The President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso warned of the rise of racism and anti-Semitism due to the economic problems in Europe, in a greeting message to European Jewry on the occasion of Rosh Hashana, The European Jewish Press (EJP) reported.
"At a very difficult time, both economically and socially, when some people, even within Europe, are tempted to reconnect with old demons – populism, racism and anti-Semitism -, we need more than ever to uphold, to protect and to promote together our common ideals of peace, tolerance, reconciliation and respect for human dignity," the head of the EU’s executive branch wrote in a letter to the European Jewish Congress (EJC).
"This is the overwhelming purpose of the European Union and represents the key tenets of my political and personal philosophy," he added.
In his letter, Barroso also noted his respect for the Jewish people.
"I feel enormous respect for these pillars of your faith and belief and consider that Europe should be built on many of these principles: the richness of history, the weight of the past, the power of remembrance, the promise of a new start and of a better future," he wrote, according to EJP.
The greeting comes a week after EJC President Moshe Kantor similarly warned that racism and anti-Semitism were on the rise in Europe, during a gathering of European Jewish and Muslim leaders in Paris.
"We, as leaders, have the power and the responsibility to create change. In our synagogues, in our mosques, in sending the right messages," Kantor said at the gathering. "It is the responsibility of all of us to stand up and make loud our protest."