Ambassadør Jean-François Dobelles tale under julegløggen 5. desember.
Ambassadøren Jean-François Dobelle holdt en tale for representanter for Business France, Atout France, fransk-norsk handelskammer og Promosalon på julemottagelsen 5. desember.
Dear Presidents, Directors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am very pleased to share this Christmas Reception, or "Julegløgg" in the Norwegian tradition, and to welcome you all to the Residence tonight around the members of the French-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce (FNCC), represented by its President Sindre WALDERHAUG and its Director Ludovic CAUBET, around the partners of Business France Norway office, represented by its Director, Commercial Counselor Magali VOISIN-RATELLE, Promosalons Norway, represented by Joséphine SCONZA and Atout France Norway, represented by Sissel DAHL .
The Norwegian economy has overcome the crisis following the fall in oil prices in 2014, and is clearly getting better at the end of 2017: growth is back, with a forecast of 2% for 2018, inflation is under control, expected to be 1.7% for 2017, while it has reached 3.6% in 2016. And finally, unemployment is in decline, down to 4% in September. At the same time, the price of oil is recovering since the barrel of Brent exceeds today $ 60.
All the indicators are therefore positive for the Norwegian economy, and the budget proposal currently being discussed in the Storting is no longer strictly speaking a stimulus budget, since the Government believes that the growth dynamic is self-sufficient. This budget contains, of course, measures to support employment, but also some controversial measures: the "Tesla tax", which could disappear after the negotiations between conservatives and center-right parties. It could be the same for the surprising lack of support for the CCS project that parliamentary debate might restore.
French companies operating in Norway are growing, be it Nexans, which has won numerous contracts, Total, whose acquisition of Maersk Oil strengthens the position in Norway, (even taking into account its sale of two fields to Statoil), and finally Renault, whose arrival of the Zoé allows it to conquer market shares in a Norwegian landscape where one out of every two vehicles sold is now electric or hybrid. But beyond the major groups, there are of course a multitude of companies that contribute to the flow of exchanges between our two countries: in 2016, France is Norway’s ninth supplier and its fourth customer, ranking unchanged compared to 2015.
I wish to express my pleasure at the excellent relations between the partners of the French Export Team : Business France, the FNCC, Promosalons and Atout France - who work to strengthen these exchanges, and to build broader awareness around our fields of excellence, which are numerous - as can be illustrated by many actions carried out this year.
I thank the Head of the Economic Department, Emmanuel GABLA, who participates and leads, at my side, this French Export Team with the clear goal of bringing our two countries closer together economically and commercially.
In this respect, I would like to highlight some of the most significant operations carried out jointly by the French Export Team:
In March, a seminar was organized in Paris by Business France and the FNCC on the theme of major railway and road infrastructure projects in Norway. This seminar - in partnership with key Norwegian operators in the sector such as Bane-Nor, Nye Veier and Sporveien – raised awareness among French companies about the tremendous opportunities on the rail transport market in Norway, which should experience a strong growth over the next few years.
In April, a press conference was organized by Promosalons in Oslo to promote the VINEXPO international wine fair, and Business France organized a Nordic presentation workshop at the Bordeaux trade show in June, where French wine producers and traders were trained to approach the Norwegian market. Still on this theme, I had the pleasure of hosting the organizers of the Montrachet Prize at the Residence last week, which rewards each year a sommelier working in an international city. The 2017 prize was awarded to Norwegian sommelier Magnus Nørsett Egerdahl. The cooperation between Business France and Atout France has been decisive in the success of this venture.
In October, the French-Norwegian day organized by the FNCC on the theme of sustainable mobility and its prestigious Gala Dinner, which this year saw the participation of a dozen Norwegian senior executives mobilized by Business France and the Economic Service of this Embassy to make them aware of the reforms underway in France and to gather their point of view on the image and attractiveness of France. This event was a great success, reflecting the growing interest of Norwegian investors in France, not only in a favorable economic environment, but also in the European and international context, allowing France to play a prominent role on many international issues, including that of the fight against global warming.
It is in fact on this key issue that this year rich in French-Norwegian partnerships will end. Indeed, the French-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, together with Promosalons, will accompany in a few days a Norwegian delegation to the World Efficiency Solutions show, the first international gathering on low-carbon and resource-efficient economy to be held in Paris from 12 to 14 December under the high patronage of the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron.
In addition to these various events, I would also like to highlight the daily work done by Business France to enable an increasing number of young French and Europeans to undertake an international corporate volunteering mission in Norway. So far, 32 young people are carrying out missions to Norway, many of whom are here tonight and are involved in a very concrete way in strengthening French-Norwegian exchanges.
Je remercie vivement l’ensemble de la communauté franco-norvégienne présente ce soir pour avoir contribué à ces actions et vous prédis que le programme pour 2018 sera tout aussi dense et intense. D’ici là, Je vous souhaite à tous un Joyeux Noël et d’excellentes fêtes de fin d’année et vous présente mes meilleurs vœux pour 2018 !
I would like to thank the entire French Norwegian community for contributing to these actions and I assure you that the program for 2018 will be equally dense and intense ! Let me wish you all a happy holiday season and a happy New Year, and extend my best wishes for 2018.
Jeg ønsker dere alle en riktig god jul og et godt nytt år !
Oslo, 5th December 2017