"Let’s make 2016 a year of courage and hope" - President
New Year greetings from the President of the Republic - New Year’s Eve broadcast to the French by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic
Paris, 31 December 2015
My dear compatriots,
The New Year’s Eve broadcast to you this evening is unlike any previously, because we have just gone through a terrible year.
France/terrorist attacks/fight against terrorism
Beginning with the despicable attacks on Charlie Hebdo and Hypercacher, the year saw [further] bloodshed with the attacks committed in Montrouge, Villejuif, Saint-Quentin Fallavier and on the Thalys train, ending horrifically with the acts of war perpetrated in Saint-Denis and Paris.
My first thoughts go to the victims of fanaticism, to their families plunged into grief, and to those physically wounded.
This evening, on your behalf, I express our compassion and affection to them. These tragedies will remain etched on all our memories. They will never be erased.
Yet in spite of the tragedy, France did not give in. In spite of the tears, it has remained upright.
Faced with hatred, it showed the strength of its values: those of the Republic.
French men and women, I am proud of you. In these circumstances, you have shown determination, solidarity and sang-froid.
I pay tribute right now to the bravery of our soldiers, police and gendarmes, who take so many risks for our security. I express my gratitude to the health services, firefighters, civil protection teams and all volunteers who assisted our compatriots in distress. But I owe you the truth: we haven’t seen the end of terrorism. The threat is still there. It even remains at its highest level. We regularly foil attacks.
So my first duty is to protect you. Protecting you means acting at the root of the evil: in Syria, in Iraq. This is why we have stepped up our strikes against Daesh [so-called ISIL]. These are having an impact, the jihadists are retreating, so we shall go on for as long as necessary.
Protecting you means taking action here on our soil.
On the evening of the attacks, at Manuel Valls’s proposal, I declared a state of emergency. Then, before Parliament, at a joint session convened at Versailles, I fully consciously took a decision which was in proportion to what we had experienced. I decided first to increase manpower and resources in the areas of police, justice, intelligence and the armed forces. I then instigated a reform of criminal procedure in order to fight more effectively against organized crime, its financing and the trafficking which fuels it.
Finally, I announced a revision of the Constitution to provide an indisputable foundation for resorting to the state of emergency when we are faced with an imminent danger, and to take French nationality away from individuals convicted of terrorist crimes.
It is now up to Parliament to shoulder its responsibilities. Debate is legitimate. I respect it. It must happen. And when it concerns your protection, France mustn’t become divided. It must take the right decisions, going beyond ideological divides and in accordance with our essential principles. As I am their guarantor I shall ensure this is done.
So I shall never allow French people to be pitted against each other. That is what the extremists are trying to do: divide us. Nor will I tolerate – in our secular Republic – one of our citizens being attacked for practising his or her religion, or places of worship being desecrated, such as the prayer room in Corsica in the past few days. Those acts will never go unpunished, whether they are against a mosque, synagogue, temple or church. France’s honour is at stake in this.
My dear compatriots,
In 2016, we shall be fighting against terrorism. Yes definitely, intensely. But also against everything which is fracturing our society and fostering isolationist withdrawal as much as exclusion.
Employment measures/civic service
There’s a state of emergency in security terms, but also in economic and social terms.
Fighting unemployment is still my top priority.
This will be the purpose of the legislation prepared by the government to simplify the Labour Code, introduce a new vocational social security system and grasp the economic opportunities offered by the digital revolution.
At the same time, a huge jobseekers’ training programme will be launched: an extra 500,000 people will be given support for the jobs of tomorrow. But everyone knows that it’s in the SMEs that jobs are being created. So further employment incentives will be introduced from the beginning of the new year.
Finally, apprenticeships will be made widely available. I am setting the target that no apprentice will be without an employer and no employer will remain without an apprentice. Every young person must be in training or in work, whatever form it takes. This effort to help the coming generation is a sacred duty. It requires everyone to mobilize – the state, of course, and the regions which have just been created, and businesses. That is also the meaning of national unity.
France needs to get moving. It needs action. It also needs commitment. Civic service encourages intermixing, integration and inclusion. It has demonstrated its usefulness for young people and for our society.
So I am asking the government to start extending it in stages country-wide. There will be many tasks: from supporting the most vulnerable people to protecting the planet.
COP21’s success was global event. And a source of pride for France – which sealed an agreement in Paris between 195 countries to reduce global warming. That is a huge achievement.
France is now responsible for the implementation of what was decided for the planet, and also for taking a lead and setting an example.
Hence we shall be launching a programme of major works to renovate our buildings, develop renewable energies and promote green growth. We shall ensure that climate change generates jobs and enhances quality of life.
French men, French women,
The events we experienced have confirmed that we are filled with a feeling we all share. That feeling is a love of our nation.
The nation is the invisible thread which links everyone, French people from near and far, citizens from all backgrounds, faiths and origins.
And at the heart of my commitment: the nation, which is developing in the context of openness to the world, respect for others, equality, confidence in the future – France’s future – and never in one of isolationist withdrawal, erecting barriers, discrimination or nostalgia.
We built Europe in the nation’s name.
Europe has achieved great things. But it has revealed shortcomings which are putting it in danger today.
In response to the influx of refugees caused by conflicts, Europe must be able to secure its borders and take in those who ask for asylum, whilst deporting, with dignity, those who are ineligible for it. This is a major challenge – otherwise we will see the return of walls we believed brought down by history.
As it draws to a close, 2015 hasn’t provided us with causes of the tragedies we endured. It means we have to face up to them and deal with them resolutely. But what happened changed us – even transformed us. And we have to use this vitality, this energy which has sprung from us – this burst of momentum which was praised throughout the world – to complete the reforms, be economically stronger, socially fairer and set a better example democratically. It is how France will emerge greater, with this beautiful idea of making us succeed all together.
My dear compatriots of Metropolitan France, Overseas France and abroad,
2015 was a year of suffering and resistance, so let’s make 2016 a year of courage and hope. It is in this spirit that, from the bottom of my heart, I wish you, your loved ones, your families, a very Happy New Year, because you are France, the whole of France.
Long live the Republic and long live France!./.