French Embassy celebrates Bastille Day [fr]
French Ambassador Marc Abensour hosted a reception to celebrate Bastille Day in Singapore, in the presence of Senior Minister of State Chee Hong Tat.
The Ambassador hosted a reception on 16th July at the Clifford Pier to celebrate France’s National Day.
Among the guests were Senior Minister of State or Trade and Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat. Mr SEAH Kian Peng and Ms TIN Pei Ling, Members of Parliament, also attended, as did Mrs Anne Genetet, Member of the French Parliament.
Singapore and Foreign officials, representatives of the French and Singapore business communities were also present. In total, around 700 guests attended the event.
Read below French Ambassador Marc Abensour’s speech on the occasion of Bastille Day celebration in Singapore
Mr CHEE Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Education,
Mr SEAH Kian Peng and Ms TIN Pei Ling, Members of Parliament,
Madame Anne Genetet,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mes chers compatriotes,
It is a great honor and pleasure for my wife Veronica and I to welcome you to our National Day. Today, we commemorate together the storming of the Bastille in 1789 in the name of liberty and equality as well as the festival of the federation in 1790 devoted to the principle of fraternity. Our national motto originates from these founding moments of our history. Camille Desmoulins, a leading politician during the French Revolution, was among the first to frame it in his journal: “After the oath, it was a touching spectacle to see the citizen soldiers rushing into each other’s arms, promising liberty, equality, fraternity”.
This last week end was quite unique with France’s victory of the world cup, just the day following our national day: the people of France experienced again this overwhelming emotion provided by the sense of fraternity. Yesterday, our national motto was: unity, confidence, pride.
Today I am actually celebrating for the second time the 14th of July as I had the privilege to attend our National Day in Paris together with Prime Minister LEE Hsien Loong’s who was invited as guest of honor by President Macron. Whether in Paris or in Singapore, we celebrate the deep and profound relationship between our two nations.
As highlighted during Prime Minister LEE’s visit to France, our strategic partnership has never been so dynamic and ambitious. It is articulated around 3 priorities: innovation, defense and multilateralism.
Our two leaders have shown their determination to transform our two countries into smart nations, or, as President Macron has put it, a “start-up nation”, “a nation which moves and thinks like a start-up”. We both want to develop vibrant innovation ecosystems, which flourish in a responsible and inclusive manner, fostering deeper social cohesion and true sense of citizenship. This is what smart nations stand for.
Since the launch of the France-Singapore Joint Year of Innovation by Minister ISWARAN and Minister VIDAL in January 2018, a lot has been accomplished:
For the first time, Singapore participated in Vivatech, the leading event on tech and innovation in Europe, sending a delegation of 15 start-ups and many leaders from the Singaporean ecosystem;
Consequently, Singapore has decided to set up a Global Innovation Alliance in France to stimulate further exchanges between our two countries. We want France to become the landing pad in Europe for Singapore’s start-ups, the same way Singapore is the gateway for French enterprises in Southeast Asia and beyond.
During PM LEE’s visit to Paris, important scientific and research projects were adopted: a joint laboratory on circular economy between the French Alternative Energies, Atomic Energy Commission, NTU and NEA; the participation of the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in the CREATE program led by the National Research Foundation; and a roadmap on Artificial Intelligence, under the auspices of Mr Cédric VILLANI, well-known French mathematician and MP.
Thanks to the relentless efforts and commitments on both sides, the momentum is there. The Year of Innovation has already brought concrete achievements. We will keep building on it in the coming months, with the Switch Festival, the Cyberweek, the women’s forum, the Fintech Festival and the France-Singapore Economic Forum.
As our two countries will face new challenges and disruptions, our collaboration aims at maintaining a fair balance between labour and automation, between human and artificial intelligence. This is also what smart nations stand for.
In a fast changing and rather uncertain world, defence and security cooperation is another key pillar of our relationship. It is characterized by a high level of trust. Three days ago, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the training program for Singaporean fighter pilots at the French airbase in Cazaux. In an unprecedented way, a Singaporean pilot participated in the military parade and flew over the Champs Elysées.
Another sign of our close ties and interests is the regular presence of our Navy vessels in the region. Last month, the amphibious task force “La Jeanne” called again to port in Singapore, after crossing the South China Sea to reaffirm our commitment to freedom of navigation and overfly. Through its territories in the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, France contributes to maritime security and counter-terrorism in order to build a stable and secure Asian regional environment. The regular participation of French Ministers of Defence in the Shangri La dialogue confirms this commitment. As you may know, PM Lee invited president Macron to participate as guest of honour to the Shangri La Dialogue. This year, we also celebrate 20 years of defence research and technology cooperation.
Facing rapidly changing threats, our police forces have a strong cooperation based on scientific and technical exchanges and joint exercises. In April, Minister SHANMUGAM with his French counterpart Minister COLLOMB signed an agreement on cooperation in science and technology in the field of homeland security.
Our partnership is also based on promoting cultural exchanges between the people of our two countries. Perhaps our best-known event is the Voilah! Festival, comprising this year many different events on the themes of innovation, Asian arts and culture and climate change. As part of our shared approach to the State’s role in culture, the Séminaire Malraux convened first-class cultural institutions from both sides, including the Singapore National Gallery and the French Château de Versailles, to discuss the impact of digital innovation on cultural institutions and festivals. Our cooperation also resulted in two beautiful exhibitions: one on French impressionist painters organized by the Musée d’Orsay and the National Gallery, and the other is an ongoing exhibition on Angkor that showcases the fascinating collection of the Musée Guimet at the Asian Civilisations Museum.
Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Beyond our bilateral cooperation, we are also bound by a shared commitment to multilateralism and a rules-based order. In the context of increasing protectionism and populism, PM LEE and President Macron emphasized how our two nations should play a leading role in promoting an ambitious multilateral agenda, whether on trade, climate or cyberspace. On the latter, they adopted a joint roadmap on the international governance of the cyberspace to push forward together some key principles, such as neutrality of the internet, personal data protection and cybersecurity, in the EU, ASEAN and other international bodies. Together with France, Singapore contributes to ensuring peace and security at a global stage, as it just recently demonstrated by hosting the Summit between North Korea and the United States of America in June. Confronted with climate disasters and global inequalities, France and Singapore are committed to preserve a rule-based international order and a good governance of Global Public goods. This is also what smart nations stand for.
Before I conclude, I would like to briefly address my fellow citizens in French.
Vous incarnez chacun et chacune ce dynamisme, cette créativité et l’esprit d’innovation qui caractérise la communauté française de Singapour. Nous sommes la 3ème communauté d’Asie-Pacifique, en croissance continue (15 600 inscrits auprès du consulat). Vous êtes des acteurs du rayonnement de notre pays et contribuez au développement économique de Singapour. Les chiffres sont parlants : plus de 800 filiales d’entreprises françaises et 300 start-ups, plus de 200 scientifiques et chercheurs aujourd’hui réunis en une association, une Chambre de commerce et une section des CCEF particulièrement dynamiques, un Lycée français modèle dont nous venons de célébrer les 50 ans, une Alliance française fréquentée assidument par des francophones et francophiles toujours plus nombreux. Je salue également l’engagement de nos élus, le sénateur Jacky Deromedi et la députée Mme Anne Genetet, ici présente, ainsi que les quatre conseillers consulaires de Singapour. Je tiens ici à vous remercier, chers compatriotes, de votre contribution à l’excellente image dont jouit notre pays. Je souhaite aussi remercier tous nos sponsors qui nous accompagnent chaque année pour faire de la célébration de notre fête nationale un moment convivial, de rassemblement et de partage, avec nos amis de Singapour et d’ailleurs. Enfin permettez-moi d’adresser aussi mes remerciements à toute l’équipe de l’ambassade de France. Depuis près de deux ans, cette équipe a fait face avec grande efficacité à une activité particulièrement dense et soutenue. Beaucoup a déjà été accompli et nous avons devant nous des perspectives ambitieuses. Si une stratégie est nécessaire, c’est grâce à l’implication personnelle de chacun d’eux que celle-ci débouche sur des résultats tangibles.
Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, long live the friendship between France and Singapore!
Vive la République, Vive la France !
And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to propose a toast to Her Excellency the President of the Republic of Singapore, Mrs Halimah YACOB.