David Lidington » Minister for Europe, London

2014 – year in review

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Quick EU pop quiz. Which European leader said in December: “As the European elections showed, the people do not think that Europe must do everything. Europe must do the things that can be done better than we do them in the nation states.” You might imagine it would be someone from the Netherlands – we know the Dutch maxim “Europe where necessary, national where possible”. It could be an Italian … Read more »2014 – year in review

Human Rights 365

Today is international Human Rights day; a day to celebrate the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. We should all take a moment to think about the rights that everyone in the world deserves, no matter where in the world they happen to be born. Many of us don’t see firsthand the suffering of citizens at the hands of repressive regimes, or those persecuted because of … Read more »Human Rights 365

We should trust Ukrainians to make the right choice in Sunday’s elections

Ukraine is trying to find democratic solutions to the challenges it faces, and the international community must give it time to do so Trust in the ability of people to make decisions about their own future is a fundamental tenet of democracy. On Sunday, the citizens of Ukraine go to the polls to elect a new president in one of the most important elections of their history. Every voter in Ukraine … Read more »We should trust Ukrainians to make the right choice in Sunday’s elections

What’s life like for Crimea’s Tatars now?

With the eyes of the world focused on events in south-east Ukraine, it would have been easy to miss what has been happening in Crimea in the weeks since its illegal annexation by the Russian Federation. Take the case of Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev. He has led an extraordinary life. He was exiled as a baby by Joseph Stalin, and spent over ten years in Soviet jails for supporting … Read more »What’s life like for Crimea’s Tatars now?

BoC Review: Making the EU Work for You

Yesterday I attended a launch event for the fourth set of calls for evidence on the balance of competences between the UK and the EU. The consultations, which will be open until the week commencing 30 June, cover a range of issues including Education, Enlargement, Information Rights and Economic and Monetary Policy. Together the first and second sets of reports received over 1,100 submissions from a broad range of organisations … Read more »BoC Review: Making the EU Work for You

Europe – a chill wind blowing

From my window in the Foreign Office, you can just about see St James’ Park, and it’s easy on a sunny, spring day to be infused with a sense of optimism and general wellbeing. But elsewhere in Europe, there is a chill in the air. I have just returned from Lithuania and Latvia, where memories of the Cold War have been revived by Russia’s blatant aggression in Crimea. People are … Read more »Europe – a chill wind blowing

Economic reform in the Western Balkans

The Prime Ministers of all seven Western Balkan nations were in London yesterday seeking closer economic ties with countries across the EU.  Speaking at a forum at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) for investment in the Western Balkans, Ken Clarke encouraged the PMs to put in place the necessary reforms to encourage economic expansion. The Foreign Secretary also met the group to discuss economic reform and urge … Read more »Economic reform in the Western Balkans

Not Poles apart: Britain and Poland’s close relationship

Guest blog by Robin Barnett, Ambassador to Warsaw 31 January was an important day in relations between Britain and Poland, key partners in the EU and NATO. Prime Ministers Cameron and Tusk met at RAF Brize Norton to discuss the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.   My journey back from Warsaw began badly, with weather at Heathrow heavily delaying my plane.  I broke my personal best for the 100-metres-dash-with-suitcase and barely … Read more »Not Poles apart: Britain and Poland’s close relationship

Making Progress


A little over a year ago, the Economist wrote a piece analysing Britain’s place in Europe. There wasn’t a lot of good news. Efforts to reform the way Brussels works were simply “making things worse” as “other countries are tiring of British demands”. The best we could hope for, it was argued, was to “rediscover the virtues of muddling along”. They were wrong. The last year shows why. The Prime … Read more »Making Progress

Human Rights Day 2013

As we mark Human Rights Day and celebrate the UK’s re-election to the UN Human Rights Council, it is worth reflecting upon how regional organisations can reinforce and complement the UN’s role in promoting and protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. Last week I attended the annual Ministerial Council of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Kyiv. Primarily a security organisation, the OSCE … Read more »Human Rights Day 2013