Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett

Former Ambassador to Ireland, Dublin

Part of UK in Poland

27th March 2013 Dublin, Ireland

The multi-faceted life of an Ambassador

It has been a busy time for both me and the wider Embassy team. A recent Tuesday found me trying not to confuse the financing of energy investment in Poland with a trilateral Afghan, Polish, British roundtable on progress and next steps in Afghanistan. Both are really important.

Poland and the UK both need to invest huge sums to upgrade our energy infrastructure to ensure energy security and meet our low carbon obligations. We both see civil nuclear and shale gas as part of our energy mix in future, although nuclear will be bigger for us and shale for Poland. Our nuclear expertise is second to none and independent since we do not sell reactors.

British-Polish-Afghan Forum
British-Polish-Afghan Forum

We are therefore working closely together. At the energy investment seminar in Warsaw, last week I highlighted our new financing mechanisms like contracts for difference to give investors the confidence to invest in the UK and our capacity market, which provides an insurance policy against blackouts by ensuring we have the capacity to meet demand.

The challenges ahead are huge. But so are the opportunities. Who would have predicted a decade ago that shale gas would reduce US gas prices so dramatically that the US is now considering the export of LNG from terminals designed as import hubs?

Ensuring a sustainable future for Afghanistan is equally important. Peace and stability in that historically troubled country and the wider region has a direct impact on British and Polish citizens in today’s increasingly globalised world – a reminder of the importance of international missions conducted by NATO in supporting our security.

We also talked about the reality that Afghanistan has come on a long way despite some of the headlines. Children, especially girls, enjoy better access to education. The majority of the population has better access to health care. Women play a greater role in politics and economic life.

The Afghan economy has improved too and has big reserves of natural resources. Two in three Afghans now own a mobile phone: some two or three. So the sacrifices of brave Polish and British soldiers have certainly not been in vain.

Happily I did not mix up the different events.

Have a very happy Easter.

About Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated…

Robin Barnett was British Ambassador to Ireland from 2016 to 2020. Between 2011 - 2016 he held the post of British Ambassador to Poland and his career has previously concentrated on Central and Eastern Europe and multi-lateral diplomacy.

Robin began his career in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1980 as Desk Officer for Indonesia and the Philippines. In addition to Ireland, he has been posted to Vienna, New York and Bucharest, where he was Ambassador. He has also served as Director of UK Visas and Managing Director of the Business Group in UK Trade and Investment

Robin studied Law at Birmingham University. He has a son and a stepson and is a great admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson and a supporter of Manchester United.