Claude Bartolone, President of National Assembly, Visits D.C.
In a weekend program that gathered senior officials from some of the world’s largest economies, Claude Bartolone, President of France’s National Assembly, the country’s lower parliamentary body, traveled to Washington to meet with international counterparts for busy program of dialogue and working sessions on September 7 through 9.
Mr. Bartolone came to the nation’s capital to participate in the G8 Presiding Officers Meeting, which gathers periodically the senior decision-makers of eight of the world’s largest national economies, called the Group of 8, and also includes Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. The European Parliament president also attended. Delegations from each of the member countries met with John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Mr. Bartolone began his official business in Washington among countrymen, at a reception hosted by the French embassy and consulate. Standing before some 300 persons, Mr. Bartolone emphasized France’s measures of reform—specifically, the domestic economic agenda—as well as French-American relations.
"The three priorites of France," he said, "are employment, employment, and employment." He also broached the subject of France’s housing market. "Home sweet home, that’s the French dream," he said.
In enthusiastic remarks on the United States and its bilateral relations with France, Mr. Bartolone called the relationship "a treasure." Speaking on Europe as a whole and the economic interdependence between the two continents, he said that, "Just as Europe needs the United States, the United States needs Europe" in order to ensure stable conditions for growth and mutual prosperity.
François Delattre, Ambassador of France to the United States, attended the event and called Mr. Bartolone’s activities with Mr. Boehner a "beautiful illustration of the French-American relationship."
- Claude Bartolone and French Ambassador, François Delattre
The French official likewise expressed his enthusiasm in visiting Washington’s halls of diplomacy and government. In France, he said, "We follow every detail of the [U.S. presidential] elections." During preparations for the trip, he said he was "very surprised" to realize the degree to which France and his host nation share points of current concern, citing social issues including social security and public health insurance.
Mr. Bartolone delivered speeches at two of the series’ signal events—one on economy and debt, the other on demographics and public policy.
In a statement released prior to the sessions, Mr. Boehner expressed his commitment to transatlantic dialogue. “This is a critical time, both for the American economy, and for the economies of our international partners and allies,” he said.
Also see the full speech and video here. Both appear in French.