‘Unity’ is main answer to terrorists and extremists, European Socialists agree in eight-point plan

PES leaders approve common declaration against violence and extremism

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi during a PES meeting in Madrid (Photo: PES/Flickr)
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat with Italian Premier Matteo Renzi during a PES meeting in Madrid (Photo: PES/Flickr)

Prime Ministers, European Commissioners and party leaders of the Party of European Socialists (PES) gathered today in Madrid to approve a common declaration against violence and extremism titled United Against Fear.

The meeting was hosted by the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).

The PES leaders agreed to a comprehensive eight-point plan to strengthen the freedom and security of citizens as well as to actively promote dialogue and inclusive policies.

PES President Sergei Stanishev described the declaration as an essential agreement to better coordinate in their fight against extremism.

“Terrorist attacks like the ones in Paris and Copenhagen are a direct hit to democracy, a hit felt by every one of us, but this violence is as futile as it is senseless. Our societies will not give in to fear, nor to hatred or violence,” Stanishev said. “The PES family’s answer to this threat is, and always will be, more democracy, more dialogue and a society where everyone feels safe and included. This is the Europe that is worth fighting for”.

The European Socialists condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen against the freedom of expression and the Jewish Community and said they were “outraged” by these human tragedies.

“We deeply deplore any attempt to justify terrorist attacks, or their use to stigmatize any community. These attacks have only strengthened our resolve to stand up for inclusive and free societies and the respect of freedom of expression. The terrorists are fighting our most fundamental values and democracy itself.”

The PES leaders said they firmly rejected any form of anti-Semitism, racial hatred, xenophobia; Islamophobia and all forms of intolerance also expressed by hate speech.

“Our main answer to terrorists and extremists is unity. All European countries are facing the threat of terrorism. Therefore, Europe has a common responsibly and must respond united to this threat. Our response has a European dimension, expressed by a stronger cooperation and stronger actions involving all the EU tools and institutions that are necessary in the fight against terrorism.”

The leaders insisted that there cannot be any security without the respect for democratic principles and the rule of law while Europe has a common responsibility and must respond united to this threat.

“We must support our ability to live with different religions and faiths and not least strengthen the ability of critical thinking.”

The PES called for a stronger European cooperation on security, judicial and police cooperation and on fighting the financing of terrorism is needed. “We must enforce our Common Defense and Security Policy and fight terrorism in countries where it is deeply rooted and where the Rule of Law is in dissolution.

“Armed conflicts enable arms and terrorists to circulate, and weaken states to the verge of creating failed states. The risk of spill over is at its utmost. Europe must contribute to countries at risk to fight terrorism and re-establish the Rule of Law, but also address the causes of terrorist threats in its own soil.”