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French Embassy Celebrates Bastille Day

French Embassy Celebrates Bastille Day

Published on July 12, 2013
Ambassador Delattre Celebrates Bastille Day with American Officials and the Diplomatic Community. Speech by Ambassador Delattre.

Washington, D.C., Anderson House, July 11 2013.

See photos of this event.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

May I please request your attention for the national anthems. Many thanks to our singer Ann Hurley and our pianist Dana Morgan.

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Mr. Secretary,
Senators,
Congressmen,
Mr. Governor,
Excellencies,
Admirals and Generals,
Representatives of the administration,
Madame la Conseillère à l’AFE, Chère Christiane Ciccone,
Monsieur le Consul Général, Cher Olivier,
Distinguished guests,

It’s a great pleasure and privilege for my team and for me to welcome you all tonight to Anderson House for this very special occasion, as we are celebrating Bastille Day.

Guests gather around Ambassador Delattre at Anderson House

I want to start by expressing my warmest thanks to the Society of Cincinnati for so generously hosting us in this magnificent house, as our Residence on Kalorama is currently under renovation, with a special word of thanks to the President General of the Society of Cincinnati Ross Perry, his predecessor Admiral Masterson, the Society’s members of the Board and all its staff and volunteers whose dedication and hard work have made this event possible.

I cannot thank you enough for your welcome and for your commitment to French-American friendship, which is second to none.

Among all the very distinguished guests who are here with us tonight, I would like to particularly recognize Senator Boozman, co-chair of the French Congressional Caucus; Senator Blunt; Congressman Dingell, the longest-serving member in the history of the House of Representatives; Congressman Oberstar, a founder of the French Caucus; and Congressmen Cohen, Buchanan and Gordon.

Thanks to your commitment the French Caucus is a great success story, as it now numbers one hundred members in the Senate and the House.

May I extend my warmest thanks and appreciation to the companies which are supporting today’s event:

EADS North America, one of the top aerospace companies in the world, represented by its Chairman & CEO Sean O’Keefe and his team;
Sanofi, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide, represented by its Vice President Patrick McLain and Senior Director Frédéric Badey;

SNCF North America, one of the world’s largest railway companies, represented by its President & CEO Alain Leray and his team;
Arianespace, the world’s number one commercial launch services provider, represented by Aaron Lewis and Jean-Luc Froeliger.

A warm word of thanks also to D’Artagnan, Baguette Republic, Kronenbourg 1664, Vins Jean-Luc Colombo, Vins Gérard Bertrand, Champagne Cheurlin-Dangin, Evian and Badoit for their generous contributions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Bastille Day is the French National Day, but it’s actually more than that.

As we are celebrating Bastille Day we are celebrating indeed the values that our two countries share, the universal values that come from the French and American revolutions and that are at the core of who we are.

A few weeks ago, for the 69th anniversary of D-Day, I bestowed the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award, upon eight American veterans of World War II. I can tell you that this was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

So today we remember that the Franco-American friendship is bound in blood, solidly anchored in our shared values, and that our two countries owe each other their very existence as free Nations.

We remember that from Yorktown and Lafayette to the battlefields of World War I and the beaches of Normandy, the United States and France have always stood shoulder to shoulder to defend and promote the values of freedom and democracy that we together gave the world more than 200 years ago. Here you can recognize the traditional and well-known French modesty…

Dear Friends, mes chers amis,

Our event tonight could not come at a better time as French-American relatives, and this is good news, have never been stronger than they are today – as illustrated by the strong personal relationship between President Obama and President Hollande, as well as between Secretary John Kerry and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in particular.

On the security front, our two countries are each other’s closest allies in the fight against terrorism, as exemplified by the much appreciated American support for the very successful French and Franco-African military operation in Mali to combat Al-Qaeda in North Africa. We are now working hard together to promote peace and prosperity in this region, and here I’d like to extend a special welcome to our African friends who are with us this evening.

In the same vein, our two countries are in the forefront of international efforts to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons state, and we are working closely together to resolve the tragic situation in Syria and meet the many challenges we face more broadly in the Middle East.

The French-American economic partnership is also growing stronger every year. France is one of the top 5 foreign investors in the United States, where over 3,000 French companies support more than 650,000 jobs.

Conversely, the U.S. is the number one foreign investor in France, and American investment in my country increased by more than 40% over the last two years. Overall France is one of the top 5 destinations worldwide for direct foreign investment.

This says a lot about the fact that the situation in the Euro-zone is back on the right track.

This also says a lot about the structural pro-growth and pro-business reforms that are being implemented in France to bring more flexibility into our labor market in particular.

This says a lot about the fact that innovation is France’s number 1, number 2 and number 3 priority – and the Franco-American partnership in this field is booming.

To give you just one illustration of this, every single day we conclude or help conclude with my team agreements between American and French Universities about student exchanges, research collaborations and incubators’ partnerships leading to innovation.

Last month, for instance, Stanford University announced that it will establish at Ecole Polytechnique in France its European entrepreneurship center, starting in September – reminding us that entrepreneur is a French word.

By the same token, we’ll organize at the end of September in New York a major event, Taste of France, to promote France and the economic partnership between our two countries. This will be the largest French economic event ever organized outside France.

This is a good example of the priority given to economic diplomacy by President Hollande and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will attend this event.

Here I’d like to recognize the head of the economic department of the French Foreign Ministry, Jacques Maire, who is as such the ambassador of France’s economic diplomacy and who has come especially from Paris to be here with us tonight- Merci Jacques.

In a broader perspective, we strongly believe that the more the emerging world is rising – which is a great thing – the more the transatlantic partnership is critical for all of us as one of the backbones of today’s and tomorrow’s world.

Let’s keep in mind that Europe and America remain the anchor of the global economy – accounting together for nearly 50% of the world’s GDP. That’s why the transatlantic trade and investment partnership, which we began negotiating early this week in Washington, can be an important opportunity. And I am glad that Under Secretary Bob Hormats and Under Secretary Eric Hirschhorn can be with us this evening.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The friendship between our two countries is at its strongest when it allows us to walk on the two legs: our shared history and values on one side, our joint commitment to innovation and cross-investment on the other side.

And these shared values that we are celebrating together on Bastille Day with many other nations remain today more than ever our best guide, I would even say our best moral compass, to confront together the current challenges we face.

So let me conclude on this positive note and in French:

Vive les Etats-Unis!

Vive la France!

Et vive l’amitié franco-américaine !

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