Election does not stop our embassy work continuing

The Ambassador visits the Eurostar

Every month the British Ambassador to France, Ed Llewellyn, shares an insight into his role; below is his December column

It is unlikely to have escaped your notice that the UK goes to the polls on December 12 in a general election.

The key thing for British citizens living here in France and on the electoral register is to make sure you can vote. It is possible to ask for a proxy vote in England, Scotland or Wales until December 4. It is too late to apply if you vote in Northern Ireland.

 If you have a postal vote, do allow for postal delays to make sure it arrives in time. Please look at gov.uk/voting-when-abroad for details. [You cannot vote if you have been out of the UK for 15 years
or more].

This month we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first Eurostar train, which makes such a difference to keeping the UK and France connected.

A highlight for me was being invited to climb inside the driver’s cab (pictured). The British Embassy here and the French Embassy in London exchanged gifts via the anniversary train and I hope many of you enjoyed the film that French Ambassador Catherine Colonna and I made of this moment.

Do take a look on the Embassy Facebook page or on our Twitter.

This embassy is not only responsible for our relations with France, so another important moment was paying the UK’s respects to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II on the occasion of Monaco’s National Day on November 19.

There was a spectacular firework display, as well as a moving service in Monaco Cathedral and an impressive parade in front of the Prince’s Palace. See more photos from the day, below.

Supporting UK prosperity is a crucial role for our overseas networks so I’m pleased that the Franco-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a network of more than 2,000 businesses on both side of the Channel, has released a report showing that trade between our two countries is growing (up 6%) and investment is also increasing (by 8%).

This month a piece of British technology that we showcased at the embassy earlier in the year was spotted by a French distributor and shown at the Milipol exhibition in Paris to up to 30,000 visitors.

The Safescan is an extraordinary piece of British kit that helps security forces see through walls and understand what dangers may lie in wait behind them.

December is shaping up to be a busy month. The UK will be hosting the Leaders’ Meeting to celebrate NATO’s 70th anniversary, an opportunity both to look back on the alliance’s successes and to consider together the shared challenges of the future.

An important element of this is making sure that younger generations understand how NATO contributes to our collective security

While the outcome of the general election remains in the hands of the electorate, the demand for in-depth understanding and knowledge of France from our colleagues in London remains strong.

Our consular section will continue to assist vulnerable UK nationals, our political teams will build relationships with their French counterparts, and our commercial section will promote British exports. See you in the New Year!      

www.gov.uk/livinginfrance 

Photos of Monaco's National Day: © Charly Gallo - Manu Vitali - Mika Alesi 

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