The beginning of the month of May is also metaphorically the time of year when we start to reflect. 1 May is Labour Day, when we remember that in 1890 we fought for the eight-hour working day. On 2 May, we remember the victims of the Holocaust, and on 4 May, we remember the victims of war in the Netherlands. On 5 May, we celebrate the Liberation. On 9 May, we celebrate European unification, which, for me, remains the most successful response to the tendency toward self-destruction which we Europeans have often displayed. It is always difficult to keep these commemorations fresh. This today is one of the most inspiring initiatives – for which I thank you – which challenge us to reflect and discuss, not merely to engage in sterile commemoration. So much seems self-evident today. It is our responsibility to keep commemorations fresh in order to pass on the message and promise to our children and grandchildren too. -- Frans Timmermans, Annual reflection on the eve of 4 May, the National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands, 3 May 2019.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-06-02
We take [our European and national achievements] completely for granted. So much so, in fact, that it is clear that it is becoming ever harder to get people to resist when these achievements come under pressure. Because “well we have already paid for it, haven’t we? So why should we pay again?” -- Frans Timmermans, Annual reflection on the eve of 4 May, the National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands, 3 May 2019.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-06-02
Freedom, gender equality, peace, prosperity, democracy, the rule of law, solidarity, and human rights are values; they are not verbs. They do not flourish all by themselves. They require fostering, nurturing and protecting. -- Frans Timmermans, Annual reflection on the eve of 4 May, the National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands, 3 May 2019.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-06-02
Words have a charge, a meaning, an effect. The use of words by authority figures – whether they gained that authority by being admired or securing political support – these words, by definition, have impact. It is a form of exercise of power. And, in a democratic society, influence, power and responsibility go hand in hand. -- Frans Timmermans, Annual reflection on the eve of 4 May, the National Day of Remembrance in the Netherlands, 3 May 2019.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-06-02
We hear all the time about the 17,4 million who voted for Brexit. And then when I ask my British friends: “Have you ever heard of the figure 16,1?”, people do not even know what that refers to. Those were the people who voted to remain. If you want to move forward, you will have to bring together people who voted to leave with people who voted to remain to find a way forward that would benefit all of society. I think that is the European way. Whether that leads to Brexit or not is another matter, but that you try and bridge the different positions is the European way. -- Frans Timmermans, ‘The State of the Union’ conference (European University Institute), 2 May 2019.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-06-02
I was born in the year that the Berlin wall was built. Our son Marc was born in the year the Berlin wall came down. Our son Max was born in the year 2004, when Europe became one and whole again by the enlargement with the Central and Eastern European countries. I say this because for a global audience this perhaps seems to be just a bit of history, but for me it is my life. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
I was trained as a soldier to fight the very people I am now in one Union with. My children cannot even imagine that we would confront fellow Europeans in a hostile way ever again. This is what the European Union is about. It is not about a currency, not about a common market. These are instruments (…). This is, in my view, the most successful peace project this continent has ever seen. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
Yes, of course the European Union has many challenges, but who doesn't? -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
We are at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution, which will have an effect on every single human being on this planet. And like with any other industrial revolution everything is challenged. Like with any new technological revolution all institutions are challenged. And we either adapt, or become obsolete. And like with any other industrial revolution people are worried, afraid sometimes. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
We have to drive home the point that if we continue to live like this in the western world and developing like this in the global community, we will need three planets to meet the needs of humanity, and we certainly do not have more than one. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
And still I believe there is a story to tell, how the global community can face this challenge and come out winning. And still I believe there is a specific European story to tell, a story that starts with multilateralism. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
If there is one subject Europe has to pick up with great urgency in the global community, it is to feel the core responsibility for the success of our sister continent, Africa (…). I honestly believe that in Europe in 1945 Germany and France very soon after these horrible wars understood that crossing the Rhine was the only right thing to do for the destiny of their peoples, and that at the end of the 1980s we understood that crossing the Elbe was the only right thing to do for Europe as a whole. We should now understand that crossing the Mediterranean is a choice of this and next generations for the future of Europe. -- Frans Timmermans, Global Solutions Summit, 18 March 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-03-24
Nobody should be under any illusion: Brexit does harm. It does harm to the United Kingdom. It does harm to the European Union. And we are under an obligation as politicians to limit the harm to the absolute minimum possible. -- Frans Timmermans Debate on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, 16 January 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-01-27
Let me end with a quote by C.S. Lewis: "We cannot go back and change the beginning. But we can start where we are and change the ending". -- Frans Timmermans Debate on the UK's withdrawal from the EU, 16 January 2019
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2019-01-27
I want to say this with all the force I have in me today, because the coming night we will be thinking about the 80th anniversary of the Kristallnacht in Germany. And this is for me the ultimate symbol that if you just put enough effort into it, as Hitler and Goebbels did, in a couple of years' time, even in a sophisticated society, you can manipulate people's anxieties and fear and instrumentalize it to such a degree that you can dehumanise part of your population, especially if you can say that they are different. This is what happened in Germany between 1933 and 1938. -- Frans Timmermans, 25th anniversary of the OSCE High Commissioner on national minorities, 9 November 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-12-02
Nostalgia has become the new opium of the people. -- Frans Timmermans, Sustainable development goals and initiatives for sustainable global value chains, 30 October 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-12-02
I see two forms of politics now in the western world. One is based on seeing the fears and looking for answers to address those fears and to find solutions. And one is based on chaining people to their fears, making them hostages of their fears, and exploiting those fears, increasing those fears and thus trying to keep political control of a society. -- Frans Timmermans, Sustainable development goals and initiatives for sustainable global value chains, 30 October 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-12-02
The latest figures we have seen are quite alarming. Almost everyone is breathing in air that is not clean enough to be healthy. If we don't act on plastic pollution between now and 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. If we don't act on climate change then erratic weather and other sorts of natural disasters will be something we will see every year. The city of Houston has had three '500-year' events for three years in a row. -- Frans Timmermans, Sustainable development goals and initiatives for sustainable global value chains, 30 October 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-12-02
Hate is taught. People aren’t born hating. People aren’t born xenophobes. People aren’t born racist. People aren’t born homophobes. -- Frans Timmermans, Opening Roverway 2018, The Hague, 23 July 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-09-01
If every single one of you - future leaders of Europe - are able to inspire at least ten people around you, you will change Europe in your image. You will create a Europe where people understand each other better, where people like the fact that we are all different, where different cultures are a source of inspiration, and where this diversity is going to show the rest of the world that Europe is able to shape its own future. -- Frans Timmermans, Opening Roverway 2018, The Hague, 23 July 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-09-01
We're at an age of incredible disruption and everything's going to change within years, not decades. The way we produce, the way we live, the way we relate, the way we meet other people – everything's changing and this leads to a lot of uncertainty in our society and this is such an exciting time because this leads to so many people wanting to embrace the future – a more equal future, a better future. But also people who fear the future so much that they believe in an image of the past – a past that was better. And they embrace the image of the past with everything that that entails. And I think this is the big ideological confrontation of our day. -- Frans Timmermans, International Women's Day 2018, 8 March 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-03-22
I want to thank the (organisers) for giving me this opportunity to talk about democracy this morning. Actually, we shouldn't be talking about it, but we need to talk about it. It should be something like the air, or the water, but sadly it isn’t, so there are many reasons for us to discuss this. -- Frans Timmermans, Invigorating and Strengthening European Democracy, 5 March 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-03-22
Read the first line of the Schuman Declaration of 1950: "World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it." This then is the original raison d'être of European integration. -- Frans Timmermans, Annual event of Liberation Route Europe 2018, 3 February 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-02-24
We are here to turn good will and good intentions into good actions and good results. Because that is what our fellow Europeans – and not just Europeans, people worldwide - expect of us. (…) The sooner this legislation is adopted, the sooner you can start planning with certainty for the future. This is what I get back a lot from industry: "Give us the certainty, so we can plan for the future." -- Frans Timmermans, Circular economy stakeholder conference, 20 February 2018
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2018-02-24
When I heard that there was going to be a Frans Timmermans lecture - and I was going to be the first one to deliver it – I called my wife and I said: "I'm just checking, am I dead?"... "No! You're still alive." Okay then, second question: "Have I been retired and nobody told me?"... "No! You're still there." Then there must be something very special to have a lecture named after me, already now. -- Frans Timmermans, Inaugural Frans Timmermans Lecture, Radboud University Nijmegen, 24 November 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-11-25
"This is the difference between the Netherlands and Indonesia: you have everything to lose and we have everything to gain." -- Indonesian Minister (unnamed) quoted by: Frans Timmermans, Inaugural Frans Timmermans Lecture, Radboud University Nijmegen, 24 November 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-11-25
Over the last years managing all these crises, we've been excessively pragmatic in communicating about them. Trying to convince people with PowerPoint presentations and graphics, saying: "We're doing better than you think… Yes, you might feel like that, but here are the numbers." And we've lost many people because of that. -- Frans Timmermans, (Re)thinking Europe, 27 October 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-11-05
In Europe, after the Second World War, then after the end of dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and Greece, and again after the fall of the Berlin Wall, we have shaped our democratic societies on the basis of three principles: democracy, respect for the rule of law, and human rights. The three need each other. They cannot exclude each other. You cannot use one against the other. If you remove one pillar, then the others will fall too. Respect for the rule of law is not optional: it is fundamental. If the law does not give you what you want, you can oppose the law, you can work to change the law, but you cannot ignore the law. -- Frans Timmermans, debate on Constitution, rule of law and fundamental rights in Spain in the light of the events in Catalonia, 4 October 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-11-05
Even the most successful system is never self sustaining and never invulnerable. After centuries of democracy, centuries of autocracy can follow. If you are not vigilant, do not adapt to new circumstances, lose the urge to “learn it all” and fall into the trap of “knowing it all”, you might lose it all. -- Frans Timmermans, Unity in Diversity: what Hellenic Europe teaches us, 31 October 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-11-05
At the end of the day, the only ones who could determine the fate of the Polish nation are the Polish people. We cannot do that, none of us. But what we can do and what we must do, what we are obliged to do, is to say, when we are of the opinion that Treaties signed and ratified by Member States are being violated, we need to step in and say that this is the case. I think it would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the Commission if we were not to do that. It is my duty to do it, it is the Commission's duty to do it. And let me just say – for the sake of clarity because I have seen quite lot of that - this is not a personal issue. This is not me talking. When I speak, I speak on behalf of the Commission, and the Commission is united on this. And when I speak, I also speak on behalf of what I see is the thinking of many many Member States. And may I add today since I am here (before the European Parliament), that after having listened to you, I have the impression I also speak on behalf of a majority of the European Parliament when I talk about this. -- Frans Timmermans, on the Rule of Law in Poland, European Parliament, 31 August 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-09-23
Qui d'entre vous est papa ou maman ? Levez la main s'il vous plaît. […] Moi aussi. J'ai quatre enfants : deux fils, deux filles. Et je vous parle maintenant en tant que père à d'autres pères, à des mères. Qu'est-ce qu'il s'est passé avec nos enfants, pour que cette petite minorité d'entre eux trouve une justification à tuer leurs voisins, leurs copains d'école ? Que s'est-il passé ? ( …) Où est-ce qu'on a échoué, nous, parents ? Quelle est notre responsabilité ? Je ne vousmontre pas du doigt, je nous montre du doigt. C'est une petite minorité, qui parfois nous donne l'impression qu'elle est presque une majorité. -- Frans Timmermans, Speech at the Iftar reception hosted by the Conseil Européen des Ouléma Marocains, 15 June 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-06-25
The illiteracy of the modern world is not the incapacity to read or write. The illiteracy of the modern world is the incapacity to critical thinking. -- Frans Timmermans, Speech at Gazeta Wyborcza in Warsaw, 19 May 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-05-28
There is no protection in protectionism. But there is isolation in isolationism. -- Frans Timmermans, Remarks on the reflection paper on harnessing globalisation, 10 May 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-05-28
Those who propose to undo diversity are people who propose to unscramble scrambled eggs. You create an incredible mess in your kitchen if you try to do that, but the eggs will stay scrambled. They only become inedible and that is not a proposition I would follow. -- Frans Timmermans, Commemorative lecture Carlos de Amberes Foundation, 30 March 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-04-22
Europe is an act of political will. A deliberate decision. A conscious choice. And that we must continue to make this choice, every single day. Because this union, our values, our way of life, they are not self-executing. Self-evident but not self-executing. We chose to reject the battlefield and to settle our differences around the conference table. We chose to break down barriers, and open our economies, in the hope that all would benefit. We chose, especially in this country, to renounce the dictatorships that so blighted our common history, and to embrace democracy (…) To choose Europe is a moral choice, not an economic choice. -- Frans Timmermans, Commemorative lecture Carlos de Amberes Foundation, 30 March 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-04-22
When we were in the Convention, we drafted Article 50 because we wanted to take away all these feelings that the EU is a prison. It is not. You become a member because you want to and if you do not want to be a member anymore you can leave. That is why we drafted Article 50. But there was no one, no one in the convention, not even anyone in the British delegation, who thought we would actually ever use Article 50. Frankly, at the time, Brexit or the exit of any other member state was unimaginable, literally unimaginable. And the lesson to learn here in my view is: nothing is unimaginable in this Europe of ours. The disintegration of Europe? Not unimaginable. -- Frans Timmermans, Commemorative lecture Carlos de Amberes Foundation, 30 March 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-04-22
Sometimes a person can be lucky enough as I was to be allowed, by a giant, to stand on his shoulders. -- Frans Timmermans, Prague, 10 March 2017
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-03-26
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. -- Frans Timmermans, Future Force Conference, 9 February 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-02-26
Why am I telling you these stories? Because it is my biggest fear that we stop telling each other these stories, that we do not meet each other again. We live in a time of selfies, as Chief Rabbi Jacobs mentioned before. If we do not tell stories about the past, we are doomed to repeat past mistakes. He who does not know his past is doomed to repeat it. -- First Vice-President Timmermans, Inauguration of Rabbi Cohen, 22 January 2017.
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2017-01-29
Listening to the outside world is not a bad thing: we need to hear what people think about our proposals (…) Yes we must listen, but citizens need to know who we are listening to. We need to be open about when and how lobbying happens and have some rules in place for how it works. -- Opening remarks on the Commission proposal for a mandatory Transparency Register covering all EU Institutions, 28 September 2016
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-10-02
Please, please, I call on all of you now that I have the opportunity to speak to so many of you : don’t let your democratic mandate be ridiculed or diminished. Stand up for it. You are the representatives of more than 500 million people : be proud of it and stand up for it. -- Frans Timmermans, Closing statement on the preparation of the Commission Work Programme 2017, 6 July 2016
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-08-28
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
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
More Europeans than we can sometimes imagine were flowers that would never bloom because of the horrors of war and terror. To keep war at bay, to build lasting peace, to bring the peoples of Europe ever closer together: that is our common duty, that is our common destiny. First Vice President Timmermans, Commemoration Ceremony for the Battle of Waterloo 18 June 2015
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
Lorsque le Président Juncker s'est adressé à ce Parlement le 15 juillet de l'année dernière, il vous a dit que sa mission première est de reconstruire des ponts en Europe. En fait construire des ponts en Europe, et au-delà de l'Europe, est une tâche éminemment européenne. Et c'est pour cela qu'il ne peut être ici cet après-midi; il aimerait être parmi vous mais il essaie de bâtir des ponts avec la Grèce. First Vice-President Timmermans, European Parliament, 24 June 2015
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
What ails Europe, what ails our nations today is a poisonous cocktail of a lack of mutual trust and a lack of self-confidence. We are slow to react to challenges, we are slow to implement even the most obvious common answers, because we do not believe in ourselves, in our ability to adapt, to respond to challenges, to make tomorrow better than today. We are slow to find common answers not because there are no answers, but because we do not trust the word “common”… First Vice President Timmermans, "Une solidarité de fait", Netherlands Institute of International Relations, 18 September 2015
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
My world is a day-to-day world. It does not reward analysis and long-term thought. Your world [academia] is a world that does reward long-term thought and analysis but does not always reward day-to-day elements. Perhaps we should look for ways to create more cross-fertilisation between these two worlds. First Vice President Timmermans, European Union and the Rule of Law, Tilburg University, 31 August 2015
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
At the bottom of all forms of hatred, is the fact that you are targeted purely for who you are. No matter what you do, or what you say, you are targeted for who you are, something you can do nothing about. It's just who you are. Whether it's being scared of wearing your headscarf in public places, or covering your kippa with a baseball cap. Not being able to go about your daily business without a knot in your stomach, knowing the casual insults, the jokes, the abuse won't go away. The fear that your child's school, your local supermarket might be targeted by people who hate you for who you are. First Vice-President Timmermans, First Annual Colloquium on Fundamental Rights, 1 October 2015
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
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
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
I was listening to the Jussen brothers - another great Dutch contribution to European culture - and when I heard it I did not know it, but afterwards I came to know that the music was written by Georges Bizet in 1871. I started reminiscing about that year, which is the year that France suffered a humiliating defeat against Prussia, which set off a series of events which led to two suicidal wars in Europe. After that, reconciliation between France and Germany seemed completely impossible. So between the music of Georges Bizet and Tourist leMC look at what has happened to this continent. It is one of our challenges to remember where we come from, because I think very often we are prisoners of here and today with too little knowledge of where we came from and daunting challenges we faced. First Vice President Timmermans, The Future of Europe, 14 January 2016
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09
Hearing all this discussion about sovereignty, I maintain that Poland is now more sovereign, more master of its own destiny than in the thousand years before it became Member of the European Union. By pooling its sovereignty with other European nations, for the first time in its history Poland has borders that are no longer disputed by its neighbours. That is true sovereignty, Madame Prime Minister; that is a true achievement of all European nations – and Poland in the first place. First Vice-President Timmermans, European Parliament Plenary Session – Situation in Poland, 19 January 2016
Frans Timmermans
Posted by Isabelle le 2016-03-09