EU Bulletin, December 26, 2016
The European Commission’s chief, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in the aftermath of the terror attack in Berlin that the best way to fight terror is with “openness“, emphasizing that the old continent must continue to receive migrants. It “would be wrong to put all refugees under suspicion,” he said and added that “hate and terror have no religion, no sex, no country of origin.” The President of the European Commission warned that the “rhetoric of exclusion” gives strength to terrorists. “Terror only takes us if we allow it”, he said of the Berlin attack at a Christmas market, in which 12 people died and many more were injured.
Mr. Juncker also declared that “the basic values for which the European Union stands remain unchanged ”and insisted that Europe “must continue to offer refuge to people who flee from war zones and from terror.” Addressing the apparent sweep at populists across Europe, Mr. Juncker stressed that “anyone who pounces on the rhetoric of exclusion is helping the extremists’ way of thinking, which strengthens their spiral of hate.” He also said that the populists’ idea to restrict migration from the Middle and Africa “neither creates solutions nor helps the victims and their relatives.”
Commission’s chief was firm on the idea that liberalism is the best response to repeated attacks on Europeans: “Our values, our way of living together in freedom, coexistence, and openness are the best weapons against terror.” Mr. Juncker admitted that freedom of movement across the Schengen area is indeed helpful to terrorists, but also said the solution to this is an emphasis on pan-European security, asserting that “national domestic policy alone is no longer sufficient.” Finally, he also emphasized that “We must counter the terrorists’ hatred with the values of the population who want to live freely, openly and peacefully with each other. The people with whom I spoke after the attacks in Berlin, Paris, Nice, and Brussels stand for exactly this attitude. They react in a prudent way – and expect to see this reflected in our politics as well.”