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 Full text 
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Comprehensive European education, research and remembrance of the totalitarian past (topical debate)

  Sandra Kalniete, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, the last century taught us a harsh lesson in how dangerous and unpredictable authoritarian regimes and dictatorships are. That’s why totalitarian crimes must not be repeated. We need education, research and remembrance to build immunity and resilience in our societies against every temptation of undemocratic solutions. Europeans need this knowledge in order to clearly recognise and resist nationalists, populists and radicals on both the left and the right and to prevent them from hijacking and denigrating our democratic values and brainwashing our open societies.

The European Union was constructed against the backdrop of trauma brought about by National Socialism and Communism. Also, they defied ideology. They originated as groups of populists who used manipulation to grab power in order to build the most brutal regimes that claimed the lives of millions. The historical experience of Western Europe was Nazism, whereas Central and Eastern European countries have experienced both Communism and Nazism. These authoritarian regimes are our common legacy, and Europe must be able to speak in one language about this double legacy.

To this end, the Union should provide a framework and sufficient financial funding for comprehensive research into Europe’s totalitarianism – both totalitarianisms – as well as educational programmes and cultural projects. We also need the full opening up of historical archives to verify the historical lies.

We have to see the clear link between populism, extremism, autocracy and dictatorship around the world. Moreover, we have to act in response to mass violations of human rights be it in Russia, China, Iran or in jihadism or Islamism.

Last updated: 28 May 2019Legal notice