Brussels, 22 March 2017
One year on from the appalling attacks of 22 March 2016 which the whole of Europe mourned, the memory of the victims remains, and will forever remain, in our minds and in our hearts. It is with great sorrow that I think of each of these shattered lives, such as that of our colleague Patricia Rizzo, the suffering endured by the wounded and the grief of their families and relatives. I would like to express my deepest sympathy to every one of them.
These loathsome terrorist attacks struck at the very heart of Europe here in Belgium, in our capital, Brussels – a multilingual and multinational city where we enjoy living together in harmony. Faced with this unprecedented and incomprehensible violence, those of us living in Brussels and Belgium, with the support of all the peoples of Europe, chose to stand firm and not lose hope. During this terrible ordeal, Europeans stood together in the fight against terrorism that threatens our safety and peace throughout the world. We showed our determination to defend our values and our freedoms no matter what.
That is why the terrorists have failed, because we have responded to hate and violence with a renewed determination to defend democracy and peaceful coexistence in diversity. We must build our future on these noble ideals which we Europeans hold dear. We owe it to each of the victims of these attacks.