There is a common thread to the successive high-level political meetings that have taken place in Europe since supporters of Britain’s exit from the EU scored a victory at the referendum last Thursday: Spain’s absence from them all.
This absence is a long-term issue reflecting acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s low international profile, and it is also one more consequence of the period of uncertainty caused by the repeat elections in Spain. As if there were a shortage of reasons to form a government speedily, here is another, very powerful one.
Italy’s Matteo Renzi has created a highly active Rome-Paris-Berlin axis that is fast becoming the main manager of this crisis
At a crucial time for the redefinition of the very notion of the European project, it is imperative for Spain’s voice to be heard. For reasons of economy – Spain’s is the fourth-biggest in the euro zone – population, history and international influence, especially in Latin America, the country needs to be present at the forums where these issues are being debated.
The fact that the six founding members of the EU feel able to meet unilaterally without extending an invitation to a country like Spain does not say much about our diplomatic reach.
Sign up for our newsletter
EL PAÍS English Edition has launched a weekly newsletter. Sign up today to receive a selection of our best stories in your inbox every Saturday morning. For full details about how to subscribe, click here.
Not that Mariano Rajoy, with his usual vagueness, has made it too hard for Spain to be ignored. Midway through the month of June he announced that Brexit would be “a catastrophe.” Last week, after the outcome, he called for “serenity and calm.” And until yesterday he kept his thoughts to himself. In the meantime, Italy’s Matteo Renzi has created a highly active Rome-Paris-Berlin axis that is fast becoming the main manager of this crisis.
Spain’s pro-EU position and the major ties that link our economy to Britain’s both make Brexit a top priority. We urgently need to know how our government is going to defend Spain’s interests, as well as how it will contribute to making the European Union stronger at this critical juncture. But that requires being present, not absent.
English version by Susana Urra.