29/10/2012 - The President of the French Republic, Mr. François Hollande, met the Heads of five international economic organisations at the OECD on Monday 29th October.
Hosted by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, the top officials of the International Monetary Fund (Managing Director Christine Lagarde), the World Bank Group (President Jim Yong Kim), the World Trade Organization (Director-General Pascal Lamy) and the International Labour Organisation (Director-General Guy Ryder) met with the French President and his Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economy and Finance, and Employment.
During their three-hour meeting, participants shared their views on the global economic outlook as well as the European and French economies, focusing on the policies needed to return to growth, promote employment, improve competitiveness and address trade and development challenges.
Following their working sessions, President Hollande and the heads of the international organisations held a news conference at the OECD. Mr Gurría said the discussions were “extremely productive,” particularly on the importance of boosting competitiveness to meet wider growth and employment objectives. “We hope that the OECD’s analytical work, as well as the discussions this morning will assist France in its reform efforts,” Mr Gurría said.
In his initial remarks, President Hollande thanked the OECD for hosting the meeting, noting it was “the first time that a President of the French Republic has met the leaders of the five major international economic organisations.” He said he hoped to repeat the event in France, “so every year members of the government and myself can have a meeting with the heads of the five International Organisations to discuss the present situation, to see where Europe is at and also to look at the various policy actions that France should consider.” The President noted that all participants agreed on the seriousness of challenges to be met and the need to strengthen competitiveness as part of efforts to restore growth and confidence.
After discussions on the global and European economic situation, President Hollande said participants commented on the “triple challenge” facing France - public debt which could eventually become unsustainable; weak growth and high unemployment; and the need to boost competitiveness. “Of course, these three challenges are very closely related,” he said. “It is because we aren’t growing enough that we don’t have enough revenue. And it’s because we don’t have enough revenue that we are heavily in debt. And it is because of this indebtedness that we don’t have the leeway to tackle our stunted growth and high unemployment.
Mr Gurría concluded that the OECD was enthusiastic about the support the Organisation can provide to France's proposed competitiveness pact. “We are not here to tell France, or any country, what it should do. But we share experiences to show how they are performing in relative terms and how the high performing countries have advanced their reform agenda. This is a constant dialogue among countries. The context is always different, and every country has its own particular circumstances and political situations. Our value-added at the OECD is to make comparisons and provide examples of what has been done and what has worked elsewhere over the years.”