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Resistance and resilience

The formidable mass rising of the French people against the attacks in Paris matches its attachment to Freedom that has been flouted and assaulted.

It has been followed by millions of others in the world, in all places where this word is interpreted in the same way and particularly within Europe which has illustrated its spontaneous solidarity, the proof that when necessary, we indeed share the same values.

The emotion expressed by this is a unique act of popular resistance in a country and on a continent whose speciality is doubt, but whose signature is generosity. This wave, which rose up like a cry of defiance - "never again!" is one of incredible strength, both compelling and engaging.

Because in fact, far from being over, the battle will go on. Unity is the prerequisite to counter terrorism, the means to do so have to be adequate.

The compassion of our leaders must not just be measured by their presence in the place of the attack, but especially by the effectiveness of their work to prevent these acts. The compassion of the people has to be part of the long term, to prepare them to face other tests. They must be themselves, take inspiration and stand as one, but be determined to relinquish certain privileges and show the courage to defend themselves.

Because the challenge of this absolute horror, brought to the heart of the City of Light, is known already to those who protect us - the military and the security forces. They have often given their lives to save ours. Often in distant lands, they have confronted the pitiless, mad cruelty of those for whom life has no value in the sands of the Sahel, in the twilight of illegal networks, in the shadows of unsung heroism. They need new support, whilst often other concerns - social, environmental, educational - have taken precedence and the means at their disposal have continued to decline.

Every one will now have understood that when vital matters are being challenged it is towards these forces that we turn because they are the only ones left to protect them.

So, we Europeans, should stop reducing our defence and security forces, because our free societies are being challenged and are therefore under threat. To guarantee the resilience of our democracies, we should never give up preparing for war - precisely with the aim of preventing it.