On New Year’s Day 2014, Greece will pick up the Presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, and run with it for six months. The last time Greece presided was 2003. That Presidency broke new ground: it created a new vision and new prospects for EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, and, at the same time, welcomed 10 new Member-States to the Union. Of course, much has changed since then. … Countdown to the Greek Presidency of the European Union
When they appointed me ambassador, I knew almost nothing about the maritime world – whether naval or mercantile. Sure, I had grown up near one of the most important ports in England and had gone to school there. In the 19th century, the fleet of Hull was principally occupied with whaling. In the 20th century, until the 1970s, it was deep-sea fishing. But when I started secondary school in the … Two sea-faring nations
When I was 19 I tried for the first time to gain a permit to enter the Holy Mountain. I am an Anglican and a believer, and have long been interested in monasticism and Orthodox spirituality. In 1987, my application was unsuccessful and I rather lost heart; I have waited over 25 years to fill the gap in my Greek cv. Last week, after finally securing the necessary permissions (without … Wanderings on Athos, the Holy Mountain
I’m preparing for my holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not actually doing any practical preparations. I always plan early, but pack very late. I know where we’re going and have been thinking fondly about our various destinations for some weeks now. But after booking tickets and rooms, I have done nothing except think and fancy. I shall spend my two weeks, of course, in Greece. It has always been … Enjoy the holidays!
At Lough Erne in Northern Ireland recently, leaders of the G8 discussed some of the fundamental questions facing our societies and economies. They came up with a short list of practical steps to take. Those steps are set out in a remarkably short and punchy declaration, which you can find here. Representing half of the global economy, the G8 leaders recognized the need to promote growth and jobs and to … G8 priorities: what do you think?
Rania Kossiori, VC Rhodes, blogs about her shadowing trip to EUMed department and the Minister of Europe’s private office. I have been working as Vice Consul in Rhodes for the last 8 years. During this time, a lot of changes have taken place in the way that we provide assistance to British nationals overseas – which is the essence of consular work. These … Building Bridges – Guest Blog
In many of the countries I have worked around the world there has been an active Caledonian or St Andrew’s Society, run by those with full or sometimes tenuous Scottish heritage, but enjoyed by people of many nationalities. One of the highlights of my year whilst working abroad has been the annual St Andrew’s Day Ball, held in November, on or near St Andrew’s Day, (the Patron Saint of Scotland). I’m … Burns Night
Despite the economic crisis, Greece remains an important market for British goods and services. Greece is the UK’s 39th largest export market and in 2011 bilateral trade in goods was worth £ 1.77 bn. Although the value of UK exports of goods to Greece dropped, as a result of the continuing five year recession, Greece based UK companies have weathered the storm. The role of the Ambassador has been pivotal, … Four years in Athens: Reflecting on Commercial Affairs
In January 2009, the then newly-arrived Ambassador, Dr David Landsman, OBE walked into my room, accompanied by our then Political Counsellor, for a brief discussion about my work. Upon leaving, he asked “what is the single area of work that you think will be most important in the period ahead?” I replied “migration”. I think we both thought that was a good reply. Indeed, in line with my expectations, … From January 2009 to January 2013: Continuity and Change in the British Embassy, Athens
Sexual violence in conflict situations is as much a terrifying crime as a brutal one, wherever it takes place; it has direct and indirect effects on human lives, leaving deep, indelible scars on the victims as well as society itself. As part of the Preventing the Sexual Violence Initiative that the Foreign Secretary has launched, we host this series of blogs to describe the experiences of people who have examined and witnessed the horror of war. … Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict – Guest Blog #3