Friday, March 24, 2006

Chirac offended at the English language

From AFP:
French President Jacques Chirac defended his eye-brow-raising exit from an EU summit session, accusing the French head of Europe's employer union of piquing French pride by daring to speak in English.

An ardent defender of the French tongue, Chirac said he had been "deeply shocked" to hear English on the lips of the Frenchman in a speech at the two-day European summit.

"I was deeply shocked that a Frenchman would speak at the council table in English," he told journalists, explaining for the first time his abrupt walkout when the summit opened on Thursday.

"That's the reason why the French delegation and myself left so as not to have to listen to that," he added.
Perhaps he would have rather heard German? Lord knows France has a history of getting an unwanted immersion in German! :-D

When Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, head of the UNICE employers federation, started his speech to the EU's 25 leaders, Chirac interrupted and asked why he was speaking in English, according to a French official.

"I'm going to speak in English because that is the language of business," replied Seilliere, former chief of the French employers' group MEDEF, which has been at odds with the government recently.
English is the language of business? Well, we must excuse Jacques for his confusion! With France being a quasi-socialist country, no damned wonder he didn't understand the words! Finally:
Rubbing salt into the wounds Seilliere inflicted on French pride, the Brussels correspondent for Britain's eurosceptic Sun newspaper, Michael Lea, approached Chirac at the end of Friday's news conference with a small English-language phrase book for tourists.

"This is a present from your friends at The Sun," Lea told the French leader, who first looked puzzled, then smiled as he slipped the little tome into his pocket.
What book was that, English for Dummies?