Minute of silence for the victims of the attacks against the Charlie Hebdo magazine, France's police forces and the Jewish supermarket
and Georges Wolinski.
These are the names of the seventeen victims of the attack against Charlie Hebdo, against the police and against the Jewish supermarket last week.
On behalf of the European Parliament, I express our sincere condolences to their families and their friends. I also wish the injured a speedy recovery.
Seventeen people died. These cartoonists, these journalists, these policemen, these employees, these Jewish citizens died because they defended and because they embodied what fanatics do not want: Criticism. Humor. Satire. Freedom of expression. Our life in a single community, irrespective of different opinions and confessions. Our right to live together and in safety. To put it simply: Our freedom.
These attacks are an attack against all of us.
It is up to us to respond.
There are many dangers:
We must not minimise our freedom of thought or revise downward our European values in the face of violence and Kalashnikovs. We must not let fear, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hatred of others eat away the values that define us: the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, tolerance and mutual respect.
France delivered these values to our very souls. We, as Europeans, must defend them, just like the millions of French who walked through Paris and through France in dignity, supported by thousands of citizens around the world.
Today we are forced to fear that journalists and cartoonists are subject to censorship, that irreverent pencils are haltedby guns. We must fear, again, that French Jews feel threatened at home, in France and Europe. We must fear that every Muslim, through amalgamation, is suspected of irresponsibility. We must dread that the fear of the other is used to destabilize our society. We need to fear all this because if it transpires terrorists will have won, and wewould have lost our freedom.
We, the representatives of the European Parliament, also represent allthat these fanatics hate: peaceful cooperation between men and women who sometimes may differ greatly.
Together we must fight to never be infected by the hatred of terrorists. We must defend the freedom of everyone, in Europe and around the world. That is why, today, we also pay tribute to the many victims of the Boko Haram fanatics in Nigeria.
It is a time of great sorrow, but we must proceed with caution. Please allow me to quote the former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who, after the attacks in Oslo and Utoya, said: "We will respond to terror with more democracy, more openness and tolerance." Let these words guide our work in this meeting.
I ask you to rise for a minute of silence in memory of the victims.