Paris attacks: EU Parliament calls for united Europe
Senior MEPs have strongly condemned the Paris terror attacks, calling for European unity in defence of freedom and democracy.
EU Parliament deputies have expressed their grief and shock at Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris which left 129 people dead and dozens more critically injured.
Reacting to the shock attack, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said, "Paris was brutally attacked for the second time in less than a year. Terrorists wanted to target the core of western civilisation, its values and its people."
"They wanted to spread terror, fear and divisions. However, Europe stands united in the fight against terrorism, in our resolve the track down the networks and all those who contributed to organise these evil acts and bring them to justice. Our commitment to defend our values of freedom, equality, democracy and the rule of law is as strong as ever."
- EU vows to stand united in wake of Paris attacks
- Rachida Dati: Targeting finance key to tackling terror organisations
- Commission guide: Terrorism and migration response 'essential' to overall EU success
Meanwhile, the leader of Parliament's EPP group, Manfred Weber said, "We will not let these fanatics and extremists divide Europe and our societies," and warned that, "We have the means to defend ourselves and will show it with every strength.
The German deputy added, "To all ideologists and extremists who are already trying to exploit these terrorist attacks for their own political goals, we are saying very clearly: all democrats will go against any cynical attempts to exploit these events."
The head of Parliament's Socialist and Democrats group Gianni Pittella , in a statement with the leader of the group's French delegation, veteran MEP Pervenche Berès, said that, "the year 2015 began with a horrific attack (on the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo) on freedom of expression. [This weekend's] deadly attacks were aimed at all of French society. These are unspeakable crimes which strike at the heart of our values and the fundamental freedoms of European democracy."
Parliament's ECR group Chair Syed Kamall commented that, "these cold-hearted and calculated attacks were an assault on innocent people enjoying a Friday evening. There can be absolutely no justification for these barbaric acts. Across Europe the world, the reaction has been clear and resolute: you will never win, because our values of pluralism and freedom are worth defending, and we will never waver in our resolve."
The leader of the Liberal ALDE group, Guy Verhfostadt said that, "these terrorists know no borders. That is why our counter-terrorism strategy should be a European one and not 28 different ones. The Belgian deputy called for EU governments "to pool all their intelligence and create a common anti-terrorism capacity at European level."
"We need one, clear strategy, if we are to make our cities safer. This was already the conclusion after the attack on Charlie Hebdo. Unfortunately, our political leaders then fell back on loose coordination between national intelligence services."
Verhfostadt added, "Let's never forget that our values and our freedom are much stronger than the terrorists. We must therefore absolutely avoid the deliberate confusion of terrorism and Islam or any other religion. The many refugees that have come to Europe the last few months were Muslims on the run from the barbarism of Daesh [ISIS]."
"As such, the suggestion by some of our political leaders for a generalised internment of 'suspects' has no place in our civilised society. We cannot defend ourselves against extremism with extremism. We must fight back, while upholding the principles of law, justice and fundamental freedoms we so strongly value. We will succeed if we stand united."
Several deputies from the Parliament's GUE/NGL group announced they had sent a request to Martin Schulz calling for an extraordinary meeting of MEPs to take place later this week in Brussels.
Greens/EFA group co-leaders Rebecca Harms and Philippe Lamberts, along with European Green Party co-Chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni, issued a joint statement in which they highlighted that, "the best response to terrorism is more democracy and openness. It is impossible to return to business as usual after this terrible tragedy. We will join our French friends in their mourning and in expressing the strongest condemnation of these attacks."
"These attacks do not concern French citizens alone, but all of us, as Europeans. We will not abandon our shared values: liberté, egalité, fraternité."
Secularism, as a bulwark to radicalisation, should be a key EU foreign policy priority, argues the European Foundation for Democracy's Tommaso Virgili.
Was the revision of the EU firearms directive worth the effort, asks Tomasz W. Stępień
Europe’s cloud infrastructure providers support the EU’s intentions to crack down on online terrorist content, however policymakers are targeting the wrong players, explains Alban Schmutz.