A hearty round of applause to Ashley Fox – the British Tory MEP who addressed the European Parliament entirely in French - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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A hearty round of applause to Ashley Fox – the British Tory MEP who addressed the European Parliament entirely in French

Thursday, 25 October 2012
Today in Strasbourg, South West Conservative MEP Ashley Fox delivered a speech in the chamber of the European Parliament. While that fact in itself may be unexceptional, the fact he decided to deliver it entirely in French is.

In the presence of the French-speaking Belgian Commissioner and presenting his group’s view on a report by a French MEP rapporteur, Mr Fox read his lines in a glorious Franglais and afterwards was lauded and applauded by the Vice-President of the European Parliament chairing the debate on the “European Semester for economic policy coordination: implementation of 2012 priorities”. (See video below)



Without commenting on the content of the speech, as a linguist fluent in French it is extremely refreshing to see a British MEP speaking in a tongue other than English; all the more so as the number of students and university graduates of modern languages continues to fall in the UK to levels far beyond saddening.

I had noted with interest the previous day, during a conference on the Single Seat campaign, that Mr Fox had listened to the contribution of French journalist Jean Quatremer, without the use of interpretation (video, from 11.40).



Indeed, his biography on his official website says he worked for a year as an English assistant in France after his studies, but at a time when it is seemingly grossly unpopular to be remotely pro-European in the Conservative party I would like to take this opportunity to applaud Mr Fox for his act.

I hope he will display a video of this contribution proudly on his website. Félicitations.

(Question: is this the first time a British MEP has delivered a speech to the house entirely in another language? Please let me know if you recall such a occasion previously!)

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