By President José Manuel Barroso
It was with immense sadness that I heard the news of the death of Václav Havel. He was a true European and has been a champion of democracy and liberty throughout his life.
I recall with great emotion the contacts we have had while he held the office, first as President of Czechoslovakia and then of the Czech Republic and also as a European personality and man of culture.
Václav Havel’s name will remain forever attached to the reunification of Europe and the expansion of its values to Central and Eastern Europe. He was also a source of great inspiration to all those who fight for freedom and democracy around the world.
The man has died but the legacy of his poems, plays and above all his ideas and personal example will remain alive for many generations to come. As he said himself in 1975 in an open letter to Gustáv Husák then President of the Communist regime: “Life cannot be destroyed for good, neither can history be brought entirely to a halt”.