Europe cannot accept Polish workers being "murdered in the streets of Essex", Jean-Claude Juncker warned during his state of the EU address this morning (14 September).
"Above all, Europe means peace. Seventy years of lasting peace in Europe in a world of 40 active armed conflicts," the European Commission president told MEPs.
"Of course, we still have our differences. Sometimes we fight, but we fight with words and we settle our conflicts around the table, not in trenches.
"An integral part of our European way of life is our values, the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law. We Europeans can never accept, never, Polish workers being harassed, beaten up or even murdered in the streets of Essex."
Juncker's comments refer to the killing of Arkadiusz Jozwik, who was attacked by a group of teenagers on 27 August outside the TGF Pizza and Mr Luigi's takeaway shops in The Stow. The 40-year-old factory worker died from his injuries two days later.
Essex Police said it was treating the incident as a "potential hate crime" and others linked the attack to the UK's vote to leave the EU in a 23 June referendum.
"The police have told us he was attacked because they heard him and his friends speaking the Polish language," the victim's brother, Radek Jozwik, told the Harlow Star.
"He was standing eating pizza and they picked on him because of that. He does not speak much English. The young teenagers are so aggressive. After the Brexit vote it has got worse – I have seen people change – it is hard at the moment."
The police have since arrested five 15-year-old boys and a 16-year-old on suspicion of murder. The teenagers have been released on police bail until October.
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