French minister: Israeli economy is resilient

French finance minister: The [global financial] crisis has passed over Israel like water over the feathers of a duck.

French finance minister Pierre Moscovici 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
French finance minister Pierre Moscovici 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
PARIS – French Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici on Tuesday congratulated Israel for its excellent economic health in a period of world economic crisis.
Moscovici spoke at the annual dinner of the France- Israel Chamber of Commerce, or CCFI, held in the elegant Pavillon Dauphine, on the edge of the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.
The diners included representatives of around half of the large enterprises that make up the CAC 40, the benchmark French stock market index.
Henri Cukierman, the president of CCFI, underlined in his speech that the minister was taking a Franco- Israeli break before flying to China with President François Hollande.
Cukierman called upon the French industrialists to follow the example of Israelis, “to transform goals into reality” and “to climb the mountain.”
He joked that “the [global financial] crisis has passed over Israel like water over the feathers of a duck.”
Moscovici told the audience that Israel, three years after joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, has the strongest growth of all member states, and is fully deserving of his congratulations: “Israel has shown, in the middle of the financial crisis... a remarkable resilience and a real dynamism thanks to its healthy and solid economic base.”
Cukierman said that “Israel demonstrates that there is a ‘place to find’ in globalization by going up market and through innovation.”
Moscovici invited the audience to “make the effort to go to Israel to appreciate its potential” and to dispel “the myth of incompatibility of doing business with Israel and the rest of Middle East.”
He concluded by saying that “the axis formed between Paris and Tel Aviv is an important formative structure in the picture of world trade.”
According to Cukierman, the two principal factors that act as brakes on the development of bilateral business relations are “self-censorship” by French entrepreneurs who hesitate to speak of Israel with Muslim colleagues, and fear of going to Israel, and are both without real foundation.
He cited as reasons to do business in the Jewish state the high profit margins and high prices that give rise to niche opportunities, the rising standard of living creating demand for luxury goods, and Israel becoming an important producer of natural gas.
Yossi Gal, the Israeli ambassador added: “Between France and Israel it is a win-win relationship.”
Elie Ohayon, representing the Publicis Groupe advertising firm, said proudly that his firm invests not only in Tel Aviv, but also in Ramallah.
André Maarek, vice president of the CCFI, went on to distribute awards for the French-Israel Economic Exchanges (EEFI) created 22 years ago, acknowledging the most significant contributions made by companies in the development of economic exchanges between the two countries.
The 2013 Awards honoring EEFI companies and their directors were given to:
  • EDF new energies.
  • Essilor International, a French producer of ophthalmic lenses and ophthalmic equipment.
  • Plasan, a company owned by Kibbutz Sasa that develops, manufactures and assembles custom-built vehicle armor systems and a major supplier of personnel protection armor.
  • Publicis Groupe, the largest French advertising and public relations company.
  • Sodexo, a French food services and facilities management company.
  • Vatel, a world leader in teaching hotels and tourism management.