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.
This Christmas time I’ve been thinking about what was achieved in 2013 and what we have to look forward to in 2014. When I look back at 2013, it was a bumper year for UK-French relations.
France has taken the decision to increase its force levels in the Central African Republic to deal with the awful outbreak of killing between the communities there. Personally I have had a lot of experience over the years of dealing with this kind of chaos and violence, I think of the Balkans for example.
As part of Britain’s chairmanship of the G8 group of countries, we thought it would be interesting here in France to ask young, secondary school pupils what they thought were the really big issues facing our world.
This week is a very important moment for our two countries in terms of our commercial cooperation. We’re going to be making an agreement in principle between the government in London, EDF and Areva for the construction of a new nuclear power station site at Hinkley point in Somerset.