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Peter Ricketts

Ambassador to France from February 2012 to January 2016.

Part of UK in France

21st December 2012 Paris, France

Bye bye 2012… Welcome 2013!

GREAT campaign photo box and Christmas tree, British Embassy Chancery, Paris
GREAT campaign photo box and Christmas tree, British Embassy Chancery, Paris

Christmas is a time to look back at the year and also forward to the next year, and this has been an exceptional year for the UK in many ways. For me it finished on a high note because I was able to be in the Foreign Office in London when The Queen came for a visit, the last visit of her Jubilee Year, to say thank you for the work of British diplomats around the world.

Written version (continued)

And, as a tribute to her, the Government announced that a part of the British Antarctic Territory, that has never had a named, will be named “Queen Elizabeth’s Land”.  So, from now on, the map of the world will always have a part of the Antarctica called “Queen Elizabeth’s Land”.

This has been an exceptional year: We’ve had the Jubilee of the Queen running all through the year, and of course we’ve had the Olympic Games.

Here in France, we’ve had a great deal of work to build UK-French cooperation, including a very active year on Europe. The year finished with the European Council in Brussels dealing with important issues on the Eurozone, like the agreement to move to banking union among the Eurozone countries, with Britain able to accept that, recognising that the success of the Eurozone is important for us, and that our interests in that were protected.

Next year, there will be a great deal to do as well: Britain will hold the presidency of the G8 group of countries, and I will look forward to telling you about the agenda and the priorities we should have for that during the year. We have to sort out the 5-year budget for the European Union, and there will be the usual run of diplomatic crises and problems to deal with.

We will continue, as the Embassy, to keep you as closely in touch as we can. We are going to increase our work on social networking and make sure we have as much digital content as possible to explain to you where Britain is coming from on the important issues of the day.

So I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and an excellent 2013.