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Napolitano warns European unity under attack

Cooperation in EU contributes to peace, says Italian president

24 March, 11:39
Napolitano warns European unity under attack (ANSA) - Rome, March 24 - Achieving peace across Europe has been a gift that cannot be taken for granted, but that unity is now under threat, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano said Monday. Speaking at the Fosse Ardeatine, the site of a Second World War massacre, he urged greater unity across Europe and criticized parties that Napolitano said are attacking the European Union.

"Peace cannot ever be taken for granted, but is an achievement," said Napolitano.

But today, he added, "various parties are trying to discredit and attack," institutions such as the European Union that contribute to peace and unity.

With elections upcoming in May for the European Parliament, opponents of the EU are rallying and these should be countered, said Napolitano.

"We must remember...that we cannot play with these opponents who tend to discredit our heritage of the struggle for freedom," he added.

Napolitano spoke during a ceremony to commemorate the March 1944 massacre of 335 men and boys at Rome's Fosse Ardeatine, a network of caves on the southern edge of the city.

Nazis soldiers carried out the murders in a reprisal for a partisan attack that killed 33 German soldiers.

In retaliation, for every one German killed, the army seized 10 Italians including civilians as well as numerous political prisoners and Jews who were in custody,+plus another five more also executed.