Peter Ricketts

Peter Ricketts

Ambassador to France from February 2012 to January 2016.

Part of UK in France

24th January 2013 Paris, France

The future of the EU and the UK’s relationship with it

A European Flag and the Union Jack hang in front of the Justus Lipsius, the European Union's headquarters building in Brussels. GERARD CERLES/AFP/Getty Images

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 terrible terrorist attack in Algeria what can happen if ungoverned space is left and terrorists were able to take root there.

Written version (continued)

We are continuing our support to France with transport aircraft to help get forces there quickly. We are also going to be training African forces who can move in and take over from French forces to help the Malian government to return to stability in that country.

On Europe, if you read some of the media, you might think that Britain has just announced that we are going to leave the European Union. Prime Minister David Cameron made a big speech this week on Europe. The text in English and in French will be on the website during the day, please do have a look at it.

What the Prime Minister said actually was his intention is that Britain should stay as a member of the European Union. But he sees that the EU itself has major challenges: as the world changes, we have to remain competitive, open, more flexible, so that we can accomodate the diverse interests of all the different Member States.

Mr Cameron intends that Britain should play a full part in that discussion about the future of Europe, the countries of the Euro zone will want to integrate more tightly, we have interests to preserve as well, but we believe that a reformed, modern, open Europe is in the interest of all the members of the European Union.

And the Prime Minister speaking as Head of the Conservative party has said that he intends to fight the next British election in 2015 on a campaign pledged to hold a referendum on the outcome of that negotiation.

So, I don’t want to leave a misunderstanding that somehow the British Government is now in favor of Britain leaving the European Union, that is absolutely not the case. We want to see a reformed EU, in the interests of all EU Member States.

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2 comments on “The future of the EU and the UK’s relationship with it

  1. Dear Sir Peter Ricketts , although some months have passed I think that your report is today late April, still important as in January ´13. Because unfortunately you might not hear a lot about the Mali-Conflict and the activities of some terrorist-groups now. But sad fact is also that they are still active. No wonder- in such a big area like the Mali and the Western-Sahara.
    That ´s why I do agree to you that it ´s necessary to continuing the support to France.With the distance of 2 months – which also have passed since PM David Cameron ´s speech it ´s to me fascinating and fruststrating in the same way, by realising of how some media-groups, e.g. newspapers or TV-Magazines ,are able to write exactly the opposite of what PM Cameron ´s real intentions have been . In other words : Their ability to manipulate people in a way of which they want them to think and believe. Lies inclusive. You ´ve described this kind of manipulation well. (“On Europe, if you read some of the media…”). Most notable to me are your last lines : “…we want to see a reformed EU…”.I only can agree to a statement like this for if you think logical : For what use could be a not reformed EU at all ? Surely not to the benefits of all 27 Member-Nations.
    Best wishes , Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart

  2. There’s so much going on. I am thankful to sites like yours, discussions make it easier to understand and try to see the whole picture. Thanks.

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