Networking: Lively conversation and a keynote speech from ambassador Alice Walpole were on the menu at the British Chamber’s annual Christmas lunch.
More than 170 people gathered for the BCC’s annual Christmas Lunch at the Hemicycle in Kirchberg last Friday. British ambassador Alice Walpole’s speech was much anticipated, and despite wanting to keep serious matters for a less festive occasion, she addressed the recent British EU veto without further ado. “For many commentators it was a ‘typical British’ move,” said the ambassador. “We must combat that kind of preconception. Yes, the British are perfectly happy to stand up and say what we mean but when we decide on something in Brussels or Luxembourg, we go home and implement it. It is essential we make clear to everyone that we remain totally engaged in the EU and loyal to our commitments”.
According to Walpole, the way the British are perceived by others is, however, also something that can be used positively. “The British are viewed as being fair-minded, pragmatic, visionary, engaged. We are traders, explorers and adventurers. My job here is to reinforce these positive stereotypes in the same way you all are, showing Britain as its best and highlighting our dedication and collaboration within the EU as well as outside,” she told guests.
Alice Walpole’s impassioned and thought-provoking speech, to which she added her wishes for an excellent 2012, provided a fit conclusion of an engaging lunch, leaving participants with a much-needed supplement of energy for the coming months.