Robin Barnett

Robin Barnett

Former Ambassador to Ireland, Dublin

Part of UK in Hungary

6th September 2013 Dublin, Ireland

A GREAT British Presence at the Krynica Economic Forum

I have just completed a hectic couple of GREAT days at the Krynica Economic Forum. Our mission was to promote British expertise, capability and innovation and highlight the opportunity that Poland and the rest of Emerging Europe represents for British business.  Krynica is sometimes described as the Central European Davos and attracts a high profile audience of politicians, business leaders and commentators.

How did we achieve this? By running a wide ranging series of events under the Britain is GREAT banner spearheaded by our GREAT New Bus for London, the replacement for the Routemaster, which is not only iconic but also low emission and fuel efficient thanks  to its innovative combination of diesel and electric motors. You simply could not miss the bus as you can see for yourself on our Follow the Bus Facebook page.

With the help of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid, we launched an economic scorecard for the region prepared by PWC, which demonstrates the real long term potential of Emerging Europe and reinforces the case for British business to become  much more active in the region. The Minister also participated in a Ministerial panel during which he made the case that Central Europe combines the advantages of being Emerged members of the EU with having growth potential more akin to Emerging markets. FCO  Economic Director General Barbara Woodward pushed the huge benefits of completing the Single and Digital Single Markets at another panel.

Both also took part in promoting regional opportunities with the help of our GREAT Minis and joined us in talking to business at events sponsored by GREAT UK businesses like Mott MacDonald, Provident Financial, BUPA and Diageo. The ‘Taste of Scotland’ receptions  were superb opportunities for networking and promoting UK excellence in key sectors like energy, healthcare and food and drink and our First Secretary Iain Stewart added an authentic touch in his kilt!

My personal highlight was discussing business opportunities with Jonathan Knott, my counterpart in Hungary, in a gondola going up the mountain outside Krynica, for social media outlets. The scenery was breathtaking and I managed to keep my vertigo under control.

Feedback from Forum participants was GREAT too. The message was clear. Britain sees the huge potential of Emerging Europe and has the innovation and capability to help accelerate even further the region’s development.

Next stops for us are Top Gear Live in Warsaw and the Trako International Rail Fair in Gdansk. There is just so much opportunity in Poland for British business.


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.