Press Release
Belgian EU Presidency

14 September 2001

Joint Declaration by the Heads of State and Government of the European Union, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Commission, and the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

In Europe, and around the world, the horrific terrorist attacks on the United States have shocked our citizens. As an expression of solidarity with the American people, Europe has declared 14 September a day of mourning. We invite all European citizens to observe, at noon, a three-minute silence to express our sincere and deepest sympathy for the victims and their families.

On 12 September, the European Union condemned the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms. The European Union announced that it would make every possible effort to ensure that those responsible for these acts of savagery are brought to justice and punished.

The US Administration and the American people can count on our complete solidarity and full cooperation to ensure that justice is done. We will not, under any circumstances, allow those responsible to find refuge, wherever they may be. Those responsible for hiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable. This assault on humanity struck at the heart of a close friend, a country with which the European Union is striving to build a better world. But these terrible terrorist attacks were also directed against us all, against open, democratic, multicultural and tolerant societies. We call on all countries that share these universal ideals and values to join together in the battle against terrorist acts perpetrated by faceless killers who claim the lives of innocent victims. Nothing can justify the utter disregard for ethical values and human rights. Global solidarity is at stake. Together, irrespective of our origins, race or religion, we must work tirelessly to find solutions to the conflicts that all too often serve as a pretext for savagery.

We call on all countries to redouble their efforts in the fight against terrorism. This is essential for security of our citizens and the stability of our societies. International organisations, and the United Nations in particular, must make this an absolute priority. We shall act with determination and ambition to overcome any obstacles in our path. To eliminate this evil, the police and judicial authorities of all our countries must, in the coming days, intensify their efforts. International law makes it possible to hunt the perpetrators, organizers and instigators of terrorism wherever they are. It is not tolerable for any country to harbour terrorists.

These tragic events oblige us to take urgent decisions on how the European Union should respond to these challenges :

  • The European Union must commit itself tirelessly to defend justice and democracy at a global level, to promote an international framework of security and prosperity for all countries, and to contribute towards the emergence of a strong, sustained and global action against terrorism.
  • We shall continue to develop the Common Foreign and Security Policy with a view to ensuring that the Union is genuinely capable of speaking out clearly and doing so with one voice.
  • We shall make the European Security and Defence Policy operational as soon as possible. We will make every effort to strengthen our intelligence efforts against terrorism.
  • The European Union will accelerate the implementation of a genuine European judicial area, which will entail, among other things, the creation of a European warrant for arrest and extradition, in accordance with the Tampere conclusions, and the mutual recognition of legal decisions and verdicts.

Our citizens will not be intimidated. Our societies will continue to function undeterred. But today our thoughts are with the victims, their families and the American people.

Guy Verhofstadt -- Nicole Fontaine -- Romano Prodi -- Tony Blair -- Wolfgang Schüssel -- Gerhard Schröder --José-Maria Aznar -- Tarja Halonen -- Poul Nyrup Rasmussen -- Paavo Lipponen -- Kostas Simitis -- Antonio Guterres -- Silvio Berlusconi -- Jacques Chirac -- Lionel Jospin -- Bertie Ahern -- Wim Kok -- Göran Persson -- Jean-Claude Juncker -- Javier Solana

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