We’ve been holding in London the second International Conference on Somalia – the first one was in February 2012. This time, it’s been co-chaired by the British Government and by the new President of Somalia. I used to work on the Somalia problem two years ago when I was National Security Adviser with David Cameron, and the progress since then is just remarkable.
We’ve just had the publication of the French White Paper on defence and security, the “Livre blanc”. It’s been a great privilege for me to be part of the commission that was put together to advise the Government on writing this White Paper.
Earlier this week, we were waiting for the arrival of David Cameron here in Paris, on what was going to be his first visit to President Hollande in the Elysée, when we had the sad news of Baroness Thatcher’s death. And David Cameron decided he had to go home straight away from Madrid, to get back to London.
The big theme for me this week has been the economic and high-tech co-operation between Britain and France. In terms of economies, we had Boris Johnson, the Major of London, in Paris last week. He gave a number of media interviews but also a big speech to businessmen here, in which his main theme is that London as a financial centre, it is a trump card for the whole of … Economic and high-tech cooperation
In the lead up to International Women’s Day on Friday, we are featuring the stories of women who work for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as guest posts across the FCO bloggers’ network. Kara Owen is my Deputy Head of Mission here in Paris and I’m delighted to have her as a guest blogger today to highlight just some of the challenges and opportunities she faces as a working Mum … FCO women’s stories: Kara Owen
This week on the 8th of March, it’s International Women’s Day, and we are very active in the Embassy in celebrating it. There are two events in particular that I’ve been personally engaged with – and I bring to this a very passionate belief that organisations are better when we have more women in senior positions. It’s good for the business, it’s good for the atmosphere in which everybody works … Celebrating International Women’s Day
All of us are looking for growth in our economies and the creation of jobs. From that point of view, it was very good news that President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union message, said that he was clearly in favour now of completing the work for a free trade commercial agreement between the European Union and the US.
One of the striking things about Britain and France is that our two societies are often dealing with very similar issues at the same time. There is a clear example of that this week where, in both the British Parliament and in the French National Assembly, the issue of gay marriage (or “mariage pour tous” in France) is under active parliamentary debate.
There is a lot happening in the world, and I wanted to talk today a bit about our support to France on Mali, and then a bit about Britain and Europe. Britain has fully supported the French military operation in Mali from the start. We entirely share France’s analysis that we can not allow Mali to collapse into chaos, and becoming a safe haven for terrorists groups. We saw in … The future of the EU and the UK’s relationship with it
I want to talk today about the events of the last few days in Africa, starting by saying that our thoughts go to the families of the French soldiers and the hostage who have lost their lives in Mali and in Somalia.