Imagine the concern the founders of Europe had to hide when they extended their hand to their former enemies on a continent that was still filled with victims. Imagine the crazy ambition that some people described they had when they were getting ready to tell us that we were going to have a single currency. That was just thirty years ago!

Are we no longer allowed to have ambition? I think we are. So the challenge I am putting forth to you tonight, a few weeks before all of the European countries, what France thinks, wants and prefers, to submit to the debate: are you afraid of the European ambition that will help you rediscover the meaning of sovereignty, democracy and culture?

Look at the time that we are sharing, it is the moment of which Hegel spoke, the moment when the owl of Minerva takes flight. This is such a wonderful time because there is something comfortable and reassuring about it. The owl of Minerva provides wisdom but it continues to look back, it is also what Hegel said with humility when speaking of philosophy, it looks back because it is always so easy and so nice to look at what we have, a determined space of what we know!

Do not be like the owl of Minerva, have this crazy ambition again to desire a stronger, more democratic Europe, revitalized by its culture and what unites us! I am asking you and especially you, the young people of Europe, to have this extreme and perhaps a bit crazy ambition!

What we are hoping for is in our hands; let us desire this together for ourselves and our children! I promise you that we will succeed! To do so, apply the words of the poet, George Seferis, and I quote: “And when you look for the miracle you’ve got to scatter your blood to the eight points of the wind because the miracle is nowhere but circulating in the veins of man.”

So let us together give this miracle a chance for our Europe!

Thank you.