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It is my great pleasure to wish you, your families and friends and Jewish communities all over the world a joyful and
blessed Erev Rosh Hashanah and a happy new year 5779, full of health, prosperity and success.
Rosh Hashanah is always a good time to look back at the year before, to review our deeds, an opportunity to refl ect but
also to revive our engagement for causes we believe in and adjust our path accordingly.
It was a challenging year for Europe and its Jewish communities as our societies were put to the test, again. We
witnessed demonstrations of Jewish communities in several countries standing up against antisemitism and claiming
their rights as citizens. Europe is built upon the richness of our diversity and the unity of our fundamental values. That is
why I have great confi dence in our collective future.
The European Commission’s relationship with Jewish communities, organisations and representatives has never been
closer. This alliance makes us stronger in the battle against hatred, extremism and antisemitism. I was very honoured to
receive the Lord Jakobovits Prize of European Jewry this year. I see it as a sign of trust in the bond that exists between
the European Union and the Jewish communities.
With shock and sadness I recall the horrifi c murder of Mireille Knoll who survived the roundup at Vel d’Hiv in 1942, but not
antisemitism in Europe in 2018. The European Commission was very clear that there can be no justifi cation and we stand
in full solidarity with the European Jewish communities in condemning these vile attacks in the strongest possible way.
Jews should never have to wonder whether it is safe to display their identity in their own neighbourhood, city or country.
Europe must remain a place where Jewish life can fl ourish and Jews can freely practice their faith without fear or
restrictions. It doesn’t matter where the hatred comes from, whether it is right-wing, le -wing, Islamist extremists or
whether it comes masked as antizionism, we all have the obligation to stand up and speak out.
Against resurging threats, the rebirth of Jewish life in many parts of Europe is a precious gi . It fi lled me with pride to
take part in the inauguration of the new rabbi in my own home region last year and to see the continuation of thousands
of years of Jewish communities in Europe. Every new synagogue, community centre and school is a step to strengthen
Jewish life, but also a step to strengthen Europe and to strengthen our societies.
We will ensure that Jewish voices continue to be heard in Europe and let me thank all of you who participated in the
broadest consultation ever on challenges to Jewish life in Europe, conducted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. The
results will be presented this December and will guide our policy response with the ultimate aim of ensuring the rights
of Jews in Europe.
This year is also special as we celebrate two crucial moments in history: the 70th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, enshrining the lessons for humanity from the Shoah, and the 70th anniversary of the
establishment of the State of Israel, materialising the Jewish people’s dream of a Jewish homeland.
The European Union was built on the values of respect for human dignity, human rights, freedom, democracy, equality
and the rule of law. We have the obligation to protect and strengthen the richness of Jewish culture and diversity and its
contribution to our Europe.
Shana tova ve’metuqa!