Sputnik — The conference on the “Legacy of the Crimes of Communist Regimes in 21st Century Europe” was hosted by the Estonian capital on Wednesday. Its final declaration was signed by only eight EU countries, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The number of nations attending was not disclosed.
“The failure of the conference in Estonia is a positive sign for Europe. Its supporters will eventually isolate themselves,” Syriza’s spokeswoman Rania Svingu tweeted.
Greece’s Justice Minister Stavros Kontonis refused to take part in the gathering, saying its cold-war era atmosphere contradicted EU values. His abstention led to warnings from some Greek politicians that the country could become isolated.
August 23 marks the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes, but the Tallinn conference singled out the legacy of Communism for debates.
Brussels also issued a statement to mark 23 August:
“Today, 23 August, we mark the Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. We remember the victims of these regimes and we restate our rejection of the ideologies they were built on.(…)Totalitarian regimes across Europe restricted people’s freedoms; violated their rights and made millions of ordinary citizens victims of their ideology. 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. 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. 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.”