Sassoli: “We must rekindle the spirit of 1989” 


EP-President commemorates fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago in the presence of Wolfgang Schäuble

Today, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, opened the plenary session in Brussels with a speech commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall 30 years ago. The President's speech was followed by an address of the President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble.

Remembering the 9th of November 1989, President Sassoli said:

"The success of that night was the result of the determination of millions of European citizens of the East who peacefully, without any violence, but through the strength of their own will alone were able to overcome the yoke to which they had been subjected for decades. It is to the courage of those European citizens that I would like to pay tribute.

On the need to continue to fight for the European idea, President Sassoli continued:

"Unfortunately, European democracy, and the values and principles on which it is based, is not irreversible. It requires the commitment and determination of all of us to defend them.

"As a witness of those extraordinary days in Berlin, I cannot help but look with great concern, at the return, in Europe, of ghosts who we thought were dead and buried under the weight of history.

"It is with incredulity but also immense anger that we witness the demon of anti-Semitism returning to Europe. I am thinking of the tragic events in Halle, the Jewish cemetery vandalised in Randers, Denmark, and the threats to which Senator Liliana Segre was subject to in Italy.

"The resurgence of anti-Semitism is the result of the revival of nationalism, xenophobia, racism, and is a rejection of everything that we stand for.... We must oppose with all our strength those who deny the facts of history, who give simple answers to complex problems, who confuse the pride that each of us feels for our country and its culture with feelings of hatred and contempt for others.

The EP-President also remembered the tragic terrorist attacks that took place four years ago in the concert hall Bataclan in Paris: "Our thoughts are with the friends and families of all the young people who lost their lives that night."

President Sassoli's full speech is available here.