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November 1999

General election

Profile of the new Consul General of the British Consulate Julian Farrel

According to a recent rough count — an exact number is difficult to ascertain owing to EU identification and tourist factors — approximately 6000 UK citizens reside in the city on the Isar. As of October 1, it is the duty of Julian Farrel, Munich’s newly appointed British Consul General, and his capable staff of 22, to provide information and support to compatriots living here, as well as to families wishing to relocate to Bavaria. In addition, a major function of Farrel and Co. is to promote the UK, in particular to persuade local firms to invest in the UK. Farrel’s list of responsibilities doesn’t end there. “I play two roles,” he explains, “one is as Consul General, through which representation of the UK is the traditional strand of the job, and the second is as Director of Research and Technology for Germany and Switzerland.” In the recent move of British Embassy headquarters from Bonn to Berlin, decision-makers reasoned that it was not necessary to relocate its Research and Technology offices, opting instead to focus its operations in Bavaria, where technologies thrive. The Fraunhofer and Max Planck Gesellschaften alone are great sources of research funding,” emphasizes the newcomer. “One of the things I’ll be looking into here are the so-called ‘clusters,’ says Farrel. “Clusters” are groups of businesses spawned by university research, students and academics turned CEOs who locate their companies in advantageous proximity to the educational institution in question. “It’s comparable to Silicon Valley,” Farrel continues, “though there the theme is computers. I will be gathering insight into how this phenomenon is achieved in the bio-technologies field.” In studying Bavarian methods and practices, the 39-year-old hopes to put the information to use in the UK. “The perception is that Europeans, in contrast to Americans, have always been academics rather than entrepreneurs. Clusters here are a sign this is changing.” It is no coincidence that Farrel applied, and was chosen, for the positions in Munich. His impressive credentials suggest not only competence, but a genuine interest in the international arena. From 1983 to July of 1999, the Cambridge University language graduate worked in various capacities at the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). During the 1980s, Farrel was involved in the successful liberalization of the telecommunications industry in Britain. From 1990 to 1994, Farrel served as First Secretary (Internal Market) in the UK Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels, where he worked on the creation of the single market and on consumer policy. Returning to the DTI in 1995, Farrel worked on bringing down telecommunications monopolies Europe-wide by 1997. “You can thank me for [your lower phone bill],” jokes the mild-mannered official. Since taking over the reins at the consulate, Farrel has been busy. Between meetings and settling into his post, he has been an honored guest at a British military band concert in Landshut, has attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the Fraunhofer Institute and recently hosted a reception for eccentric fashion giant Vivienne Westwood. Farrel resides a convenient commute away from his Bürkleinstrasse office and within easy reach of city concert halls. “I’m a bassoonist,” discloses the UK rep. “In England, I played in an amateur orchestra as well as in a couple of chamber groups. Since I’ve been here, I’ve gone to the Munich music school’s performances. The students are required to present a piece as part of their graduation exams. They’re very good, and under nerve wracking conditions!” On Farrel’s docket of local activities he will partake of in his new Bavarian home are skiing and sampling regional cuisine. Ever the diplomat, Farrel remains on guard when asked about his impression of Oktoberfest. “Very cheerful,” replies the smiling leader. Given the length of his tenure as Consul General, Julian Farrel has four more chances to elaborate. <<< Liz vannah

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