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Europe declares solidarity against attack on fundamental values

Posted by Nick Prag at 08 January 2015, 17:05 CET |

EU flags flew at half-mast on Thursday as officials from the European Council, the Commission and Parliament expressed their solidarity with the victims of this week's murderous attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

"Like you, like all of us, I am Charlie," declared Parliament's President Martin Schulz, as MEPs condemned the attack and expressed their condolences to the families and the friends of the victims.

"We stand together with the French people", declared the new Latvian EU presidency, expressing "deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives, as well as wishing a speedy recovery to those who were injured."

The Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said this was "an intolerable act, an act of barbarism which challenges us all as human and Europeans."

While acknowledging the dangers of knee-jerk reaction, he pledged to submit new proposals to fight terrorism in the next few weeks.

Donald Tusk, the new president of the European Council said: "The European Union stands beside France after this appalling act. It is a brutal attack against our fundamental values and against the freedom of expression, a pillar of our democracy."

French president, Francois Hollande also described the murders as an attack on liberty.

There are those who may have been thinking that risky satire, particularly against fundamentalism, is a risk too far, and not worth taking.

This attack on the very values of European society shows that it is.

Freedom of expression and freedom of the press are key shared values of European society. An attack on these is a threat to democracy itself.

Our thoughts are with the families and the employees at Charlie Hebdo.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.