On Sunday evening Nicolas Sarkozy delivered a five-minute address to the French people in which he attempted to explain the reasons for the parliamentary vote that ratified the Treaty of Lisbon. Yahoo published excerpts:
"As a result of this success, and it is a success, France is back in Europe (...) She has regained her influence, her ability to have her point of view and her values prevail, her role as the driving force that was always hers in the past." (...)
"In order to convince all of our partners to accept this new simplified treaty that we were proposing, which was no longer a Constitution, it was necessary to commit ourselves to an approval by parliamentary vote. (...) If this condition had not been fulfilled no agreement would have been possible."
As France will preside over the EU in the second half of 2008, the president is hoping that this period becomes "an opportunity to advance" on the road towards a Europe that is a "great power."
"It is in this spirit that I will propose to our partners that we prioritize a strategy of durable development, a common immigration policy, a common European defense and a reworking of the agricultural policy," he stressed. (...)
"Now the name of the game is to bring politics back to Europe, to cease abandoning Europe to automatic sets of rules that leave no room for a decision or for political responsibility," he declared.
"You have to be able to talk about everything in any democracy: about currency which is no longer a taboo topic, about a trade policy, an industrial policy, about reciprocity in matters of competition or the drifts of financial capitalism," he added.