Posted tagged ‘REH group statement’

The ban of totalitarian symbols is not considered necessary by the President of the EP

March 5, 2014

In December 2013, Transylvanian MEP László Tőkés, Hungarian MEP George Schöpflin, Latvian MEPs Sandra Klaniete and Inese Vaidere, Lithuanian MEPs Laima Liucija Andrikiené and Vytautas Landsbergis, as well as Slovenian MEP Milan Zver addressed a letter to the President of the European Parliament, in which they requested a ban of symbols of totalitarian regimes.

Referring to the epoch-making European Parliament Resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism, the undersigning EPP Group Members reminded the Socialist President that “Europe will not be united unless it is able to form a common view of its history, recognizes Nazism, Stalinism and Fascist and Communist regimes as a common legacy and brings about an honest and thorough debate on their crimes in the past century.” Further, they draw the attention of Martin Schulz to the fact that while the usage, denial and/or disparagement of totalitarian symbols is prohibited and considered a criminal offense in some Member States, these virulent phenomena occur on a daily basis in other Member States.

“We turn to you, Mr. President with the respectful request that you ban the use of symbols of dictatorships inside the European Parliament and all its public premises, in particular the swastika, red star as well as the hammer and sickle. We similarly recommend that the European Parliament make a proposal on the ban of dictatorial symbols in all EU member states. It is our firm conviction that it would be truly worthy of the EU’s spirit and image, as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize,” concluded the letter.

“As you surely are aware the European Parliament has been throughout its existence an undeniable pillar of freedom, democracy, non-discrimination and rule of law in Europe and indeed at a global level and has never hesitated to reaffirm the values it stands for,” replied The President on 14 February 2014, however he did not consider the ban of genocidal totalitarian symbols necessary. Nevertheless, a general ban of totalitarian symbols would have had a strong message to the European people who had suffered under the brutality of both rightist and leftist dictatorships.

Diplomatically avoiding the request itself, President Schulz cited the Rules governing cultural events and exhibitions on Parliament’s premises, stating that “these rules are, and will be in the future, an effective tool to avoid any undue displays of potentially disturbing images or symbols within the European Parliament.”

On 25 February, the Memorial Day for the Victims of Communism, Transylvanian MEP Tőkés said that 25 years after the fall of soviet-communist dictatorships double standards still prevail in the European Union, and the silent toleration of communist symbols continues violating the memory of millions of victims.  

Strasbourg, 25 February 2014


Members of the REH group, in the European Parliament, welcomed the decision to dismantle symbols of totalitarianism in Georgia

January 29, 2014

Chair of the Reconciliation of European Histories group (REH), MEP Sandra Kalniete, in a letter to the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament expresses satisfaction with the amendment to the Liberty Charter, adopted by the Georgian Parliament on December the 25th. The new amendment is aimed at actual enforcement of measures to prevent public displays of symbols of totalitarian regimes. This act should effectively stop the construction of monuments dedicated to Joseph Stalin, started last year.

Last year, on behalf of the REH group, Ms. Kalniete turned to senior officials in the Georgian government, expressing outrage at the fact that Georgia had approved plans to erect monuments in honour of the murderous leader of the Soviet Union. In addition, steps were taken for the European Parliament to formally condemning such behaviour. With the recent decision, Ms. Kalniete feels satisfaction that the work of the REH group may have contributed to the Georgian Parliament’s decision.

After Georgia’s decision to amend the law, MEPs were pleased to learn that the Stalin monument recently built in the city of Telavi was immediately removed. The law now provides real penalties for the glorification of communist and fascist regimes and facilitates the creation of a panel to identify and prevent such violations.

In the letter sent to the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Ms. Kalniete expressing support for the parliamentary decision and emphasised that this decision corresponds with European values and will help strengthen the already strong relationship between the EU and Georgia.

 Link to an article on the Georgian decision



Statement of the Reconciliation of European Histories group: On the Occasion of the Founding of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience

September 29, 2011

The Reconciliation of European Histories group in the European Parliament welcomes the establishment of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience as a significant step towards the reconciliation and converging of the European historical narratives. In 2004 when the nations of Central and Eastern Europe, became Member States, the true history of the Iron Curtain still had to be written. Following the enlargement we faced the challenge of including the experience of the post-communist nations into the common narrative of European history. In seven years we have accomplished much to raise the public’s awareness about Europe’s troubled past and the crimes committed by totalitarian regimes. As the December 22nd 2010 Commission Report on the memory of crimes committed by totalitarian regimes and the June 8th 2011 Council Conclusions of the same title show, these years of work have brought this most important topic to the highest reaches of EU governance (more…)

Statement of the Reconciliation of European Histories group

May 16, 2011

Due to the fact that a few journalist of international newspapers have been using the most unfortunate phrase “a Polish concentration camp” in regards to the Nazi German camps in occupied Poland, the Reconciliation of European Histories group would like to remind those concerned that the usage of this wording is incorrect. Moreover, such a misrepresentation is insensitive and can be hurtful towards the people who were the victims of Nazi persecution, their descendants, and all nations whose territories were occupied by Nazi Germany. It is important for all of us to remember that the Polish people, as well as other European peoples, were also prisoners of Nazi concentration camps. (more…)