1 year ago



18/2016 October/December


THE EUROPEAN UNION IS A WEALTH THAT HAS TO BE SAFEGUARDED The European Union is a wealth that has to be safeguarded Interview with Bernard Valero* Your Excellency, what were the priorities of the French foreign policy during your mandates as an ambassador, as well as later, as head of the Press Directorate? The foreign policy of the French Republic is set by the President of the Republic on the basis of the following priorities: peace and security in the world, European cooperation, the environment, which is indispensable for the future of our planet and humanity, the development aid, and the place of the French Republic in the world. These priorities have been the leading ones in our global diplomacy. How has diplomacy changed in the 21 st century? The digital revolution, as well as globalization have seriously shaken up the diplomacy of the 21 st century. Today, this diplomacy has been developing in an increasingly dangerous world, which is still more difficult to predict on an international arena with ongoing increases in the number of actors. Today’s diplomats have to adapt themselves to this new environment. For which reason they have to strive for perfection all their lives, regardless of the good initial training they might have received. What are the requisite training skills of the French diplomats? In the first place, they have to be trained in the area of law because international law is going to remain the key to international relations. In addition, their training should increasingly concentrate on their technical skills because of the emergence of new areas of diplomacy, namely the environment, economic and academic diplomacy, European law, democratic international management, “investing for influence diplomacy”, scientific diplomacy, etc. Courage and commitment to serve their own country, as well as its values, openness to the others and the ability to listen to them and engage in a dialogue, are among the most important skills that have to be mastered by the diplomats at the very outset of their diplomatic career. How much independence do the French diplomats have in order to be able to make their own decisions? With all my respect to the mission of ambassadors, which is assigned to them by the President or by the minister of foreign affairs, they are granted broad autonomy, as well as opportunities for self-initiative and responsibility – in close cooperation and ongoing dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The diplomats are supposed to interpret and to implement the decisions that have been taken by the top authorities. Their daily routine involves colliding with reality, on the field. In actual fact, the French diplomats represent the voice and the face of the French Republic in * Bernard Valero is a career diplomat from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has graduated from the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po). Mr. Valero has had varied job positions within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as in the French embassies in Dublin, Habana, Madrid, Washington, and Barcelona. He has been ambassador to Skopje and to Brussels. In the period 2009-2012, Mr. Valero was in charge of public relations and served as a spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 120 ДИПЛОМАЦИЯ 18/2016

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