Speaking after the attacks at Brussels Airport and Maelbeek metro station in Brussels today, Gianni Pittella, president of the S&D Group, stated:

“On behalf of the whole of the S&D Group, I express our deepest condolences and prayers to the families of the victims. We all feel shocked by the many innocent lives which have been lost and by the brutal and cruel nature of these terrorist attacks have been carried out.

“Now is the time for us to show sorrow and unity. After today’s terrorist attack, the tragedy in Paris, in Beirut, recently in Turkey and in several countries in Africa and the Middle East, Europe must finally forge an integrated strategy to combat terrorism, fundamentalism, social and economic injustices, which are the roots of hatred and violence. Terrorism is only one of the many consequences of the increased instability of our neighbouring regions.

“Our European society cannot be overcome by fear and create a fortress, leading to even more ghettoization and marginalization. We must work together to keep our society united around common values and principles, and we must fight to eradicate xenophobia and islamophobia. We should question ourselves in asking why young Europeans devote themselves to fundamentalism and terrorism. We definitely should improve our model of cultural integration.

“A new European strategy must be developed embracing every aspect: security, integration, culture and cooperation for development. The very existence of our societies, our values and principles are at stake, as well as the future of our next generation; the future of Europe itself.”

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