MEPs condemn attack against Charlie Hebdo

European parliament president Martin Schulz has described the attack as a 'heinous act'.

By James O'Brien

08 Jan 2015

Twelve people were killed on Wednesday when masked gunmen entered the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris and parliamentarians today observed a minute of silence.

Schulz said the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo, a weekly French satirical weekly newspaper, was "an attack against our values of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, against tolerance and mutual respect".

This condemnation was echoed by members of the parliament from across the political spectrum.

Chair of the EPP group in the parliament Manfred Weber said his group "strongly condemns these meaningless murders".

He added that yesterday's attack against Charlie Hebdo was "an attack against freedom of press and freedom of expression which are core European values, together with freedom of religion. Europe must stand up for these values. "

"[Events on Wednesday were] an attack against our values of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, against tolerance and mutual respect" - Martin Schulz

Weber warned that "we cannot allow those who hate the principles of freedom and democracy, on which our societies are built, put them into question. No religion or political belief can be used to justify murder".

The leader of the S&D group Gianni Pittella and the president of the French socialist delegation Pervenche Berès, in a joint statement, described the events in Paris as "a despicable and vile crime".

They added that by attacking journalists "freedom of speech and democracy that have been targeted" and "nothing can justify such a barbaric act".

Group chairman of parliament's ECR group Syed Kamall said those who carried out the attack cannot be allowed to undermine "our core democratic values".

Kamall noted that "freedom of speech should include the right to offend and the right to be offended, but that right must never manifest itself in violence and murder".

"Freedom of speech and democracy that have been targeted" - Gianni Pittella and Pervenche Berès, S&D group

ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt compared the shooting at Charlie Hebdo with the September 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States.

He said, "the barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo has struck at the very heart of Europe, at the very heart of our values".

He called for Europe to "show solidarity, stay united and defend its democratic values".

ALDE coordinator on parliament's  civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee Cecilia Wikstrӧm said that her thoughts are with people of France and the victims of "this cowardly act of terror".

In a statement released on behalf of all members, GUE/NGL deputies expressed shock at the "horrific massacre" and encouraged the French authorities to "ensure that light is shed on the causes and motivations of the perpetrators of this abject crime".

The Greens/EFA group also joined in the condemnation of the attack and expressed condolences for the victims.

Greens/EFA co-presidents Philippe Lamberts and Rebecca Harms said the killings were an attack "on the spirit of community, as well as on press and media freedom, a central pillar of our democratic society".

"The barbaric attack on Charlie Hebdo has struck at the very heart of Europe, at the very heart of our values" - Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group

They highlighted that the background of the perpetrators was still unknown and "it is more important now more than ever that we defend these common European democratic principles and values."

EFDD group co-president Nigel Farage blamed the attacks on "an obsession with fostering a multicultural society" and "uncontrolled immigration".

Speaking to Fox News, the British MEP said, "We now have in many European countries [with] a fifth column living within our own countries. People - mercifully few in number - but people who are out to destroy our whole civilisation and our way of life."

French president François Hollande has declared a day of national mourning and flags are to fly at half-mast for three days.

 

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