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On 2 April 2009, the European Parliament decided that 23 August each year should mark the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. With the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 23 August 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union had divided Europe into spheres of interest. That agreement, with its secret protocols, preceded the German attack on Poland on 1 September 1939 and the Soviet occupation of eastern Poland, as well as the Soviet occupation and later annexation ...

Looking back on the implosion of the Soviet Union in late 1991, this Briefing reflects on the debate in the Parliament about its possible consequences at the time. It shows that a clear majority of MEPs initially remained keen on the transformation of the Soviet Union into some kind of 'new Union'. They were concerned both about the dire economic situation in several Soviet republics, and about the maintenance of effective control over the Soviet Union's huge nuclear arsenal. Since 1988 the EP, like ...

In August 2018, Russia's embassy in Washington claimed that US-Russia relations were moving towards irreversible breakdown. Long-standing bilateral tensions have been aggravated in recent years by Russia's aggression against Ukraine, sanctions, and accusations of Russian meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections. Initially, Donald Trump's electoral victory raised hopes in Russia that tensions could ease. But while Trump often appears to share Russian wishes to move from confrontation to a more ...

Although Brussels is often referred to as the de facto ‘capital of Europe’, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas has argued that the city suffers from an ‘iconographic deficit’, because the way the space is organised, together with the architecture of EU buildings is insufficiently distinctive to be particularly memorable. In fact, there are quite a number of places of symbolic significance for Europe to be found in Brussels and which reflect three main themes: pre-EU culture involving European myths ...

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki final act, signed in 1975. A turning point in the Cold War, the Helsinki process created a forum involving all the actors of European security: European states, the United States, Canada and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The formation of the Conference on the Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) came about during the Détente of 1962-1979. The CSCE transformed the zero-sum game of the Cold War into a positive-sum game between European ...

Part of the new European Parliament History series, this study analyses the events that led to democratic change in Central and Eastern Europe in the years 1989-90, from the perspective of the Parliament, as detailed in materials to be found in its Historical Archives. It traces Parliament's discussions and positions during this crucial period, including its debates on Post-Communism and on Eastern enlargement. The studies in the European Parliament History Series are primarily based on documents ...