So today, I take responsibility for making proposals, forging further ahead, being bold enough to talk about Europe and finding words of affection and ambition for it again. Not imposing, forcing or seeking to reinvent everything — many things have already been said — but taking the risk of proposing a coherent, ambitious vision, proposing a way forward, an objective, rather than discussing instruments, and taking the vital risk of proposing initiatives.

Two days after our main partner’s elections I want again to congratulate Federal Chancellor Merkel, whom I look forward to going on working with because we share the same European commitment, and I know her commitment to Europe. I also know how upset she is to see nationalist, hateful discourse winning so many votes. But I know that her response will be to adopt neither an inward-looking nor a timid approach. I know that, like each time her country has faced historic challenges, she will have the same reaction: boldness and a sense of history. And that’s what I suggest to her.

So first of all I am making the proposal to Germany for a new partnership. We will not agree on everything, or straightaway, but we will discuss everything. To those who say that is an impossible task, I reply: you may be used to giving up; I am not. To those who say it is too difficult, I say: think of Robert Schuman five years after a war, from which the blood was barely dry. On all the issues I have talked about, France and Germany can inject decisive, practical momentum. Why can we not start a “disruptive innovation agency” and launch a joint artificial intelligence programme, which would make Europe a driver of global growth? Why can we not set ourselves between now and 2024 the goal of completely integrating our markets by applying the same rules to our businesses, from business law to bankruptcy law?