Pascal Lamy

April 1, 2014

Video interview with Pascal Lamy who served two terms as Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) from September 2005 to September 2013.


Pascal Lamy

He graduated from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC) in Paris, the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) and the Ecole Nationale d’ Administration (ENA).

Lamy began his career in the French civil service at the General Inspectorate of Finance and at the Treasury. In 1981 he became advisor of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Jacques Delors, then Deputy Head of Prime Minister’s Pierre Mauroy cabinet in 1983. Between 1985 and 1994, Pascal Lamy was Head of the President of the European Commission’s Cabinet, Jacques Delors, and its “sherpa” at the G- 7. In 1994 he joined the team in charge of the recovery of the French bank Crédit Lyonnais then becoming its CEO up to its privatization in 1999. He then returned to the European Commission having been appointed as Commissioner for Trade under the presidency of Romano Prodi.

After his mandate in Brussels, for a short sabbatical period Pascal Lamy chaired “Notre Europe”, a think tank created by Jacques Delors that focuses on European integration. He also became associate professor at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris and advisor to Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, President of the European Socialist Party.

Pascal Lamy also proved his commitment to the European Union and its vision of globalization through several publications: Quand la France s’éveillera (Odile Jacob, 2014), The Geneva Consensus (Cambridge University Press, 2013), Now for the Long Term (Report of the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, 2013), La Démocratie-monde – Pour une autre gouvernance globale (Seuil, 2004), L’Europe en première ligne (Seuil, 2002), L’Europe de nos volontés (with J. Pisani- Ferry, Plon, 2002 The Europe we want, Arch Press / The Policy Network, 2002), and Report “Monde-Europe”, chaired by P. Lamy in the XIth plan of the Commissariat général du Plan (Dunod, 1993).

Lamy has received honorary degrees from eight universities as well as several awards and decorations from the French government and other countries world-wide. He is currently Honorary President of Notre Europe – Jacques Delors Institute, President of the World Committee of Tourism Ethics, President of the Oxford Martin School’s Commission on future challenges, Vice-President of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), member of the Global Ocean Commission and of UNAIDS and Lancet Commission, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble (Orchestra Marc Minkowski), member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation nationale des Sciences politiques and of the Thomson Reuters Founders Share Company, member of the Advisory Board of Transparency International, affiliated Professor at HEC Paris and Strategic Advisor of the Simone Veil Governance Center for Europe (Humboldt-Viadrina School of Governance, Berlin).


Salon dinner with Pascal Lamy

On April 30, the French-American Foundation hosted a Private Salon Dinner with Pascal Lamy, former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), to discuss his new book, Quand la France s’éveillera (“When France Awakens”) (Odile Jacobs 2014). After his departure from eight years leading the World Trade Organization, Lamy returned his attention to his native France to write this latest work, a synthesis of the problems France faces in realizing its potential, something Lamy boasts repeatedly throughout the book and throughout the evenings discussion.

Lamy calls on France to “awaken,” to overcome a systemic rejection of globalization, the European Union, and the outside world and to embrace the opportunities presented by the ever more connected global economy. In his remarks, Lamy prescribes a shift in attitude and an embrace of globalization, remarking on the historical political and social aversion to the world outside France, joking that France is “the world champions of pessimism.” Lamy insists that politicians on both sides and the society as a whole must assume its place within the context of the European Union and a global environment to realize its true economic, social, and political potential.




Prior to the event, Lamy joined the French-American Foundation for a brief interview about the new book, Quand la France s’éveillera.

What does the title of your book, Quand la France s’éveillera (When France Will Awaken), mean?




In your book, you offer three narratives that could help solve the key issues in today’s France. Could you elaborate?




What do you think is the reason France is “the world champions of pessimism”?




You also talk not only about the world but also about Europe, as France’s position within a global context now pertains to its role within the European Union. Is there a European identity? How does the European Union impact France’s approach to various social and economic issues?




In your book, you strongly and passionately defend the Franco-German relationship or “le couple franco-allemand”. What’s so important about this particular relationship?




You condemn the French presidential system and the “quinquennat”. Why?




Have you discussed your book with the current president, François Hollande? In this case, what is the one takeaway from your message for Mr. Hollande?