Jacques Chirac in quotes

Paris (AFP) –

Advertising

Here are some memorable quotes from conservative Jacques Chirac, who was president of France from 1995 to 2007 and died on Thursday aged 86.

- THE ART OF DIPLOMACY -

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

- 1988, caught on a microphone during tense European negotiations with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

- IMMIGRATION -

"Today, there is an overdose ... Having Spaniards, Poles and Portuguese people working here creates fewer problems than having Muslims and blacks."

- 1991, in a speech on immigration policy to his centre-right party.

In the same speech, he imagined the anger of a French worker living next to "a family with a father, three or four spouses and around 20 kids, who earns 50,000 francs (11,000 euros in today's money) in social benefits, without working of course."

"If you add in the noise and the smell, well, the French worker, he goes mad."

- JEWISH ROUND-UP -

"France, the country of light and of human rights, land of welcome and asylum, France on that day did something which cannot be repaired... it delivered those who were under its protection to their executioners."

- 1995, becoming the first French president to admit the country's responsiblity for the round-up of Jews sent to Nazi death camps during World War II.

- CLIMATE CHANGE -

"Our house is burning while we look the other way... Nature, mutilated and over-exploited, can no longer regenerate, and we refuse to admit it... the Earth and mankind are in danger, and we are all responsible."

- 2002, address to the Earth Summit in Johannesburg.

- THE FAR-RIGHT -

"In the face of intolerance and hate, no dealing is possible, no compromise is possible, no debate is possible."

- 2002, explaining his refusal to take part in a televised debate with far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen ahead of presidential elections.

- INVASION OF IRAQ -

"There is no justification for a unilateral decision to resort to war. Iraq today does not represent an immediate threat that justifies an immediate war."

- 2003, after US President George W. Bush told Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to leave the country within 48 hours or face military action.

- KNOWING ONE'S PLACE -

"These countries behaved in a way both ill-educated and reckless... Apart from being childish, it was also dangerous."

- 2003, reprimanding five would-be European Union members for endorsing US plans to invade Iraq.

- THE BRITISH -

"The only thing they have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease. After Finland, it is the country with the worst food. One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad."

- 2005, again caught on a microphone speaking to German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

- REPUTATION AS A WOMANISER -

"I was never averse to women. But I never overdid it either."

- In a book of interviews published in 2007, "The Stranger in the Elysee".

- LEGACY -

"What people will remember, I have no idea. I'm not really a vain person."

- The same book.