Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

25th January 2013 Budapest, Hungary

The future of the EU and the UK’s role in it

As you may have seen, on Wednesday morning the British Prime Minister David Cameron delivered a speech in London entitled: ‘The Future of the EU and the UK’s role within it’. In the speech he set out his views as Head of Government of a flexible, adaptable and open European Union. As Conservative Party leader the Prime Minister also set out Conservative Party policy to seek a mandate at the 2015 election for a renegotiation and a subsequent referendum on the UK’s EU membership.

The PM made it clear that wants the UK to stay in the EU, and he agrees with our friends inside and outside the Union that the EU would be weaker without the UK. The UK remains at the heart of the Single Market, and is leading EU action on energy, climate change, development, foreign policy and other global challenges.

He also gave an honest assessment of the challenges that all of us in Europe face. Specifically, the challenges of the Eurozone crisis and the changes it is driving in Europe, Competitiveness in the face of a transformed global economy, and the gap between Europe and its peoples.

The PM proposed five principles for reform to overcome these challenges:

  • Competitiveness: a serious effort to deepen the Single Market, cut red tape, open up trade and reform the EU’s institutions
  • Flexibility:  embracing the diversity of the EU, rather than insisting on one size fits all
  • Power must be able to flow back to Member States: we should examine what the EU should do and should stop doing
  • Democratic accountability: there has to be a bigger role for national parliaments
  • Fairness: the changes brought by the Eurozone crisis must not undermine the integrity of the Single Market

The PM has pledged to address the gap between the EU and its citizens – and secure support for the UK’s long-term role at the heart of the world’s greatest trading bloc. He strongly feels that ignoring this issue would make the UK’s EU exit more likely. This is why he has set out the case for a referendum on British membership based on a new settlement which promotes and secures Britain’s interests. The PM believes this is the best way to secure the European future he sees for Britain.

These are far-reaching and complex issues for Britain and the EU. But this speech shows that the UK is engaging with its EU partners. The UK Government is committed to help shape the future of an open, flexible and adaptable European Union, to achieve not just a better deal for Britain, but a better deal for Europe too.

As part of our engagement, I’m keen to learn what the Hungarian government and people feel about the ideas in the speech. So please do let me know.

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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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