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Speech in plenary: Our values are stronger than your hate

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The tragedies in Norway this summer hit us all. As parents, neighbours and fellow human beings, and as participants in the political life, regardless of political views we know them all, the young committed, the idealists, with the interest for the future and for what is right and wrong. And we all know they are all right in their commitment. It was directed at some but it hit us all.

And the words of the famous Norwegian poet Henrik Ibsen, once expressed in support for a Denmark under attack during the Schleswig-Holstein war in the 1850:ies was exactly what we all felt, when we saw the unbelievable brutalities from Norway this summer:

“En bror i nöd, hver mand på deck” a brother in need, all hands on deck!

In a dark era of modern European history, it was an expression in my country that the cause of Finland also was our cause. Today the cause of Norway is the cause of Europe.

Even though our compassion, sympathy and solidarity never can be compared to the pain and sorrow that afflict families in Norway, we want to say to all affected families that we are sharing your loss and grief and your cause is also ours.

We share a history of violence and intolerance, but we have come to the shared conviction that a decent society can only be built on liberty, tolerance and respect.

In times of hardship, Norwegians return to their great WWII poet, Nordahl Grieg.

And from numerous funerals for young girls and boys killed on a political summer camp and innocent victims of a mad man’s confused ideas, we have heard Nordahl Grieg’s great poem “Til ungdomen”- to the Youth- being recited.

Krig er forakt for liv

Fred er å skape

Kast dine krafter in

Döden skal tape

Can we honour all the young dedicated people who lost their lives on the Island of Utöya in any better way, than to confirm our full commitment too those words and the mission they give us?

Norway’s conviction not to let terror change their society, to defend the open society against attacks and dark ideas, must be the conviction of all European countries.

And the dignity and strength the Norwegian society has shown in its intent to defeat hatred and intolerance with love and unity is an example for us all.

This is not about words and it is not about naïve idealism, it is about decisiveness and realism, to make sure that we can tell them all, all those who threaten our societies and our citizens, be they single extremists or organised terrorists, from all of us: you lost and we won, and we will win and you will loose because our values are stronger than your hate.

Mr President, that’s the way we shall honour those who lost their lives and their families in our Norway and our Europe.