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David LidingtonMinister for Europe, London
I visited Spain last week. I was there to beat the drum for British business, but I also spoke to Spanish business leaders from companies such as Santander and Ferrovial, who have invested in the UK. Watch my video blog to find out more.
The UK supports Turkey’s accession to the EU. Ahead of my visit to the annual Bosphorus conference to support Turkey's accession I spoke to Turkish news agency Anatolia. See the interview on video:
I spent several days travelling last week. My first destination was Kyiv, capital city of Ukraine, and following my engagements there, I travelled to Warsaw, capital of Poland. Watch my latest video blog to find out more about the UK's relationship with both Ukraine and Poland.
On Wednesday 29 September I spent the day in Edinburgh. I visited the Chamber of Commerce, the University of Edinburgh and the Scottish Parliament. Find out more by watching my video blog below.
You can see more multilingual Foreign Office blogs here.
For more information on careers for British Graduates see the European Personnel Selection Office and The Cabinet Office's information on the European Fast Stream.
This week I travelled with my friend, German Minister for Europe, Werner Hoyer, to Moldova and Romania. In both Moldova and Romania we discussed the important issue of Transnistria. Whilst in Romania I met with economy Ministers to talk about the European single market, and energy security. To find out more, and to hear Werner Hoyer's reflections on the visit too, watch the video below.
I've also added a transcript of the video below.
Well today I’m in Moldova in Eastern Europe. I’m on a joint visit with my friend and colleague Werner Hoyer who is the German Minister for Europe, and we are here in order to meet the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and other members of the government of Moldova. Moldova’s a new country. It broke away from the Soviet Union, when the USSR imploded, and there are a number of important issues that they’re trying to resolve here. They’re driving forward with a programme of both economic and political reform and there is an unresolved conflict in a region of Moldova called Transnistria where there is a breakaway or separatist movement…there’s a lot of talks going on, between various countries as to how we help Moldova to resolve this very difficult, intractable problem. It’s been a productive day, and I think both Werner and I sent a very clear message to our friends in Moldova that we support their ambition for closer links with the European Union and we’ve encouraged them to press forward on the work of economic reform and towards political stability.
This visit with my British colleague David Lidington has been a quite an experience. We told our hosts we’re travelling together as friends and we’re coming to see friends here and we were very, very warmly received here. We’ve had very good talks and I believe that there is a rather broad consensus in this country that the destination is Europe and that might help, hopefully will help, success on this very, very difficult modernisation process and reform process this country is going through and must go through. within the last twelve months a lot has been achieved, constitutional referendum has failed so there’s an election coming up and we hope and we insisted, that these elections will be fair and free and there will be a democratically legitimised government…which is able to cope with the big challenges this country has to meet and wherever we can be of assistance we will be there. The Transnistria conflict David’s just mentioned - that is serious challenge for us, but we believe that among all those conflicts among the territories of the former Soviet Union, this might be one which could see a solution sooner or later. And this is what Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Medvedev of Russia have tried to make a first step towards an initiative to be helpful in solving this conflict. So this is one of the topics we touched upon today and all in all I would say, David, it’s been a very good visit:
It’s been a very good visit.
Well I’ve moved on. Yesterday I was in Chisinau the capital of the Republic of Moldova, now I’m in Bucharest, the capital of Romania. I came with my German colleague Werner Hoyer and we had a series of meetings with Romanian ministers where we talked about what we’d seen in Moldova…an issue of huge importance to the Romanians. This is their next door neighbour we’re talking about after all, and we talked about other European political issues. But I’ve also been talking to Romanian Ministers about how we want to strengthen the bilateral relationship between UK and Romania. Romania has the potential to be a really significant player in the European Union, and there are many things that our two countries share in common. Our support for the enlargement of the EU to cover the countries of the Western Balkans and the Eastern partnership, if and when they meet the criteria for accession, but also our support for further work to deepen the single market within Europe. Energy security is a major concern here and a genuine single market in energy throughout the EU would be an enormous help to us in reducing our dependence on politically risky suppliers of oil and gas, whether we’re talking about Russia, or whether we’re talking about the Gulf region. And then there’s Romania’s geopolitical role, experience of the Balkans, the Black Sea region of the Caucasus – I think there’s a lot that the UK can learn, and there’s also great commercial opportunities here. I was seeing Romanian economy ministers this afternoon to press the case for British investors in these countries, and I think with good will on both sides we have the makings of a very important commercial relationship, that with luck should see more jobs in both our countries.
Earlier this week I went to France for meetings with Pierre Lellouche (French Minister with responsibility for European affairs). We discussed a wide range of issues of common importance, such as defence cooperation, but also Europe's relationships with China, India and Turkey. In between our meetings I recorded a video blog. Watch it and find out more about my time in France. For accessibility, I've also included a text transcript of the video blog below.
Resuming my video blog with a post from Vilnius, Lithuania. Transcript:
'Well today I'm in Vilnius the capital of Lithuania. And as you can see they've kindly arranged some British weather to greet me so I feel that summer really is home from home. I’ve been having some talks with the Lithuanian Foreign Minster about various European issues. It’s astonishing. Lithuania, just over 20 years ago, was part of the Soviet Union. It is now a free independent democracy, a partner of ours in the European Union and in Nato. So we discussed both those organisations, we discussed security concerns, the financial issues to do with the European Union, relations with Russia and with Turkey.
I’ve also been to visit Barclays Bank which has set up a big operation here in Vilnius. I think this is a good place for investment. Lithuania shares the UK’s views about the need for free and open markets in Europe. There's the rule of law, a good trade and investment environment here so I very much want to see the trade and investment relationship between the UK and Lithuania strengthened.'
Thank you to everyone who posted a question in response to my invitation last week. I was impressed by the number of responses and the variety of topics.
You can see my answers to the questions in the video below, covering a range of the topics raised.
I'm interested in your views on how I can use this blog to give a greater insight into my work as Minister for Europe, and the work the UK does with its partners in Europe. So please keep sending me your thoughts and comments.
Answers to questions in this video:
0m 50s: Integration of the Western Balkans into the EU
3m 06s: The political situation in Albania
4m 30s: Getting British Nationals into EU Institutions
7m 55s: Referendum on EU membership
11m 20s: UK's priorities for the Common Security and Defence Policy
13m 03s: Slovenian prisoners of war in WWII
15m 23s: Organised crime in Montenegro
16m 45s: Roles of the EU Presidency and the EU High Representative
20m 03s: European Investigation Order
24m 43s: Referendum on Lisbon Treaty
Watch the video below to find out more about the issues I've been working on, and then submit your questions using the comment function at the bottom of the blog page.
I look forwards to hearing from you, and hope to get a wide range of questions from people across Europe!
The deadline for questions is Midday, Tuesday 27 July. I'll then answer as many questions as I can in another video blog post on Friday 30 July.