Jonathan Knott

Former British ambassador to Hungary, Budapest

Part of UK in Hungary

7th March 2013 Budapest, Hungary

Commercial diplomacy in action

It’s been a long time since I last posted a blog. Not because I’ve got lazy! But because I’ve been travelling so much lately.  I’ve been away for large parts of three of the last four weeks. Each time for really good events, and each of which events were about the Central Europe region rather than just about Hungary. But they’ve taken up so much time! Let me tell you about the trips.

The first was to London, where I helped run a big seminar which brought key people involved in nuclear power generation in Central Europe together with British experts in building, running and decommissioning nuclear plants. I firmly believe nuclear is part of our energy generation mix for the future and I was really pleased to have been able to help make some contacts between these two groups. This sort of business is long term, but I’m hopeful that we’ll see British individuals and companies helping make sure Central Europe gets the energy sources it needs. Because we don’t make reactors themselves in the UK, we’re able to offer solutions across a range of technologies – and help make sure nuclear suppliers get value for money.

Next I spent a few days in the North East of England at a trade event. I went to Newcastle to talk to British businesses there about the opportunities which there are for them here in Central Europe. There were around 200 companies at the conference and I was able to give a plenary presentation, so I hope the message got well spread about. It was encouraging to have a good number of companies come for more details during the course of the conference. I’ll pass those leads on to our trade experts in Embassies around Central Europe. What went down best was that we’ve established a one-stop-shop for those British companies which are curious about the offer here. We now have one person per sector who can offer good advice on all the markets in he region – so you don’t have to ring round all 9 countries to find out if there are opportunities for you.

Then last week I went to Vienna where all the Ambassadors in Central Europe got together to compare notes: to see which solutions different Embassies have found to challenges we all face and to discuss the best way to handle the issues which are coming up over the next few months. I really enjoyed it. Especially the team-building session where we had to build a roller-coaster out of paper together. And I brought t back to Budapest a lot of good tips for ways we can work even better here.

But I’m very happy not to have too much travel away from Hungary in the next few weeks. There’s so much I want to do here and so many ideas I want to put into practice. You’ll be able to read about them here. I’m also happy to be away from the temptation of full English breakfasts and Vienna cream cakes. My diet has not been very healthy! But now I’m back home and the weather’s getting better I have lots of plans for exercise to help shift the winter weight. Does anyone have any tips on how to prepare to swim across Lake Balaton?

1 comment on “Commercial diplomacy in action

  1. Dear Jonathan Knott,

    If you really want to swim across Lake Balaton, you have to training and training.
    My favourite film is the Chariots of Fire and I think the film is good inspiration.

    yours sincerely

    Benedek Kalmar

Comments are closed.

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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