ABIE Annual Christmas Cocktail, 10 December 2019

“I hope you like the new Christmas decorations,” quipped ABIE President Bernard Tabary, referring to the red lit lines of gridlocked traffic stretched in the streets below the Australian Ambassador’s private residence.

Paris had been paralyzed by six days of transport strikes, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of ABIE’s annual Christmas cocktail on December 10th.

Opening the proceedings, Bernard Tabary warmly thanked the Ambassador, Brendan Berne, for so kindly hosting the event in his Residence and expressed ABIE’s appreciation for the support he and his team at the Australian Embassy have given throughout the year.

For the second year running the ABIE Christmas cocktail was generously sponsored by ABIE Secretary, Frederic Calinaud, of Calinaud David Avocats.

Bernard Tabary welcomed members and guests who had walked, bicycled and braved the traffic to get there. It was virtually a hero’s welcome for Francois Heritier from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ABIE’s Annual Sponsor, who defied all odds and managed to arrive from London.  Among the special guests present, he mentioned the Ambassador (designate) to UNESCO, Megan Anderson, and Ambassador Alexander Robson, Australia’s representative to the OECD and certain members of the Medef-International delegation who visited Australia in October (ABIE participated in the recent visit).

“It has been a great year for ABIE, Bernard Tabary told guests, during which we have organised 13 well-attended, high-caliber events, and also welcomed many new members, some of whom are here tonight”.

The President’s enthusiasm was echoed by Ambassador Brendan Berne, also ABIE’s honorary President, who thanked the group for the work it had done during the year.

“You play such an important role as you are the only Australian French business organisation here that truly advances the cause of trade,” he said.

“It has been a momentous year for Australia France relations.  But the missing piece has been the absence of a Free Trade Agreement, and we really appreciate the work you have done in contributing to moving forward this agreement, which has now reached the vital 5thround.”

Thanking the Ambassador for his kind words, Bernard Tabary informed members that ABIE’s first event of 2020 will be on January 29, with a talk by Jason Collins, CEO of the Australian European Business Council, in which he will discuss the untapped trade potential between Australia and Europe.

The discussion will follow ABIE’s Annual General Meeting and will be held at the Australian Embassy.

Bernard Tabary concluded by wishing all members and guests a happy festive season.