For the first time the European Parliament has added support for memorials of victims of Stalin's illegal occupation of European countries to existing support for memorials to the victims of Nazi occupied Europe.
"What should have been quite a simple vote to add support for memorials to the victims of Stalinism in the Citizens for Europe Report ( H. Takkula report on "Citizens for Europe" programme to promote active European citizenship 2007-2013 ) became rather heated when extreme left members of the Committee tried to water down the scope of the funding," commented Christopher Beazley MEP, Conservative Spokesman for Culture and Education on March 22nd.
The Culture and Education Committee voted to extend funding to include "Support for projects to commemorate the victims of Nazi and Stalinist mass deportation and mass extermination".
Christopher Beazley observed: "Of course, these issues remain contentions. Stalin may have ended the Second World War as an ally of Britain, France and America but when the war began he was an ally of Nazi Germany. The European Union now includes countries illegally occupied by the Soviet Union and the historical background of the new EU States should be fully acknowledged. Stalinism and Hitlerism were two sides of the same coin and only these regimes engaged in mass deportations of people across borders to their deaths. "
"We still have to pass the hurdle of a full vote of the Parliament in April ahead of the unveiling of a commemorative plaque, to the victims of the deportations from the Baltic States in 1941, by the Parliament's President. This terrible period of Europe's history must be fully recognised and understood as without truth and understanding there can be no reconciliation."
The European Parliament will vote on the Takkula report during the April plenary session. Christopher Beazley (EPP-ED, United Kingdom) is the Chair of the European Parliament's Baltic-Europe group.
Stalin's criminal record exposed