French Ambassador Pierre Vimont: “[we] must find ground to work together”

His Excellency Pierre Vimont, Ambassador of France to the United States, addressed The World Affairs Council of Charlotte at an Ambassador’s Circle Series luncheon on Oct. 7, 2010 at the Charlotte City Club. Since his 2007 appointment by President Nicolas Sarkozy as Ambassador of France to the United States, Vimont has stressed the value of nurturing a transatlantic bond that dates back more than two centuries.

The Ambassador’s conversation focused on the historic relationship of France and the United States, and the relevant force of shared  values in today’s global community. He acknowledged recent events which could be a source of misunderstanding between Europe and America. Pointing to a shared path of resolution, Vimont said the U.S. and Europe must work together to retain their political and economic leadership in the face of new challenges, new threats and new institutions.

According to Vimont, the U.S. and Europe represent more than 62 percent of the world’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). However, both continents face the common challenge of new international actors (such as Brazil, India, South Africa and China) competing in the global marketplace.

He said:

How do we get new jobs, manage public deficit and find a way through with the new competition (new actors)? How do we protect and enhance the economic model in both of our countries? If we want to retain economic and political momentum, we must find a common ground.

The ambassador’s questions pointed to the necessity of agreeing on economic priorities and addressing crucial issues such as: Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East, climate change, developmental assistance, and the dialogue of religions and ethnic groups. France and the U.S. still share the common values of tolerance, rule of law, international justice and a free-market economy.  He reiterated the need for a shared common approach to promote tolerance, for example, in the Muslim world.

Vimont also emphasized that a continued strong transatlantic relationship must “rearrange the balance of power in the international community.” The upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon (Nov. 2010) and the 2011 G-20 Summit in France could provide platforms of recognition for emerging international actors.

He concluded, “Will we succeed? I don’t know. The Americans on one side and the Europeans on the other must find ground to work together to share these goals.”

Belinda Rector – UNC Charlotte (Communication Studies – International Public Relations)