EU security chief blasts Europe's 'silence' on xenophobia

25th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

EU security chief Cecilia Malmstroem on Monday blasted European leaders for remaining silent on the xenophobia sweeping the continent which lurks behind the horrendous attacks in Norway.

"Sadly there are too few leaders today who stand up for diversity and for the importance of having open, democratic and tolerant societies where everybody is welcome," Malmstroem, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said in her blog.

Referring to a 1,500-page proclamation written by the suspect in Friday's carnage in Oslo, Anders Behring Breivik, Malmstroem said: "This manifesto is a product of a very disturbed man, but unfortunately we recognise some of these sentiments in Europe today."

"I have many times expressed my concern over xenophobic parties who build their unfortunately quite successful rhetoric on negative opinions on Islam and other so-called threats against society."

She also said she had been impressed by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's call to his compatriots to stand up for an open society "and not be frightened into silence."

Her comments came as Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero urged a common European response against xenophobia and intolerance, saying the drama in Norway "isn't just another event."

"This is something extremely serious that requires a response, a European response, a shared response to defend freedom, to defend democracy, calling on people to rise up and fight radicalism, to respond against xenophobia," Zapatero said.

© 2011 AFP

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