Archive for June 2011

MEP Milan Zver: How to come to terms with the past?

June 28, 2011

One of the key questions of contemporary societies is how to come to terms with the past,  and particularly with the ‘dark’ heritage of the turbulent 20th century. This – individual as well as collective – reconciliation with the past should be based on truth, but the truth is sometimes bitter and often painful. Hence the dilemma: Is it worth opening old wounds, disturbing tranquillity by ‘counting the bones’ and dealing with the past instead of with the future? It can often even be heard that those opening this discussion are doing it for possible political gain. But the truth might be quite the opposite – those who want to close it are doing it on the basis of certain political calculations. (more…)


Commemorating 70 years from the first mass deportations from the Baltic States: “Your past is our past”. Tunne Kelam MEP

June 9, 2011

(MEPs also gathered by the memorial plaque, honoring those deported from the Baltic nations.)

At the opening of the plenary session, the Members of the European Parliament commemorated 70 years from the first mass deportations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, conducted by the Soviet Union.

In his statement, the President of the European Parliament Jerzy Buzek stressed that we need to remember many thousands of victims in the Baltic States which had been occupied since 1940 by the Soviet Union.   (see the full video of debate in the Plenary) (more…)

Letters from Siberia in the European Parliament

June 8, 2011

On June 14th, the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels will hosted an exhibition “Birch Bark Letters from Siberia.” The exhibition was organized by MEP Sandra Kalniete (EPP,Latvia), in collaboration with the Tukums Museum in Latvia. For one week, MEPs, staff and guests were able to acquaint themselves with letters which were written on birch bark and sent to the loved ones of Latvians who were forcefully deported to Siberia. Today, from several thousand such examples only 19 remain in the collections of Latvian museums, as historical evidence of this most tragic past. Elza Serdāne, the author of one such letter which has miraculously survived to this day, also took part in the official opening ceremony of the exhibition. At the age of 73, Elza is the active leader of the Politically Repressed Society in her home town of Madona.  (more…)

Statement by Sandra Kalniete, Chairwoman of the REH group: On ex-Yugoslav secret communist police archives in Slovenia

June 1, 2011

Member of the European Parliament from Latvia, Ms Sandra Kalniete, is chairing an informal parliamentary group, the “Reconciliation of European Histories”. A group which consists of 38 MEPs from six political groups (EPP, SD, ALDE, Greens, ECR, and EFD) and therefore has broad political support in the EP.

This week a referendum will take place in Slovenia and voters will decide whether to allow new legislation that proposes to limit individual’s access to the Slovenian archives of the ex-Yugoslav secret communist police (SDV or UDBA). As this topic is of a great importance for the Reconciliation of European Histories group I would like to present my opinion on that matter.  (more…)