Introductory speech by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
8 March 2010, OECD Conference Centre
It is a great honour and pleasure for me to welcome the President of France, Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, here today. The OECD has had the good fortune, for almost fifty years now, to be “à la maison” in the Château de la Muette here in Paris. Allow me to return the compliment and say to you on this occasion, Mr President, that “esta es su casa”. This is the first time since you were elected that you have honoured us with a visit and we are especially happy to see you here.
Naturally, the OECD has always collaborated closely with France on all major issues of economic policy. Obviously it does so because France is one of its founding members. It also does so because France is often a source of inspiration in terms of good practices. And lastly the OECD does so because France has often been the instigator of ambitious reflections on how our economies work: within the context of the G20, for example, in the fight against climate change, or yet again through the recent work by the “Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress” which you were responsible for launching, Mr President.
Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General
However, what better example could I find than this collaboration today, on the occasion of this international conference on access to civil nuclear energy which you have convened, Mr President, in collaboration with Mr Amano and Mr Echávarri?? We are delighted to respond to this call and to contribute to the success of this conference through the expertise of the OECD NEA. The Nuclear Energy Agency’s mission is to help its Member countries maintain and deepen, through international co-operation, the legal, technological and scientific bases that are essential for a safe, environmentally friendly and economical use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. This conference is an excellent example of the way in which it brilliantly achieves its mission. And the presence at Ministerial level of 45 countries this morning simply bears witness to the importance of this issue.
We are indeed currently seeing a renaissance of the nuclear option, for reasons that are clear to see and primarily to allow us to meet the challenge of climate change. It is also crucially important that this renaissance takes place under optimum conditions in terms of safety, while nonetheless ensuring that costs remain accessible. However, let us not make idle promises; this renaissance remains a considerable challenge for many of the countries present here today in terms of safety, financing, training, etc. And it is for this reason that this conference is both timely and welcome.
Mr President, thank you again for being here and for having agreed to deliver the inaugural speech at this Conference. You are also doing us the honour of dedicating our Conference Centre “to the co-operation and solidarity between nations and for a stronger, cleaner, fairer world economy”. For this we extend our warmest thanks to you. We are delighted to do this on the occasion of the first major international conference organised by your government and hosted in our Centre.
Before I hand over to you, Mr President, may I invite you to join me here to unveil this plaque which will record your visit here today and which will recall to us our mission to work for co-operation and solidarity between Nations?
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