The Daily Illini

European Union Ambassador speaks at University commemoration

David+O%E2%80%99Sullivan+visited+the+University+on+Wednesday+and+talked+about+European+strengths%2C+as+well+as+struggles.
David O’Sullivan visited the University on Wednesday and talked about European strengths, as well as struggles.

David O’Sullivan visited the University on Wednesday and talked about European strengths, as well as struggles.

Photo Courtesy of EU Delegation to the US

Photo Courtesy of EU Delegation to the US

David O’Sullivan visited the University on Wednesday and talked about European strengths, as well as struggles.

By Eli Mandel, Staff Writer

The campus European Union Center was commemorated Wednesday during the University’s 15th annual European Union Day. It is one of the 10 original EU centers in the U.S.

David O’Sullivan, EU ambassador to the U.S. since 2014, spoke at the event.

He began his address focusing on “how far we have come” and noted Europe experienced its “longest sustained period of peace” since the 15th century.

“People often comment on the challenges of Europe and ignore what they have overcome,” he said.

Later referencing the Brexit vote, O’Sullivan says the decision was something he “deeply regretted.” He believed it was a wrong decision for the nation, but added they are still formally members of the EU and likely will be for the years to come.

Referencing the U.S. political turbulence, O’Sullivan reaffirms the EU’s favorable stance on free trade, noting that “we will continue to defend that [stance], notwithstanding the domestic difficulties that you have here in the United States.”

The EU hasn’t had the best few years, O’Sullivan said, having faced economic hardships similar to the U.S. during the 2008 recession.

O’Sullivan acknowledged some people distrust the EU’s effectiveness.

“We have a lot of cynicism, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration within our population: with the economic situation, with the feeling that the political system doesn’t work,” he said.

O’Sullivan said a growing number of Europeans blame the EU for the turbulence, he said; however, he insists that the Union is stronger together.

“We will find a way,” he said. “We always do in Europe.”

[email protected]

1 Comment