Dear speech-fans and friends,


We have never heard so much French spoken by so many in the speeches delivered this last month.

For the worst reason and for the best reason:

The worst reason: because of the horrible events in Paris, of course.

The best reason: because we all know that speaking the audience’s language go straight to their hearts.

Many thanks to all of you, in Europe and beyond, who shared a quote, helped with a translation, or expressed their friendship in French.


Que veulent les terroristes ?
Nous diviser, nous opposer, nous jeter les uns contre les autres.
Je vous l’assure, ils échoueront.
Ils ont le culte de la mort, mais nous, nous, nous avons l’amour, l’amour de la vie.

French President François Hollande, Hommage national aux victimes des attentats du 13 novembre, 27 November 2015


(English below)

«Jeden von uns hätte es treffen könne», genau dieses Gefühl, diese Angst wollen die Terroristen in unseren Herzen einpflanzen.

Die Attentate von Paris waren ein Anschlag auf die Freiheit.

Ein Anschlag auf unsere europäischen Werte und unsere Art zu leben.

Ein Anschlag auf uns alle.

Wir Europäer stehen in dieser Zeit der Trauer an der Seite des französischen Volkes.

Nous sommes unis.

European Parliament President Martin Schulz, Commemoration of the victims of the Paris attacks, 17 November 2015

 ‘Any of us could have been among the victims’ – that is the seed of fear the terrorists want to plant in our hearts.

The Paris attacks were an attack on freedom.

An attack on our European values and our way of life.

An attack on all of us.

At this time of mourning, we Europeans stand side by side with the people of France.

Nous sommes unis.


Some people – I even had a member of my own family email me and say, “More bombs aren’t the solution,” they said.

Well, in principle, no.

In principle, if you can educate and change people and provide jobs and make a difference if that’s what they want, sure.

But in this case, that’s not what’s happening. (….)

Stay steady. Stay strong. As the French would say, bon courage.

John Kerry, Remarks to the Staff and Families of U.S. Embassy, Paris, 17 November 2015


Toute réponse aux attaques doit être composée de deux importants ingrédients: la sécurité, cela va sans dire, c’est clair, mais aussi la culture, l’éducation (…)
Pour chaque euro additionnel dans la sécurité, nous devons investir un euro dans la culture.

Pour tout investissement dans la police, il doit y avoir plus d’efforts d’intégration dans nos banlieues.

Pour chaque caserne rénovée, nous établirons un musée plus accueillant.
Pour chaque investissement dans la sécurité, un euro donné au sport, aux enfants, à l’école.

Tout l’argent consacré à la sécurité va devenir un investissement seulement si nous nous souvenons de ce que nous défendons : notre identité.

Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi speaking in French, Hommage rendu aux victimes du 13 novembre, 26 November 2015

In Italian


Every year, you gather here in Berlin on this day to commemorate the fall of the Wall, not other historical events. This is because you have a good sense of how rich and powerful the metaphor of a torn-down wall is. And how universal and timeless it is. 

Before turning to Europe, let me say a few words about this metaphor.  

European Council President Address Donald Tusk at Die Europa-Rede, Berlin, 10 November 2015


I will come to my speech in a moment but I was thinking on the way here about one writer, a German writer, who was a fierce opponent of the Nazi regime and who has written this big book about the First World War, All Quiet on the Western Front, Remarque (…)

So, anyway, all this comes to mind when I am in Prague and perhaps I can use this first minute of my speech to encourage all of you who do not read to start reading, especially people like Roth, Remarque and Kafka, who have described a road that is far less removed from our world than we sometimes think.

First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, Prague European Summit Conference, 13 November 2015


(English below)

Non, on ne détruit pas Paris. Parvînt-on, ce qui est malaisé, à le démolir matériellement, on le grandirait moralement. En ruinant Paris, vous le sanctifieriez. La dispersion des pierres ferait la dispersion des idées. Jetez Paris aux quatre vents, vous n’arriverez qu’à faire de chaque grain de cette cendre la semence de l’avenir. Ce sépulcre criera Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ! Paris est ville, mais Paris est âme. 

Victor Hugo, Appel aux Allemands, Septembre 1870

No, Paris cannot be destroyed. If you physically demolished it, which in itself would be far from easy, you would only strengthen it spiritually. By ruining Paris, you would sanctify it. Each scattered stone would become an idea. Blow Paris to pieces, and each grain of dust would become a seed for the future. This tomb would shout out "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" Paris is a city, but Paris also has a soul.