Brexit Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Gran Bretaña, a la deriva

ROMA – A comienzos de los años 1960, el ex secretario de Estado norteamericano Dean Acheson dijo en un tono satírico que el Reino Unido había perdido un imperio y que todavía no había encontrado un rol. Más tarde, sucesivos líderes británicos intentaron cambiar eso, forjando un nuevo papel para Gran Bretaña en Europa. El referendo "Brexit" que acaba de concluir en el país, en el que una mayoría de los votantes expresó su deseo de abandonar la Unión Europea, representa el fracaso espectacular de ese esfuerzo -y el fin de una era.

El viaje de Gran Bretaña hacia Europa comenzó a principios de los años 1970, cuando el primer ministro Edward Heath, firmemente pro-europeo, hizo entrar al país en la Comunidad Económica Europea, el precursor de la UE. Su sucesor, Harold Wilson, aseguró la membrecía con un referendo en 1975.

Y Margaret Thatcher firmó el Acta Única Europea, que creó el mercado único -uno de los pasos más importantes en la integración europea y que le debió mucho a la inspiración británica-. Su sucesor, John Major, que hizo campaña activamente para que Gran Bretaña permaneciera en la UE antes del reciente referendo, fue instrumental en la implementación del Tratado de Maastricht. Mientras Tony Blair estaba en el poder, habló elocuentemente de la misión europea de Gran Bretaña.

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