38 British diplomats have travelled to Paris, where they are training with their French counterparts on issues such as security and defence, negotiations and bilateral policy. This annual training seminar, now in its third year, brings together together diplomats from both sides of the Channel with the aim of developing both institutional and personal links. Training diplomats of both countries together increases current and future cooperation between the UK and France across the world by sharing skills and experience and acting as a catalyst for continued joint cooperation between the UK and France.
Foreign Secretary William Hague established the UK-France joint diplomats training with former French foreign Minister, Alain Juppé, with the aim of increasing institutional links between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs. At his keynote address to the 2013 edition, Mr Hague described the UK-France joint training as “important for the valuable skills that participants will develop and the networking opportunities that it provides.”
Jolyon Latchmore, France desk officer at the FCO, recorded the following presentation of the programme:
UK - France Joint Diplomats Training
From this year the training is affiliated on the UK side to the newly established FCO Diplomatic Academy. This affiliation link provides the assurance that the yearly seminar will continue for the foreseeable future.
We asked some of the trainees to give their views of the programme:
Joint Diplomats Training
The UK’s relationship with France is vital. France and the United Kingdom share a close history and bond shaped over the past century. From the Entente Cordiale, fighting side-by-side in the First and Second World Wars and subsequently re-building Europe, the UK-France relationship is steeped in shared values and heritage. The two countries are Europe’s most prominent defence partners, NATO members, Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, nuclear states and in the top ten economies in the world. When the UK and France act together the world takes notice. This is highlighted by the fact that 75% of all UN Security Council Resolutions are proposed by the UK and France. We work together on a range of foreign policy issues such as Syria, Iran, Ukraine, the Middle East Peace Process, the Sahel and the Arab Spring.
France is relevant to the work of the entire FCO and cooperation is crucial to delivering on most of our objectives around the world. The joint training provides a great opportunity to further develop UK expertise in negotiation, security and defence matters by seeing how the French, who remain one of the UK’s closest military allies, are training their diplomats in these areas.
Sir Peter Ricketts, British Ambassador to France, talks about the importance of this initiative in his video blog.