On the occasion of the 17th European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism, The Commission issued the following statement:
“Today, we come together to listen, to support survivors, and above all to honour all victims of terrorism.
To all who seek to hurt and divide us, we will continue to respond with unity. Our democracies will always strive to protect our fundamental rights, freedoms, and values. We are committed to building inclusive and cohesive societies in which everyone has a stake and everyone can feel safe.
It is our common responsibility to continue supporting victims and their loved ones. Because of the nature of this crime, victims of terrorism require tailored support and special protection. This is one of the objectives of the newly launched EU Strategy on Victims’ Rights.
We are building up the European Union’s resilience to prevent these attacks in the first place. We are fighting the terrorist threat, which increasingly results from different forms of extremism and is increasingly digital. We are taking steps to block online terrorist propaganda, to stop terrorists from spreading hatred online. But no one can fight crime without taking care of its victims.
On this day of remembrance, we stand united and in solidarity with all the victims and survivors of these acts.”
The European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism is an annual event to commemorate the victims of terrorism worldwide. On this day in 2004, the Madrid bombings took place claiming the lives of 193 people and injuring thousands more.
Providing support to victims of crime, including victims of terrorist attacks, is an important part of the Commission’s work to address all dimensions of the terrorist threat. The EU has put in place a strong legal framework to protect victims across Europe through the EU-wide compensation scheme, the Victims’ Rights Directive and the Directive on Combating Terrorism. In January 2020, the EU Centre of Expertise for Victims of Terrorism set up by the Commission launched its activities aiming mainly to provide support to Mem ber States to assist victims after a terrorist attack. The Centre also published the EU Handbook on Victims of Terrorism. The von der Leyen Commission adopted the first-ever EU Strategy on victims’ rights (2020- 2025).
The main objective of this strategy is to ensure that all victims of crime, no matter where in the EU the crime took place, can make a full use of their rights. The Strategy aims to empower victims to report crime, claim compensation and ultimately recover from consequences of crime.
In September 2020, the Commission inaugurated the EU Victims’ Rights Platform and appointed its first European Commission Coordinator for victims’ rights.
The Radicalisation Awareness Network, through its working group on remembrance of victims of terrorism, presents victims’ experiences, contributes to the remembrance of all victims of terrorism, and highlights the human consequences of violent extremism. Victims’ rights and support to them are also at the heart of work carried out by the European Network of Associations of Victims of Terrorism, set up by the Commission.
To prevent terrorist offences in the first place, the EU is active in fighting terrorist propaganda – offline and online, denying terrorists the means and the space to plan, finance and carry out attacks, and countering radicalisation. In December 2020, the Commission put forward a new Counter-Terrorism Agenda setting out the way forward for actions to counter terrorism at EU level, looking to better anticipate, prevent, protect and respond to terrorist threats. The Counter-Terrorism Agenda is one deliverable of the way forward on internal security, a core component of the Security Union Strategy adopted by the Commission in July 2020.
The European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Terrorism was established after the Madrid Bombings of 11 March 2004. Each year since 2005, the European Union remembers on this date the victims of terrorist atrocities worldwide.