Address by the President of the French Republic to the UK Parliament – 26 March 2008
Address by the President of the French Republic, Nicolas Sarkozy, to the UK
Parliament - Royal Gallery, 26 March 2008
Madame Speaker of the House of Lords,
Mr Speaker of the House of Commons,
Ladies and gentlemen, Members of Parliament,
For the President of the French Republic, it is an exceptional honour to address
members of both Houses of the British Parliament.
It is indeed here, within these walls, that modern political life was born. Without this
Parliament, would parliamentary democracy have ever existed in the world? Hasn't
this parliamentary practice, begun in this place, become the best guarantee against
The history of this institution today influences most contemporary political regimes.
This Parliament has become what it is through the fight for the protection of essential
individual freedoms and the principle of the consent to taxation. These two
fundamental conquests, which this Parliament was the first in the world to achieve, are
still today the cornerstones of all our democracies. It is here that parliamentarians have
gradually developed what is a party, an electoral programme and finally a majority.
It is through these institutions that the United Kingdom's greatness has emerged. And
I am so honoured to address you precisely because the political heart of the United
Kingdom is beating under this roof.
I profoundly believe in the strength of politics. I profoundly believe in the ability of
politics to improve the fate of the peoples. This is the whole purpose of politics.
Institutions, however much you upgrade them, exist only to serve the people. The
strength of the British people has always been that of a free people who take their
own decisions and are ready for the greatest sacrifices to defend their freedom.
How many invincible armadas has your nation defeated? How many battles has it
won which everyone thought lost? Your nation has succeeded in