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 Britain on its European Union Membership, with team Brexit (British Exit) wanting to leave the EU and team Bremain (Pro–EU) wishing to stay. With less than a month to go, there are still a lot of questions to be answered, especially around British expats.
This article is one of the key interviews from 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. Full interview below.
An interviewee who has worked for NATO and the EU
During my visit to NATO, I interviewed Paul King, editor of NATO Channel TV, NATO’s TV channel covering security issues from Afghanistan to cybersecurity, and also editor of NATO Review, NATO’s flagship publication. Paul King has worked for NATO since 2007 and has held various journalism positions with the Guardian and with the European Commission as a speechwriter. In his current position, he states “I’m actually the UK’s officer for the engagement section, so I deal with the UK and public diplomacy. So, the person who deals with it is me”.
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.
Summary: An interview on the importance of the EU Referendum on security
Throughout our conversation, he told me about the key responsibilities of NATO and how it operates as a security and defence organisation. He also explained in detail what the UK’s role is within NATO and how the country is represented in the political sphere with the USA, Germany and France, who are the big military partners in NATO. He also discusses NATO’s relationship with the EU and, in his opinion, the importance of the EU Referendum on security.
In terms of the EU referendum, Paul King stressed in his personal opinion that “leaving the EU would be damaging for the UK” and he recounts his personal memories of what the UK was like back in 1973 when the economy was crippled, there were huge strikes and constant bombings from the IRA. Since joining Europe, the nation has changed radically and it plays a big role in European politics, economy and, of course, in the military.
| “An out vote could weaken NATO” |
The EU Referendum on 23rd June will decide the future fate for the UK based on whether the voters go for either Brexit or Bremain. The majority of British people recognise the importance of NATO and want the UK to stay within the organisation. However, with the European Union, they are much more divided as, reading from the latest YouGov / Sunday Times poll, 42% want to remain and 43% want leave.
According to US General, Ben Hodges in a BBC interview back in March, “An out vote could weaken NATO” because the US are concerned over the growing escalations with Putin’s administration over the conflict in Ukraine, the annex of the Crimea and they look to the UK as a vital European ally against Putin. So, could this referendum have a great impact on the EU especially for NATO?
To watch the full interview with Paul King, please watch the two videos (audio with images) below. Please note: This interview is split into two parts (as we had a little break in the middle).
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Cover image credit: Nicolas Raymond via flickr cc.