MY THOUGHTS FROM YESTERDAY - WALLS AND BRIDGES - EU monitor

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MY THOUGHTS FROM YESTERDAY - WALLS AND BRIDGES

Source: V.P. (Vytenis) Andriukaitis i, published on Thursday, November 10 2016.

Yesterday, 11/9, I couldn't help but think of 9/11. These are two important dates that will stay engrained in the collective psyche. These are also two dates with more parallels than just numbers.

Yesterday was marked not only by the results of the US elections. In Europe, we also celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and remembered the Crystal Night. For the latter, at the beginning there were words of hatred. At the end, there was a disaster. A lot of suffering was needed as well, to get to the fall of the shameful wall.

It is therefore an opportunity for me to reiterate how strongly we, in Europe, should feel about human rights, equality and respect for one another. It is an occasion to remind ourselves and the rest of the world that in Europe we do not tolerate racism, sexism or bullying, that these are not the norm, that we are able to give shelter to refugees, asylum seekers and those that are wrongfully persecuted. In my younger days, I have been a victim of such persecution, therefore for me, there will always be red lines that one should not cross.

These red lines must not be seen as blur from afar. They take form in our acts and in our words. Not everything is allowed for the sake of ultimate goal and result, even the result of an election.

I have the highest respect for democracy. I am proud of Europe where Wallonian voice can be heard. I respect and listen to the people who demonstrate against the abuses of corporations that do not pay taxes, people who can raise their voices because they don't want to lose their jobs, because their hopes have been shipped off-shore.

In Europe or elsewhere, people's fears are real, as real as the challenges they need to cope with in their everyday life. Our job is to find answers together, building bridges not walls, and in full respect for one and all. Our job is also to find those answers while continuing walking the road that is grounded on democracy, solidarity and human rights - our common European values.