You can tell the Autumn season has started as an Ambassador when the steady stream of official visitors to Stockholm resumes.
Last week I hosted the Head of the UK Civil Service, who was here to see what an Embassy does, not just to support the UK Foreign Office, but to help the work of a whole range of UK government departments.
So Sir Bob Kerslake was able to meet people in the Embassy, British, Swedish and other nationalities, who talk to Swedish counterparts about UK objectives, seeking to promote ever closer partnership between our two countries on bilateral, EU and international issues. Examples include working with the British Treasury and Swedish finance Ministry on the future EU budget, with the Energy and Climate Change Department in London and the Environment Department here on global warming, as well as our trade and investment team helping British companies exporting here and Swedish investors in the UK and our visa team dealing with thousands of applications every year from non-EU nationals here wanting to go to the UK.
This week we had the official head of the UK’s Department for International Development, talking to Swedish officials, academics, NGOs and others about the challenges in taking forward the international development agenda.
Coming to Sweden was particularly relevant given the role that our two governments will play on the new UN panel looking at the future of international development beyond the current term of the Millennium Development Goals, which is 2015. Our Prime Minister is one of the chairs, and Gunilla Carlsson, Sweden’s Development Minister is also a panelist.
So there’s great scope to work together on the challenge of abolition of poverty and through that opening the prospects of greater prosperity and security to even more people around the world.