WELCOME TO THE JULY/AUGUST 2021 ISSUE OF DIPLOMAT
AS WE FINALISE THIS ISSUE, diplomatic wrangling continues both on and off the football pitch. Although last night witnessed jubilant scenes as England fans celebrated their win against Germany, at government level, EU diplomats and their UK counterparts are tussling over summer travel corridors as the health pandemic rumbles on.
The recent G7 marked the start of the multilateral season, and the BBC’s James Landale highlights the fact that the Cornish summit was a crucial first test of the UK government’s ‘Global Britain’ foreign policy. Aside from a small surge in COVID cases in the area, he asks what diplomatic lessons can be learned from that “warm weekend in June when a slice of the western world descended on the Cornish riviera.”
DRD Partnership, an international strategic communications firm advising embassies, corporates and global NGOs, said that the event demonstrated “how difficult it will be for the UK to position itself as a pillar of the rules-based international order while it is regarded as having turned its back on perhaps the most multilateral of all organisations, the EU.” Brexit continued to cast its shadow over the summit, along with the Northern Ireland Protocol issue, which Sir Bernard Jenkin MP tackles in his regular Westminster Reflectionscolumn.
Offering his experience serving as a British ambassador overseas, Charles Crawford CMG shares a candid insight into what goes on behind closed doors during summit diplomacy. In short, he notes, “high-level diplomacy is oddly human. It’s all about subtly building relationships.” No surprise, then, that all Heads of Mission I’ve talked to are itching to return to face-to-face meetings.
In the run up to COP26, former health secretary for the UK government, Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell, says there’s no green future without hydrogen. So why isn’t everyone talking about it? Iceland’s Ambassador Sturla Sigurjonsson says that his country also has potential to become “a leading hydrogen producer and exporter in the world, with Landsvirkjun, the national power company of Iceland, having recently signed a declaration of intent regarding examining the potential for the export of green hydrogen from Iceland to Rotterdam. Hydrogen in Iceland would be produced through the electrolysis of water with renewable power.” He writes for Diplomat stating that his country’s abundance of renewable energy gives it an undeniable advantage when it comes to reaching its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2040.
Diplomat continues to review the credentials of new heads of mission accredited to the Court of St James’s, this month meeting the Ambassadors of Romania, South Sudan and Ukraine.
In our lifestyle pages, Diplomat sources an eco-friendly staycation: Devon offers country air, stormy seas and crackling fires that allow you to immerse yourself in nature. We return to famed diplomatic gathering place, the Hyatt Regency London – The Churchill to take a look at their recently revealed renovations, and experience a Mexican feast at home from Taco Party, El Pastor’s delivery service. Diplomat also takes a first look at The OWO Residences by Raffles, which come to market in the former Old War Office in Whitehall.
Please do stay in touch and send me article suggestions, new appointments and mission news that you would like covered. Follow and contact us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – our reach is growing on these platforms – we are happy to share your news on social media too.
Please stay safe in the meantime.
Venetia de Blocq van Kuffeler