Address by the President Antonio Tajani at the funeral of Nicole Fontaine

Antonio Tajani European Parliament

(European Parliament, 2017)

This article is brought to you in association with the European Parliament.

Address by the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, at the funeral of Nicole Fontaine – Neuilly sur Seine, 24 May 2018

‘In varietate concordia. United in diversity.’

This motto, our motto, which seems so self-evident, as if it had always been set in the stone of European history, was adopted 18 years ago almost to the day, during Nicole Fontaine’s Presidency of the European Parliament.

I have picked out this episode in our history deliberately, because, in addition to its symbolic significance, it represents a commitment.

A commitment given by a woman of conviction, a tireless worker for Europe, an eminent member of our assembly, whose destiny she presided over 20 years after another woman, Simone Veil, became its first elected President.

I should like to express our admiration and our deep gratitude for the vital role which Nicole Fontaine played in the life of our institution.

After being elected an MEP 1994, I had the honour of working alongside Nicole Fontaine, and the opportunity to admire her integrity and her immense capacity for work.

From the moment she was elected President in Strasbourg on 20 July 1999, Nicole Fontaine set about reforming our institution’s working methods, with a view to bringing the European Parliament closer to European citizens.

When opening the new parliamentary term in July 1999, Nicole Fontaine said the following: ‘If Europe is to be viewed as anything but a constraint, it must give birth to an enterprise which involves much more than setting up an economic and monetary area, even if the necessary social and environmental dimensions are added. 

There is an urgent need today to give new meaning to the Union.

These words are striking in their perceptiveness.

The best tribute we can pay to Nicole Fontaine is to honour her commitment by making it our own, because her work was indissociable from the general interest of all Europeans.

Her work made our institution, which draws its legitimacy from the universal suffrage of Europeans, more democratic. Her work made it possible for the European Parliament to exercise to the full all the responsibilities conferred on it.

I should also like to pay tribute to Nicole Fontaine’s work as an educator, as exemplified by the many books she published and by her regular, close involvement with ordinary people in their daily lives.

In her two and a half years as President, she was everywhere – attending more than a hundred conferences and giving speeches.

That high profile, that ability to listen and persuade, was of pivotal importance in many ways – especially so when history was made and the euro was adopted, at a time when it was making people in Europe very anxious.

In my mind’s eye I see her on 31 December 1999, in Nice, going to a cash machine to take out the first euros that she would spend in a local shop.

That local touch – that was all-important to Nicole Fontaine.

Today, when our Union is being lambasted by forces hostile to its underlying values, that local touch is all the more imperative.

It was Nicole Fontaine’s firmly held belief that the European Parliament had to advocate our values around the globe, and especially in those parts of the world where democracy is held in contempt or is struggling to assert itself.

I recall three events that are particularly telling in illustrating how bold, how brave and how far-sighted Nicole Fontaine was.

At a time when Taliban madness was wreaking havoc in Afghanistan, and despite western governments’ misgivings, she invited Commander Massoud to the European Parliament.

A year earlier, she received the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Speaker of the Knesset, at the same time, in Parliament’s Chamber.

At the Nice summit, on 7 December 2000, she convinced Tony Blair of the need to sign the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Nicole Fontaine was right.

Ours is the only part of the world where the death penalty is no longer in use. The world looks to us when journalists are imprisoned, when women suffer violence and are denied their rights, and when opposition politicians are threatened or detained.

We must remain a beacon of commitment to fundamental rights.

We have a responsibility to show even greater strength and courage in exercising our role as champions of the universal values that are our chief raison d’être as a Union.

We must reignite people’s passion for Europe by making them once again feel that they are part of an historic project.

That is the greatest legacy that we can bequeath to future generations.

Dear Nicole,

I should simply like to say thank you – thank you for all that you have done, for us and for those who will come after us. We shall not forget you.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

G7 summit: Trump Vs. G6 leaders on trade and climate change

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

Is the ECB ready to flood Eurozone with freshly printed money?

EU Commission: a rise in wages and salaries may help create more jobs

Big impact vs big exit: the social side of the start-up game presented at the WSA Global Congress in Vienna

EU Parliament: ECB accountable for not supporting real economy

Will the three major parties retain control of the new EU Parliament?

Has the treacherous theory about the ‘French patient’ finally prevailed?

Historical success for the First ever European Presidential Debate

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

The world has made spectacular progress in every measure of well-being. So why does almost no one know about it?

Chinese “BeiDou” GPS goes to market

The next EU President will first have to drink his tea at Downing Street

How biotechnology is evolving in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

From inconvenience to opportunity: the importance of international medical exchanges

Afghanistan: UN envoy urges further extension of ceasefire with Taliban, as Eid ul-Fitr gets underway

German political spillovers: ECB’s Draghi resists first attacks by AfD

A Valentine’s Special: heart has nothing to do with it, it’s all Brain

ECB settles the bank resolution issue, makes banking union tangible

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

European banking stress tests 2014: A more adverse approach for a shorter banking sector

Is history a new NATO weapons against Russia?

The IMF overstates the risks for Eurozone and downgrades the threats for the US economy

Here are 4 of the most politically charged World Cup games ever played

Military escalation will have ‘serious consequences’ for Yemeni civilians, warns UN Special Envoy

EU-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement sees the light as Moscow’s reaction once more looms

Glaringly false reassurances about the repercussions of the EU-US free trade agreement

A Sting Exclusive: “Regional Policy: a fully-fledged investment policy”, Commissioner Cretu reveals live from European Business Summit 2015

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

Hollande protects the euro from the attacks of extremists

Is Britain to sail alone in the high seas of trade wars?

A new world that demands new doctors in the fourth industrial revolution

“China will strive to enhance the performance of economic growth”, President Xi highlights from the World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos

Greece lost a month that cannot be found neither in “mini Summits” nor in Berlin

Ethiopia will soon introduce visa-free travel for all Africans

The miserables and the untouchables of the economic crisis

How will Brexit affect higher education in the EU?

Paris agreed with Berlin over a loose and ineffective banking union

Banks, insurance giants are free again to abuse the real economy

World Health Organisation and medical students: is there any room for improvement?

China’s New Normal and Its Relevance to the EU

Education and Training: where do we stand in 2014?

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

Let’s Learn

Migration Crisis: how to open the borders and make way for the uprooted

Migration has set EU’s political clock ticking; the stagnating economy cannot help it and Turkey doesn’t cooperate

This crisis cannot be confronted with statistics

The DNA of the future retail CEO

“Fortress Europe”, “Pegida” and its laughing stocks

Warmongers ready to chew what is left of social protection spending

US-North Korea summit in Singapore ‘a promising development’ says Guterres

UN warns of ‘deteriorating climate’ for human rights defenders in Guatemala

The European Sting @ Mobile World Congress 2014, Creating What’s Next for the World. Can EU Policy follow?

EDRi @ European Business Summit 2014: Digital Citizenship in Brussels – the case of Net Neutrality

Are you breathing plastic air at home? Here’s how microplastics are polluting our lungs

Trump questions US – Europe kinship, approaches Russia

Here’s how China is going green

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s