A look back on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s visit to France [fr]
Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made an official visit to Paris from 13 to 15 July at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Lee was accompanied by Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing and "Senior" Minister of State Sim Ann, as well as several officials.
After his arrival in Paris on Friday, July 13, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong met with French business leaders based in Singapore. He then attended an official welcoming ceremony at the Hotel des Invalides in the presence of Secretary of State Mounir Mahjoubi and then met with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. He was finally invited to dinner at the Elysee Palace by President Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders reviewed the strategic partnership between our two countries in areas such as defense, security, trade, culture, research and education. They also reaffirmed our two countries’ commitment to free trade, climate and multilateralism.
On 14 July, the Prime Minister attended, as a guest of honor, the parade of the French National Day alongside the President of the French Republic and the Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs. An M-346 from Singapore’s Air Force and four Singaporeans including a flag bearer participated in the military parade.
At the end of their meeting, President Macron and Prime Minister Lee adopted an ambitious roadmap between France and Singapore on strengthening cooperation in digital innovation, Internet governance and cybersecurity, which may be later extended to EU and ASEAN.
Mr. Lee Hsien Loong also visited La Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie (City of Science and Industry) and met the Singaporean community of France.
The visit was organized around three themes: defense and security, innovation and the promotion of multilateralism.
Prior to the arrival of the Prime Minister, Defense Minister Ng and Secretary of State Darrieussecq attended on July 12 the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the detachment of the Republic of Singapore’s Air Force (RSAF) at the Cazaux airbase in southwestern France. Since 1998, more than 180 Singaporean fighter pilots have been trained at the base, which offers an airspace 32 times bigger than Singapore. The Cazaux Air Base is home to the largest community of Singaporeans in Europe with more than 300 registered people. A M346 from the Singapore Air Force took part in this year’s Bastill Day flypast. The Minister of Defense also met with his counterpart Florence Parly in Paris on July 13.
- Minister of state Geneviève Darrieussecq and Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen celebrated on 12 July the 20th anniversary of The Republic of Singapore Air Force’s detachment at Cazaux Air Base, France.
During the visit, several agreements were inked to deepen cooperation between our two innovation ecosystems.
2.1 Launch of the « Global Innovation Alliance » programmes in France
In Paris, Mr. Chan Chun Sing visited Station F, the world’s largest starup campu, and met with Secretary of State for Digital Mr. Mahjoubi. The two witnessed the launch in France of Singapore’s "Global Innovation Alliance" programmes, for the first time in Europe, led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG). This announcement resulted in the signing of three agreements which aim at facilitating and intensifying exchanges between our two innovation ecosystems:
- French Business School ESSEC, EDB and ESG signed an agreement under the Global Innovation Alliance initiative to host and accompany Singapore and French startups looking to access the two markets. ;
- A similar agreement was signed between French incubator Creative Valley, EDB and ESG under the Global Innovation Alliance initiative.
- French Public Bank for Investment BPIfrance and ESG also signed an agreement to foster and facilitate technological partnerships between companies of France and Singapore. This MoU aims to establish a collaborative framework under which will be developed activities related to the exchange of best practices and the setting up of coordinated measures to foster technological exchanges and innovation collaborations between companies, organizations and institutions from France and Singapore.
- Three agreements, signed in the presence of Minister Chan Chun Sing and Secretary of State Mounir Mahjoubi, aim at strengthening the interactions between our two innovation ecosystems
2.2 Strengthening cooperation in academic, scientific and technological areas
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing also called on Frédérique Vidal, Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation on 13 July to take stock of the France-Singapore Year of Innovation and define new perspectives and priorities, including artificial intelligence, personalized medicine and aging support, smart city, smart grids and ’new space’. Under their auspices, five agreements on academic and scientific cooperation between France and Singapore have been signed.
Singapore, the third-largest partner of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), formalized the integration of CNRS in the CREATE campus with the signing of an agreement between National Research Foundation and CNRS. CNRS intends to set up a subsidiary - CNRS@CREATE Ltd - to host research activities as part of the Singapore research ecosystem.
France and Singapore agreed to deepen cooperation in artificial intelligence with the signing of an agreement between AI Singapore, CNRS, INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and INRIA (Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation). AI Singapore, CNRS, INSERM and INRIA wish to promote joint research and development activities of mutual interest and benefit in the area of Artificial Intelligence and Smart Digital Technologies.
French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) signed an agreement to formalize the launch of a joint lab for research in the circular economy. The NTU-CEA Joint Lab, Singapore CEA Alliance for Research in the Circular Economy (“SCARCE”), will develop innovative hydrometallurgy technologies for energy and emission efficient recovery of valuable and scarce resources from waste materials.
Sorbonne Paris Cité University (USPC) launches together with la National University of Singapore (NUS) the « Star Programme » defining new topics of cooperation between the two institutions such as medicine and public health, social sciences and education sciences.
Paris Sciences et Lettres University (PSL) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) inked an exchange programme agreement for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
- Ministers Frédérique Vidal and Chan Chun Sing witnessing the signing of 5 agreements between French and Singaporean research institutes and universities
During his talks with the President of the French Republic and the French Prime Minister, Mr. Lee Hsien Loong stressed the importance of maintaining a multilateral trading system and underlined the importance of the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. Multilateral initiatives to combat global warming and to ensure the establishment of Internet governance were also discussed in this framework.