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

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

One more country to test the EU project: Kaczynski’s Poland

The megatrend that will shape our working future

New rules for audiovisual media services approved by Parliament

How to stop data leaks

Two EU Commissioners fire at will against the US

Nicaragua: MEPs condemn brutal repression and demand elections

We finally have a life-saving vaccine for Ebola

Tech companies could achieve much more by serving the common good. Here’s 3 steps they should take

From Kenya to China, here’s why countries should start working together on AI

How to rebuild trust and integrity in South Africa

Refugees now make up 1% of the world’s population

The financial crisis always prefers the south of Eurozone

EU budget: Boosting cooperation between tax and customs authorities for a safer and more prosperous EU

How secure is blockchain?

Central African Republic militia leader and football executive, transferred to ICC

Moscow’s Eurasian Union lost significance after the crisis in Ukraine

Is euro to repeat its past highs with the dollar?

Earthquake: Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena

Pumping more money into banks but leaving them unregulated doesn’t help

Here are 6 big ideas to help the environment

Yemen war: UN-backed talks to silence the guns due to begin in Stockholm

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

Recreational cannabis poses ‘significant’ health challenges to youth: drugs control body

Maros Sefcovic Canete European Commission Energy

Better late than never? Commission runs now to fight energy dependency on Russia with the sustainable energy security package

Iran nuclear talks’ deadline extended: the match is still open for many

A Young entrepreneur cries out: “start in Europe, stay in Europe”

A lack of affordable homes is forcing young Britons to live with their parents

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

The three US financial war fleets

Apple’s tax avoidance scheme remains as creative as their new iPhone

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

How tomorrow’s buildings will make you – and the planet – healthier

What could a no-deal Brexit mean for developing countries?

Trump denies climate change existence while Paris Agreement is not fully supported by G20 ahead of COP24

This Chinese tech giant’s latest gadget is… a bus

Innovative urban financing can make our cities stronger

What just happened? 5 themes from the COP24 climate talks in Poland

Education critical to ensure future of forests, and reverse their destruction

Consumer product quality: Parliament takes aim at dual standards

Estonia is making public transport free

COP21 Breaking News_10 December: the final sprint of the Final Agreement Negotiations

These countries have the highest minimum wages

Do you dare to go to China?

Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2019, in association with The European Sting

Is there a de facto impossibility for the Brexit to kick-start?

Tackling water scarcity: 4 ways to pull H20 out of thin air

Terrorism and migrants: the two awful nightmares for Europe and Germany in 2016

Climate change is a disruptor. Here’s how to harness it for innovation

A record one million Syrians displaced over six months, during six key battles: UN investigators

Guterres underlines climate action urgency, as UN weather agency confirms record global warming

3 reasons all countries should embrace the Global Compact for Migration

Mobile World Congress 2015 first to debate EU’s new stance on Net Neutrality and Roaming Charges

Not enough resettlement solutions for refugees worldwide, says UN

Silk Road Unlimited

The EU patent space and Unified Court are born

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

ECOFIN: Choosing between the re-unification of Eurozone and a stalemate

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

What we need is more (and better) multilateralism, not less

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 )

Connecting to %s