Lasīšanas ilgums: 3 minūtes

 The views of Western Europe and Eastern Europe diverge most fundamentally when we talk about the history of the 20th century. The memory of Europe’s history is the common heritage of all Europeans today and of future generations. Reconciliation with the legacy of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes requires sharing and promoting this memory. It is regrettable that reconciliation is still being hindered and undermined by the ideologies and the harsh political battles of the last century. The EPP Group is deeply convinced that by speaking frankly and listening carefully to each others’ differing stories, Europeans will be able to overcome the consequences of Europe’s division.

The importance of keeping the memories of the past alive was highlighted by the European Parliament in its Resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism and by the Council in its conclusions On the memory of the crimes committed by the totalitarian regimes in Europe on 8 June 2011. The Council and the European Parliament underline that this is particularly important because “there can be no reconciliation without truth and remembrance.”

The history

In November 2008 the Council adopted a Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law. The Framework Decision is limited to crimes committed on the grounds of race, colour, religion, descent, or national or ethnic origins. It does not cover the crimes committed on other grounds, for example by totalitarian regimes.

The Council asked the Commission to examine and to report to the Council, within two years after the entry-into-force of the Framework Decision, whether an additional instrument is needed to cover publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivializing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes directed against a group of persons defined by reference to criteria other than race colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origins – such as social status or political convictions.

The subsequent December 2010 Report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and to the Council, The memory of the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes in Europe, presents how the Commission intends to provide a basis for further discussion on how the European Union can contribute to promoting the memory of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes. Each Member State has found its own way to deal with these issues and the Commission can facilitate this process by encouraging discussion and the sharing of experiences and promoting best practices. It also aims to answer the request from the Council to report on the need for any additional instruments in this area.

Hearing all points of view

Given the substantial importance that the Council and the European Parliament have placed on historical memory and truth for the reconciliation of European history, and that the EPP Group in the European Parliament has always played a leading role in the dialogue on the crucial need for Europe to carry out a comprehensive reassessment of European history in order to strengthen European integration, the EPP Group and in particular MEP Sandra Kalniete, have organised a hearing on 19 October to discuss the Commission’s report.

Speakers from diverse fields will discuss the Commission’s report and the possible future of this topic in three sessions: Existing legal framework on denial of totalitarian crimes – what’s missing?; Actions at the EU level to preserve and promote memory – education; Remembrance, documentation, archiving and full use of existing EU financial programs.

Strengthening democracy

“It is important that we continue to work for historical and legal justice for those millions of people who suffered under totalitarianism in Europe,” said Sandra Kalniete. “By leading through example we can teach Europe’s future generations the strength of democracy and our unbending conviction that Europe will never allow such horrors to be repeated.”

Ģirts Salmgriezis, ETP preses pārstāvis