French Environment Forum
The French President organized what we called "le Grenelle de l’environnement," that is to say a large and open dialogue between government, NGOs, Unions, business and local communities. More than 300 people participated in working groups during four months, between July and October, and 300.000 people gave their views and ideas on the web site created for the occasion.
Through this process which will now move on towards its implementation phase, France intends to demonstrate its determination to protect the environment in a way that will be consistent with a more robust and sustainable economic growth. We, as industrialised countries, need to set the example if we want to make a difference and convince all our foreign partners that we are serious about protecting our planet and ensuring the well-being of future generations.
PRESENTATIONOF THE GRENELLE ENVIRONMENT FORUM CONCLUSION SPEECH BY M. NICOLAS SARKOZY,PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
First I wish to thank those who have worked to make this Grenelle Environment Forum a success. It will remain a milestone in our society’s growing awareness that it cannot continue to live wastefully and that it can no longer ignore the impact of our current lifestyles, production methods and consumption patterns on the future of the planet.
I welcome José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, whose presence here bears witness to Europe’s commitment to sustainable development. I know that, thanks to him, we can count on the Commission’s support for the revolution we are undertaking. And it is indeed a revolution that this Grenelle Environment Forum, which is completing the first stage of its work today, is calling for – a revolution in the way we think and the way we take decisions; a revolution in our behaviour, in our policies, in our objectives and in our criteria.
I wish to assure José Manuel Barroso of France’s full support, and, with his permission, my personal friendship.
I also salute the presence here of two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, former Vice-President Al Gore and Mrs Wangari Maathai. They epitomize this revolution. They called for it before anyone else did, they announced that it was necessary before everyone else, and they did not hesitate, especially you, Mr Gore, confronting scepticism in your own country, to challenge preconceived ideas and attack traditional attitudes.
You are among those who have taught us to take the long view and break free of short-term thinking.
You have reminded us of our responsibilities. You have forced us to ask ourselves what kind of world we will be leaving to our children.
And you have made us understand that we have exceeded the limits of what our planet can withstand.
France has no reason to be ashamed of what she has done so far.
Our per-capita greenhouse gas emissions are 21% below the European average and even 30 to 40% below those of our large neighbours. But this is not enough. France is the second-largest European producer of renewable energies. France has an abundance of natural resources.
France has not fallen behind. But France now wants to be in the lead. And this, José Manuel, is what has prompted the changes that we are proposing today in France. Our ambition is not to be as mediocre as others in our objectives. It is not to be average. Our ambition is to be in the vanguard and to set an example. At the United Nations, France called for a worldwide economic and ecological New Deal. France cannot hope that her appeal will be heard if she doesn’t apply the strongest measures to herself. How can you set an example if you cannot comply yourself with the rules that you are asking others to adopt?
This is the spirit in which I called for this Grenelle Environment Forum.
Grenelle stands for shared discussion and shared proposals. This Grenelle is a success. It is a success that we owe to environmental non-governmental organizations, which proved equal to taking on this unusual role.
I am convinced that if we had said to a number of them, "soon you will be working with such and such"... It was not a foregone conclusion!
This is a success that we owe to trade union organizations, which proved equal to addressing this issue – a new one, I realize, for a number of them. It is a success that we owe to the agricultural sector, which had the courage to re-examine its long-held positions. It is a success that we owe to companies, which also agreed to take part. It is a success that we owe to elected representatives, who understood what the population is demanding.
And of course, it is a success that we owe to Jean-Louis Borloo – to whom I pay tribute and whom I greet most particularly – to Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, to Dominique Bussereau and to all their teams. Jean-Louis, you met the challenge I set for you. I think we should give you a round of applause.
And now that everyone has made it a success, it is up to the Prime Minister and me to take decisions.
The Grenelle Environment Forum is an unprecedented event. You all stayed at the negotiating table until the end, or at any rate you are still there as I speak. Compromises were worked out on issues that were previously taboo. And, François Fillon, you and I now bear a heavy responsibility. It can be stated simply: we must not disappoint.
What I have to say to you is simple: as Head of State, I will adopt your proposals, I will support them and I will implement them.
I would like this policy to be first and foremost a policy that brings us all together.
We must first have the courage to take decisions differently, to change our methods, to give priority to negotiated decisions rather than decisions handed down by the administration. Let us recognize that the "five-way dialogue" – involving trade unions, business, NGOs, elected representatives and the administration – is an unprecedented success.
The Grenelle is not an end in itself but a beginning. And we will give "the five" the task of following up the decisions taken jointly. We will be setting up several working groups on "housing", "transport", etc.
But I propose that the "five-way" negotiated decision replace the decisions by the administration for all major projects – all those, for example, that are subject to public enquiry.
This is a completely new approach to government decision-making. This is a revolution in our method, the implications of which will be seen in a number of years, and I suggest that environmental non-governmental organizations be given a place in our institutions, especially in the Economic and Social Council.
We must have the courage to recognize that we can no longer define policies without taking on board the climate challenge and the fact that we are destroying the basis for our survival.
First principle: the climate cost, the "carbon cost" will be taken into account from now on in all major public projects, in all public decisions. The biodiversity cost will be taken into account in all public decisions. To be clear, a project with an excessive environmental cost will be rejected.
Second principle, we will reverse the burden of proof. Ecological solutions will no longer be required to prove their benefits. Instead, non-ecological projects will be required to prove that they could not be carried out differently. Proof will be required of so-called non-ecological decisions that they were the last resort. This is a complete revolution in this country’s method of governance and we will be applying this principle to transport policy immediately. The Grenelle proposes a break with the past and I adopt that proposal as my own. In the effort to catch up in transport systems, priority will no longer be given to road construction but to other modes.
We will also apply this principle to our waste management policy. Priority will now be given to avoiding waste, rather than merely treating it. We will adopt every proposal that enables us to prohibit or tax unnecessary waste such as excessive packaging. Priority will no longer be given to incineration but to recycling. Proof will be required of every new incinerator project that it is a last resort. There will be no more incinerators without permanent and transparent monitoring of pollution emitted. There will be no more incinerator projects that do not generate energy from waste incineration.
Having set out these principles, I know that you have not concluded your work on this point and that the work of the Grenelle must continue. The government looks forward to your conclusions.
We want a policy of truth. Wangari Maathai and former Vice-President Gore have had the courage to proclaim the truth that our growth model is doomed; worse still, that world peace is doomed, if we do nothing.
Our fellow citizens must not imagine that climate change means nothing more than snow melting on the ski slopes. Climate change signifies hundreds of millions of climate refugees. Climate change means an acceleration of major disasters – droughts, floods and hurricanes. In a sense, climate change points to Darfur, where millions of poor people have been driven by hunger and thirst to other regions where they come into conflict with populations that have lived there for centuries. Climate change means new epidemics. It means heightened conflicts over water and food.
We must therefore have the courage to say that the price of oil will remain high from now on. We must have the courage to say that oil will run out before the end of the century. We must have the courage to recognize that we do not know all the long-term effects of the 100,000 chemicals now being sold. We must have the courage to recognize that our behaviour has not always been exemplary.
The French have the right to know. They have the right to know the truth about present and future threats. They have the right to form their own opinions. This is one of the main things the Grenelle is calling for. We will therefore create a right to total transparency of environmental information and expertise. All the data, without exception, including nuclear and GMO data, can from now on be disclosed. The only limits will be protection of privacy – much needs to be done here –, national security and industrial secrets.
This policy of truth is a policy of responsibility. No one must be able to say, henceforth, that he or she did not know. We are all accountable for our actions. And this brings me back to the precautionary principle. To suggest that it should be abolished because it hampers action demonstrates, in my view, a major misapprehension. The precautionary principle is not a principle based on inaction. It is a principle based on action. It is a principle based on action and expertise aimed at reducing uncertainty. It is a principle based on vigilance and transparency. It must therefore be interpreted as a principle based on responsibility. Responsibility is one of the values on which I focused during the election campaign.
I also wish to reopen the debate on responsibility and shoulder my own responsibility. Those who pollute a river for years, who design and sell a chemical or create a new genetically modified product must be accountable for their actions, even many years later, if a disaster occurs. And together with Europe we are going to remove the legal barriers to prosecuting polluters, wherever they are. It is not acceptable for a parent company to escape accountability for environmental violations committed by its subsidiaries. It is not acceptable for the principle of limited liability to be used as an excuse for unlimited immunity. When a company controls a subsidiary, it must consider itself liable for ecological disasters caused by that subsidiary. One cannot be liable in the morning and immune from liability in the afternoon. At any rate that will not be the policy in France.
Let me get back to the GMO issue. The truth is that we have doubts about the current benefits of pest-resistant GMOs; the truth is that we have doubts about the monitoring of the dissemination of GMOs; the truth is that we have doubts about the health and environmental benefits of GMOs.
I do not wish, José Manuel, to be at odds with the European Union. But I have to make choices. And in compliance with the precautionary principle, I call for the commercial production of pest-resistant GMOs to be suspended pending the conclusions of an investigation to be carried out by a new body, to be created before the end of the year in close coordination with you – the Grenelle – and the European Commission. Here, too, I am shouldering my responsibilities. We will comply with our commitments.
And the proof of this commitment, José Manuel, is that I undertake to ensure that France adopts legislation transposing the relevant Directive in the spring of 2008. But I cannot be guilty of inconsistency, and there is a precautionary principle. There are pest-resistant GMOs, and I want to suspend their production in order to comply with the precautionary principle. Meanwhile, France is playing her role in Europe. France is in no way unaware of her obligations. We will transpose the Directive and we will discuss it together. The Grenelle has set out new principles governing GMO research and production. There is the transparency principle. There is the right to produce with or without GMOs. There is the obligation to prove the health and environmental benefits of GMOs. Jean-Louis will include these principles in the Bill transposing the directive. And at least there will be one rule, transparency. Each party will assume its responsibility.
The suspension of the commercial production of pest-resistant GMOs does not mean – let me be clear about this – that we should condemn all GMOs and in particular future GMOs. We must accelerate research. I do not accept the destruction of the research plots. What we are proposing is in reality a return to democracy: debate, transparency, decisions based exclusively on the public interest and not just on commercial interest, responsibility; and in return, everyone will come back to democratic procedures and the rule of law: debate and controversy, not abuses and violence. And I will never be persuaded that it is normal to violate private property. Let me say that I respect the view of those who disagree with me, but I will tell them quite frankly that the sincere commitment of the government also contains principles that are important to us.
In the same spirit, let me say a word about the nuclear issue to show that it is possible to have a policy of truth and overcome problems. The idea that we can meet the climate challenge, our primary challenge, in France without nuclear energy is an illusion. Today we have no choice, unless we give up growth. This is the reality that I consistently defended before the elections and afterwards.
But this in no way means that nuclear technology must be the only solution to the climate challenge. Certainly not. Our first priority – and this is one of the Grenelle’s conclusions – is to reduce our energy requirements. The goal is to improve our energy efficiency by 20% between now and 2020. And our second priority is to achieve the objective of generating over 95% of our electrical energy without impacting the climate, that is, without using carbon. This is as I see it the only objective that will enable us to face up to climate challenges.
We have nuclear energy. I do not wish to build further nuclear sites, but I know that we must not give up this energy. However, I will take on board the principles that you propose, particularly the principle of transparency.
Just as we have the national nuclear programme, which was launched in 1974 with the goal of reducing our energy dependence, I want us to undertake a national renewable energy programme with the same ambition. Why contrast renewables with nuclear, when everyone knows we need both? We want France to become the leader in renewables, over and above, José Manuel, the European objective of 20% of our energy consumption by 2020.
Nevertheless, I am against a form of hasty action that would ultimately damage the environment. Wind turbines, yes, but we should start by building them in brownfield areas away from our emblematic sites. Frankly when I fly over a number of European countries what I see does not recommend wind energy. We must also revisit our policy of supporting biofuels in future, without calling into question the commitments made. I want priority to be given the development of second-generation biofuels, which better address both the environmental challenge and the food challenge.
And we are going to give priority to areas where the concept of energy independence makes sense. Corsica, which should be energy independent, comes to mind. Energy independence is very important. And imagine what can be done for Corsica and for our overseas departments and territorial units. And I am announcing that in 2008 we will be initiating the Reunion 2030 programme. We can truly – the Minister of the Interior will agree – give these territories the opportunity to be research laboratories for renewable energies.
In the same spirit of efficiency, the government will work with Michel Barnier to initiate a major energy autonomy plan for farms.
There will therefore be a reduction of the share of nuclear power in our energy consumption, and there will be a reduction of the share of "carbon-based" energies that are harmful for the climate. We will continue our research on nuclear energy and we will launch a renewable energy development plan. Why choose between them when we need both?
I will say this: environmental policy is investment policy.
To say that ecological policy amounts to "a step back" is a sham. The greatest pollution is observed at least as much in the rich countries as in the poor countries. The greatest climate aggressors are both rich countries and poor countries. And let us be realistic. There is no point in attempting to convince the developing countries that they must remain forever poor because they are not allowed to grow. There is no point in trying to convince the French that they should live with shortages for the sake of the well-being of future generations.
The goal is to carry out massive investments to pave the way for tomorrow’s growth. We will therefore be adopting a major national sustainable development programme.
This is what Vice-President Gore is proposing. He is calling for a "Marshall Plan" for France and for the planet. It succeeded in 1947 and it must succeed today. Sir Nicholas Stern has assessed the investment needed at 1% of GDP. I remind you that the Marshall Plan, at the time, accounted for 2% of GDP. Who, today, disputes the fact that the Marshall Plan made the 30-year post-war boom possible?
The solution does not lie in increased public spending and taxation. We will succeed through investment. First we will invest in research, in technological progress, in changing behaviour, in innovation and inventiveness. We will earmark €1 billion over a four-year period for the energies and the engines of the future, for biodiversity and for environmental health. Where we spend €1 on nuclear research, we will also spend €1 on clean technologies and the prevention of environmental violations. We want to be exemplary in both areas.
We will invest massively in transport.
I say that the State was wrong to disengage from developing urban transport. The main issue today is indeed congestion in city centres. I will restore State participation in the construction of bus lanes, bicycle lanes and tramways. Over 1,500 kilometres will be built outside the Ile-de-France [Greater Paris] area.
The TGV high-speed rail system is a great step forward. We will be building an additional 2,000 kilometres of track. And I propose that we adopt the principle of allocating the lines thus freed up to freight transport. That will amount to 2 million fewer lorries travelling north-south through France in 2020.
We will be refurbishing the inland waterway and sea transport systems. France has outstanding assets. I propose an investment plan for inland waterway transport that will remove one million lorries from the roads by 2020. And I make the commitment to revitalize our ports to ensure that goods at long last come in through our ports and not only by road. We will be discussing this with a number of trade union organizations.
And we will have a policy of massive investment in buildings.
This is a priority and it is urgent. We want to reduce the amount of energy that buildings consume.
I propose that we adopt two rules. By 2012, all new buildings built in France should comply with the so-called "low-consumption" standards; and by 2020, all new buildings should be energy positive, i.e. they should produce more energy than they consume. Why 2020? Because we do not, at this time, have the necessary contractors and skilled labour, and because a substantial amount of training will be needed.
The major issue will be the 30 million old dwellings and buildings. We will double the number of old buildings renovated every year and raise the number of old dwellings renovated every year to 400,000. This programme will start with the 800,000 public housing units that are currently in poor condition.
Finally I set out a simple rule for all the household appliances, television sets, hi-fis and other equipment that are causing an exponential increase in household energy budgets. As soon as an alternative becomes available at a reasonable price, the appliances that consume the most energy will be prohibited. We will begin applying this rule to incandescent light bulbs and single-glazed windows in 2010.
Policy of massive investment in agriculture.
Sustainable agriculture is important – there are 800,000 people dying of hunger. And by 2050 there will be an additional three billion human beings. Don’t say we do not need agriculture! Agriculture is a major issue. But we do not want an agriculture that depletes our soils, an agriculture that makes increasing use of dangerous chemicals. José Manuel, I will be conveying this message at the beginning of the French presidency of the European Union, set for the second half of 2008, during the major policy debate on the underlying principles for the 2013 Common Agricultural Policy.
The Grenelle discussions have shown that it is now possible to make major strides towards the development of environmentally-friendly agriculture and fishing.
All public canteens will be offering at least one meal a week based on organic farming. This is a minimum. The Prime Minister and I will be setting much higher objectives in coming months and years.
And I make a commitment that catering specifications will require labelled products or products from certified farms. High-quality producers exist and it is up to the State, in its public specifications, to help them – not by making speeches but by taking decisions. When this cannot be done voluntarily, we will provide incentives to do this in the form of obligations.
And the State will take the lead. Starting in 2008, all the ministries and administrations will draw up their carbon balance and undertake a programme to improve their energy efficiency by 20%.
Starting in 2008, the public procurement code will be revised to make environmental clauses compulsory rather than optional.
Starting in 2008, all public building projects will meet the best energy performance standards.
And starting in 2009, all new administration vehicles will have to be clean-energy ones.
This major programme is not an expenditure but an investment. It is the most profitable investment we can make today.
In the building sector alone, we will create 100,000 jobs and new training programmes.
In the new energy sector, 50,000 jobs will be created.
Energy independence in France will be improved and we will succeed in reducing household energy bills by nearly 40% between now and 2020.
We want a policy of incentives.
The Grenelle has been an extraordinary eye opener. The French expect us to be ecologically very ambitious. Of course, there are misgivings. But the main challenge is no longer to persuade. The main challenge is to take decisions.
I propose to introduce a right to an alternative for everyone. Environmental decisions should not leave anyone in insurmountable difficulty or in an unsustainable position. If the ban on bringing cars into city centres prevents someone from going to work, then local authorities must offer that person an alternative transport solution. People must not be punished. They must be provided with incentives.
I am told that this policy is expensive and that new taxes would be required to finance it.
These are the objections of the same people who question the environmental policy and are convinced that we can do no more than we are doing now.
Pollution is very costly for society. Pollution is a debt we are passing on to our children.
I think that building renovation has a payback period of less than 10 years because it reduces the energy bill.
As for transport, I observe that no one worried, before, about the cost of roads. Can we not finance alternative transport by reducing the amount of money allocated to building roads?
We must also stop seeing ecology taxes as a way to finance additional State spending.
So I make a commitment: Grenelle taxes will finance Grenelle solutions.
I propose to tax lorries travelling through France and using our road network. José Manuel, there is no reason why France should welcome all the lorries that are avoiding the roads of our neighbours. This tax will be used to finance public transport.
Grenelle proposes an annual ecology tax on the highest-polluting new vehicles. I call for this tax to finance the withdrawal of old high-polluting vehicles by making a progressive and long-term vehicle scrapping bonus available to support the purchase of a clean-energy vehicle.
And the best way to bring about a change in behaviour is to use the price system. Today’s prices do not reflect the reality of pollution and shortages. You have made the proposal to label consumer staples to indicate their carbon content. This is a first step.
I want to do more. I want to focus on the carbon price. And José Manuel Barroso is the inventor of this system. It is not normal that a product shipped halfway around the world should cost less than a local product because the price of its production and transport does not include its greenhouse gas emissions.
I have asked the European Union about this. We were the first to subject our leading companies to a system of quotas to limit their emissions impacting the climate. It is not normal that their competitors importing the same products in Europe should not be subject to any obligations.
I do not want to shelve this issue just because it could be complicated. It must be dealt with at Community level. We must examine the possibility of taxing products imported from countries that do not comply with the Kyoto Protocol. We have imposed environmental standards on our producers. It is not normal that their competitors should be completely exempted. And I propose that within the next six months the European Union should debate the meaning of fair competition. Environmental dumping is not fair. It is a European issue that we must raise.
The Grenelle concluded that there is a need to consider a "climate-energy" tax, in other words a tax on fossil fuels.
I would set the following principles:
I am against any additional taxation of households and businesses. There can be no question of raising the tax rate. And the government is against any levy that would reduce household purchasing power. All new taxes must be strictly offset.
Ecological taxation makes sense only if it brings about a change in behaviour. It makes sense only if it fosters new production methods, new innovations. It does not make sense if it unfairly punishes our citizens and unnecessarily punishes our businesses.
When a clean product is available, it should be less expensive than a polluting product. I call, José Manuel, for the creation of a lower VAT rate on all ecological products that protect the climate and biodiversity. I will fight to obtain it.
I agree to go further in addressing this issue. Ecological taxation should not be just a series of small taxes. What we need is an in-depth overhaul. The goal is to obtain a higher tax on pollution – especially fossil fuels – and a lower tax on labour.
I make a commitment that the general tax system overhaul will be based on the creation of a "climate-energy" tax to compensate for a reduction in the tax on labour – on competitiveness, I say this to the Minister of Finance – and to maintain purchasing power – I say this to the trade union leaders.
Lastly, a new democracy is an irreproachable democracy.
We will ask Parliament to review, every year, the government’s implementation of a sustainable development policy.
Sustainable development cannot continue to be a policy that ignores biodiversity. Managing nature is not a rich-country luxury. It is a requirement. We are going to undertake a national programme to fight soil sealing. Urban development and planning documents will respect the principle of maintaining biodiversity, and will make compensatory measures possible. The natural sciences are regaining their place in education and in the highest scientific institutions. And we will create "green belts" in France, and why not in Europe as a whole, to enable species to develop, migrate and survive climate change.
A sustainable development policy can no longer be a policy that ignores the issue of environmental health. Asthma and allergies are growing exponentially. Childhood cancers are occurring in more and more families.
We will increase the funding devoted to environmental monitoring by a factor of five.
It is high time that we take seriously the growing use of pesticides, which first and foremost affects our farmers.
I ask Michel Barnier to submit to me, within one year, a plan aimed at reducing by 50% the use of pesticides known to be dangerous, if possible within the next ten years. You see that I have followed the thrust of your work up until the last few minutes. We must enlist all our institutions to serve this policy.
It will therefore be up to Parliament to adopt a multi-annual estimates Act setting out the principles and objectives of long-term French sustainable development policy.
It will be up to Parliament to monitor the commitments made.
It will be up to Parliament to decide to set up environment committees in the National Assembly and Senate. How can we claim that the environment and sustainable development are a priority if there is no committee in which they can be debated? And we will give greater leeway to local authorities to determine their own environmental policy. It will be up to them, for example, to freely decide whether or not to introduce congestion charging. And those that wish to do more may call for an experimental law. Do let us move beyond these absurd debates between those who favour congestion charging and those who oppose them. What good does it do to give local authorities autonomy if we don’t let them take responsibility for their own decisions to finance major facilities that will enable them to decongest their city centres?
It is a matter of choice, choice based on responsibility and confidence.
We want an irreproachable democracy vis-à-vis the experts. Experts are too often absent or challenged. We want to change the public decision-making process by introducing a true culture of evaluation. It is time to pool the 45 agencies and institutions concerned. I want an in-depth reform of the public decision-making process in order to restore confidence.
France does not wish to support this ecological New Deal alone. She wants to support it together with Europe, in the vanguard of the European environment policy, with the Commission and the European Parliament.
President Barroso, France will support all Commission initiatives aimed at tightening standards. The vehicle emission standards come to mind. The most demanding standard must apply to everyone.
The Commission’s energy and climate proposals will be strategic for the future of Europe. I call for the work to be accelerated and for us to succeed in defining our policy under the French presidency.
Europe still has a head start. Thanks to you, Europe created the "carbon market" to force the large corporations to limit their pollution. France has not been completely exemplary and she has not always set her sights high, in this area. Well, we are now going to be in the vanguard of this struggle.
President Barroso, I will support your most ambitious proposals. I will ask that quotas be set by sector and not by State in order to avoid a struggle for influence. I will ask that pollution rights be auctioned, up to 100% if the sector permits.
And then I will ask that we introduce a genuine policy of fighting environmental dumping and that we require producers beyond our borders to comply with our requirements. I am thinking of the carbon tax and of the obligation to monitor the impact of chemicals sold in Europe.
And then – enough is enough – we oblige our farmers to comply with rules that they accept. We cannot accept imports of products in Europe that comply with none of the rules we impose on our own producers. That is not fair. You have understood that the time has come to take action. We have waited too long. We can wait no longer. We have a moral responsibility, as individuals.
Like former Vice-President Gore, I do not believe that one can absolve oneself of one’s own failings because of the failings of others.
You know, President Barroso, Mr Gore, to get where we are today, for a man like myself to be giving a speech that proposes so many changes, for our political families to be able to agree to listen to this speech and perhaps even to support it, for a government of the French Republic – wouldn’t you agree, Prime Minister? – to be prepared to make public commitments, it takes conviction. How can we not meet these commitments?
Let us take on the complexity, difficulty, trials and decisions that I have just announced.
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For NGOs and trade union organizations that believe themselves light years removed from our opinion and our way of reasoning to be in this room, and for no one so far to have walked out, France must be changing.
But we want the change under way in France to serve Europe and to serve the world. France has understood her duty to act, and Europe must act and the world must act.
I would like you to understand one thing. Both our hearts and our minds have gone into taking these decisions. We have taken these decisions in the midst of difficulties of all sorts and I am aware that the members of the government, the Prime Minister and I will have to contend with inertia, ingrained habits, selfishness, blindness and ideology.
But I can tell you one thing: we will do what I have said this evening and we will do it together.
Thank you for understanding this./.