Brexit Scott Barbour/Getty Images

La Gran Bretagna a Mare

ROMA – Nei primi anni sessanta, l’ex Segretario di Stato Dean Acheson in una celebre battuta dichiarò che il Regno Unito aveva perso un impero, e non aveva ancora trovato un ruolo. In seguito, i successivi leader britannici hanno cercato di cambiare la situazione, forgiando un nuovo ruolo per la Gran Bretagna in Europa. Il referendum del Paese su “Brexit” appena concluso, in cui la maggioranza degli elettori ha espresso il desiderio di lasciare l’Unione Europea, rappresenta il clamoroso fallimento di questo sforzo – e la fine di un’epoca.

Il cammino della Gran Bretagna verso l’Europa è iniziato nei primi anni settanta, quando il primo ministro Edward Heath fermamente pro-europeo ha portato il paese nella Comunità Economica Europea, istituzione che ha preceduto la UE. Il suo successore, Harold Wilson, nel 1975 ne ha assicurato l’adesione con un referendum.

Margaret Thatcher ha poi siglato l’Atto Unico Europeo, che creava il mercato unico – uno dei passi più importanti dell’integrazione europea, e che deve molto all’ispirazione britannica. Il suo successore, John Major, che si è impegnato attivamente perché la Gran Bretagna rimanesse nella UE prima del recente referendum, è stato determinante nel disegnare il Trattato di Maastricht. Mentre era in carica Tony Blair si è espresso con eloquenza sulla missione europea della Gran Bretagna.

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