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Expo Milano 2015

Published on March 26, 2015
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Paris, March 18, 2015


It’s 40 days until the gates of Expo Milano open, and we’re together to present the French pavilion – i.e. a 2,000-square-metre building/territory – and to say what potential it’s going to offer in terms of initiatives and also in terms of promoting our products and our country.

A world expo is an opportunity for the world to showcase the potential impact of human progress in a number of sectors and to see the future prospects which technology and production can offer for the planet. Moreover, this was written into the universal expositions’ internal rules.

Every five years, a major city welcomes the world. This time it’s Milan, but beyond that city a whole country, a whole continent has the opportunity to illuminate the entire planet with what human intelligence and creativity are capable of producing.
A world expo always leaves a legacy – sometimes a city’s very identity. The Eiffel Tower, the Palais de Chaillot and the Trocadéro Gardens bear witness to universal expositions. That’s why I want to reflect that history and that tradition, with the same desire to promote France. So, in the name of the state, I support Paris’s bid for Expo 2025, in 10 years’ time.

Ten years may seem a long time; in fact, it goes by very quickly. Ten years allows a generation to be spurred into action, businesses to join forces, and researchers to get to work, too, to see what the world expo’s central theme can be.

Why France? Because France hasn’t hosted a world expo since 1900, which is, after all, a long time – over a century – and because it has to grasp the opportunity of 2025 to show that the expositions are daughters of the Industrial Revolution and also the French Revolution, thus forming part of the Enlightenment tradition – enlightenment in thought and also enlightenment in what innovation can produce.

So the World Expo is a symbol of modernity and, at the same time, a symbol of fraternity. Modernity, because it’s where we present what technology can do better. Fraternity, too, because there’s no world expo if we don’t want to change the world and alter the course of the planet.

The World Expo, of course, will be in Paris if the bid is accepted, but it will be a bid of the whole of France, of all France’s towns and cities. We’ll also have to show that it’s our role to present this bid as much for science as for gastronomy, innovation and the economy. So I’d like the application to be enriched by a number of contributions – from businesses, research bodies and local authorities, and I salute the members of Parliament who are involved with the application, particularly M. Fromentin, M. Carvounas and M. Le Roux, and I assure them of the state’s wholehearted support in seeing this adventure through. (…)./.

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