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President, PM shocked by Brussels attacks, voice solidarity

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Prague, March 22 (CTK) – Czech President Milos Zeman is shocked by the terrorist attacks that hit Brussels on Tuesday and he warns against the underestimating of the threat of terrorist attacks in other countries, including the Czech Republic, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek has told CTK.

Zeman has also sent condolences to the Belgian King.

“Your Majesty, with deep grief and sincere indignation, I have received the news about the bomb attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, which claimed several dozens of lives and a number of wounded people. I feel very concerned at the rising violence in Europe, which we have learnt to view as a stronghold of democracy, tolerance, humanity and safety in the past years,” Zeman wrote.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) expressed solidarity to Belgium and support for its government.

Sobotka said the news about the attack shocked him, as did Deputy Prime Minister Andrej Babis (ANO), who voiced embarrassment at the terrorists targeting the heart of the EU, which approaches migrants in a friendly way.

“I regret the innocent victims and express sympathy and solidarity to their families. Last week, we discussed the migrant crisis with the EU leaders in Brussels, and now the country fell victim to inhuman terror,” Sobotka wrote in a press release.

“I condemn the terrorist attacks, which attack the fundamental values of democracy and freedom, which are shared by all European countries including the Czech Republic. We must not allow ourselves to be deterred by terrorists. The perpetrators must be caught and punished,” Sobotka added.

The attacks have also been condemned by other Czech politicians, who expressed sympathy to the survivors and called for the perpetrators to be punished.

“I am shocked, it is a tragedy. Terrorist attacks have targeted the heart of the EU, which approaches immigrants in the most friendly way of all,” Babis said on Twitter.

Chamber of Deputies chairman Jan Hamacek (CSSD) condemned the blasts as attacks on European values.

“The attacks will probably raise a wave of xenophobia, racism and religious intolerance. They mean an effort to foment another wave of chaos in Europe. We should not yield to this or act at variance with the European ideals,” Hamacek said.

Senate chairman Milan Stech (CSSD) said if Islamic radicals are behind the attacks, it would uphold Belgian PM Charles Michel’s statement about the serious threat and the number of radicalised people who have gone through the war in Syria.

“These people will probably return to Europe after the defeat of Islamic state…They cannot be expected to change their views overnight. It is necessary to prepare for this,” Stech said.

The budgets of the intelligence services and other security bodies will have to be raised, he added.

Communist Party (KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip said the attacks in Belgium will probably make the bodies of the EU and its individual member states aware that the goal of the attacks is to stir up chaos and fear in Europe and that resolute measures must be taken in the areas of war conflicts and the asylum policy must be changed.

The right-wing TOP 09 party said the attacks are another ones in a series of attacks “on our civilisation and Euro-Atlantic values.”

“That is why we must not relent in our resistance to terrorism, and the repugnant deed must be punished,” TOP 09 wrote in a press release.

Rightist Civic Democrat (ODS) chairman Petr Fiala condemned the terrorist attacks.

“Let’s not be deterred. This is what the radicals want. The only solution is to keep fighting the people who hate our world,” Fiala wrote in a press release.

“I feel angry and sad…The EU needs to acquire a security dimension,” Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) MEP Pavel Svoboda said on Twitter.

The KDU-CSL, too, said Europe must not allow itself to be deterred by terror, and it must fight against it.

Prague Mayor Adriana Krnacova (ANO) called the Brussels attack horrible and cowardly, and said she hopes that the organisers of the attacks would be caught and brought to trial.

“Europe must now manifest its strength and unity, and show that it does not want to live in permanent fear of terrorism,” Krnacova said.

Sympathy to the families of the victims has been expressed by Tomas Prouza, the government secretary for European affairs.

The blasts in Brussels’s Zaventem airport and metro claimed dozens of lives and dozens of people were injured.

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