April 11, 2017
EU Ambassador

'How can we be better for the sake of the planet, for the sake of our own countries?'

David O'Sullivan, ambassador of the European Union (EU) to the United States, talked to students, faculty, and staff about the state of the world during a discussion moderated by Carlos Franganillo, a Spanish National Television (TVE) correspondent.

O’Sullivan joked with the audience that his 23-year-old daughter tells him that his “generation completely screwed things up and left the world in such an almighty mess she’s not sure if her generation can fix it.” Joking aside, O’Sullivan pointed out that his generation helped form today’s world and he likes to think that they did a good job.

“Clearly there's a lot of work to be done, and one of the challenges I think is going to be both in America and in Europe and elsewhere in the world,” he said at the April 5 event. “Are we going to build a pattern of cooperation or a pattern of confrontation, [will] we … work together? How can we be better for the sake of the planet, for the sake of our own countries? Or are we going to retreat to an earlier time of nationalism … thinking one denomination is better than another?” asked O’Sullivan.

Senior Maria Thurber, a double major in Spanish for International Service and theology from St. Petersburg, Fla., and president of the Spanish Club, described the event as an “amazing opportunity for us as a club but also for the campus and the student body to hear somebody of that caliber like the ambassador.”

Alex Santana, a freshman politics major from Miami, Fla., said, “Because I’m a politics major I really became interested in the topics that were discussed and I think it was a really interesting to hear from the ambassador of the European Union and hear what he has to think about the world and foreign affairs.”

O’Sullivan touched upon topics such as Brexit, the decision of the United Kingdom to exit the European Union. “I deeply regret it; it's very unfortunate. I wish they would have decided differently,” said O’Sullivan.

When asked about Turkey's desire to join the EU, O’Sullivan named Cyprus as an obstacle. Turkey has been illegally occupying the island since 1974. O’Sullivan compared the decision of allowing countries to join the EU to the United States’ adoption of a 51st state.


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