June 20, 2018

Sebastian Wood pays visite de courtoisie in NRW

Minister Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner, Sir Sebastian Wood and Premier Armin Laschet – Picture by Land NRW, W. Meyer.
Tuesday, 27 February 2018, Düsseldorf, Government House (Landeshaus): Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet and Minister for European, Federal and International Affairs, Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner received the British Ambassador, Sir Sebastian Wood for bilateral talks.
Premier Laschet and Minister Dr. Holthoff-Pförtner emphasised the necessity to maintain excellent commercial relations after Brexit. In fact, the NRW State Government appointed in 2017 legal expert, Dr. Friedrich Merz, as Special Envoy for Brexit and transatlantic relations.
During the conversation the NRW Government put forward their disappointment over the fact that the British Government is not pursuing a customs union vis-à-vis the EU as NRW fears trade hindrances, should the free movement of goods and people be impaired.  There is a commercial trade worth 22,3 billion Euros since 2016 between NRW and the United Kingdom. In fact, the UK is the fourth largest EU trade partner for NRW.  One thousand five hundred British companies are headquartered in NRW, that is, almost one quarter of all settled or represented in Germany indeed. 
Historically the UK played a crucial role in the formation of NRW back in 1946, reason whereby HRH The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was guest of honour at the 70 years celebrations for NRW in 2016.
Currently there are just over 26,000 Britons registered in NRW, albeit the number shall decrease as British troops are due to depart in 2020 altogether from NRW and Germany.
There are 130 city and town partnerships between NRW and the UK, for instance between Cologne and Liverpool, Münster and York or Bochum and Sheffield.  Sir Sebastian Wood, who is fluent in Mandarin, and an expert on Asian affairs, has been ambassador to Germany since 28 September 2015.
For further information: 
HBM Embassy to Germany (HE Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood): https://www.gov.uk/government/people/sebastian-wood
State Government of NRW: https://www.land.nrw/de/pressemitteilung/ministerpraesident-laschet-empfaengt-den-botschafter-des-vereinigten-koenigreichs
Brexit Enjoy, Dr. Friedrich Merzhttp://www.diplomatmagazine.nl/2017/11/09/nrw-appoints-brexit-envoy/

70 years NRW: http://www.diplomatmagazine.nl/2016/08/25/nrw-celebrates-70-years-as-german-bundesland/

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