BRUSSELS, April 2 - The European Parliament has proposed August 23 as a common remembrance day of the victims of totalitarian regimes in a Resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism which was adopted today by a very large majority. The Resolution, which was originally initiated by EPP-ED Members Jana Hybáškova (Czech Republic ), Tunne Kelam (Estonia ) and József Szájer (Hungary ), is an historical breakthrough. Following the plenary debate on 25 March 2009, the adoption of this Resolution is the first formal and full acknowledgement of the evils of communism by the European Parliament.
The Chairman of the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Joseph Daul MEP, recalled: "2009 is a deeply symbolic year, since we celebrate both the 60th anniversary of the creation of NATO and the beginnings of the cold war, and the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which ended it. This is why we have proposed to launch a Europe-wide day of remembrance which will help Europe reconcile its totalitarian legacy, both from the Nazis and the Communists. I am disappointed though that the Socialists, because of the un-reconstructed Left, seem to be opposed to such a declaration. If we do not understand our past, we run the risk of repeating it in the future", said Joseph Daul.
"Europe will not be united if it will not learn about and from the crimes against humanity and horrors of the past, and if it doesn't recognise the common history. These horrors have to be studied and acknowledged. This is why we ask the Council and the Commission to mark August 23, the anniversary of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, as a European Day of Remembrance of the victims of Nazism and Communism and to contribute financially and politically to the establishment of a Platform of European Memory and Conscience", declared Jana Hybášková MEP, one of initiators of the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and communism.
József Szájer MEP emphasised that there are two standards in this question: human dignity and unquestionable respect of life based on the Christian tradition and universal human rights which originated at the time of the Enlightenment. József Szájer MEP condemned the practice of estimating which inhuman dictatorships killed, or humiliated more people.
Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam, one of the authors of the Resolution, concluded that in parallel to economic and political enlargement, Europe needs enlargement of its consciousness of the terrible crimes that were committed by totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. Our ultimate goal is reconciliation which can be achieved by admitting responsibility, asking for forgiveness and fostering moral renewal, Kelam concluded. Kelam was especially satisfied that the EPP-ED Group showed genuine European solidarity. "It is important and symbolic that among the co-initiators of this Resolution there were not only MEPs from Eastern Europe, but also German, British, Swedish Members of the EPP-ED Group Presidency, two EP Vice-Presidents from Spain and Italy and also MEPs from France and Germany ", Kelam said.
"The European Union was forged out of the horrors of the Second World War and is the most successful reconciliation project in history. We are now a Union of twenty-seven Member States and in order for this project to continue being a success; we have to understand each other's pasts. I am very glad that the Czech Presidency, both in this case and in other initiatives, such as its international conference in June on Holocaust era assets, has shown a willingness to confront the darkest chapters of our common history", concluded Joseph Daul MEP.
Crimes of Communism and Totalitarianism condemned - victims to be remembered - integration of the European perception of its common history. (1)