Despite recent upheavals Foreign Secretary William
Hague, shown here at our Biennial Lecture in June, has pointed out that
this year the foreign policies of Britain and France have been more
aligned than in any year since the Second World War. That said we do
recognize that the FBC's role in forming bonds of trust and
understanding is highly relevant at a time when the Eurozone is
testing the bilateral relationship severely.
Budget cuts have affected us all but the French Section of the FBC
has been particularly hard hit over the last two years. We are therefore
delighted to announce that the Quai D’Orsay has now confirmed funding
the Conseil franco britannique with administration being undertaken by the
Institut français des relations internationales. This will involve some
structural change to our joint operations but the programme of events
will continue unabated and we look forward once again to working fully
our French Section. Christian de Boissieu is confirmed as the new
President, Catherine Colonna as Vice President, Jean Yves Audouin,
Secretary-General and Gérard Roubichou as Treasurer.We are
delighted that Jean Guéguinou, former President will continue to be
associated with our work in his new role as Honorary President.
On the British side I would like to take this opportunity to thank
my Vice Chair Dominic Grieve most warmly for his support to our activities
in general and in particular in the initiation and chairing of the seminar
on Youth Justice.
I am also keen to thank and pay tribute to a number of members
who have reached the end of their term. See below for a summary of their
contributions. The following people are being invited to join
as members from 2012: Air Commodore Stuart Atha, Michael Clarke,
Director of the Scottish National Gallery, Christopher Deacon, former
special adviser to Eurotunnel, Maurice Fraser, European Institute, LSE,
Nabila Ramdani, journalist, Matthew Ryecroft, EU Director, FCO, Ian
former Minister for Science and Technology and Michael Shackleton, Head of
the European Parliament Information Office in the UK.
Finally I want to wish you all a happy Christmas and every good
wish for 2012.
Joyce Quin, Chair
Message from HE Bernard Emié, French
Ambassador to the United Kingdom
2011 has been a fruitful year for Franco-British cooperation. The
political impetus given by Prime Minister Cameron and President Sarkozy
been translated into unprecedented progress.
In the defence field,
the bilateral treaties of Lancaster House paved the way for practical
initiatives on the operational and procurement levels and on armaments
programmes. French and British civilian and military leaders now
together instinctively. They know one another and appreciate each
other’s strengths. At a time when the population of Benghazi was
under threat of death, the United Kingdom and France were able, in a
of a few days, to galvanize the international community and act in unison
to help the Libyan people free themselves from their oppressors. It
was a credit to the UK and France. Libya helped heal the wound of
In promoting an energy mix in which civil
nuclear energy plays its full role, the UK and France are also leaders in
Europe. Our cooperation is growing stronger, and the UK has this
confirmed her decision to modernize her fleet of power stations.
Together, we are making an effort to promote respect for the highest
In many other fields, the
foundations for even closer cooperation have been laid. The
preparations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic
and Paralympic Games stand out among the most symbolic areas. As a
neighbour and friend, France will provide her support to ensure these
events are a success.
2011 has also been
a fruitful year for the Franco-British Council. The Council is
asserting itself as one of the key forums for closer relations between our
two countries’ civil societies. It makes an important contribution
to an essential cause: the convergence of ideas and the emergence of
a Franco-British community of thought. The seminars it has held have
attracted a great deal of attention. In this respect, I am delighted
that the Foreign Secretary honoured one of these events with his
presence. It was also confirmed in 2011 that the Franco-British
Council’s French section is being revitalized. The conditions now
exist for the Council – which is to celebrate its 40th
anniversary in 2012 – to be given a new boost. more...
photo credit: Alexander McIntyre
Youth Justice and Family Breakdown,
Chaired by the Rt. Hon Dominic Grieve MP (seen here with Pierre Joxe,
former French Interior Minister) the FBC, with the support of the
Franco British Lawyers Society, held this seminar at Berrymans Lace
Mawer. It brought together representatives from the French and British
justice systems, governments, academia and the voluntary sector to examine
the strengths and shortcomings of the youth justice systems in England,
Wales Scotland and France. What emerged were astute observations on
dealing with the causes of youth crime, the way youth justice is
administered in each country, and how the justice systems can
improve. The discussion particularly focused on key themes such as
political will, preventative versus punitive justice, relationships
institutions, working practices of agencies and the role of communities,
families and the voluntary sector. more...
The full report by Francesca Colloca will be available soon.
Referendums in France and the UK , 28th
Chaired by Sir Stephen Wall (seen here
Joyce Quin) this small gathering of eminent academics, politicians and
commentators took place in the House of Lords. One of the conclusions was
that Referendums are now a permanent part of the landscape as much in the
UK as in France, but as a tool for eliciting public views only in certain
circumstances and under specified conditions.
It was also noted that there is mixed evidence from France and the
UK about whether or not politics has become more plebiscitarian, more
reliant on ‘black or white’ decisions or affirmations of view.
despite the rhetoric around individual choice elsewhere, politics and
representative institutions remain resilient, albeit threatened by apathy
and disaffection, especially among young people. more…
You can download the full report by David Walker here
2nd FBC Annual Defence Conference, British
The FBC will hold its second annual
conference on Franco-British cooperation in Defence on Wednesday 21 March
2012. It will be hosted by Sir Peter Ricketts who will be taking over from
Sir Peter Westmacott as Ambassador and will provide a unique
opportunity to look at what has been achieved over the first year of
bilateral rapprochement. Industry will remain a key focus as well as
military training. We will also examine the political will together with
the new parliamentary dimension which should indicate the level of
determination to implement the 2011 Lancaster House treaties.
Libya will be a major area of observation as well, and the question of
what lessons can be learned from this joint military intervention led by
France and Britain. Other topics will include EU-NATO relationships in the
near future, cyber security, terrorism and the potential threat of Iran.
is hoped that the conference will be influential in laying down a joint
approach to these issues.
To read our interview with Secretary General Ghanim Bin Shaheen
Al-Ghanim, the latest in our series of The FBC in
Conversation with - Qatar visit our defence website here.
Women on the Board: Are Quotas a Red Herring?
On 13th January 2011 the French Parliament gave final
approval to a law forcing large companies to reserve at least 40 percent
their boardroom positions for women within six years. A year after the
passing of this legislation the FBC will bring together experts in this
field in a series of workshops. Examples of questions to be addressed are:
What are the principle reasons for the poor female representation in
boardrooms? Are quotas the best approach to reach greater gender equality?
Does the presence of a quota harm the reputation of women in the
Over one hundred and fifty French and
British students packed into the House of Lords Robing Room on the
8th December for an evening on the theme of the role of
parliaments in working with governments on legislation relating to
Higher Education. The event was organized by Franco British
Connections with support from the French Embassy. Speakers
included Lord Giddens and HE Bernard Emié (shown here). Joyce Quin
was also part of the panel chaired by Dr Anne Corbett, former FBC
Vice-Chair, who responded to lively questions from the floor on the merits
of both Higher Education systems and whether, in the new global
competitive environment, they were able to promote social mobility. The
inbalance between French students in the UK (14,000) and British students
in France (3,000) was highlighted and the Ambassador spoke of work he was
doing with the British Minister for Education to review policies which
inhibited language learning in the UK. Examples were given by the students
of joint programmes which were at risk of being cut following the increase
in tuition fees and a constructive discussion took place on how best to
influence politicians in both countries. For more information on future
activities do visit the fb-connections website here
PASSAGE TO PARIS PRIMARY SCHOOLS PRIZE
This year we are taking a sabbatical from our annual Short Story
contest. Instead we will be running a one-off competition for primary
schools that are in close proximity to the St. Pancras International
Eurostar terminal. The idea for the competition came from War Horse author
Michael Morpurgo who noted during this year’s short story jury meeting
that it is often the younger children whose imaginations are most fertile.
Eurostar have kindly agreed to sponsor the prize which is a day in Paris
for a whole class of Year Five children. Further details will be available
soon on the website.
Next year sees the 40th Anniversary of the creation of the
FBC. Various plans are under discussion but we are also keen to hear your
ideas for the best way to celebrate. Please send your thoughts in to the
FBC office by the 18th January when we will hold a working
lunch to discuss options.
Roisin Donachie has been appointed European Affairs
Manager to Kingfisher. She is the first person to hold this title at the
home improvement retail giant which operates about 875 stores in 8
countries in Europe and Asia.
John Rogister was invited
to attend an international conference organised by the Conseil
regional of Rhone-Alpes, the Assemblée des Pays de Savoie, and
the University of Chambery to mark the 150th Anniversary of the Union of
Savoy with France and to speak on"L'echo litteraire, politique, et
psychologique de la question des nationalités en Grande-Bretagne
dans les cas italien et savoyard" . In February,
as Membre correspondant, he addressed the Académie
des sciences morales et politiques at a public session on
"Coutume et constitution en democratiie" and answered questions
from Jacques de Larosiere and eight other colleagues. He has
to lecture to Alliance Francaise circles throughout the UK. By
decree of 12 October 2011 the President of the French Republic elevated
John to the dignity of Grand Officer in the Ordre National du Merite.
Belinda Thomson was recently elevated to Honorary
Professor in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Her husband
Professor Richard Thomson has been asked to give the Douglas Johnson
Memorial Lecture on January 18th in the Chancellor's Hall Senate House,
Malet Street London WC1. He will speak at 6.00pm on the subject:
'New Wine in Old Bottles: adapting and abusing traditional styles in
French visual culture, 1880-1910'." Enrol
Sadly several members have reached the end of their tenure at the FBC
and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their active
contribution to the organisation.
BOBBY BARNES (right) enabled us to invite Thierry
Henry to present the School Sports Exchange Prize, has also provided major
input to our Diversity seminars and has constantly suggested bilateral
themes and delegates for a variety of seminars.
BELINDA THOMSON has always taken the trouble to
travel from Edinburgh for FBC meetings in which she has always been
valuable presence. She providedsignificant input to
our ‘Creative Ways Forward’ seminar and enabled us to invite people to
a private viewing of last year’s Gauguin exhibition which she enlivened
with her own illuminating commentary.
GOODWIN (right)liaised with the Tate
to allow us to use some superb artwork for the Diversity seminar at
Somerset House and partnered the FBC in the showing of La
Haine at the Tate Modern.
IAN MCCAFFERTY has been a very active member assisting in the
preparation of meetings on the Financial Crisis and participating in the
seminar on Research and Innovation.
ANDY KNAPP contributed many ideas such as
Agriculture and Defence which were then picked up and developed. His most
recent proposal on Arab Spring looks likely to go ahead in 2012 with the
DAVID GOODHART provided
invaluablesupport for our Short Story Prize through
Prospect Magazine which was a co-sponsor of the competition and published
the winning stories on their website. David also contributed to a number
seminars on the ‘Financial Crisis’ and the ‘Future of
IAN RANKIN joined us at the Public Policy Reform
seminar in Edinburgh and was an active member of the Short Story Prize
Please note the next AGM will be held in the afternoon on the
16th May Room 110 (The Archbishop’s Room) 1 Millbank,
London SW1P3JU. Members will be sent details in advance.
It is with sadness and deep gratitude that the FBC says farewell to
Jean-Claude Poimboeuf, Minister Counsellor at the French Embassy who is
returning to Paris to take up a post as Director of Human Resources. Over
his years in London he has ensured close coordination between the Embassy
and the FBC and almost singlehandedly pulled together the French
for the seminar on French and British Perspectives on the
Emergence of China which he also co-chaired. We will miss
quiet and affable professionalism and wish him all the best in his new
role. We look forward to keeping in touch.
LEGACIES In these difficult
economic times, the Franco-British Council is constantly looking for
additional sources of income. Friends of the FBC who want to
contribute to our efforts in strengthening and deepening the
relationship can leave us a legacy gift in their wills.
Introduction by our new Vice Chair, Dominic Grieve
This is a heading three
As the son of a Franco-British mother and a proud graduate of the
primary school classes of the Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle in London
my enthusiasm for all things French runs deep so I gladly accepted the
invitation to be Vice Chair of the Franco-British Council. I believe there
is much to be gained from a frank exchange of ideas with our Gallic
as has been amply demonstrated by recent FBC seminars on China,
Economics and the issue of how we can go beyond GDP in finding better ways
to measure national prosperity. The recent cycle of Defence seminars have
proved particularly fruitful and I have high hopes for the FBC's
Franco-British First Annual Defence Conference scheduled for the 31st
March. With similar population sizes and economies France and the UK face
many of the same challenges, yet a brief journey across the Channel
a country still refreshingly different from our own. While celebrating
these differences I believe that we should maintain a healthy curiosity
about how the French do things and should be prepared to learn while
proudly sharing our own models and insights with them. read