This series is being run by a young Brit who lived in Belgium for 19 years and now resides in Cardiff, known on theSprout as Ironfoot. The aim? To inform and involve other young people in this once-in-a-generation debate from many important and interesting perspectives.
The EU referendum is just around the corner and will decide the future fate for the UK on its European Union Membership, with team Brexit (British Exit) wanting to leave the EU and team Bremain (Pro–EU) wishing to stay. With a month to go, there are still a lot of questions to be answered, especially around British expats.
This article is the first interview of my trip to Brussels (capital of Belgium), where I interviewed British expats about if they are affected by the EU Referendum and what their personal views are.
For my trip to Brussels, I was invited by NATO to interview three British Expats from NATO International Staff. Before my arrival, I was instructed not to bring a video camera or take pictures inside NATO HQ, but allowed to bring along an audio recorder to conduct the interviews.
Full audio below.
NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General For Emerging Security Challenges, Dr Jamie Shea
The first candidate to invite me to NATO HQ in Brussels was Dr Jamie Shea, the Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges for NATO. He has worked for NATO since 1980 (which was the height of the Cold War). Over the years, he has held various important positions, most notably as NATO spokesman in the 1990’s during the Kosovo War (where he played a significant role during NATO’s accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy on the 7th May 1999).
He describes his current role as: “[having] the responsibility to take forward what we used to call non-traditional threats, like cyber, terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, energy security issues — although they have become more traditional over the last couple of years”.
During our conversation, he spoke to me about his long career with NATO, the challenges NATO has faced from the Cold War to the present, and the current issue of the UK’s EU Referendum.
To clarify to the readers of The Sprout, NATO is a collective defence organisation that doesn’t have any political influence towards the European Union. These interviews are based on the personal opinions of individuals only.
The UK’s Relationship With NATO & The EU
The UK has been part of NATO since the beginning in 1949, collaborating with West European nations, Canada and the United States against the threat of the USSR. The UK then joined the European Community in 1973 and held its first Referendum in 1975, where 67% voted to stay in Europe. The European Community evolved into the European Union under the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and it has changed the UK economically, socially and politically. The UK has been a very active member of both institutions and now its citizens face a big decision: does the European Union still play an important role for the UK?
[If you wish to listen to full interview, please listen to the video.]
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