European Parliament pays tribute to victims of Paris terrorist attacks
“Violence with Kalashnikovs will not make us downgrade our European values”, promised Parliament President Martin Schulz, naming the 17 people killed in last week’s attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. After a minute’s silence, Parliament’s political groups paid their tributes too. Several saw the outpouring of solidarity demonstrated by millions of citizens across Europe and worldwide as a renaissance and reaffirmation of Europe’s core values.
“These 17 cartoonists, journalists, police officers, employees and ordinary Jewish citizens were killed because they represented things that fanatics cannot stand: criticism, humour, satire and free speech”, said Mr Schulz. ”We must not allow fear, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or hatred to erode the values that define us: free speech and press freedom, tolerance and mutual respect”, he urged.
Alain Lamassoure (EPP, FR) praised the millions of citizens who hit the streets in a "tsunami of humanity" as "a formidable cry of brotherhood by all Europe’s peoples, "11 January 2015 is the birthdate of a Europe of the people (...), united in its values and against hatred", he said, adding that "The first value of the universal rights pronounced by Europeans is peace and the duty to preserve peace by preserving differences, all differences".
"I say, as have millions of others across the planet, that we shall never give way ", declared Pervenche Berès (S&D, FR). "When a calamity strikes one of us, we shall not let anyone divide us. We are all Charlie, fallen without any god ever having commanded it. Our ideal is democracy. Let us defend it with a special Sakharov Prize to Charlie Hebdo", she suggested.
Helga Stevens (ECR, BE) said "No matter what happens, our values will not change, because we believe in freedom of expression, in freedom of religion. Sorrow must strengthen our determination to challenge these attacks; it must bind us, because only if we work together we will prevail".
Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) said: "Let us not forget that among the three police officers killed were a black woman, a Muslim and a native Frenchman. This bears witness to the fact that our societies are multicultural and our rule of law gives opportunities to all. Yet from Madrid to London and Paris, we must also acknowledge a failure. These terrorists were our children who were born here, raised here, and also died here."
"France is in mourning, but stands firm against these executions of journalists, police officers, citizens as a united front, a barrier against barbarism”, said Patrick Le Hyaric (GUE/NGL). “We must work together to eradicate terrorism, (...) to solve the security-peace dialectic. We cannot sacrifice security on the altar of freedom, or freedom on the altar of security (...), neither can we leave so many neighbourhoods, so many young people and children abandoned."
Michèle Rivasi (Greens/EFA, FR), said: "Our thoughts go out to the 17 victims, artists and journalists, police officers, Christians, Jews, , Atheists and Muslims. We must not fall into the traps laid for us by fanatics and demagogues. This is not a war of civilisations. Another trap to avoid is having our civil liberties buried under a security arsenal.”.
Nigel Farage (EFDD, UK) criticised political leaders, especially for military interventions in the Middle East. "In fact, what we have done is to stir up very deep resentment within much of the Muslim community.. (...).We have allowed preachers of hate to go around saying things that are totally unacceptable. The result of all this is a Fifth Column living in our countries, utterly opposed to our values".
Marine Le Pen (NA, FR), said “The first duty to the victims is to put a name on what killed them. It is not terrorism that killed them. Terrorism is a means to an end. It is Islamic fundamentalism that killed them. It kills around the world, it kills thousands of people. We must also be critical of ourselves. Is Europe able to protect us, the peoples of Europe, from the threat of Islamic fundamentalism?”.