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Ambassador of Denmark to Bulgaria Soren Jacobsen on Brexit and the Future of Europe

April 01, 2019

Thursday, March 14 - the fateful night when the lawmakers in the British House of Commons were voting on whether or not to delay Brexit. While the vote was taking place, the Ambassador of Denmark to Bulgaria Sоren Jacobsen gave AUBG students at Panitza Library his take on Brexit and the future of the European Union.  The event was jointly organized by the Department of Political Science and European Studies and the Department of Economics at AUBG.

Jacobsen started his talk by introducing himself. “I love to go around the world,” he said, and that is what brought him to Africa first, where he visited 25 countries. After this, he went onto his first job at an embassy in Denmark. His work eventually brought him to China, then Turkey and China again, then Afghanistan, and finally – Bulgaria. It was mostly chance that brought him to the country, Jacobsen said, but he loves it here.

According to Jacobsen, the European Union is crucial to maintaining peace and stability in the region. From an economic aspect, he sees the many benefits of having free trade and an EU single market, which guarantee the stable economic growth of the EU member states. When working as a single unit, the union also plays an important role in solving global problems, Jacobsen said. Some of these global problems are climate change, terrorism, the questioning of already established values, and cohesion, the ambassador said.  

“I really think that the biggest threat to the countries of the EU right now is the cohesion among all the countries,” he said. “(…) in the sense of [whether] we really have the same values (…) and [whether] we really can agree on what needs to be done for us to move forward as the European Union.”

On a more light-hearted note, Jacobsen included in his presentation a picture of potential EU exit names for the 27 remaining member countries. “Oui out” for France, “Ditch” for the Netherlands, and “Donemark” were some of the names that stood out.

The challenge of migration is the most important one for the EU, Jacobsen said. This is one of the main points that divide the EU countries, he said, and it has been a hot topic at every European Council meeting since 2014.

The ambassador also said that the British Parliament would probably ask for an extension to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), meaning that Brexit would be delayed. His prediction was confirmed shortly after his presentation was over.  

According to Jacobsen, the U.K. has a “very keen interest” to keep the economic relationship with Bulgaria “warm,” and that “when everything has settled (…) Bulgaria will come out on top of it.”

The ambassador left on a positive note. “I have a strong belief in the European Union,” he said and added that he remains optimistic the EU will successfully deal with all the challenges it will inevitably face.

Story by Mirela Harizanova

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