The best way to fight terror is with “openness”, European Union (EU) head Jean-Claude Juncker has said, stressing that Europe must continue to receive migrants in the wake of the deadly truck attack in Berlin.
Speaking to Funke Mediengruppe on Saturday, the president of the European Commission warned that the “rhetoric of exclusion” strengthens terrorists, and called for more EU involvement in nations’ internal security.
“Terror only takes us if we allow it”, he said of the attack on Monday, in which a Tunisian migrant ploughed a truck into people at a Christmas market killing 12 and injuring many more.
Declaring that “the basic values for which the European Union stands remain unchanged”, Juncker insisted the continent “must continue to offer refuge to people who flee from war zones and from terror.”
He added that it “would be wrong to put all refugees under suspicion”, stating “Hate and terror have no religion, no sex, no country of origin.”
In an apparent swipe at populists in Europe who believe restricting mass migration from the Middle East and Africa would make the continent safer, Juncker said: “Anyone who pounces on the rhetoric of exclusion is helping the extremists’ way of thinking, which strengthens their spiral of hate.”
“This neither creates solutions nor helps the victims and their relatives.”
Standing firm on the idea that liberalism is the best response to repeated attacks on Europeans, the EU chief said: “Our values, our way of living together in freedom, coexistence, and openness are the best weapons against terror.”
Juncker also noted that freedom of movement across the Schengen area is helpful to terrorists, but said the solution to this is a stronger EU, asserting that “national domestic policy alone is no longer sufficient.”
“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,” he said.
Politicians in Central and Eastern Europe have consistently taken a very different stance on Islamist terror attacks on European soil to their Western counterparts and EU elites.
In June, Poland’s interior minister, Mariusz Blaszczak, blasted Western Europe’s response to terror — holding marches and drawing pictures of flowers — as completely ineffective. He said multiculturalism, political correctness, and mass migration are responsible for terror attacks in Europe, and argued that governments should actually protect their citizens.