RIYADH: A leading French senator has lauded the strength of relations between Saudi Arabia and France.
During a visit to Arab News’ headquarters in Riyadh on Tuesday to discuss cooperation, Vision 2030, and female empowerment in the Kingdom, Nathalie Goulet described bilateral links as currently being at their best.
A member of the Senate of France representing the Orne department in Normandy, the attorney has held office for 17 years and serves as chair of the senate’s investigation committee on tax evasion and committee on foreign fighters in France and Europe.
She noted the positive changes she had seen in Saudi Arabia over recent years, from tourism to media expansion, and the country’s raised profile on the international stage.
Goulet said: “It’s amazing, because it’s changing very fast … the music, the mixing, and everything is going very fast, without any possibility to go back.”
On the fast-developing relations between the two nations, she highlighted French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to create France 2030, an economic goal composed of 10 objectives, inspired by the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan.
“It is obvious that something is changing. The cherry on the milkshake is that the French president decided to have a big program and he decided to call it France 2030,” the senator added.
As part of her current visit to the Kingdom, Goulet has attended the Saudi Media Forum, an event exploring a range of topics related to the media sector’s growth and future, and covering areas such as visual, audio, print, and digital mediums. Forum discussions will also focus on the media’s role in society, politics, and the economy on a global scale.
She will also attend for a second time the Saudi Cup horse race, taking place on Feb. 23 to 24.
Goulet pointed out the cultural fashion trends of the first Saudi Cup, where women were smartly dressed and wearing European-style aristocrat hats.
She said: “The first Saudi Cup I attended; a woman won … the women were dressed like Europeans. A lot of fashion exhibitions.”
On career advice for women, she suggested working hard and learning new languages.
“I think that working hard will give you credit. If it’s not immediate, it will be later. Build yourself on your own capacity and your own work, without checking what people are thinking of you.
“Build yourself, build your own assists, and your personality. Women are now building their own personality without men, so that is really important. My strong belief is that as a woman you have to work twice as hard.”