Sofia – It’s very very rare to talk about [Brexit] here. But you must understand… the most common word in international news in Bulgaria is ‘our’, as in some-one from Bulgaria. Last week our President gave a historic speech in front of the EU parliament but here the top news were that a famous gangster was shot on the day. The speech was quite pro-European and against Russia policy [which looks] to somehow ruin what we have – European unity in the EU… he said in Europe we are living a ‘cold peace’, obviously referencing the Cold War.
I work in advertising, and we’re concerned with Generation Y, between 25 and 35, who follow international news, speak English, are educated, and are against ultra right governments: these people are concerned about the future of the EU. In Bulgaria the government is controlled by the mafia – we get pro-Russian, then pro-European, then pro-Russian – this is all a big game, everyone is actually concerned with their own economic interests. Right now we have a pro-European government, the last one was very pro-Russia. The media and society, are divided between very pro-Russian and pro-European, the ones that are pro-Russian are the nationalists, they’re afraid of immigrants. I don’t think the European standard of left and right is applicable.
The European Union is the last hope in our part of the world, which can preserve what we’ve created over half a century, those values which are human rights, a public health system – all those values. Sure we have problems, and the democracy isn’t perfect … but if the biggest powers like the UK back out… to me that sounds first of all irresponsible, but also irrational.