22nd Apr 2019

Czech Republic seeks EU institute on totalitarianism

The Czech Republic, sitting at the EU's helm from January 2009, is to seek the establishment of a new European body that could serve as a research institute into totalitarianism and a museum of victims of totalitarian regimes.

"The institution could cover our totalitarian past from Portugal through Greece to the Baltic States," Pavel Zacek from the Prague-based Institute for Totalitarian Studies, said on Thursday (18 September).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Stalin, along with Hitler, steered the course of 20th century European history (Photo: EUobserver)

Speaking at a public hearing on the issue in the European Parliament, Mr Zacek stressed the idea was to deal with all totalitarian regimes, not just Communism. "Europe as a whole has not come to terms with its own past," he said.

The goal to set up a pan-European body is part of the so-called Prague declaration on European conscience and Communism adopted by the Czech Senate in June 2008.

The document suggests that both the Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes should be considered "the main disasters that blighted the 20th century," while the crimes committed in the name of Communism should be assessed as "crimes against humanity."

It is unlikely, however, that the institute will become a reality during the Czech six-month EU presidency, although Mr Zacek hopes that Poland and the Baltic States will push the idea further once they are chairing the 27-nation bloc.

Day of remembrance

In addition, Prague has suggested 23 August to become a day when Europe remembers the victims of Nazi and Communist totalitarian regimes - in the same way the continent honours the victims of the Holocaust on 27 January.

A group of MEPs has prepared a declaration supporting the idea, with Bulgarian conservative Nickolay Mladenov telling the Czech news agency, CTK, that more than half of lawmakers have signed it.

"It will become an official document of the European Parliament next week," he said.

The date has been chosen with a reference to 23 August 1939, when Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler and the Soviet Union of Joseph Stalin signed the non-aggression pact.

The pact renounced warfare between the two countries and defined spheres of influence, with Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania being directly affected by the deal.

Lobby register transparency talks collapse

Efforts to set up a better transparency register for lobbyists have collapsed after two years of talks. The impasse revolves around the European Commission's insistence that the register also become mandatory for the European Parliament and Council.


EU bodies dodge questions on secret VW loan report

The European Anti-Fraud Office (Olaf) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have refused to answer detailed questions about the demand from the European Ombudsman to publish an Olaf report on a €400m EIB loan Volkswagen Group (VW) received through deception.


EIB 'maladministration' verdict over VW fraud report

EUobserver should have been granted access to a fraud investigation into a €400m EU loan to Volkswagen Group (VW), and recommendations on how to avoid future misuse, the European Ombudsman has concluded.

MEPs excluded from deciding new EU labour agency HQ

A ministerial vote will determine the seat of the new European Labour Authority - leaving MEPs excluded from the selection process. Infamously, the new HQs for the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority were only decided by drawing lots.


The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.


Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us