A very Happy Christmas to all our members of the British Residents’ Association, and best wishes for the coming year. I hope you are looking forward to spending some time with friends and loved ones, and perhaps getting out into the snow!
I am particularly grateful for all the contributions that BRA members have made over the past 12 months as we continue to strengthen the ties between the United Kingdom and Switzerland. In the past month or so we have signed new agreements on science and research, services mobility and the regulation of our export trade in goods. We are preparing to open negotiations next year towards a top class free trade agreement, and we are also exploring improvements to our cooperation in the field of financial services.
2022 was also the year of the Platinum Jubilee of Her Late Majesty and I know that we were all greatly saddened by the death of the Queen in September. This was a moment to reflect on the inspiring legacy of Queen Elizabeth II over her long reign of 70 years, and also to look forward, as she would have expected us to do, to the contributions we all want to make to creating a successful, safe, sustainable and free world.
This important work here in Switzerland is underpinned by the efforts of BRA members in the areas of business, investment, research, culture and policy formulation. It has been a great pleasure to work with so many of you over the past 5 years of my tenure here as British Ambassador. I wish you all the best for the future, and I know that my successor, James Squire, who arrives in January, looks forward to meeting you and continuing this partnership.