"Truth and love must win over lies and hatred!" This was the motto of Václav Havel, the dissident turned Czechoslovak and then Czech President. To commemorate his contribution to freedom on the first anniversary of his death, a neon heart was lit above the entrance of the main EP building in Brussels on 17 December. EP vice-president Oldřich Vlasák, who hosted the ceremony, described Havel as "symbol of the struggle for freedom and democracy".
The neon heart on the facade of the Altiero Spinelli building will stay up until the end of January 2013 to commemorate the first anniversary of his death on 18 December 2011. The heart refers to the little heart Havel always added to his signature.The neon heart was first installed over Prague Castle at the end of 2002 as a farewell to Havel when his presidential mandate was over.
Czech MEP Vlasák, a member of the European Conservatives and Reformists group, said: "Václav Havel is for me a symbol of the struggle for freedom and democracy, the fight against totalitarianism and communism. The Czech Republic has, also thanks to Havel, returned to Europe. He certainly is a personality of European, even global importance who contributed to the end of the Cold War and the demolition of the wall between east and west. "