JTA — In a Rosh Hashanah greeting, the president of the European Commission warned of a rise of racism and anti-Semitism in Europe.

“At a very difficult time, both economically and socially, when some people, even within Europe, are tempted to reconnect with old demons — populism, racism and anti-Semitism — we need more than ever to uphold, to protect and to promote together our common ideals of peace, tolerance, reconciliation and respect for human dignity,” Jose Manuel Barroso wrote in a message sent Tuesday to the European Jewish Congress.

The European Commission is the European Union’s executive body.

Barroso’s message came a week after EJC President Moshe Kantor warned that racism and anti-Semitism were on the rise. Speaking during a large gathering of senior European Jewish and Muslim leaders held in Paris, Kantor said that communal and religious leaders have to be part of the solution.

In his letter, Barroso also noted his respect for the Jewish people.

“I feel enormous respect for these pillars of your faith and belief and consider that Europe should be built on many of these principles: the richness of history, the weight of the past, the power of remembrance, the promise of a new start and of a better future,” he wrote.