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Economic diplomacy/New Year greeting to the diplomatic corps

Published on January 21, 2015
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Paris, January 16, 2015

(…)

French diplomacy is diplomacy at the service of ideals, at the service of principles, and at the service not only of peace but also of growth and competitiveness.

International competition is increasingly intense. It exists in every domain: trade, investment, higher education, research, tourism. In that context, France has chosen neither to be passive, which would in fact be to choose submission, nor to turn in on itself, a choice which would neither have any future nor protect the past. It would not protect it because the history of France is the history of a country that has always been in the vanguard, always on the move, looking to the future. Just as we have no fear of terrorism, we have no fear of competition or globalization.

We know that today’s world obliges us to stay at the cutting edge of innovation, to be mobile, to go out in search of developing markets and sectors. And that is what we are doing to improve the competitiveness of our companies, develop our exports and enhance France’s attractiveness as a location.

Our country has massive advantages ranging from the aviation industry to green technology, and including its gastronomy and cultural industries. France must make reforms and it is doing so. France also intends to be more effective in making its achievements – what people call France’s image – better known internationally. France gave the finest image of itself when it was attacked: that of a people spurred into action, united around its dignity, its freedom and everything of which we are proud. That image is just as valid where culture and language are concerned. We wish to promote the French language, which belongs to all its speakers, and I salute here the Secretary-General of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie [international Francophone organization]. France is also competitive not only in terms of its products but also in terms of its innovation, its research, its talents. In a manner of speaking, for us the award of a Nobel Prize is a demonstration of our competitiveness.

We are also determined to ensure that we are better known for our successes. I think that, where our weaknesses are concerned, there are some people who devote quite enough energy to promoting them; there is no need for us to add to their efforts. Conversely, where our strengths, our qualities are concerned, what we are doing currently can be improved. And that is why on 1 January this year we set up a new agency, Business France, which will be launching a “Creative France” campaign – because creativity is what sets France apart. (…)./.

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