Dear speech-fans and -friends,


End of September, I was invited to speak at the Professional Speechwriters Association World Conference on ‘Speeches and Speechwriting in Europe in 2016’. To prepare this talk, I looked for trends that would both refer to Europe and be relevant for an international audience. I soon identified one leading trend, only emerging yet obvious, and already the strongest. I spoke about this new word capturing this new phenomenon : the ‘post-truth’ - or ‘post-fact’ - era of speeches and democracy.

From hardly used before, it is suddenly everywhere now, from titles to articles to conferences.

Little did I know then that the Oxford Dictionary would select it as the 2016 International Word of the Year.

It’s a real concern for our democracies, and an additional challenge for speakers and speechwriters. All the more reason to have a look at the speeches that matter on the European stage today.

You’ll find the latest selection of quotes and speeches on



Commemorating : the great potential of epideictic speeches

We all know that we are living in a historic time, and that our actions will have effects for generations to come. But we can't know exactly what effect we will have. All we can do is to trust in our values, and have the courage to act on them.

Read the full speech here: Margrethe Vestager, Luther and the modern world, 14 November 2016


Reacting to the US Presidential elections :

Being here (in Harvard) today is also a big responsibility, because I am the first representative of the European Institutions to visit the US since last week's elections.

So, on behalf of the European Commission, let me say I am confident that the US will continue to be a strong and reliable partner for us (…).

As a citizen, I have to confess I was surprised (that is an understatement) at last week's result, as were many Europeans and no doubt many of you. But we need to turn this painful awakening into a political wake-up call.

Read the full speech here: Pierre Moscovivi, 2016 Summit on the Future of Europe, Harvard University, Boston, 14 November 2016


(English below): Deutschland und Amerika sind durch Werte verbunden: Demokratie, Freiheit, Respekt vor dem Recht und der Würde des Menschen, unabhängig von Herkunft, Hautfarbe, Religion, Geschlecht, sexueller Orientierung oder politischer Einstellung. Auf der Basis dieser Werte biete ich dem künftigen Präsidenten der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, Donald Trump, eine enge Zusammenarbeit an.

Read the full speech here: Angela Merkel, on the outcome of the US elections, 9 November 2016


Germany and America are bound by values – democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of the individual, regardless of their origin, skin colour, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. On the basis of these values, I offer close cooperation to the future president of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

Read the full speech here: Angela Merkel, on the outcome of the US elections, 9 November 2016


Mr. President (Barack Obama), we urge you from here, from Athens, with its eternal, simple Parthenon -- the Parthenon of democracy and civilization -- to continue to serve the same ideals after the end of your term.  Your appeal will continue into the future.  In this future and very promising journey, we would like you to take Greece along.  At this point, I’d like to remember the words of the poet Odysseas Elytis:  Please do not forget our country.  

Read the full speech here:

Greece President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, State dinner with President Obama, 15 November 2016



Finding the words after …

2016 campaign and election

I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.  Like so many of you, we'll spend the day with friends and family, turkey and touchdowns.  We'll give thanks for each other, and for all that God has given us.  And we'll reflect on what truly binds us as Americans.

That's never been more important.  As a country, we've just emerged from a noisy, passionate, and sometimes divisive campaign season. After all, elections are often where we emphasize what sets us apart.  We face off in a contest of "us" versus "them."  We focus on the candidate we support instead of some of the ideals we share (…).

But a few short weeks later, Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves.

Read the full speech here: Barack Obama, Coming together on Thanksgiving, 24 November 2016


Terrorist attack

Sting, opening the first concert back in the music hall attacked last year by terrorists in Paris

(English below)

Bonsoir Mesdames Messieurs,

Alors, ce soir, nous avons deux tâches, deux tâches importantes à concilier : d’abord, se souvenir et honorer ceux qui ont perdu la vie dans l’attaque il y a un an ; ensuite, célébrer la vie, la musique, comme représente cette salle de spectacles historique. Avant de commencer, j’aimerais que nous observions une minute de silence. Nous ne les oublions pas. (silence). Nous ne les oublions pas.

Watch the opening words here:

Sting, Concert for the reopening of Bataclan music hall one year after the attack, Paris, 13 November 2016


Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening,

So, tonight, we have two tasks, two important tasks to reconcile : first, remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attack last year ; then, celebrate life, music, represented by this historic music hall. Before we start, I would like that we observe a minute’s silence. We do not forget them. (silence). We do not forget them.

Watch the opening words here:

Sting, Concert for the reopening of Bataclan music hall one year after the attack, Paris, 13 November 2016


Surprise your audience

I want to start with a small 'study'. Now everyone loves studies! As a scientist I know that our 'study' is rather an experiment, but nevertheless let me share it with you.

(…) As I said, I am not claiming it is a real study, though I am sure I could dump it on the social media and claim that 'last study shows (…).

Read the full speech here: Vytenis Andriukaitis, European Antibiotics Day Awareness Day: The Future is now, 18 November 2016


Three weeks ago, an (…)attack took down Dyn, a central name service provider, disabling access to Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify, Reddit and a number of other popular services for hours at a time. The attack managed to reach unprecedented size by harnessing the collective firepower of so-called Internet of Things devices — often poorly secured printers, security cameras, digital video recorders or other tools that are connected to the internet for remote access and control by their users (…). I was surprised to discover that pretty much anyone – including me – could have perpetrated this attack. The malware that was used to create the botnet is available for free online. Or – instead of building my own botnet – I could have simply rented a ready-made botnet by the hour at very affordable rates and specified my target in the easy-to-use interface. In fact, rented botnets were used in the attack. But let me assure you – it wasn't me.

Now why am I telling you this story? It illustrates some of the key weaknesses of our system.

Read the full speech here:

Julian King, 4th Annual European Cyber Security Conference, 17 November 2016