Dear all,

For your attention, here’s a short selection of speeches delivered this month, together with an older abstract you might appreciate as well.

I would like to thank the colleagues and friends who forwarded some references for circulation to other speech-fans.



If you only read one speech this month, you will find a good mix of logos, pathos and ethos in this one: President Tusk, Charlemagne Prize, 13 May 2015


What is then the challenge for the third generation of European unity?

Nothing less than to deliver on the promise of Europe with a ruthless determination.

President Tusk, Charlemagne Prize, 13 May 2015


Start with a ‘bang’

What a beautiful day, what a beautiful ambience. What an amazing prize winner, what illustrious guests. Despite all of this, I feel I must begin my address on a dark note.

‘For the first time in post-war history, the failure of the European Union has become a realistic scenario.’ This sentence hits us like a bombshell. It is by the man whom we are here to honour today, this year’s winner of the International Charlemagne Prize. Martin Schulz puts it right at the beginning of his book on Europe.

Bundespräsident Gauck, Charlemagne Preis, 14 May 2015


Other ways to start and thank in a speech

The message, when it came at last, was simple:  ‘The mission of this Allied Force was fulfilled at 0241, local time, May 7th, 1945.’  Signed, Eisenhower.  

There was no paean to victory.  No exultation.  Too much had been lost for that.  []

Ladies and gentlemen, 70 years after that great turning point in the history of our world, we remember the sacrifice that was made to preserve freedom—those who laid down their lives for a better future.  The Americans who won the beachhead at Normandy, inch by bloody inch. From Britain, “The Few,” who defied the Luftwaffe.  The Free French, who never accepted Nazi occupation.  The brave Poles, who fought “for our freedom and yours.”  The Canadian regiments, who pushed across France into Northern Germany.  The resistance movements in every European country.  And, in the East, the people of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and all the former Soviet states, who endured many of the heaviest losses of the war. 

NS Advisor S.E Rice, V-E Day Commemoration


'Let me also sometimes have a rhetoric question'

Prime Minister Orbán has been very clear about this: he is never intending to put a proposal forward [on death penalty]. Well my political question is that if you're never intending to make a proposal why then have a debate? What is then the reason for the debate? But that is a different matter and let me also sometimes have a rhetoric question.

VP Timmermans, European Parliament, 19 May 2015


L’art de filer la métaphore

Ce court extrait a été porté à mon attention pour l’art de filer la métaphore que l’artiste – et descendant de la famille Dreyfus – révèle dans ce discours de 1998.


Emile Zola, dont le talent d'écrivain éclipsait celui du photographe - il possédait une dizaine d'appareils et réalisait des photos magnifiques - Zola a pris avec l'affaire Dreyfus un instantané de son époque. Et en développant le négatif pour « l'Aurore », l'image est apparue en positif sur son papier sensible et il a obtenu un tirage exceptionnel. Il ne savait pas encore que ce serait pour lui aussi, une épreuve. Un agrandissement. Dans des proportions gigantesques. Alors ne laissons pas jaunir ce chef-d’œuvre. Aucune retouche n'est nécessaire cent ans plus tard. Pas un mot à changer dans « J'accuse ». C'est une photographie de la conscience humaine.
Yves Duteil, Discours de Médan, Hommage à Emile Zola, 1998


Tricolons and alliterations – and more

Their ranks include kings and queens, presidents and prime ministers, popes… and Poles.

President Tusk, Charlemagne Prize, 13 May 2015


Whether you are from Milwaukee or from Mumbai, from Chicago or from Shanghai, from Paris or Panama City, …

IMF Managing Director C. Lagarde, Commencement Address, 16 May 2015


Entendons le message que [le résistant Pierre Brossolette] avait adressé comme un testament le 18 juin 1943 à Londres : « les morts de la France combattante ne nous demandent pas de les plaindre, mais de les continuer. Ils n’attendent pas de nous un regret, mais un serment ; pas un sanglot, mais un élan. »

Président F. Hollande, Hommage solennel de la nation, Panthéon, 27 mai 2015






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