Noticing encouraging signs
Someone recently reminded me of the adage that optimism is for a diplomat what courage is for a soldier – it might not make sense, but you can’t do the job without it. However, even with infection rates on the rise around us, there are still encouraging signs.
In my last column, I highlighted leading research in the world of higher education institutions across the UK. In August, the Government obtained rapid access to 90 million new doses of a fifth and a sixth Covid-19 vaccine under development, by funding global clinical trials. If you’re interested in finding a vaccine, listen to Kate Bingham and Sir Patrick Vallance’s Covid-19 podcast. Managing the effects of the pandemic remains a priority.
The recent return of quarantine for anyone traveling from France to the UK has reminded us that we must keep our collective custody. I know that any restrictions on travel cause real disruption for families and businesses, and I can only assure you that the health statistics of all countries are under constant and careful scrutiny. Hope many of you were able to read my recent interview on the Login website at the link above and found our Facebook updates useful.
Keep the country up to date
In a record-breaking effort from our communications team, we reached over 577,000 people on the weekend after our travel advice was changed. We will continue to keep you posted on new announcements, including, of course, on reciprocal measures that the French government has said it wants to impose. In the meantime, remember that all passengers traveling to the UK must complete an online passenger tracing form before traveling.
This fall isn’t just about Covid-19, of course. French authorities will issue a decree explaining what UK citizens will need for residency applications. The online system will go live on October 1, 2020 and you will have until June 30, 2021 to apply. We will share the information as widely and as soon as possible. Consider signing up for our Living in France guide for automatic updates, and, if you think you might be having difficulty, contact one of the four organizations the UK government funds to support you in this area.
The end of the transition period
As we approach the end of the transition period, the way we negotiate will change. The Embassy is also there to help you. From January 1, 2021, the UK will operate a full external border – which will involve controls on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU. These will be introduced in three stages from January 1 to July 1. My colleagues from the Department of International Trade are working to help businesses on both sides of the Channel prepare. Please contact our local team if you have any questions.
The world as a whole continues to be turbulent and we continue to work closely with our French colleagues around the world. Recently, for example, the government granted £ 25 million in aid to the Lebanese people following the tragic explosion in Beirut. Our Chinook helicopters in Mali provide valuable support to the French forces there. We are working together on our response to the situation in Belarus. I discussed all this, as well as the latest on the EU exit negotiations, with the new Minister for Europe, Clément Beaune, last week.
As you will see in the main photo, I’m trying to fly the flag even on my bike! This fall, we will continue to adapt and innovate. We are reinventing many events and we are still preparing for COP 26 and the UK-France summit, with slightly slower timetables.
I will continue to meet with representatives of the UK community, in small and large groups, but mainly online. I will invite people to join me in the residence to see the best of the UK – virtually. I hope he will include you!
As you plan your own, arguably just as complicated, back to school, I hope you are all well and encourage you to stay safe and obey local health restrictions in any city or town. department you are reading this.