Emmanuel Macron wows the Bundestag with a speech in German

The French head of state spoke in German to pay tribute to former minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday.

Emmanuel Macron wows the Bundestag with a speech in German

The French head of state spoke in German to pay tribute to former minister Wolfgang Schäuble on Monday. A gesture that struck a chord with the audience.

Emmanuel Macron was invited to the Bundestag on Monday January 22 for a tribute to former Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. The man, who died in December at the age of 81, had expressed the wish that the French president, with whom he had frequent exchanges, would speak during the mourning ceremony in the German Parliament, an institution he chaired until 2021. For the occasion, Emmanuel Macron wanted to mark the occasion by making an effort that few heads of state had made before him: speaking in German.

The French president therefore took the floor for a 15-minute speech, largely in German. "Germany has lost a statesman. Europe has lost a pillar. France has lost a friend," he declared. His speech brought tears to the eyes of the deceased's widow, Ingeborg Schäuble, present in the audience. The last French head of state who spoke in this way in German was Charles de Gaulle, for his speech to youth in Ludwigsburg in 1962.

To prepare his performance, Emmanuel Macron was able to count on a German teacher attached to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Frank Groninger. He highlighted to Politico the president's very good predispositions for the German language, which he studied in his distant years of study. "We practiced for about an hour and a half yesterday, and then again this morning for about an hour before the flight to Berlin. We then reviewed some of the details of the speech on the plane," says the professor.

“The objective was to surprise people,” recognizes Franck Groninger. “And the idea was to do the emotional part in German so that it was even stronger and to really show this gesture, that the president is making the effort to deliver the speech in German.”

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