In a statement issued following the Brussels attacks on March 22, German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered her condolences to the families of the victims. She also said that “free societies” would prove stronger than terrorism.
“Let me express my condolences, both on behalf of the German government and on my behalf personally,” Merkel said.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Merkel said she had spoken to Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel to offer Germany’s solidarity, and that her cabinet would meet on March 23 to discuss “in depth” the response to the Brussels attacks. She added that she was in constant contact with her security forces.
About the attackers, she said: “The murderers of Brussels are terrorists who have no regard for the precepts of humanity. The murder scene of Brussels reminds us above all that the perpetrators are enemies of all the values for which Europe stands today, and which we as members of the European Union believe in – and, particularly on this day, with great pride – the values of freedom, democracy, and peaceful co-existence as self-confident citizens.”
“Our strength is in our unity, and that is how our free societies will prove themselves stronger than terrorism,” she added.
In Germany, the police tightened security on the borders with Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, as well as at airports and railway stations. In a press release, the police said officers on the ground had been provided with “extra protective equipment suitable for the location”.
According to DW, armed police have been ordered to patrol key points at German stations, special units alerted, and surveillance of known extremists is to be stepped up.
Meanwhile, Germany’s national rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, temporarily suspended all trains to Belgium’s capital. All flights to Brussels were also cancelled for March 22.