President Ilves: Our response cannot rely on fear (1)
Europe was at a crossroads, President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said in a lecture held in Zagreb on Tuesday, and that the day's events were yet more confirmation of that fact. "We have the choice between unity and solidarity or reclusion."
The President called Tuesday’s terror attacks in Brussels “an attack in the very heart of Europe,” in a city he said was a second capital for many Europeans. “We stand by Belgium, our ally, in this tragedy,” Ilves said.
He pointed out that those who escaped war and terror were not terrorists. “Evil and populist slogans will not give us the right answers and will not contribute to greater security in our society,” he said.
"Our response cannot rely on fear,” the President went on. "Our response cannot involve closing borders within Europe, but instead consist of stronger co-operation between our security institutions with the purpose of controlling our external borders."
Ilves also said that the growing popularity of right-wing extremist forces in Europe was a greater challenge than the refugee crisis, and that the situation was troublesome.
The President commended Croatia for its attitude in the crisis. He reminded the audience that more than 600,000 refugees had passed through Croatia during the last six months.
"Your response and attitude within society have been calm and responsible. Estonia, which has no refugees at its borders, has a lot to learn from you,” Ilves said.
The President spoke to students and lecturers at Zagreb University. The President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, also attended.