President’s New Year greetings to French people [fr]
French President’s New Year greetings – Fight against terrorism/European Union/migration – New Year greetings to the French people by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic
Paris, 31 December 2017
My dear compatriots,
As the year draws to a close, I’m pleased to join you to present to wish you, for the first time, a Happy New Year 2018. I hope you’re with your families, your close friends, the people who love you.
I also know that, among you, some are working today because they belong to the armed forces or the security forces, because they are doctors or care staff, because they are responsible for transport or the continuity of public services. This evening I want to thank them for this commitment.
I also know that many of you this evening are alone, are suffering or ill, and I know that, at these times of celebration and reunion, this loneliness and suffering are even harder to bear. So I want to tell our fellow citizens in that situation that they belong to a great nation and that the thousand ties binding us together are stronger than their loneliness, and my fraternal thoughts go out to them. (…)
I’ll continue doing what you elected me to do: to make France stronger and fairer and enable our country not to adapt to the changing world but to be what it is: a strong country with global demands which, because it is stronger, produces more and can indeed ensure solidarity on national soil and make humanist demands internationally. (…)
In 2018 we’ll have to conduct – at international level first of all – several battles and resolute action: fighting Islamist terrorism in the Levant, in the Sahel and on our national soil, and in this regard my thoughts go out to our service personnel who are fighting at this very moment; I’m thinking of their comrades who have fallen this year. We shall win this battle against terrorism.
I also want to pay tribute to the police and gendarmes who, every day, fight this Islamist terrorism and protect you on a daily basis. But we must also win the peace internationally – in other words, [do] that essential work for our security but also, because it’s our global mission, that work to guarantee the stability of states and ensure respect for all minorities. That’s what we’ve done in Lebanon, it’s what we’re doing today in the Sahel and what we’ll continue to do in Syria, the Middle East and Africa; today we must reinvent a whole language of peace and hope in a number of continents. (…)
At European level, 2018 will also be decisive. As you know, I’m fully committed to this battle because I believe very deeply that Europe is good for France and that France cannot succeed without a Europe which is also stronger. My dear European fellow citizens, 2018 is a very special year, and this year I’ll need you. Indeed, I’d like you to be able, through these public consultations, to speak out, say what you want for Europe a few months before our European elections, and enable your leaders to sketch out a broad plan; we need to restore Europe’s ambition and return to a more sovereign, more united, more democratic Europe, because it’s good for our people.
I believe very profoundly that Europe can become the economic, social, environmental and scientific power that can face up to China and the United States by promoting those values that made us and represent our shared history. I need your determination for this injection of momentum into Europe, and I need us, together, to surrender nothing either to nationalists or to sceptics.
I shall personally continue working with every one of our European partners, particularly Germany. The specially close consultation with our German friends is a necessary precondition for any European progress; it doesn’t preclude dialogue with all our other partners, but it’s what everything begins with. I need us to go further on that front as well, break with past habits and rediscover the shared taste for a future which we decide for ourselves. (…)
We must also welcome women and men fleeing their country because they are threatened there on the grounds of their origin, religion or political convictions. It’s what is called the right of asylum. It’s a moral, political duty, and I won’t back down on this in any way. We shall respect it; we shall continue to welcome these women and men because France is their homeland; nevertheless, we can’t welcome everyone and we can’t do so without rules.
It is also essential for us to be able to check each person’s identity, and when people arrive on our territory who aren’t eligible for the right of asylum and have no prospect of getting French nationality, we can’t agree to them staying illegally for months, years; it isn’t good for either them or the country. So, here too, there have to be simple rules, rules which are respected, and thus strictness. I’ll endeavour to ensure that our country sticks to this policy of humanity and effectiveness. (…)
So, my dear compatriots, this evening I am speaking to you before the beginning of a new year. There will be difficulties, there will probably be things we haven’t foreseen, you may have moments of doubt or tragedy in your private lives, but never forget that we are the French nation.
And this evening I want to tell you that it’s with the winning spirit we have in common, the absolute determination, the sincere ambition for our country and for every one of you, the resolve to bring about our French renaissance that I send you my best wishes for 2018.
Long live the Republic and long live France!