaparecida la Europa de Yalta, el objetivo era no volver a la Europa de Versalles.    

La primera organización en abordar esta delicada empresa fue la OTAN, no sin antes alcanzar un acuerdo con Rusia que consiguió amortiguar el impacto, y que supuso el verdadero final de la Guerra Fría: el Acta Fundacional de 1997. Dos años después, la República Checa, Hungría y Polonia pasaron a formar parte de la OTAN y, en 2004, se adhirieron a la UE junto con otros siete Estados. Las tradicionales esferas de influencia parecían estarse superando, a medida que la UE veía reforzado su magnetismo a escala continental y global.

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