10 May, 2014
Juncker calls for release of school girls kidnapped in Nigeria
Brussels, 10 May 2014
On 9 May, Europe Day, Jean-Claude Juncker used his intervention in a live presidential TV debate at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) to make a plea to bring back the kidnapped Nigerian girls.
Nearly a month ago, over 300 schoolchildren were abducted from their school in Nigeria by Boko Haram, an Islamist extremist group that has threatened to sell them.
Explaining his intervention, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “I was sat in my dressing room, about to go on stage to debate with the other candidates for President of the European Commission, and reading through the day’s newspapers in preparation. I came across Malala’s article in Time Magazine and that’s when it struck me: how can we debate hypothetical institutional questions when this kind of atrocity is going on? There is not a single justification for abducting 300 school girls. It is simply not right.”
"We Europeans cannot stand idly by whilst hundreds of families suffer this tragedy. That is not the world I want to live in and that is not the Europe I stand for. I call for the immediate release of these girls.
As Commission President I want a European foreign policy whose bite is just as menacing as its bark. We cannot let these men get away with kidnapping 300 school girls anymore than can let Putin get away with violating international law in Ukraine. I stand for a Europe that can equal the challenges set for it. I stand for a Europe that is brave.”
Jean-Claude Juncker reiterated his call at a speech in Rotenburg an der Fulda (Germany) today.
His call echoes those from world leaders such as Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai. He is the first prominent male European politician, and the first of all Presidential candidates to join in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.