Dear speech-fans and -friends,

The best speeches delivered this last month illustrate the power of contrast and antithesis. Antithesis is one of the most popular means of being quotable. It succeeds because such contrast allows you, among other things, to urge one course of action and reject another(…). It makes what (the speaker) accepts and rejects clear and easy to remember’, writes Robert Lehrman in The Political Speechwriter's Companion

Use it, but wisely, as one of the European leaders addressing the Members of the European Parliament reminds us.

For those of us who understand French, voici le lien vers une émission de radio consacrée à la rhétorique politique des présidents, de la troisième république à Barack Obama.

Find out our monthly selection on


L’Europe n'est pas une évidence. L'Europe fut et l'Europe restera un choix.

Europe is not self-evident. Europe has always been and will always be a choice.

Read the full speech here: Jean-Claude Juncker, L'Europe aujourd'hui et demain, 23 February 2017

Let’s take that robot: for you, a technological miracle. For us, a legal headache (…)

The European Union can be destroyed – and more importantly, with it the peace, democracy and prosperity for which it stands. It is an important realisation: nothing is irreversible.

But having said this: nothing is inevitable either. We ain’t dead yet (…)

Let history not surprise us, but let us surprise ourselves.

Read the full speech here: Frans Timmermans, Future Force Conference, 9 February 2017


“Take back control" (…) is a mirage: but it is a politically bankable one.

Read the full speech here: Pierre Moscovici, Speech at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15 February 2017


The road we're going down is not simply Hard Brexit. It is Brexit At Any Cost (…)

Our challenge is to expose relentlessly what this cost is, to show how the decision was based on imperfect knowledge which will now become informed knowledge (…)

We do not argue for Britain in Europe because we are citizens of nowhere. We argue for it precisely because we are proud citizens of our country – Britain – who believe that in the 21st C, we should maintain our partnership with the biggest political union and largest commercial market on our doorstep; not in diminution of our national interest, but in satisfaction of it (…)

This movement must have many dimensions to it.

It requires arguments of detail; and arguments of grandeur (…)

They will say the will of the people can't alter. It can.

They will say Leaving is inevitable. It isn't.

They will say we don't represent the people. We do, many millions of them and with determination many millions more.

Read the full speech here: Tony Blair, We need a movement which stretches across party lines, 17 February 2017


(English below) Leider ist in der Europäischen Union wieder eine Rhetorik des Ausschließens in Mode gekommen.

Europa ist ein Kontinent des „UND“, und nicht des „Entweder/Oder“.

Unfortunately, the rhetoric of exclusion is fashionable again in the European Union. Europe is the continent of ‘and’, and not of ‘either/or’.

Watch the full speech here: Alexander Van der Bellen, Speech before the European Parliament Plenary, 17 February 2017 (video)

Read the full speech here: Alexander Van der Bellen, Speech before the European Parliament Plenary, 17 February 2017 (text)