New European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance to the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes

The Memorial to the Victims of Communism at Petrin hill in Mala Strana. (Photo: Afar)

The Platform welcomes the new European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe, which was adopted on 19 September 2019 in Strasbourg. The resolution was supported by 535 votes in favour, 66 against, and 52 abstentions.

In the field of commemoration the European Parliament (EP) paid tribute to the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes and calls for a “common culture of remembrance” as a way of fostering Europeans’ resilience to modern threats to democracy. They recall that European integration has, from the start, been a response to the suffering inflicted by two world wars, and built as a model of peace and reconciliation founded on the values common to all member states. The European Union is therefore particularly responsible for safeguarding democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The EP also calls on the member states to commemorate 23rd August as the European Day of Remembrance for the victims of totalitarian regimes and to establish the International Day of Heroes of the Fight against Totalitarianism (25th May).

In the field of education, the EP calls on the member states to promote and to raise the younger generation’s awareness of these issues by including the history and analysis of the consequences of totalitarian regimes in the curricula and textbooks of all schools in the EU and stresses the importance of keeping memories of the past alive, because there can be no reconciliation without remembrance.

In the field of justice, the EP recalls that the Nazi and Communist regimes carried out mass murders, genocide and deportations and caused a loss of life and freedom in the 20th century on a scale unseen in human history, and recalls the horrific crime of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi regime; the EP condemns in the strongest terms the acts of aggression, crimes against humanity and mass human rights violations perpetrated by the Nazi, Communist and other totalitarian regimes. The EP calls on all Member States of the EU to make a clear and principled assessment of the crimes and acts of aggression perpetrated by the totalitarian Communist regimes and the Nazi regime. And also expresses its deep respect for each victim of these totalitarian regimes and calls on all EU institutions and actors to do their utmost to ensure that horrific totalitarian crimes against humanity and systemic gross human rights violations are remembered and brought before courts of law, and to guarantee that such crimes will never be repeated.

The EP condemns the fact that extremist and xenophobic political forces in Europe are increasingly resorting to distortion of historical facts, and employ symbolism and rhetoric that echoes aspects of totalitarian propaganda, including racism, anti-Semitism and hatred towards sexual and other minorities.

It is the first time since 2009 that the EP has recognised the importance of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience and its activities and also calls for the provision of effective support for it.

“The Platform of European Memory and Conscience wishes to express our utmost appreciation for the adoption of the new resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future and the huge support for it, which is a sign that the fundamental meaning of remembrance for Europe’s present and future is widely understood. We would like to thank all MEPs who proposed and backed this important document. We hope that it will result in concrete EU Commission actions,” says Łukasz Kamiński, President of the Platform.