"Allow me to explain to you in a few words why we have given this annual lecture the name of Jean Monnet (...) There are very few men of whom you can say, 'without him the European Community would not have existed'. It can be said of Jean Monnet - and that is why we are so pleased that he has agreed to the lectures being given his name. (...)
Allow me simply to express my profoundest admiration for the great statesman, who was a great statesman without ever forming part of a government, for that French peasant who is the first honorary citizen of Europe, for that man of action who was always guided in his action by a deep wisdom and by that rare kind of intelligence that is always able to select the essential, for that man with an iron will and an unflagging tenacity who is at the same time a great-hearted man, a man who has made all who have had the privilege to know him not only his admirers but also his friends.
It is to mark our deep gratitude and admiration for the man and his work that we are pleased and proud that he has kindly agreed to having this annual lecture series bear his name."