Dear speech-fans and -friends, 

This newsletter is reaching your mailbox as Europe celebrates the end of the Second World War (8 May) and the audacity of the European integration project — mind you, launching this invitation the first day after only the fifth anniversary of such an unspeakable horror.

This peace project remains a leading theme in major speeches on the European stage, several decades later, as this selection  of the best speeches delivered in April shows. It still inspires leaders when they speak about the present or reflect about the future. And it matches the views of the Europeans, who still put peace at the top of the most positive results of Europe, together with free movement, well before other achievements like the exchange programme Erasmus or the Euro.

You’ll find these and a whole series of examples of what good rhetoric is on: www.logospathosethos.eu

Best wishes,

Great speeches,

Isabelle

Europe, first and foremost, a peace project

J'appartiens à une génération qui n'a pas connu la guerre et j'appartiens à une génération qui est en train de s'offrir le luxe d'oublier ce que les prédécesseurs ont vécu(...) Mais je viens aussi d'une terre et d'une famille qui a connu toutes les saignées de notre histoire passée. Alors les choix sont simples, moi je ne veux pas appartenir à une génération de somnambules. Je ne veux pas appartenir à une génération qui aura oublié son propre passé ou qui refusera de voir les tourments de son propre présent.

Watch the full speech here (delivered in French with live interpretation into 23 languages): Emmanuel Macron, Discours au Parlement européen, 17 avril 2018.

Read the full speech here.


I could sum it up in just one sentence: don't let the sleepwalkers lead more people to disaster.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, Acceptance speech for the 2018 Polonicus prize, 28 April 2018

 

The European ideal took shape in the second part of the twentieth century. Although, at the time, the world was riven by animosity and fear, some were imaginative enough to envisage a future in which we were joined together by mutual interest, trust and affection. European values are the values that we advance in Ireland, within our European family, and in our relations with the wider world. Europe is one of the most successful political projects of the last century. So much has been achieved that once seemed the stuff of dreams.

Read the full speech here: Leo Varadkar, Martens Lecture on the future of Europe, 26 April 2018


Building a bridge with the audience, building your ethos

From what I have told you about myself just now, it might seem that I am more Irish than some of you. Do you know that my political opponents in Poland even call me a redhead? Obviously, for no reason, as you can see. To sum up, it is no surprise that I feel so at home here in Ireland, and that I greatly appreciate your generous distinction, and the fact that you've accepted me as one of your own.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, University College Dublin Law Society, 10 April 2018

 

I am not here in front of you as a technocrat from Brussels. I was elected from the region of Savoy, France. I will never forget what I learnt during that time from small businesses, farmers, the people on the ground. I have always worked with those people to make progress.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, All-Island civic dialogue, 30 April 2018

 

When it comes to cyber-attacks, you could say my experience is somehow special.

Estonia is a small Baltic nation on the edge of Europe. We not only share a border with Russia, we also have a long and difficult history together.

In 2007, I was Prime Minister of Estonia. Over three weeks, my country was the target of an orchestrated cyber-campaign to destabilise parts of our online presence and civilian infrastructure. It was a watershed moment. I learned a lot of lessons in 2007.

Read the full speech here: Andrus Ansip, RSA Conference, 28 April 2018

 

As (Martens) said, ‘Young people today are more European and think European. They are our greatest resource to overcome scepticism, because they appreciate that you can now study anywhere, invest anywhere, work anywhere, and enjoy protection anywhere.’ Young people benefit most from European citizenship, and they know it.

I was twenty-five when Martens said those words. Starting out on my own political career. They resonated with me because I saw in Europe a way of ensuring that Ireland developed economically, socially, culturally, and politically. It offered an opportunity for my country to finally achieve its destiny.

So, since my student days, I have been a strong supporter of the European Union and European integration.

Read the full speech here: Leo Varadkar, Martens Lecture on the future of Europe, 26 April 2018

 

Antithesis

I believe that against ignorance, we have education.

Against inequalities, development.

Against cynicism, trust and good faith.

Against fanaticism, culture.

Against disease and epidemics, medicine.

Against the threats on the planet, science.

Watch the full speech here: Emmanuel Macron, speech before the US Congress, 25 April 2018

Read the full speech here.

 

Face à l’autoritarisme qui partout nous entoure, la réponse n’est pas la démocratie autoritaire mais l’autorité de la démocratie.

Watch the full speech here (delivered in French with live interpretation into 23 languages): Emmanuel Macron, Discours au Parlement européen, 17 avril 2018.

Read the full speech here.

 

Tricolon

En tant que représentants des peuples d’Europe vous l’incarnez,

vous faites chaque jour des choix,

vous définissez des compromis,

vous forgez des solutions,

car vous avez reçu le mandat des peuples. 

Watch the full speech here (delivered in French with live interpretation into 23 languages): Emmanuel Macron, Discours au Parlement européen, 17 avril 2018.

Read the full speech here.

 

Tricolon with alliteration

We need to look at how populists then use all of these fears against the so-called establishment, be it in politics, business or even academia, be it in Bern, Berlin or – a big favourite – Brussels. 

Read the full speech here: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Can democracy survive in the 21st century?, 26 April 2018

 

Make it concrete, make it tangible (also known as enargia)

The Israeli academic Yuval Noah Harari recently said: "The greatest danger that now faces liberal democracy is that the revolution in information technology will make dictatorships more efficient than democracies." Now, this line of attack against democracy is not new. In the 1920s and 1930s, that was precisely where the fatal appeal of radical forces lay (…).

However, what is new – and that is what Harari means – is how autocratic regimes can make "better" decisions for the system by using digital technologies. These decisions are "better" as regards the output they generate, be it in terms of prosperity, security, the environment or infrastructure. If autocracies that don’t care about privacy or civil liberties make use of all available data and feed it into ever more powerful algorithms, won’t they soon be able to control even the smallest social units and people’s private lives? Won’t they be able to counteract the dissatisfaction and revolt often found at the start of democratic movements at an even earlier stage? By the way, all of this has been reality for a long time. It is not just dystopian science fiction. A Social Credit System is currently being set up in China. Based on big data, it will reward good conduct and punish misconduct, with both naturally being defined by the state. And if we imagine how in the future – according to reports – 600 million cameras will monitor public spaces in China and artificial intelligence will make it possible to pick out a single face in a huge crowd, then we get an idea of the enormity of Harari’s words of warning.

Read the full speech here: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Can democracy survive in the 21st century?, 26 April 2018

 

As with the advent of steam, electricity or telecommunications, change as radical as (the digital revolution) calls for rules; without rules, the market may turn into a jungle in which the only law is the survival of the fittest (…)

Until now, however, freedom has generally come before accountability. One reason lies in the dizzyingly fast pace at which digital applications develop. Another, however, can be found in the misguided ideology which regards all regulation as a brake on development. It is as if, at the beginning of the last century, a decision had been taken not to introduce a highway code, or traffic lights and fines for bad driving, in order not to slow down the emergence of the car as a form of transport.

Read the full speech here: Antonio Tajani, Shaping our digital future: the challenge of the digital revolution, 25 April 2018

 

Whenever I think of the footprint, I am taken back to my childhood. I grew up by the sea, in Zurrieq in Malta, and every day I saw the same miracle. I'd go home in the evening from a beach where the traces of the day were plain to see, and I would return the next morning to find the beach wiped clean, all footprints erased. The same miracle every day.

The beach is still clean by the way, and if you are in the area, I recommend it. But as we all know, life isn’t so simple. Our footprint on this planet cannot be magically erased. It's our reality, it's our responsibility, and our society needs to take ownership of its consequences.

Read the full speech here: Karmenu Vella, Environmental footprint conference: From vision to action, 23 April 2018

 

Contrast

The backstop is not there to change the UK's red lines. It is there because of the UK's red lines.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, All-Island civic dialogue, 30 April 2018

 

Alone, Ireland is small. Together with our partners, we are strong.

Read the full speech here: Leo Varadkar, Martens Lecture on the future of Europe, 26 April 2018

 

Crescendo

No other Member State is as closely entwined with the UK as Ireland.

We are the only Member State to share a land border with the UK.

We are bound together by geography and by centuries of shared history, culture and trade.

We are friends.

Many of us are family.

Read the full speech here: Leo Varadkar, Martens Lecture on the future of Europe, 26 April 2018

 

Rhetorical questions

Some people think that securing current industries - and their jobs - is more urgent than transforming our economies to meet the global challenge of climate change. I hear these concerns, but we must find a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.

Because what is the meaning of our life, really, if we work and live destroying the planet, while sacrificing the future of our children?

What is the meaning of our life if our decision, our conscious decision, is to reduce the opportunities for our children and grandchildren?

Watch the full speech here: Emmanuel Macron, speech before the US Congress, 25 April 2018

Read the full speech here.

 

Dans quel autre endroit au monde a-t-on cette même exigence en matière évidemment économique, géopolitique, diplomatique et militaire mais aussi de respect des minorités, de liberté des consciences, d’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes, de respect pour la vie privée ? Où ailleurs à ce point, avec la même vitalité et la même force ?

Watch the full speech here (delivered in French with live interpretation into 23 languages): Emmanuel Macron, Discours au Parlement européen, 17 avril 2018.

Read the full speech here.

 

Thanks – How to thank the organisers in a meaningful way?

In a world economy which never sleeps, 10 years seems like an eternity. Indeed, much has changed in the world since the fall of Lehman Brothers. And Europe has changed after 10 years of steady reform. Today is a good opportunity to look back on this decade, and reflect on what we can learn from it. So I thank you for the invitation to speak today.

Read the full speech here: Valdis Dombrovskis, The transatlantic ecnomy ten years after the crisis: macro-financial scenarios and policy responses, 23 April 2018

 

I would like to thank the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy for inviting me to this important conference. I am honoured to be here with you today. For many reasons.

First, because the focus of this conference is more timely than ever.

Second, because it is a topic that deserves to be openly discussed at parliamentary level.

Third, because the event is organised in Lebanon. A country with a history of confessional diversity. An example for the whole Middle East region.

And finally, because “Diversity in Unity” is at the heart of our humanitarian work. And it is, somehow, the other side of the European Union's moto "United in Diversity". 

Read the full speech here: Christos Stylianides, Diversity in unity and fundamental freedoms for Christians and Muslims in the Middle East: a conference for parliamentary dialogue, 4 April 2018 

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