EU vows to stand united in wake of Paris attacks
Europe's leaders show solidarity with France following weekend's Paris terror attacks.
EU heads of state have branded Friday's terrorist assault in Paris "an attack against us all" and have vowed to, "Face this threat together with all necessary means and ruthless determination".
In a joint statement the EU's heads of state and government said, "France is a great and strong nation. Its values of liberty, equality and fraternity inspired and inspire the EU. Today, we stand united with the French people and the government of France. This shameful act of terrorism will only achieve the opposite of its purpose, which was to divide, frighten and sow hatred."
"Good is stronger than evil. Everything that can be done at European level to make France safe will be done. We will do what is necessary to defeat extremism, terrorism and hatred."
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The Paris attack comes as Europe struggles to resolve internal conflicts over the growing refugee crisis and just a few weeks before world leaders are set to meet in Paris for the COP 21 UN climate change summit.
An ISIS affiliated group claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist act, which has so-far left 129 people dead and scores of others injured came ahead of French regional elections next month. With the far-right Front National already leading the polls in many parts of the country, there are concerns that the attack, combined with increased levels of refuges from the Middle East and North Africa will result in a surge in support for the fiercely anti-immigrant party.
However, railing against any link to the EU's current refugee crisis and the assault, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, "I have heard people claim that the real explanation for what happened in Paris is due to the fact that Europe is a continent with open borders, and has demonstrated a certain generosity in welcoming refugees."
"This is not my analysis. I believe the exact opposite to those who think the European model is to blame for the attacks. We must remember that those who planned and carried out the attacks are exactly the people refugees are fleeing, and not the other way around."
Meanwhile, news reports suggest that police activity in the Brussels commune of Molenbeek has been stepped up following reports that two of the key terrorist suspects had been living in the area, dubbed by a British media outlet recently as "Europe's jihadi central".
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