LONDON, July 26 (UPI) -- Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero urged for a European Union response to combat xenophobia in the wake of the killing spree in Norway.
"This is something extremely serious that requires a response, a European response, a shared response to defend freedom, to defend democracy, calling on people to rise up and fight radicalism, to respond against xenophobia," Zapatero said at a news conference in London Monday after meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Zapatero, the current president of the European Union, said the bombing in downtown Oslo and the shooting spree on nearby Utoya Island by confessed killer Anders Behring Breivik "is one of the most worrying and serious events that we have ever seen take place on European soil," EUobserver.com reported Tuesday.
"Where we have seen this upsurge or rebirth of xenophobic ideas, when we have seen that happening in our old democratic Europe, then we have to react quickly," he said. "We can't let time go by and let that carry on."
Breivik confessed to carrying out the bombing in central Oslo that killed eight people and the massacre on the island, where he shot and killed 68 people, mostly teenagers attending a political party retreat. During a closed-door court hearing in Oslo Monday, the 32-year-old Breivik said he regretted the loss of life but argued the killings were "necessary" to save Europe from "colonization" by Muslims.
His 1,500-page manifesto was posted online before the attacks.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, identified as a target in the manifesto, also urged better efforts to fight xenophobia, EUobserver.com reported.
"This hatred [of foreigners] is our common enemy," she said Sunday.