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Speech for the opening of the 4th World Internet Conference

– In a speech during the opening ceremony of the 4th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Dominique de Villepin spoke briefly about the main issues facing the digital economy, alongside Wang Huning, Tim Cook and Jack Ma –



Ladies and Gentlemen,


I am very pleased to be here in the gorgeous town of Wuzhen. No city could be a better place to host the World Internet Conference. Because it is a place of openness with canals and bridges as a symbol of communication, combining both innovation and tradition.


In the two last decades, digital economy contributed to open societies as never before. It made mobility faster, distance shorter and trade easier. It created immense territories of growth, knowledge and development, serving the common good. In this regard, 2017 has been a crucial year. For the first time in history, the global number of web users has exceeded a half of world’s population.


But Internet is not a riskless promise. It also created a new space of risk:


          First, technological confrontation is spreading between the two major poles of digital innovation: China and the USA;

          Second, cybersecurity is globally challenged within States and companies;

          Third, the growing confusion between private and public use of Internet is also threatening privacy of personal users;


Each past revolution has drawn a new frontier creating fears and opportunities. That’s why we need new ways of thinking, regulating and exploring the cyberspace.


I – This year has been a major turning point for digital economy based on a shift from the West to the East


          The US leadership has been increasingly challenged by Chinese technology:

·         Today, China tends to take the lead of digital innovation as we recently witnessed with the rise of TENCENT’s market capitalization above that of FACEBOOK:

o    Economic competition led to the creation of major challengers like ALIBABA, JD.com and BAIDU renewing the face of Internet;

o    Political stimulation also fostered innovation as we saw during the 19th Congress under the sign of modernization;

·         At the same time, leading Tech companies of the US have been facing growing challenges, especially in Europe, in terms of regulation and taxation.


II – This major shift in digital economy is opening a new era of collective responsibility


          First, it creates a new momentum for regulation. The time has come to improve multilateral cooperation to build a shared governance of Internet:

·         Public initiatives must be taken at a political level to deal with major issues like security, interoperability and neutrality in the cyberspace, for example by negotiating a global Treaty of Internet in the frame of the United Nations;

·         But building a common regulation also implies the commitment of all the stakeholders, from States to companies and civil societies as is the case today.

          Second, there is a new momentum for innovation. We need concrete partnerships in digital economy:

·         The use of Internet inside cities of tomorrow could be a decisive area of partnerships:

o    Internet is a great instrument to invent a new kind of integrated city focused on energy safety, security and sustainability;

o    European and Chinese companies have developed strong know-how and commitment in providing energy solutions. I do believe the EU-China cooperation can be a cornerstone in improving data collection, exploration, sharing and use to reduce cost and pollution while enhancing the quality of life.

          Third, digital economy is a new chance for stability:

·         Internet also brings new possibilities of providing remote countries with healthcare and education thanks to the IoT and the diffusion of knowledge;

·         It is the aim of the Digital Silk Road to develop cross-border economy from Asia to Europe and Africa through expanding internet infrastructures.


Ladies and gentlemen,


Internet is the new frontier of the century.


What we need today is to build up a collective and cooperative environment transforming data from information flows to dynamic resources.


Thank you.

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It’s a new era for China as well as the rest of the world

In an interview for China Xinhua News, Dominique de Villepin stated the opportunity that represents the outcome of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party for China and the world. He called for greater investment by China in the international arena, and enhanced cooperation between Europe and China, to contribute to the emergence of a more stable and secure world.
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Today, what China brings to the world is its unity

In an interview in English for the Chinese channel CGTN, Dominique de Villepin spoke about the main issues of the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist Party for the future of China.

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Multipolar World Order: Opportunities & Challenges

After a lecture given at the 15th Dialogue of Civilizations Forum in Rhodes, Dominique de Villepin then participated in a debate organized by Chinese channel CGTN, on the multipolar nature of the world.


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Belt and Road gives momentum to redraw globalization

– In an op-ed published in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily, Dominique de Villepin shared his vision of the Belt and Road Initiative and announced the creation of the International Marco Polo Society, a group gathering high personalities from European and Asian countries aiming at promoting the New Silk Road projects –


Uncertainty has become the major threat of our times. On the five continents, we are facing global dangers that have become ever more difficult to foresee and manage. Terrorism undermines global efforts of peace-building. The rise of populism has led to policies challenging economic openness, free trade and shared development. In the same time, climate change has heightened the risk to future generations. The current diplomatic situation of our world and the unpredictability of some of the major powers is calling for a new multilateral dynamic.

However, the past few months have witnessed a dramatic decline of international dialogue. The election of a new American President has accelerated this process by affecting multilateral frameworks in areas like free trade and environmental protection. Against these trends, international cooperation is the only possible key to find a common ground on how to improve the world of tomorrow. Today, we are witnessing the painful birth of a new multipolar world. I do believe it is the task of Asia and Europe to reshape globalization on fairer and more balanced principles. It has become crucial to foster new poles of stability and prosperity interconnected in a comprehensive scheme of cooperation.

In this context, China is offering a new chance to achieve this common ambition through the Belt and Road initiative. This promising project not only strives to support infrastructure development from Asia to Europe and Africa, but aims at reviving the spirit of multilateral partnerships to serve cultural dialogue and stability as decisive common goods. From the initial speech of President Xi Jinping in autumn 2013, outlining the project, to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that was held in Beijing on mid-May 2017 with around 30 heads of state and government, the initiative has made great steps forwards. In less than four years, the Belt and Road initiative has been provided with new multilateral instruments like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with a capital of 100 billion dollars and more than 60 countries taking part in the institution.

The Belt and Road initiative offers a lasting alternative to the risk of slowdown, isolation and confrontation. We must recognize that concrete actions have been achieved in a remarkably short space of time. First projects have been launched in Pakistan, Azerbaijan or Oman in strategic areas like power plants, gas pipeline and railways. Chinese investments have also increased in countries of Central Europe in the frame of the “16 + 1” as well as in Southern Europe where many projects are implemented along the Silk Road Economic Belt, especially in Greece to develop infrastructures like the port of Piraeus.

The future of Eurasia is full of opportunities. There are many priorities Asia and Europe could work on together. They both share the common ambition to ensure sustainable growth, food and energy security and environmental preservation. In Asia alone, the Asian Development Bank estimates the investment needs in infrastructure around 26 trillion dollars by 2030, creating huge perspectives in promising sectors like transport, real estate, waste and water management and green economy.

In this respect, the Belt and Road initiative allows to respond massively to three challenges of the present. First, it opens a new chapter of global connectivity by strengthening energy, digital and transport facilities all around the world. Second, it renews the culture of multilateral cooperation by advocating for more inclusiveness and collaboration pooling capital resources from public and private investors on cross-border projects. Third, it helps ensure the conditions of international recovery and development. While there is a high diversity of GDP per capita along the Belt and Road, especially between developed Eastern countries and countries from Africa and Southeast Asia, the Belt and Road will gradually reduce the economic gap between the stakeholders and facilitate economic catching-up in remote economies.

Over the last years, fruitful exchanges with global decision-makers have reinforced my impression that the Belt and Road should be broadly and further promoted. We need a platform to discuss ideas, create synergies and raise international awareness about the initiative. We need to share principles for a shared destiny ensuring the respect of people, the respect of sovereignty and the respect of history. We also need an exemplary dynamic based on showcase projects involving the largest number of actors like States, companies, civil societies, think tanks and universities.

That’s why, with a group of qualified personalities from Europe and Asia, we have created the International Marco Polo Society in tribute to the most famous bridge-builders of the Middle Age. The International Marco Polo Society is a circle composed of former Prime Ministers and Foreign Affairs Ministers eager to mobilize public opinions in their home countries and push innovative propositions. Because we have a common conviction: every energy should be welcome to make the Belt and Road initiative a successful reality and contribute to what President Xi described as the “project of the century.”

21 September 2017, People’s Daily

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Can One Belt, One Road stem the tide of populism?

In this interview with CNBC, Dominique de Villepin explains the importance of the New Silk Road project for China’s cooperation policy