Intervention B. RETAILLEAU at the Congress of Versailles

Mr Presidents, Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen, parliamentarians.

I, in turn, would like to associate myself with the immeasurable pain of families. I would also like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those who have helped all the victims, including the police and medical personnel. So yes, Islamist terrorism, because it must be named, it must have the courage to name it, struck in the heart of France. He has taken a new step on the scale of barbarism.

We shot at the crowd. Men and women were shot simply because they were presumed French. And through each of these victims, it was all the French who were targeted of course, it was France, all France that was targeted. France, in what it is, France as we love it, France for what it represents, with our values, our republican values enshrined in our motto that brings us to the universal.

Yes, we love and are viscerally attached to freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom of conscience, to believe or not to believe.

Yes, we are viscerally committed to equality, to equality for all men, to equality between men and women.

Yes we are viscerally attached to fraternity, to this French fraternity that allows everyone to enter into the national destiny, whatever their birth, whatever their origin, whatever their religion. Because France is this continual effort, across generations, to make this improbable synthesis between what is most singular in every man and what is most universal in all men.

Yes, it is these values, our values, that have been attacked.

It was from a foreign country, in Syria, that everything was sponsored, as the President of the Republic told us, who on Friday night, during his speech, designated this act as an act of war. And he was right, proposing two decisions to the country. The first, the state of emergency, which will have to be extended, of course, which will probably have to be adapted as well. And then the re-establishment of border controls.

Prime Minister, on these decisions, immediately, spontaneously, we said yes. We supported them without any reservations, because there was this movement of unity, of national cohesion. The President of the Republic, yourself for that matter, you call us to this national unity, and that is important, and it is a no-brainer. It’s not a mess, the previous speaker said, but it’s also building, this unity, this national cohesion. It is built with respect for the opposition, in a dialogue with all the living forces of our country.

As you know, we have not been in any way supportive of the terrorism and intelligence legislation that you have proposed to us. But too few of our own proposals have been accepted. We are available at all times to renew these proposals. National cohesion, unity, is not just an exhortation. It must lead to strong measures, measures that are correlated, proportionate to this state of war that the President of the Republic was talking about a few moments ago. Because the French wouldn’t understand. National unity only makes sense when it is built in demand. And we’re expected. The French are waiting for results in terms of internal security, of course. The President of the Republic has made proposals, and we will be there, and we will be there, to support many of them. Some that we had proposed for a long time on the forfeiture of nationality, on the return to the borders, we will be there of course, of course.

But we will also be there for other proposals. Of course, it is necessary to ensure a follow-up, a special supervision for the most dangerous individuals, whether they are listed “S” or not, it is obvious. There needs to be deradicalisation centres, and that is also important. We must expel all those who preach hatred in places that are turned into weapons against France and against the French. Of course, there is so much to do, to do in the law, to do through more means, to do through the will of course.

And then there’s the outside front. We must have only one obsession, Prime Minister. The obsession is the Islamic State. The obsession is not Bashar al-Assad. Things will come in their time, of course. The enemy, ladies and gentlemen, is ISIS, the one I met in August 2014 after the fall of Qaraqosh. And I have collected these testimonies, from Yezzidis, from Christians, from crucifixions, from beheadings. Since then, I have always said that this is an irreducible enemy that must be eradicated. How do we eradicate it? By an international coalition, because the threat is global, because this arc of crisis is transversing the world, from Nigeria to Pakistan. Yes, we need a great global coalition, but of course we will also have to have this coalition, where France perhaps and I hope will take its share, go to the ground, because we will not have a definitive victory without this intervention – the day will come – on the ground, in Iraq too and in Syria. And then there’s the question of borders. Borders are peace. There is no political community without one in and without an outside. Clear the borders and you have the jungle. The question of borders is the European question, of course. If the President of the Republic, even before the attacks, had to order the re-establishment of border controls for COP 21, it is because Schengen has failed. We therefore propose that as long as Schengen is not re-founded, that as long as we are in a situation of war and emergency, we propose that border controls be maintained.

But for national unity to make sense, it must be embodied. Incarnated in a policy of authority. Incarnated in a policy of self-confidence. Far from the angelism that too often disarmed us.

So yes, Prime Minister, yes, ladies and gentlemen, France is at war. The French have seen it and the French have known it since Friday night, even if on that dark night, on that night of horror, in that night of blood and tears, even if their eyes may have been veiled for a time by emotion, their judgment was not impaired. On the contrary, the judgment of the French was sharpened. So yes France is a great country, an old nation. Every generation had to face challenges, had to fight for the Fatherland.

We are an old nation that has gone through so many trials, overcome so many tragedies, and our character has been forged in resistance. The French, Prime Minister, have resources. So yes, we’re at war, so go to war. And I can’t imagine that you didn’t think for a moment about this echo of another forum, the one in which George Clémenceau exhorted other Frenchmen: “I’m at war internally, on the outside I’m going to war. Yes, I’m still at war. »

Of course if you are fighting this war that they are waiting for, the French will be behind you, and so will we, Prime Minister. What the French expect is the will. France has an appointment with its history. Laws must no doubt be changed, but it is the will that will reduce barbarism, jihadist barbarism. What is important today and what matters is that France is brought together. It is that France stands against this barbarism, with all that we have gained, within ourselves, during these centuries of civilization.

What matters is that France is standing, that it is united, to fight the battle and to win peace.

Bruno RETAILLEAU