On 11 March, the Commission observes the European Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism. This annual commemoration was established after the Madrid Bombings in 2004. Each year since 2005 we remember on this date victims of terrorist atrocities.
First Vice-President Frans Timmermans, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner Vera Jourová and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos have issued a Joint Statement on this day, saying:
"In unity and defiance we denounce all forms of terrorism worldwide, and with respect and honour we remember the victims. We have lost too many friends, neighbours and loved ones in the past year. We have witnessed too many atrocities. On this European Day of Remembrance, we express our sympathy and support to those who grieve and bear the physical and psychological scars of terrorist acts. We also recall our commitment to support the victims and their families, to strengthen their rights, to defend their interests and to ensure their voices are heard. Terrorists want us to be afraid. They try to spread hatred and fear, to create intolerance and to turn us against each other. This mentality has no place in our societies, our lives, and our European Union. Every one of us must defeat these ideas, defend our fundamental values and rights, and protect our friendships built through diversity and multiculturalism. Communities must feel safe and nobody should feel isolated or excluded from society: this is our common responsibility."
The European Commission and the Radicalisation Awareness Network Centre of Excellence organised a dedicated event to mark this occasion. Commissioner Avramopoulos opened the commemoration this morning. The event brought together victims from recent and past terrorist attacks, victim associations, students, and high-level European dignitaries. Victims of the attacks in Paris, Madrid, Utøya (Norway) and Sousse (Tunisia) were present. Among the speakers were the parents of Marie Lausch and Mathias Dymarski who were killed in the terrorist attack on the Bataclan theatre in Paris, 13 November 2015.
On this European Day of Remembrance, we express our sympathy and support to those who grieve and bear the physical and psychological scars of terrorist acts. We also recall our commitment to support the victims and their families, to strengthen their rights, to defend their interests and to ensure their voices are heard.