The European Union is not threatened by collapse after what happened in the United Kingdom, the head of the European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, Ognyan Zlatev, said on June 27.
Zlatev, speaking in an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television three days after the announcement of the result of the UK Brexit referendum, said that the situation was unprecedented.
He said that the aim of European leaders was for the division to happen according to the rules and to avoid a long period of uncertainty that would create the possibility for financial speculation.
“The past few years it has happened with us in Europe that we emerge from one crisis and go into another, after we have dealt with the previous one. We are optimistic that we will deal with this crisis. It is not pleasant for anyone, after 43 years of fruitful co-operation, to make way for division. There must be great care in seeing and assessing how to choose a way of separating that is beneficial for both sides,” Zlatev said.
Naturally, Bulgarians in the UK were suffering some anxiety, he said. Zlatev said that, however, there was no real threat to students because there is academic autonomy in the UK and universities decide for themselves what is best for them.
He said that he did not think that Bulgarians residing in the UK legally had cause for concern as they had identity documents. “So I do not see some big drama about to happen to them.”
Meanwhile, Bulgarian Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said earlier that he did not expect the UK leaving the EU to have a serious impact on Bulgaria.
According to local media reports, Goranov said that Bulgaria would be affected to the extent that its economy was part of the EU. The turnover in goods with the UK was relatively small and a direct effect in this regard was not expected, he said.
Bulgaria might even gain from the situation, according to Goranov, because it was expected that in response to euroscepticism, Europe would take steps towards accelerated integration. This could speed up Bulgaria’s accession to the EU’s Schengen visa zone and the common currency, the euro.
In the short term, Brexit could lead to reduced consumption in the EU and limit the bloc’s economic growth. Goranov said that he expected that in the long term, there would be a negative effect on countries that have serious trade with the UK, which would depend on how trade relations between the UK and the EU change.
(Photo of Zlatev: BNT)