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Brussels, 11 March 2011

Day of Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism: Joint statement of Vice-President Viviane Reding and Commissioner Cecilia Malmström

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 and injured at least 1800 people commuting to work. Seven years later, the physical and mental wounds of the victims who survived are still not healed. The European Union has devoted 11th March to remembering all victims of terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Terrorism can strike anywhere and at any time. The EU stands firmly against and condemns all terrorist acts.

Commenting on the occasion of the Victims Remembrance Day, Vice-President Viviane Reding, responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, said:

"I express my deepest sympathy with those who suffered and still suffer from the harm and injustice that was inflicted on them and their families by terrorists. Our remembrance is a signal of solidarity. We will not let victims walk alone.

Nothing can bring back the lives that have been lost. But the EU can strengthen the rights of victims and their families to help them take part in proceedings or receive the support they need.

The criminal justice system is often not sensitive to victims’ needs. This is why improving the treatment of victims in criminal proceedings will be the cornerstone of a victims' package that the European Commission will propose later this spring. As EU Justice Commissioner, I plan to strengthen victims' rights and help contribute to the improvement of their lives. This victims' dimension is an integral part of the European Commission's work on strengthening mutual trust and confidence of citizens in the evolving European area of law and justice. We want terrorists everywhere to know that their actions have no place in our democratic societies based on the rules of law."

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström said:

"Today we stand united with the victims and their loved ones to whom I want to express all my sympathy and solidarity. Their experiences and testimonies are important in our continued efforts to counter terrorism.

One of my strongest commitments as Commissioner for Home Affairs is to make Europe more secure. The threat from terrorism is real, and in the EU we have a firm and long-standing dedication to prevent new terrorist attacks from happening.

An important aspect of that work is to counter radicalisation leading to terrorism. This has been identified as a key challenge in the Internal Security Strategy and we need to step up our efforts. Radicalisation can best be addressed by working together with local communities. Therefore, later this year, we will establish an EU wide network to help prevent radicalisation leading to terrorism and the recruitment of vulnerable individuals. "

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