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2012 May Issue

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IN HIS ADDRESS at the Lord Mayor’s Easter Banquet last month, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague stated: ‘This in no way means we are moving away from…our deep partnership with the European Union.’ However, despite what the UK government says, its political relationship with the EU is undergoing a seismic shift. A recent set of polls by YouGov-Cambridge demonstrated just how differently British voters feel about the EU when compared to the other EU nations: 60 per cent want ‘a looser relationship with the eU’ or ‘to leave altogether.’ It seems the drive for eU integration is totally at odds with practical realities and the aspirations of the British people.

With this in mind, Diplomat has put together a comprehensive report on the eU, with contributions from different european ambassadors focusing on their countries vision for europe. have dramatic recent events in the eU highlighted its strengths and underlined the concept of ‘union’ or revealed its flaws?

As a founding member of the EU, Belgium has always been a staunch supporter of Europe. The ambassador states that Belgium’s commitment to multilateralism results from a rational calculation: multilateralism pays. For a country of this size, multilateral organisations amplify its voice and provide it with a lever to project its influence. The swedish ambassador says that now, more than ever, there is a need for a clear and positive vision of the eU’s future, and an acknowledgement that the challenges faced are too great for any member state to address alone. In many ways europe is at a turning point in history and basically faces a critical choice to reform or decline.

An EU success story, Poland has dramatically transformed from a country that used to only benefit from the eU, to one that now substantially contributes to that same organisation. On the other end of the scale, Greece’s ambassador examines the global financial crisis in the european context, and his country’s efforts to reform its economy and get back on track.

1 March 2012. The ambassador says that the eU leaders’ decision is a clear recognition of serbia’s efforts to carry out major economic, political and judicial reforms. Former UK ambassador Charles Crawford then outlines the ‘Intelligent diplomat’s Guide to euroscepticism,’ explaining each camp in detail.

Following their win last year, the ambassador of azerbaijan writes on his country’s hosting of this month’s eurovision song Contest 2012 in their beautiful newly constructed Crystal hall. he believes that last year’s eurovision win helped azerbaijan to reconnect culturally with europe after 70 years of disconnection. as he says, culture and face-to-face interaction can go a lot further to bringing people together than just political ties.

As always, Diplomat reviews the credentials of new heads of mission to the Court of st James’s, this month meeting with the ambassadors of Bulgaria and Indonesia. For our series of photographic portraits, we feature his excellency alphonse Berns, ambassador of Luxembourg. In the lifestyle section, Diplomat visits the Old house at home in rural Wiltshire, enjoys a stay in Belgraves and dinner at richard Caring’s new offering, 34. readers with a taste for culture will find valuable advice in our book and art reviews, including details of the fabulous new hermès exhibition at the royal academy of arts. Finally, we want to hear from you, our readers, on article suggestions, new appointments, local news, issues and other embassy events that you would like covered.

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