Abu Dhabi: With rising uncertainty on the international stage, it is smaller nations like the UAE and Denmark that are currently playing a big role in bringing stability to the global order, said Denmark’s serving ambassador to the UAE.
Speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview at his residence in Abu Dhabi, Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin said the international arena had changed profoundly over the last few decades with countries like the UAE and Denmark asserting more responsibility because of a globalised context, which he warned was under serious threat due to a number of factors such as the rise of populism.
“There are many factors that explain why UAE and Denmark have taken on so much more responsibility and of course one is to do with globalisation, with both countries deciding to be very active on the world economic scene and believing that we both come out as winners in a globalised world.
“Globalisation also leads to a reassessment of what political security is — traditional security was thought to be very much in terms of territorial security especially for smaller countries. However, when we start seeing ourselves in a globalised context we realised that security interests go beyond our own territorial borders,” he added.
“It’s a messy world out there and you must react to that. What happens in one part of the world away from your borders could have a direct relevance for our security,” Mellbin explained, highlighting how security needs have become global rather than simply a local issue.
Mellbin said the international order the UAE and Denmark has so heavily worked to defend was now under serious challenges, key among them being what he called uncertainty on where the global order was heading.
“We now have a new challenge that is being introduced which is uncertainty — this uncertainty has become a very significant element both politically and economically.
“There are trade wars looming and on the diplomatic scene we have had very unusual situations. On the military side we have countries who are out there pursuing policies to create uncertainty and to project power through these means,” he added.
Populism under the guise of nationalism was also something that worried Mellbin.
“I worry about the nationalist agenda. Nationalism in many ways is positive and it’s a good thing for people to like their nation. We can have xenophobic racist agendas that can grow out of that which can be very dangerous.
“I worry that some people are using nationalism to pursue negative [and populist] agendas,” he added.
Mellbin pointed to strong UAE-EU relations as one area of positivity, commenting on how the relationship proved the effectiveness of multilateralism.
“If you look at the relationship between the UAE and the EU it’s a very positive example of countries coming and working together. When we look at the agenda the UAE is moving in it is a direction which is bringing it closer to Europe.
“For many European countries the UAE is seen as either a key or the key partner in the region because of these converging interests, and this will ensure closer cooperation and an extension of existing contacts,” he added.