St. Dominico, Inquista
The private jet holding the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, their wives and aides to the Microstate of Inquista. The two nations had met before, but a lot had been done in the European Freedom Party with their respective parties. Visionaries for Europe, they banded together with Os Corelia, Rhine Ruhr, and Pax Aurea to bring reform that still lasted to this day. Such a long-lasting relationship and legacy needed to be taken seriously, and the Prime Minister on his second go-around at the job was not going to let this meeting be ruined.
"David, what have you got for me in terms of strategy with Inquista?" Prime Minister Ed Miliband said to his brother, Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
"Well, not much. We haven't actually had any formal deals on the table with Inquista despite being so aligned and of common mind in the past. They especially had success talking to the Deputy when he was Prime Minister," Foreign Secretary Miliband replied. "I think you've got to go in there with the idea that you will have to haggle. Haggle like people at Southwark Market. Inquistans are very much economically minded and the result is that their Microstate is one of the most powerful economies in the Union."
"Haggle? Really? That's your suggestion?" Ed snapped back under his breath.
"Hey, you asked my opinion. I never got to go to Inquista, and I'm learning as much from my aides...and their research was going to the Inquistan neighbourhood near Piccailly Circus!" David grumbled.
The plane landed at the international airport, and the two statesmen strode over to a small welcoming party that met them on the tarmac, wives in tow.
"Welcome to Inquista," the front-most man said to the Prime Minister, shaking his hand. "We're here to take you to see the Archbishop."
"Delightful," the Prime Minister said, seeing a few photographers start to make their way over.
Palace Guards opened the Archbishop's Palace doors with ceremonious elegance. Archbishop Craticus stood behind the palace doors with confidence, patiently waiting as the British delegation walked up the palace steps. Craticus was blinded by the massive army of paparazzi viewing from outside, all of whom were taking feverous snapshots of the British guests. As British delegation began approaching the doors, Craticus stepped outside and greeted them with a smile. He shook hands with Prime Minister Ed Miliband, pausing for a second to allow the media to take pictures, before shaking hands with the Foreign Secretary and the wives of the two brothers.
"Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, ladies... welcome. It is good to see you all here. I hope your flight from London was most enjoyable. Oh - please excuse me - I do not believe we have have ever properly met. Please, just call me Craticus. Now, if you would, please follow me."
Craticus led the British party down the Golden Hall of the Archbishop's palace towards the Drawing Room. The Golden Hall displayed a large array of ancient and ornate pieces of art, and also included a large collection of beautiful treasures. Craticus used this as an opportunity to create a small amount of chit-chat, as he explained some of the pieces to the guests.
"A lot of these treasures date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Mostly looted objects from crusades, wars, trade and exploration expeditions. I have added some new features though, recently. There are numerous objects from Marrakechia and the Sahara that have, uh... come to my possession. They are quite marvelous."
As the two parties approached the end of the Golden Hall and to the Drawing Room, numerous attendants and handlers emerged, carrying gifts for the two wives. Craticus gestured for the wives to accept the gifts and smiled.
"Please accept these gifts. Also, I have heard that you two ladies both have an eye for fashion. While your husbands and I discuss matters of state, I have been assured by my assistants that an extravagant shopping excursion has been planned for your convenience. It would be an honour to give you both a glimpse of the Saint Dominico fashion scene - a fashion scene that prides itself as being the most largest and most precious in all of Europe. The Euax Claire District has it all, Herm?s, Lous Vutton - you name it. Renata Kligenberg also has own store there, I believe she opened it back in 2011. It has grown much larger since then. Spend as much as you want, it's all on me."
The two ladies were then escorted to another part of the Palace, most likely getting to have their make-up re-done for the shopping trip following their flight from London. Craticus then walked into the Drawing Room, closely followed by the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.
Craticus seated himself on a comfortable, decorated armchair while the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary seated themselves on a small, luxurious sofa. A short mahogany table stood between the Archbishop and the British guests, which was covered by numerous folders and files on one side and covered by delicious pastries on the other side.
"So, as they say... let's get down to business."
"Thank you for your hospitality on behalf of the British government and our wives. The Foreign Secretary and I enjoyed our flight here, and are eager to get started.
"First, the biggest thing we are doing right now is talking about free movement and free trade. Many people feel like we as a Labour party and a coalition of leftists that include the Greens and the Liberal Democrats will abandon any ideas of free trade and what not. I'm not quite sure if we had an agreement in the past, or if you are a member of the EEC but in any case, we would like to propose this," said the Prime Minister. The Foreign Secretary nodded in agreement. The two were at least putting up a good front for now.
"Inquista is currently not a member of the EEC. However, Inquista is still one of the biggest supporters of free trade. We have attempted to make Saint Dominico the best place in the EU to do business and we have done so by creating one of the most open and liberal economies in the region. However, we are still lagging behind when it comes down to the integration of economies. I would be very much open to doing so, particularly with the United Kingdom. Any preposition of yours would be most welcome.
"As for free movement, I believe our governments had previously came up with an agreement that assured citizens of our countries that they wouldn't need to apply for visas when vising our respective countries. I believe we can further build upon this. One of the most frequently visited destinations by Inquistans is London. Many Inquistans work abroad in the United Kingdom, and many work here. I think it would be imperative that we develop a separate and more efficient process for Inquistans and Britons whom work or wish to immigrate between our two countries."
"Yes, an office for cooperation for those who wish to emigrate to either of our nation and work in them will be key to streamlining the Foreign Office policies on Inquista. Our mission is to create the most efficient Foreign Office and make it work to the benefit of the British people," the Foreign Secretary interjected. The Prime Minister simply sat while his Foreign Secretary continued to dither about about the needs of the Foreign Office. To Mr. Ed Miliband, it sounded like complaints. To the Foreign Secretary, it was necessary background.
"...so that is why I am in favour of this policy," finished Foreign Secretary Miliband.
"Well, I think he summed up that point quite nicely," said the Prime Minister in a sort of underhanded tone. It was apparent enough that David looked at his brother and shot him a dirty look.
"What I'd like to take a look at is our current situation when it comes to cooperating on security and intelligence, particularly in the wake of the terrible London terror attacks in 2011. I do not have to remind your government about the Inquistan toll and the need for a strong cooperative force with us. Perhaps we must share on a ministerial level, our Cabinet ministers in collaboration with each other?"
"I agree. It is imperative that we collaborate in terms of security and intelliegnece, especially if we do make it easier for our citizens to move and emigrate between our borders. The London Terror Attacks were a true tragedy - a tragedy that has also struck Inquista multiple times. The Crusades have claimed two of Inquista's Archbishops and the lives of many other innocents. Definite collaboration against the Crusades is not even a question, it should be a foregone conclusion."
As the former leader of the Crusade Against Corrupt Inquistans himself, Craticus wasn't completely lying through his teeth. Since taking office, Craticus has disbanded the military wing of the CACI and has ceased all of its terror operations. However this was primarily because he intends to transform the Crusader movement from being a group of terrorists into more powerful and influential network. Now that the Crusaders are in political power, terror and coercision were unnecessary. That is to say, Craticus has no problems resorting back to violence if necessary. But taking steps against terrorism and enemies of state are now matters of genuine importance to Craticus.
"If we created a separate bureau for emigration between our nations, then it would be only appropriate if we also created a separate bureau for intelligence sharing between our nations. The bureau would include information from our secret services and public police services. The bureau would mostly be concerned with terrorist activity, but could also include all other wanted criminals in our nations. We could use it to not only coordinate efforts to capturture criminals, but to also track and monitor illegal activities that may be useful knowledge to our respective state departments.
"Unlike the previous administrations before me, my foreign policy has been quite committed to the preservation of sovereignty of foreign nations and foreign peoples. Inquista quite simply doesn't tolerate the invasion and occupation of nations by foreign powers. That was my stance against the Marrakechians when they occupied the Sahrawi territory and that continues to be my stance now. I am glad to see your statements that you've made regarding Davishire. At it stands, Inquista currently has a trade embargo placed on Davishire following its actions in Prussia. Would the United Kingdom be willing to show similar resolve against rogue states?"
"Yes, we feel very strongly that Davishire needs to change course and post haste. It's worrying that such a crazed state is a neighbour to our nation," the Foreign Secretary chimed in, finally back on a subject he felt comfortable. "We condemn any obscene actions taken by any government and reject relations with a government that operates with impropriety and without apparent care for its citizens. To be constantly in conflict with other nations seems not at all constructive."
"Rest assured Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, I shall give you my word that if Davishire takes any military action against the United Kingdom, Inquista will stand by your side."
Craticus took a sip of his tea and put it down on the side table next to him. He noticed that the Prime Minister has been doing most of the talking and decided to to take advantage of the Foreign Secretary's presence for minute and shifted the discussion towards foreign affairs.
"Inquista is particularly interested in building a partnership with the United Kingdom abroad. Foreign Secretary, what is the current state of diplomatic affairs concerning the United Kingdom and Davishire? Also, what is your current stance on the events going on in the Teutonic States?"
"The current state of diplomatic affairs is strained to be polite, and to be frank they are in tatters," the Foreign Secretary admitted to the Archbishop. "We have an agreement with the Duxburian Union about a naval base that has essentially been in construction since 2012 and after it stalled out many times with different Governments, we have completed it. Davishire, obviously, doesn't like it. Despite repeatedly being told in unofficial communication that not having a diplomatic mission in the 21st Century means that the nation is not recognised, Davishire would not allow us to establish a diplomatic mission. So, we cannot recognise the nation...it's impossible.
"As for the Teutonic State situation, it's hard to have an opinion. What we want is for the people to decide what kind of nation they want and have a diplomatic solution. What is the real situation is that one side is going to have to win over the other to have that happen, and there are several nations, Davishire yet again included, that are trying to impose and implement changes in their favour. We understand and get that. However, this does not help Northern Europe, where we reside, which has already come under duress from many different situations. The Prussia situation was a fiasco, this is a total mess, and they all have one nation in common doing the intervening."
"I see. It is totally absurd that a nation demands recognition despite denying all attempts to establish a diplomatic mission. Again, I would like to reiterate my support on the matter. Davishirian politicians mostly just make noise, but they will back down when it comes to confrontation. I know from experience. I am confident Davishire will be more receptive to establishing relations with the United Kingdom very soon, so patience is key.
"In regards to the Teutonic States, I once again find myself in agreeance. I find Davishire's meddling there to be particularly interesting however, considering the Davishirian Councillor to the EU attempted to slow down the attempt to give the ERF permission to deploy in the Teutonic States. I believe that the Councillor argued that we shouldn't rush into the situation without much knowledge of what is going on. While I agree to a certain extent, I do find this curious considering Davishire jumped into the situation extremely quick itself, and has deployed an unreasonably large amount of troops into the nation.
"Would the United Kingdom be open to a defensive pact against Davishirian aggression? Should Davishire attack one of our nations, I believe it is important that we take a stand together."
The Prime Minister reasserted his authority as the chief deal-broker between the UK and other nations and spoke once more.
"Yes, I do believe a defensive pact against Davishirian aggression would be in our best interests. It's for the safety of Northern Europe that we must isolate that kind of threat." Mr. Miliband paused for a moment. He certainly didn't sound like a Labour politician with that kind of rhetoric, and it was a little surprising.
The London terror attacks hardened him in terms of certain elements of foreign policy.
"That is good to hear. Together, Inquista and the United Kingdom will show no fear when standing up against terrorists such as the Crusaders or bully states such as Davishire. Our cooperation in terms of security will be formidable.
"Now, to resume back to state-to-state affairs, I would like to discuss education collaboration.
"It is obvious that education is very important. However, receiving an education abroad is greatly advantageous and also very important. You learn more about foreign places, different people, get more experience and build up a network. That is why I want to encourage Britons to attend university in Inquista and that is also why I want Inquistans to study in British universities. Would your government, in collaboration with my own government, be willing to create a special fund that will provide a certain amount of loans and economic awards to students from our nations who wish to either attend university at full, or through an exchange program, overseas between our countries? This fund will encourage students to study abroad without having to worry about money, which, more often than not, is the reason why many students don't internationalize their degree. By building bonds between our students we will be creating bonds between our future generations."
"The United Kingdom will be more than happy to support an education initiative. We do feel that education is the key to economic success for all nations. We also would like to have an international perspective in our education. That is most agreeable. At what level do you want to begin this endeavour?" asked the Prime Minister.
"I'm glad that you value an international perspective as I do. I suggest that this begins at the post-secondary level, for university, college and polytechnic students."
Craticus took one final sip of his tea and placed the empty cup back on the side table. He was quite pleased with the productive discussion he has held with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.
"To summarize these talks, we have reaffirmed that our citizens only need their passport when traveling between our two countries and that we shall open up a separate bureau of immigration specifically for our citizens that wish to emigrate between our nations. We shall also create an intelligence bureau, which will work in collaboration between our Ministers, our intelligence services and our police services in order to prevent terrorism and track wanted criminals. Lastly, we shall create a fund for our post-secondary students who wish to study abroad in our respective countries and help encourage them by covering their financial costs."
"Quite an achievement, Mr. Archbishop. I am proud of these talks and will take the agreement back to His Majesty who will be eager to sign the makings of this treaty. The Commons should not be an obstacle either," the Prime Minister said to the Archbishop.
"Thank you very much, Mr. Cracitus."
Craticus stood up from his chair and shook hands with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary.
"No I should really be thanking you. It has been my pleasure to meet you Prime Minister, and you too, Mr. Foreign Secretary. We have taken great strides here today and I hope this is just the beginning of greater friendship and cooperation between our nations. Now, it'll be my honour to walk you out and escort you back to your vehicle waiting outside. I suspect your wives will be keenly waiting for you... and keenly excited to show you what they have bought. Remember, they only want you to tell them things they want to hear. 'No, that won't make your butt look big', or 'Yes, that those earrings do go well with your eyes' are usually the right answer. It's kind of like appeasing or negotiating with Davishire."
Craticus escorted the British delegation out of the Palace and down the steps to their vehicle waiting outside. The press swarmed them and took pictures from virtually every angle. Craticus didn't show them any mind and seemed to be more focused on delvivering the guests to their car safely.