Dear speech-fans and -friends,

With just four weeks to go before the European elections, this newsletter gathers the best quotes and speeches to speak about Europe today. 

With several days off in May, you’ll have time to read the short yet most enlightening Chinese classic Treatise on rhetoric, just translated into French this spring – an English annotated translation already available since 2016. See the Bibliography section.

And the Best of the 2019 Cicero speechwriting awards has just been published. You can indulge yourself with one Cicero Award speech a day until the results of the election. I draw your attention to two of them especially: if you want to be energised, the Grand Award: Go boldly. If you want to be moved and read excellence in contemporary European rhetoric, a commemorative speech written by a fellow European speechwriter delivered just one year ago, early May 2018: Never be a bystander.

Best wishes,

Great speeches,




Today is no time for regrets. The world is fast outpacing Europe.

Europe cannot remain obsessed by the past, when the rest of the world is looking to the future.

It’s time to step up. What we do not do for Europe, nobody will do in our place.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, European Policy Centre Breakfast, 1 April 2019


Ce que nous avons vu cette nuit ensemble à Paris c’est cette capacité de nous mobiliser, nous unir pour vaincre. Au cours de notre histoire, nous avons bâti des villes, des ports, des églises. Beaucoup ont brûlé ou ont été détruites par les guerres, les révolutions ou les fautes des hommes. A chaque fois, à chaque fois, nous les avons reconstruites.

Retrouvez le discours entier ici : Emmanuel Macron, Adresse à la nation au lendemain de l’incendie de Notre-Dame de Paris, 16 avril 2019


From this place [Strasbourg, France], I would like to say words of comfort and solidarity with the whole French nation in the face of the Paris tragedy. I say these words not only as the president of the European Council, but also as a citizen of Gdańsk, 90 percent destroyed and burnt, and later rebuilt. You will also rebuild your cathedral. 

From Strasbourg, the French capital of the European Union, I call on all the 28 Member States to take part in this task. I know that France could do it alone, but at stake here is something more than just material help. 

The burning of the Notre Dame cathedral has again made us aware that we are bound by something more important and more profound than Treaties. Today we understand better the essence of that, which is common, we know how much we can lose. And that we want to defend it – together.

Read the full speech here: Donald Tusk, to the European Parliament, 10 April

The power of a question

We must indeed ask ourselves why in 2016, 52 % of the British people voted to leave the European Union.

Why so many of the younger generations who are pro-Europeans did not come out to vote?

And why Europe was misunderstood and unpopular with an overall majority?

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, European Policy Centre Breakfast, 1 April 2019


Challenging the title of the conference from the very beginning

I'd like to warmly thank today's participants for the insightful discussion about the future of work. One clear message from the Conference is that ‘the future of work is already today'. This means that when we talk of the ‘future of work', if we want to be correct in our English grammar, we should really be speaking about the ‘present continuous of work'. It's not a question of saying ‘labour markets will change'. Rather, it's already clear that our labour markets ‘are changing'.

Read the full speech here: Valdis Dombrovskis, Conference on the Future of Work, 9 April 2019



Ever since the referendum in 2016, we have been respectful of the UK’s choice. No spirit of revenge. 

No punishment. 



This unity allowed the 27 to reach a deal withthe British government – not againstthe British government – in November 2018.

Our Withdrawal Agreement brings certaintyon all the issues where Brexit creates uncertainty.

The curse of success

Most of you studied abroad, thanks to the Erasmus programme, EU-funded research programmes, or simply the free movement of people in the Union.

All this probably seems natural to you. That we take it for granted is proof of what we have built together in Europe.

But let us not forget that these opportunities for exchange in a united Europe were unthinkable 30 years ago on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, Europe after Brexit, 29 March 2019



[With Brexit], the European Union is losing the City of London, our largest financial centre. It's like New York leaving the US and taking Wall Street with it.

Read the full speech here: Valdis Dombrovskis, Economic Club of New York, 11 April 2019


The power of a visual

I want to close by sharing with you an image ...

Discover the image and read the full speech here: Karmenu Vella, Maritime Achievements and Future Challenges, 9 April 2019


Make it concrete, make it tangible 

At the entrance to the NATO headquarters in Belgium, there are two monuments.

One, a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Designed to keep people in and ideas out (...)

The other monument is a twisted steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Centre.

A memorial to the ordinary people going about their business on an ordinary day when the unthinkable happened.

A memorial to the 2,977 people who lost their lives on 9/11.

A reminder of how all NATO Allies stood with the United States in its hour of need.

One monument is a symbol of freedom.

The other a symbol of solidarity.

Both are symbols of NATO.

Who we are and what we stand for.

Read the full speech here: Jens Stoltenberg, NATO: good for Europe and good for America, 3 April 2019


Meaningful thanks

I am happy to be with you today, here in Natolin [at the College of Europe], at the heart of Poland and of Europe.

Vice-Rector, I must say that I feel indebted to your institution since several members of my team, including my deputy Sabine Weyand, graduated from the College of Europe, both from Bruges and from Natolin.

So, it is a pleasure to meet all of you, the future graduates, on this special day.

Read the full speech here: Michel Barnier, Europe after Brexit, 29 March 2019


Thank you, Gesine – and not just for today.

Thank you for the many debates and initiatives of the past few years.

Thank you for building bridges between our two institutions and creating genuine collaboration. 

Above all, thank you – to you and to all other SEARICA members as well – for putting the ocean so high on the political agenda of this Parliament.

Read the full speech here: Karmenu Vella, Maritime Achievements and Future Challenges, 9 April 2019 


What to do with numbers ?

I feel very privileged to be surrounded by so many excellent innovators and entrepreneurs. Like many of you I was originally trained as an engineer. I was trained to think in numbers. So today, I’d like to begin by sharing some numbers with you.

The first is: 9...

Find out what is behind this and the other numbers here: Carlos Moedas, Enhancing Women’s Access to Finance and Announcement of the finalists for the EU Prize for Women Innovators 2019, 4 April 2019


Whom to quote ?

To open

As we meet during this beautiful springtime weather it brings to mind the words of the Chinese proverb, “ The whole year must be planned for in the spring.”

To close

I began with a Chinese proverb. In the spirit of global connections, I will close with a western poet. The English poet John Donne, who wrote about the Silk Road, was right when he said, “No man (or woman!) is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Read the full speech here: Christine Lagarde, Belt and Road Forum Session on Financial Connectivity, 24 April, 2019