It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that UK foreign secretary William Hague has found a new way to annoy his European counterparts. But today he’s managed to bring a North American country into the fray, and for once is isn’t the one with whom he believes he has a “special relationship”.
During a visit to Canada today Hague announced that the UK is going to close some British embassies across the world and merge them with Canadian embassies. The two countries will establish joint diplomatic missions, sharing embassy offices and consular services.
The move, an attempt to save money in these cost-cutting times, might seem logical enough at first glance. But the more you delve into it the more you realize it is diplomatically and logistically bizarre. While the UK and Canada may have similar foreign policy (something irrelevant to the consular services they are merging), they are completely separate countries which share no unified visa system. The only thing they share is a queen.