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Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

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Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

Post by Pedro Silva on Tue Jun 08, 2010 12:23 am

Alexander Ellis "Portugal is a country addicted to the crisis by instinct"
by Gonçalo Venancio, Published June 7, 2010 |

Married to a Portuguese and supporter of Sporting, the British ambassador in Portugal recognizes the national capacity to fend.
Alexander Ellis did not flinch when asked what language I wanted to give the interview: "In Portuguese," he replied with the ease of someone who "loves Portugal." To mark the first month on the British elections, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom received hi one of the most dynamic diplomatic representations of the Foreign Office. The garden in the garden and 25% reduction in consumption of electricity has already won several awards for innovation to the embassy - and there may be more to come. Football, bilateral relations, the challenges of the government of David Cameron and the situation in Gaza marked this talk about half an hour.

These days, British politicians are encouraged to use public transport, bicycle or even walk to work. I understand that is not news to you?

No, it´s not ...

But it is much easier to ride in London than in Lisbon ...

Yeah, definitely! In London I was already using the bike every day to go to work, 45 minutes to go and return in 45 minutes, rising Acton Hill, passing the chip shops [shops fries] until you get home. Lisbon is harder, but shorter.

We are just a few days into the World Cup. Has high expectations of the England team?

The hope is the last to die. And I very much hope that does not appear in Portugal on the path. In recent years our curriculum is not the best: we lost in 2000, 2004 and 2006. But that was in the past decade [laughs].

And for Sporting, who have expectations?

It is better not to speak it. Let us look forward, as he said the music that accompanied New Labour in 1997, "Things Can Only Get Better" [Things can only get better].

I assume that the Anglo-Italian is in his best days ...

When Fabio Capello was appointed coach of England, I received an sms from a friend of mine, crazy for Inter Milan, who once told me: "You will at least the semi-finals." The truth is that in qualifying the selection played very well.

These people - whether they be football coaches, athletes and artists - are not diplomats, have an important role in the relationship between states?

Yes, bring with them an image. I remember very well that the first time that followed the European Commission President to London, in a speech on Africa at the London School of Economics, the first question of the students was: "Mourinho is typically Portuguese?" It was not exactly.

Since we talked about London, go to British politics. I ask him if the scandal of the cost of 2009 changed the perception of public opinion to politicians?

Can not be an analyst of my own country. But I can say that in almost all developed countries trust in politicians and institutions have downloaded.

The UK is no exception?

I know of no exceptions. It's a trend that any leader has to try to reverse, although not easy to do. There, in times of crisis, a major focus for the public on the income of politicians who, incidentally, are the be cut. One of the most striking aspects of economic and financial crisis is the greed that we live in this environment and people look at everyone very carefully.

Greed, in the European continent, was glued to the Anglo-Saxon ...

The qualities and defects of humans do not recognize borders.

We are witnessing a historic election that was considered. In these times of crisis, a coalition has ideological differences with guns to make the reforms and tackle the social tension that is expected?

I quote the first sentence of the coalition agreement, which was also the first sentence of the Queen's Speech: "The first duty is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth." It's all said these are the priorities of our government. How to do it sustainably? About this there is considerable debate in the UK and in almost all countries.

In the speech of Queen Elizabeth II to Parliament there was a phrase that caught my attention: "A radical program for a radical government." What is the meaning of the word "radical": starting from scratch or fix the mistakes of the past?

We already had extreme shocks to the financial system when UK banks were nationalized. This was unthinkable three years ago. The truth is that radicalism is here. The question is whether that answers will give public policy. It would be very difficult to reduce our deficit so as ambitious - as the government suggests - without being radical.

How can I cut the costs of the state without affecting the overall political and military footprint in the UK?

During the election campaign there was a big debate about our system of nuclear deterrent, Trident. Can we maintain our efforts abroad having to cut back on spending? We are a trading nation, a large open economy, dependent on foreign investment - by the way, last year we went to our economy that has received more foreign investment, including Portugal.

We talk about what values and projects?

Some 500 million. There is everything: the offshore wind EDP until very interesting small projects such as the Alert, which is gaining more contracts in the national health system. Your companies are interesting because they have to internationalize very quickly to survive. We want to attract this investment because the UK can also serve as a springboard for India and other parts of the world.

Let's go back to the question of the balance between expenditure and British presence in the world ...

He said that we are, and we must be, an open economy. Therefore, we need effective diplomacy. According to our Minister, the Foreign Office has to be smaller, more flexible and more focused on action. We are a permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, are a major donor of international aid, and that requires us to maintain our global footprint.

How do you foresee that Europe out of this crisis and what role should London?

The response must be global, this is what the British government earlier made to broaden the scope of discussion to the economic and political power, the G20. All Europe's challenges are similar to the UK and this implies the consolidation of our positions on issues like climate change, the effectiveness in fighting poverty and defending free trade.

We heard in the past many British entrepreneurs ask the government to join the euro. In retrospect, London has done well to keep out of the single currency?

Interestingly, the reactions on the crisis are opposite. In Portugal they say: "Thank God we have the euro and the UK say:" Thank God we do not have the euro. " I think the explanation for this is obvious. There's a spectrum in which one side we have the flexibility and other security. Portugal, for reasons I understand, bet more on UK security and flexibility.

He came to Portugal in the early 90s. The country has challenged his views, if they had any?

Not quite familiar with the country before arriving. I knew my wife, a Portuguese diplomat (though still not my wife).

They met here?

Not before. It was a seminar for young diplomats. He had no prejudices, but I enjoyed immensely, and I still like it, the country. That does not hide from anyone. It's a fantastic country.

It's very different today, compared with this time?

Some things have changed a lot. Others are not.

Since 2007, when he returned home, there's only bad news in Portugal. How has followed our crisis?

Portugal is a country addicted to the crisis ("crisis culture") by instinct. But it also has great ability to "desenrascanço. It is a concept that can not explain ....

Nor has the English translation ...

No. No, no! [Laughs] I would say that Portugal is no different than any other European country at this time. As I often say, action is often beyond our control. So what defines us is the reaction. This is what we can bring up or down. You have a great asset in a globalized world: the ability to adapt to different cultures. One feature that is always accompanied by self-criticism. I find it fascinating. Make a list of the number of football coaches who work abroad and are certainly in the top ten. They have people in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Greece. They have a great aptitude for dealing with other cultures. In the globalized world that is a great asset.

The Treaty of Windsor has 624 years, is the oldest diplomatic settlement of the world. Still alive or just a piece of history?

Last week I was at the Refugio Aboim and Ascension in the Algarve and the Treaty of Windsor lives there. There is a great link between the British and those children - the walls there are pictures of Bobby Robson and Jimmy Tarbuck. 80 000 Britons live in Portugal and over two million visiting the country every year. In England there are many students and Portuguese entrepreneurs. Human contacts are deep between the two countries.

With regard to political relations, and according to our research, the last time the Queen has visited Portugal in 1985. Both Prime Minister Blair and Gordon Brown were in Portugal only in multilateral contexts. That's how you should relate old friends?

This is so precisely because we know so well. The relationship is very deep and is not limited to meetings of ministers: the trade is knowledge, history and human dimension.

The bilateral relationship has been undermined by court cases in recent years, the disappearance of Madeleine McCann case and Freeport?

To the contrary. About the McCann case, we continue to develop efforts to find her and maintain contact with the Portuguese police.

How is monitoring the events of recent days in the Middle East?

Are worrying. There must be an independent inquiry into what happened and we also have to take a step back and look at the whole situation in Gaza. It is a symptom of greater difficulty in dealing with the problems of Gaza.

The peace process is seriously threatened?

Hopefully not, hopefully not. But the situation in Gaza is not sustainable, it is evident.


Pedro Silva
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Re: Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

Post by Tinkerbell43 on Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:58 am

"To the contrary. About the McCann case, we continue to develop efforts to find her and maintain contact with the Portuguese police".

Hmm, heard it all before, words are cheap, lets see some positive action!

'The motives of those who have tried to convince the world that Madeleine is dead, and who've disgracefully and falsely tried to implicate us in her disappearance, need to be seriously questioned.'

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Re: Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

Post by Pedro Silva on Tue Jun 08, 2010 3:14 am

You words are also mine my friend.

Pedro Silva
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Re: Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

Post by Guest on Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:42 am

Yes, we've heard it all before. Diplomats talking, politicians talking. And look what's happening? Nothing, zero, zilch.


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Re: Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

Post by Catkins on Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:32 am

Yep.......actions speak louder than words !!!!!!
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Re: Interview with Mr. Alexander Ellis

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