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Denmark/shootings in Copenhagen

Published on February 18, 2015
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, to Europe 1/I-Télé/Le Monde
Paris, February 15, 2015

Q. – After a one-month interval, Denmark has just experienced a scenario very similar to the one France went through. Would you say jihadist terrorism has declared war on Europe?

THE MINISTER – Yes, and today our hearts are in Copenhagen. You know the facts. Yesterday afternoon, the attack on a cultural centre, which sadly left one person dead and several injured. Then, in the night, the attack on a synagogue, with one person of Jewish faith dead. And this morning, at around 5.00 a.m., the police killed someone they’re identifying as the perpetrator of the slaughter. I spoke to my Danish colleague on the telephone yesterday, and then to our ambassador – who had a narrow escape – several times. What can we say? We stand by our Danish friends, who are clearly very shaken by all this…

Q. – But they were expecting it. It’s no surprise for them, because they’ve known for a long time that they’re targets.

THE MINISTER – Yes, but society hasn’t organized itself in relation to it. Like you, I’m also struck by the copycat nature of the sequence of events. First of all, it’s an attack on the symbol of freedom of expression, then an attack on Jews and then the clash with police. What lesson must we learn from this? A lesson we all have in mind: that terrorism is international and the response is international, and it must firstly be European.

Hence the initiatives we’re taking to strengthen the security aspect, to have a foreign policy enabling us to combat terrorism, and to fight radicalization at the domestic level. (…)

Q. – There’s no hallmark? Because the fact is, you said – and emphasized – that the targets were the same as in Paris, at any rate, in terms of symbols, [and] the strategy is practically the same. Is there, behind this, an organization, a hallmark?

THE MINISTER – There’s what is called, in quite another field, “franchising”, i.e. there’s a whole series of people who, sadly, are prepared to go and wage, as they say, jihad. They’re jihad-terrorists who draw inspiration from existing models, either because events have already occurred, in Paris, or because online they’re given advice and ways of proceeding. And this is why we’ve got to be accurate in the analysis and implacable in our actions.

Q. – What’s striking is that the attacker went home, or to an accomplice’s, yesterday, in Copenhagen. Maybe he lives in Copenhagen? And evidently he’s a Danish citizen, i.e. a son of the country. Does this mean the enemy is within?

THE MINISTER – It means the ravages of this terrorism are extremely far-reaching, and this is why we must protect ourselves. The French President spoke on the telephone to the Danish Prime Minister, and I spoke to my Danish counterpart. We asked Bernard Cazeneuve, the Interior Minister, who was in Morocco, to go to Denmark. The Danish government held a crisis meeting. We shall obviously be following all this in close communication with the government. But beyond these tragic incidents, a whole organization must be set up, is being set up, to fight this evil. And we’ve got to speak the facts: this will take time (…)./.

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