Utnämnandet av Cecilia Brinck till Riddare av Franska Hederslegionen (23 maj 2016) [fr]
"Mesdames et messieurs les députés,
Nous sommes réunis ce soir, autour de vos proches, en présence de plusieurs parlementaires, membres du groupe d’amitié Suède – France au Riksdag, dont vous étiez encore récemment la présidente, pour vous remettre les insignes de Chevalier dans l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur.
Permettez-moi un bref rappel historique pour dire que la Légion d’Honneur a été créée par une loi signée de Napoléon Bonaparte alors Premier consul, le 29 floréal An X (19 mai 1802) et qu’elle vise à récompenser les mérites éminents acquis au service de la nation soit à titre civil, soit sous les armes. Initialement destinée à récompenser des Français, elle peut aussi être décernée à des étrangers s’ils ont rendu des services précieux, culturels ou économiques notamment, à la France ou contribué à promouvoir des causes qu’elle défend telles que les droits de l’Homme, la liberté de la presse ou l’action humanitaire.
First of all, I would like to go back to where it all started, which is your childhood in Lund. You were born into a French speaking and very Francophile family. Your mother, who is here with us tonight, is a French teacher; she speaks our language with a remarkable ease, mastering all of its nuances with perfection, and since you were her student for a couple of years, you naturally did very well at school. Your father was a mathematics teacher, who also had a strong connection to France, in particular with the region of Toulouse where he initiated cooperation with schools.
Most summers you went to France together with your brother and your parents. You travelled as a family by car, driving towards Paris, of course, but you also visited many other parts of France, discovering the cultural richness and diversity of the country. It was during these holidays that you learnt your first words of French. Even though you might not have been able to master the language perfectly at this time, you understood that trying to pronounce some sentences with a smile was the best way to gain the heart of the French people as well as sweets and chocolate.
Since your childhood, you have been interested in politics. You joined the Swedish Young Conservatives, and later became the president of the association for conservative students in Lund. Between 1990 and 1992, you even were the president of the national association for conservative students. Once finished with your studies in journalism, you started your professional life in the media, first at a local level and thereafter at a national level. You also worked for the liberal think tank “Timbro”, which opened many doors for you. Between 2006 and 2010, you worked with questions regarding culture and education for Stockholm’s municipality, and in 2010 you entered Riksdagen.
This was the moment when you started to combine your passion for politics with your interest for France. In addition to your responsibilities as a MP, notably on civil and constitutional affairs, you became an active member of the French-Swedish friendship group at Riksdagen, and thereafter a dynamic and important president, developing the relationship between the Swedish and the French parliaments.
Thanks to you, Cecilia, there was a visit by the friendship group from the French Senate in Sweden in the beginning of 2012. This was followed by a visit by your group in France during the spring of 2014 where you got the opportunity to exchange on important subjects for both countries, such as migration, climate change, education and Europe. You were welcomed in Normandy by Isabelle Attard, who is president of the French-Swedish friendship group in the French National Assembly and who has a large interest in Sweden, having lived and worked in Gothenburg and in Kiruna for many years. It is a privilege and a great opportunity for an Embassy to have Swedish and French MP’s with personal attachments to both counties.
In the context of the intervention by France and the international community in Mali in 2013, you also played an important role in our discussions and exchanges with the Swedish parliament. Sweden is an trustful ally in the fight against terrorism in the Sahel and the 250 Swedish soldiers that are present on the ground in the MINUSMA operation work closely together with our soldiers.
You have also always been available when it comes to greeting French delegations on visit in Stockholm, sharing your wide knowledge and analysis on Swedish politics and society. In brief, over the years, you have become an indispensable person for this Embassy, as well as a dear friend of our country.
Since the elections of 2014, you are vice Mayor of Stockholm, and you know how delighted I am about the excellent cooperation between our capitals. After the terrorist attacks in France in 2015, we were deeply touched by the Swedes expressions of solidarity. The initiative taken by Stockholm city to illuminate some monuments in the colours of the Tricolour was very appreciated by the French community here, which amounts to 7000 registered persons, most of them based in Stockholm. The support that we got for organising a supporting gathering, first at Sergels torg, and then Gustav Adolfs torg, was also very useful and affective.
The cooperation has been equally extensive when it comes to the fight against climate change, which is a priority for both countries and a personal engagement for Anne Hidalgo as well as for Karin Wangård, who took the decision to illuminate Globen in green during COP21.
At last, the Stockholm Culture Festival, which will take place between the 16th and the 21st of August, has decided that France and Paris would be its guest of honour in 2016. It will be an excellent opportunity for the cultural exchanges between the two countries to flourish.
Votre engagement au service de la relation franco-suédoise a été, tout au long de ces années, d’une importance toute particulière et nous avons toujours pu apprécier, en plus de votre sérieux et de votre professionnalisme, vos qualités humaines remarquables.
Je sais que vous avez encore souvent l’occasion de vous rendre en France et d’y apprécier la qualité de vie, et j’espère que vous resterez toujours une amie de notre pays et de cette ambassade.
Chère Cecilia Brinck, au nom du Président de la République et en vertu des pouvoirs qui nous sont conférés, nous vous faisons Chevalier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur."