Réception du 14 juillet 2012
Discours de M. Pascal Le Deunff,
Consul général de France à Atlanta
Mes chers compatriotes,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Bonsoir à tous ! Good evening !
Together with the staff of the French Consulate, my wife, Diana, and I would like to welcome all of you warmly tonight to celebrate the 14th of July, Bastille Day. We deeply thank you for being with us.
President Roosevelt once said that “no two Nations exist which are more united by historic and mutually friendly ties than the people of France and the United States”. Our friendship is more than 200 years old. Together we share the values of freedom and democracy, which gives us the great responsibility and vocation to embody a universal message. Together, we demonstrate the strength to always unite in the end, regardless of temporary differences, which are normal between close friends. This irreplaceable common heritage is particularly accurate today : thanks to this unique relationship, France and the United States can jointly propose solutions to the challenges that the world is currently facing.
A strong confidence invigorates our political partnership. Last May, three days after taking Office, President François Hollande was already in Washington, D.C. to meet President Barack Obama, for his first official visit outside Europe. On the occasion of the G8 Summit in Camp David and the G20 meeting in Los Cabos, France and the United States agreed that, while fiscal consolidation was necessary, economic growth and international coordination towards reducing major global economic unbalances should also be our goals. In that regard, Europe just passed an important and positive step, and made significant progress on the occasion of the European Council meeting at the end of June : priority is given to economic growth without challenging budget discipline, and new instruments and measures are introduced, which bring confidence and stability to the financial markets. Ladies and gentlemen, the European Union’s economy is on the right track.
France and the United States are each other’s closest ally in the fight against terrorism and are in the forefront of international efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons country. We support, with other partners, the democratic movements in the Arab World. While the spiral of violence and repression still continues in Syria, France and the United States, with other friends, are showing leadership in mobilizing the international community to free the Syrian people.
The economic partnership between France and the United States is both solid and dynamic. The US is France’s top trade partner outside the EU. In 2011, the volume of trade between our two countries was at 65 billion dollars. While American investors have created 770,000 jobs in France, more than 2,500 French companies have invested in the United States, creating 600,000 jobs, 100,000 of which are here, in the American Southeast.
The intensity of interactions between the French and American cultures is also very impressive. University cooperation, cultural and scientific exchanges are flourishing, as is demonstrated by the exemplary Georgia Tech-Lorraine partnership and the excellent relations developing between France, Emory University, Georgia State University, the CDC, universities in the North Carolina Research Triangle and in Tennessee, as well as with many cultural institutions throughout the region.
Indeed, here in the Southeast, the French Consulate is fully dedicated to reinforcing French American relations and keeping exchanges vibrant and strong. In partnership with many of you, we have decided to organize the third annual edition of “France-Atlanta”, a series of high quality French-American scientific, business, cultural and humanitarian events, centered on innovation and taking place in Atlanta from October 25 to November 10. The program of “France-Atlanta 2012” is already available and will be distributed to you tonight. Last year, more than 3 500 people and 50 French and American partners took part in this great initiative ! I invite you, again this year, to participate and make this project a great success !
I also have a few words to say in French to the French community :
Mes chers compatriotes,
Ce soir, je souhaite m’adresser à vous qui faîtes en sorte que la France puisse rayonner. Je tiens à saluer votre travail, vos investissements, vos recherches, vos créations et vos initiatives qui font honneur à notre pays et contribuent au rapprochement entre la France et les Etats-Unis.
Vous êtes de plus en plus nombreux à venir vous installer dans le Sud-est américain : l’augmentation du nombre de Français inscrits au consulat a été de 20% en 2011. Et cet accroissement continue ! Le volume des investissements réalisés par les quelques 350 entreprises françaises de la région atteint désormais 11 milliards de dollars.
Ce remarquable dynamisme témoigne de l’impulsion nouvelle et vigoureuse qui est actuellement donnée aux relations franco-américaines. Votre énergie, votre participation active aux événements organisés par le consulat général de France et les nombreuses associations françaises et franco-américaines de la région constituent des atouts formidables pour l’épanouissement de la relation entre la France et les Etats-Unis. Je vous en félicite !
This summer, there will be some changes in the French Consulate’s staff. Carole Scipion, Cultural Attachée, Jacqueline Signorini, Scientific and University Attachée, and Stéphane Robert, administrative officer will leave and will be replaced by new colleagues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all that they have invested, and to wish them the best for the future.
Finally, as I will also leave my post and take on new responsibilities at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris, I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye and extend my deepest gratitude to each of you for helping me so much and so graciously over the past three years. I think that together we accomplished great projects and we made the French American friendship firmer and deeper. Diana and I are extremely grateful to you for your excellent cooperation. We wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors !
Vive la France ! Vive les Etats-Unis ! Vive l’amitié franco-américaine ! Happy Bastille Day !
Pascal Le Deunff, Consul Général de France à Atlanta