Europe has widely denounced the attacks carried out in Brussels yesterday (22 March). EurActiv Germany reports on Berlin’s reaction to the terrorist bombings.
“This is a black day for Europe. The terrible events in Brussels affect us all. We stand together with the Belgians,” said German Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD).
“Germany stands with Belgium in face of this terrorist violence,” wrote the Bundesrepublik’s president, Joachim Gauck, in a letter to the Belgian king, Philippe. “Together, we will continue to defend our European values, freedom and democracy,” Gauck, who is currently in China, continued. “Europe’s values are much stronger than hate, violence and Terror,” tweeted Chancellery chief of staff, Peter Altmaier (CDU).
Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her shock at the attacks and added her condolences: “Our strength lies in our unity and our free societies will prove to be stronger than terrorism.”
It was a strong statement to the effect that the challenges facing Europe will only be overcome with a pan-European solution.
— GermanForeignOffice (@GermanyDiplo) March 22, 2016
Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) said that security would be stepped up at important institutions and locations, and that security forces would have a “robust presence” on Germany’s western border with Belgium. Deutsche Bahn also amended its service, with trains from Frankfurt bound for Brussels terminating at Aachen until further notice.
It had been initially reported that the nuclear power plants of Tihange and Doel, which have been in the spotlight lately due to safety concerns, were evacuated as a precautionary measure. However, Tihange’s operators later moved to dispel those reports, saying only non-essential personnel had been asked to leave the site.
— CEMAC (@cemacorg) March 22, 2016
Another issue that again reared its head was cooperation between national intelligence agencies. Thomas de Maizière called for better and enhanced data exchange between security services, following the bombings yesterday.
“We need to exchange the information that we have,” he told German broadcasters last night. This has proven to be difficult to coordinate, due to the different “data sources” used at a national level, which has led to numerous calls to better integrate available information.
“Ironically enough, I communicated an initiative [based on this] to Brussels shortly before the attacks,” revealed the CDU politician. The proposal, sent to the European Commission, will take on a “more urgent” dimension, following the events yesterday.