I am a believer, but I affirm that in public buildings the law of the Republic overrides religious rules.
It's a different outlook, and one that I understand. When you are a former member of the Warsaw Pact, when you have lived behind the Berlin Wall, when you have experienced the communist systems that existed in these countries, for them, the West represents hope.
We believe that the European Union is facing a truly historic choice.
When I see the cultural diversity that exists today, I feel that we must defend it, and we need Europe, because otherwise we are going to live in a society with a single model, the Anglo-American model.
What's very important is that we build a space that matters in the world, one that operates according to democratic rules, and that small and large countries enjoy a good relationship.
I think that we must come together progressively, with the British, the Germans, the Spanish, the Italians and with the new members of the European Union, we must make an effort to forge closer links.
The United States, for a French citizen, is a friend, an ally, to whom we owe, along with most Europeans, our freedom.
I believe that transatlantic relations are very important and that President Bush's visit to Brussels, in a few days, will have a major impact on that.
France has a very important relationship with Germany. But that does not mean that we agree about everything or that two of our universities or companies are not going to compete.
I tell fundamentalists that there is no question of them attacking our Republic's foundations.
There have been major disagreements within the European Union.
But the Republic has its rules and it must not tolerate any abuse of them.
A country like France now does two-thirds of its trade within the euro zone.
The Europe we are in the process of building is the Europe of the 21st century; it's not the Europe of the 20th century.
Europe started out with six countries; three small countries and three large countries.
Prohibiting a visible religious sign, which isn't a manifestation of militancy, would look like a fight against religions.
Obviously, there is diversity, but Europe is a union of diversity.
It's true that the question of Iraq divided Europe.
The Republic is open and tolerant but also knows how and when to be firm and make its values respected.
We must stress that the euro has been beneficial to the European Union because, otherwise, in this context of international turmoil, every country would have to devalue their currencies.
Let them be reassured, it has never been one of our intentions to ban religion in society, but solely to protect the national education system from any conspicuous display of religious affiliation.
We shall say clearly that any symbol conspicuously displaying religious affiliation in school is prohibited.
We would like UN resolutions to be enforced, including on Iraq.
I think that the proposed constitution is one of the European legal documents with the strongest social dimension I have seen since I began following European issues.
It's important to show that, while authorizing the demonstrations and promoting diversity of opinion, the Republic can't allow itself to be undermined from within.
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