We recently held here a conference on the issue of defence cooperation between Britain and France, organised by the Franco-British Council. This is a non-governmental organisation that has just celebrated 40 years of working to bring thinkers together between France and the UK; and they now have an annual conference on defence once in France and the second year in the UK.
We’ve just had the publication of a major report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) – the UN authorised panel that is the most authoritative source of scientific advice – dealing with the impact of climate change on human beings and our environment.
In the last few days we’ve had two events here in the residence on the theme of the digital revolution and how it’s changing our lives. First of all we had an event to celebrate innovation and technology and young talent applying itself to the problems we are facing.
I’ve talked before about the events in Kiev, at a time when they reminded me of the fall of the Berlin wall, and the extraordinary surge of freedom and independence that happened after that in Eastern Europe. Since then, things have got more difficult, because we’ve had what is obviously an intervention of Russian armed forces in Crimea, and now the prospect – in a very unrealistic timeframe – of … Bringing Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table
The events in Ukraine over last week have been absolutely extraordinary, and they’ve made me think back to that period in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin wall, and the liberation of the countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
We are now in the Bicentenary year for the Residence – 200 years ago, the Duke of Wellington bought this house from Pauline, the sister of Napoléon. To celebrate that, we are running a series of events through the year, highlighting both the past and the future of UK-French relations.
This week we are holding the next in a series of summits between Britain and France, with President Hollande travelling to the UK. The summit is being held on an airbase in the south of England to emphasise the importance of the defence and security work that we do together.
I was extremely pleased and very proud to receive a New Year’s Honour for my contribution to consular services in France, a career which spans over more than 25 years! I didn’t know anything about the nomination until a few weeks before the official publication so it also came as a huge surprise.
A very Happy New Year to everyone, and I wish you the best of good fortune in 2014. This is going to be a year of commemorations: we shall have the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Channel tunnel by President Mitterrand and Her Majesty the Queen ; the 70th anniversary of D-Day, with tremendous presence of veterans on the beaches of Normandy ; the 100th anniversary of the … #BritsinFrance: Tell us your story
We’ve just had in Paris a meeting of a group of countries who are trying to help move forward the Syrian problem which William Hague, our Foreign Minister, was here to attend.