California State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez on official visit to France from April 2 to 6, 2007
A bipartisan delegation of Assemblymembers has been hosted by the Government
of France to examine the country’s advanced high speed rail system and
discuss global warming issues from April 2-6, 2007.
Speaker Fabian Nunez has been joined by Assembly members John Laird, Fiona
Ma, Joe Coto, Michael Duvall, and Bob Huff. Former U.S. Ambassador to
UNESCO and U.S. Rep. Esteban Torres will also be accompanying the delegation.
Highlights of the visit included meetings with high-ranking French officials : Philippe Faure, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs ; Christine Lagarde, Minister of Foreign Trade ; Nelly Olin, Minister of Ecology
and Sustainable Development ; Dominique Perben, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure, Tourism and the Sea.
On the legislative front, Mr. Nunez had talks with National Assembly Speaker Patrick Ollier
and, at a breakfast meeting, with representatives of the Senate.
In addition, the delegation visited ALSTOM, manufacturer of TGV trains and
attended as well a meeting with SNCF (the national operator of France’s
high speed rail system) and with the President and CEO of Réseau
Ferré de France (the French Railway Infrastructure System). The delegation then went on to Bordeaux, taking the TGV.
Rail transport was a central theme of the visit, the purpose of which was to
study the French high-speed rail system. France is the world leader in high speed rail.
A proposed rail link running
between Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego is currently
The environment was also a major subject : the delegation participated in a panel discussion on
global warming issues organized by the French-American Foundation and
another roundtable discussion with climate change experts from INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research.
The visit came in the wake of frequent exchanges between French and
Californian elected officials and shows the closeness and dynamism of our
relations : visit to California by the Senate France-US friendship group
(April 2005), frequent fact-finding missions to California by French
legislators on specific themes (bioethics, research, energy,
competitiveness, environment etc.), visit to France
(Paris-Millau-Marseilles) by a delegation of Californian senators in
California is the leading American exporter to France and has a sizable French community and nearly 400 French businesses.
- Prior to the delegation’s departure for France, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and French Consul General Frédéric Desagneaux discuss the program