UK Envoy Goes Incognito to Experience Bulgaria Firsthand - Report

Diplomacy | January 9, 2012, Monday // 15:13|  views

Jonathan Allen, who took up appointment as UK Ambassador to Bulgaria in the second half of 2011, has moved secretly to live in the country's second-biggest city of Plovdiv, according to local media reports.

Obviously excited at the prospect of exploring the country and making new Bulgarian friends, the ambassador has decided to spend more than a month in the city, studying Bulgarian and learning more about local traditions, Plovdiv-based Maritsa newspaper reported.

He is believed to have chosen himself to be accommodated by the family of a consultancy owner and an English language teacher. The couple has a ten-month son.

The ambassador's only requirement, as far as their flat was concerned, was to have a room of his own – which the hosts gladly offered. The location of the flat is top secret, but it is said not to be in the luxurious districts of the city.

Mr Allen has even given up the pleasures of his car and personal driver and plans to test his patience and physical strength while riding in the public transport of the city. A fervent skier and football fan, he is expected to enjoy a swoosh or two down the slopes of the Rhodope Mountains and go to the stadium to watch local clubs clashes.

In this experiment the diplomat has not been joined by his wife Liz, according to the report.

Jonathan Allen took take up his appointment during the second half of 2011. He succeeded Steve Williams who took up a new appointment outside the Diplomatic Service.

On his appointment as Her Majesty's Ambassador to the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr Allen said:

"I am thrilled to be appointed to be Ambassador to Bulgaria. The UK and Bulgaria need to work together in the EU, in NATO and on a range of country to country issues. I look forward to helping the thousands of Brits who holiday in Bulgaria and the British companies who trade there. My wife, Liz, and I are excited at the prospect of exploring this beautiful country and at making new Bulgarian friends."

Jonathan Allen served previously as Head of the East Africa and Great Lakes Department of the FCO. Prior to that he established and led RICU, a cross-Government Counter-Terrorism communications unit, and was Assistant Director in the Home Office's International Directorate with responsibility for Bulgarian and Romanian entry into the EU.

He began his career on EU issues and has been posted to Cyprus and Brussels, where he was Government Spokesman during the UK Presidency in 2005.

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Tags: Jonathan Allen, United Kingdom, Steve Williams, ambassador, Bulgaria, Channel Islands, Jersey, Guernsey, Williams


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