Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

7th March 2012 Budapest, Hungary

Completing the free market

I’ll be spending a lot of my time on bilateral Hungary-UK issues over the next few years. But of course another important feature of my work will be our countries’ relationship with the EU and how the EU will develop. With that in mind I went to a well attended seminar on the EU’s future last week.

The seminar was very interesting and led by a fervent pro-EU integrationist who explained his opinion that the countries of Europe ought to give more of their national powers to the Union so that the organisation could respond better to international developments and serve its citizens better. He was particularly keen that the EU institutions should have more influence over social and taxation issues.

His presentation was interesting and provocative. But, as I said during the seminar, for me these are not the key elements in the immediate future of the EU: more important is completing and deepening the free market. By that I mean removing the barriers to trade which still exist within the EU between EU countries, reducing the bureaucracy which is associated with doing business internationally, and making sure all EU companies can compete for contracts on a fair and equal basis within the EU.

As I said in the seminar, in my opinion the most significant threat to achieving this is that our current economic problems, instead of encouraging us to speed that free market, slow it or even hold it back; and that protectionism (EU governments trying to favour their own companies over those of other EU countries) rears its head within the Union. What we need is free, transparent intra-EU and international trade. That’s what’s going to help the EU recover and generate growth. And that’s what’s going to bring prosperity back to EU citizens.

It was really encouraging to see the conclusions of last week’s European Council in which our leaders agreed that the EU free market should be completed swiftly and that growth will be our priority.  This is good news both for the UK and Hungary: two countries which rely on international trade for their prosperity. The freer and more transparent our trade, the wealthier our countries will be.

About Jonathan Knott

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take up his post. He left this post on April…

Jonathan Knott was appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to
Hungary in March 2011 and arrived in Budapest in February 2012 to take
up his post. He left this post on April 2015.
He has previously held a variety of diplomatic posts at home and
abroad, several with a particular focus on commercial and corporate
finance issues. Jonathan has served in a number of positions in the
British Diplomatic Service since joining in 1988:
Before his appointment was Deputy Head of Mission and Director for Trade and Investment in South Korea from 2008 to 2011.Between 2005 and 2008 he held the post of Deputy Finance Director in the FCO.From 2000 to 2005 he served as First Secretary (Trade, Corporate Affairs and Finance Negotiator) in UKDel OECD Paris.From 1996 to 2000 he was First Secretary (Head of Political/Economic/Aid Section) in Mexico.From 1995 to 1996 he worked in the FCO as Deputy European Correspondent at the EU Directorate.Between 1991 and 1995 he served as Third later Second Secretary (Political / Press and Public Affairs) in Havana.From 1990 to 1991 he was Desk Officer in the FCO’s First Gulf War Emergency Unit.Between 1988 and 1990 he worked as Desk Officer in the FCO in the Anti Drugs Cooperation Department.
Jonathan holds an MA in law from Oxford University, and he is a
member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. He speaks
English, French, Spanish and Hungarian. He is married to Angela Susan
Knott and has one daughter and two sons.

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