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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
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Obituary: Jens-Peter Bonde (March 27th 1948 - April 4th 2021)

JPB

By Morten Dam 


The long serving eurosceptic stalwart and Danish MEP from 1979 until 2008 has passed away. After a time of illness he died in Arresødal Hospice in the north of Zealand, Denmark.


Jens-Peter Bonde has been an influential eurosceptic voice for over a decade. He was a founder of Danish People's Movement Against EU in 1972 and has been the Danish politician that has worked the longest with EEC and EU affairs. He was elected for the European Parliament in the first direct election in Denmark in 1979, and was re-elected ever since until his last election in 2004. As an MEP Jens-Peter was highly respected among political friends and enemies. Many described him as a intelligent and hardworking politician that took initiative and wanted to make real change. Among many things he created strong alliances and trans-political groups in the Parliament. Jens-Peter served as chairman of the EDD group (Europe of Democracies and Diversity) from 1999 till 2004. After that he became the chairman of the IDD group.


Most memorably was his influence in the Danish 'NO' to the referendum on the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 where played a crucial part in the 'NO' campaign where his main focus was transparency, proximity and democracy. The hard fought victory gave the Danish people it's four opt-outs which still stands; Justice and Home Affairs, The Euro, Common Security and Defence Policy and EU Citizenship. The Euro and Justice and Home Affairs has both been put to test in referendums which both got voted down by the Danish people.


After the referendum victory in 1992 he then created the June Movement which had different approach the The People's Movement Against EU, since he and many fellow eurosceptics felt a Danish withdrawal from EU seemed impossible at the time. He made a strong case against closer EU integration, EU fraught and the bureaucracy he experienced as a long serving MEP.


In relation to The Bruges Group, Jens-Peter has addressed several meetings as guest and speaker. The Bruges Group also acted as an installment in helping him set up the trans-European group TEAM which had its main connections in Scandinavia.


Jens-Peter kept his activities as a writer and commentator, most lately he was involved with a intellectual contribution in the Danish referendum on the opt-out in Justice and Home Affairs in 2015 and as a political commentator during and after the Brexit referendum. In his time Jens-Peter wrote more than 50 books about the EEC and EU. His contributions and critical voice in the EU debate will be missed.


May he rest in peace. 

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