French diplomatic service is ‘the best’
UK’s Hague tasks diplomatic service to be the world’s best by 2015. AP photoA British external panel of advisers told MPs that France has the most effective diplomatic service, followed by Britain.
Simon Fraser, head of the Diplomatic Service, told the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that in its first meeting earlier this year a panel, founded to assess the department’s progress, had judged France to have the most effective diplomatic service – although the U.K. came second, according to BBC.
Fraser told members of Parliament France was known for supporting its economic and commercial interests, adding that the U.K. had already made significant progress in this area. Asked about what he thought the U.K. could learn from the France, Fraser said the French government was judged to be “more organized in its collective support for, for example, French economic interests through diplomacy.”
‘Bold and imaginative’ Foreign Office
“That is certainly an area which we have been focusing on in the Foreign Office through our commercial diplomacy efforts, and I think we have made significant achievements there.” Fraser also said the FCO was looking at making its policies “hard-headed and focused on delivering the national interest” and more “bold and imaginative.”
U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague has set the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) an objective of becoming the best diplomatic service in the world by 2015.
As part of its attempts to achieve this, the FCO has convened an external panel of advisers, known as the Diplomatic Excellence External Panel, to assess the department’s progress. The panel includes around 60 politicians, journalists and representatives from business and the NGO sector.