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Jacques Chirac: A man of memorable words

Jacques Chirac: A man of memorable words
Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By Euronews
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He marked French politics with his snappy comments. Former French President Jacques Chirac who died on Thursday at age 86 will be remembered for his famous punchlines.


Jacques Chirac, who died on Thursday at age 86, was a man of great words. Many of those words left their mark on French political life.

Here's a selection of some of his best quotes:

On the environment

"Our house is burning and we look away."

Chirac coined this phrase at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg on September 2, 2002, when speaking about the dangers of climate change.

Seventeen years later, Macron recycled the phrase in a dramatic call to members of the Group of Seven (G7) to discuss the raging wildfires ravaging the Amazon rainforest in Brazil during this year's summit in Biarritz.

On countries choosing to support Bush's Iraq War

"These countries have been, let's say it, not very well behaved and a little unaware of the dangers of a too rapid an alignment with the American position (...) These countries have lost a good opportunity to keep quiet" criticising the support eastern European countries gave the United States for the Iraq war."

- February 18 2005

On the recognition of France's responsibility for Nazi crimes

"Yes, the criminal madness of the occupier was supported by the French, by the French State (...) Fatherland of Enlightenment and Human Rights, land of welcome and asylum, France, on that day, accomplished the irreparable. Breaking her word, she handed over her protégés to their executioners"

- Speech on July 16, 1995

During an altercation between Chirac and Israeli security forces who tried impeding him getting near the Arab population during his visit to the old city in Jerusalem

"What do you want? Me to go back to my plane and go back to France? Is that what you want? Let them go, let them do."

- October 22, 1996


Speaking about former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"What more does this housewife want? My balls on a platter?"

Chirac, then prime minister, said these words not knowing he had left his mic on while criticising his counterpart.

- European summit in February 1988

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