Remembering victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes: ‘There is no place in the EU for extremism, intolerance and oppression’
There is no place in the European Union for extremism, intolerance and oppression, European Commissioners Frans Timmermans and Věra Jourová said in a statement on August 23, Europe’s day of remembrance for victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
On August 23 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which marked the beginning of one of the darkest periods in the recent history of Europe, Timmermans and Jourová said.
Totalitarian regimes across Europe restricted people’s freedoms; violated their rights and made millions of ordinary citizens victims of their ideology, the statement said. It noted that after the end of the Second World War, many Europeans continued to suffer under totalitarian regimes.
“We must remember past horrors to give us the knowledge and strength to reject those who seek to revive these ideologies.
“The European Union was built on the common values of human dignity, fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy, and on the rejection of extreme nationalism. We must never take these rights and freedoms for granted. We pledge to fight for them every day.”
Extremism, nationalism, xenophobia and hatred can still be heard in public speech in Europe, the statement said.
Keeping these memories alive is not only a tribute to the victims but also a way to ensure that these ideologies can be forcefully rejected and such atrocities never happen again, Timmermans and Jourová said.
“We stand firm in our defence of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights, in Europe and worldwide. There is no place in the European Union for extremism, intolerance and oppression,” the statement said.
(Archive photo: The annual Lukov March in Bulgarian capital Sofia, held every February by far-right groups in honour of a pro-Nazi general in Bulgaria during World War 2)