In December 2013, Transylvanian MEP László Tőkés, Hungarian MEP George Schöpflin, Latvian MEPs Sandra Klaniete and Inese Vaidere, Lithuanian MEPs Laima Liucija Andrikiené and Vytautas Landsbergis, as well as Slovenian MEP Milan Zver addressed a letter to the President of the European Parliament, in which they requested a ban of symbols of totalitarian regimes.
Referring to the epoch-making European Parliament Resolution of 2 April 2009 on European conscience and totalitarianism, the undersigning EPP Group Members reminded the Socialist President that “Europe will not be united unless it is able to form a common view of its history, recognizes Nazism, Stalinism and Fascist and Communist regimes as a common legacy and brings about an honest and thorough debate on their crimes in the past century.” Further, they draw the attention of Martin Schulz to the fact that while the usage, denial and/or disparagement of totalitarian symbols is prohibited and considered a criminal offense in some Member States, these virulent phenomena occur on a daily basis in other Member States.
“We turn to you, Mr. President with the respectful request that you ban the use of symbols of dictatorships inside the European Parliament and all its public premises, in particular the swastika, red star as well as the hammer and sickle. We similarly recommend that the European Parliament make a proposal on the ban of dictatorial symbols in all EU member states. It is our firm conviction that it would be truly worthy of the EU’s spirit and image, as a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize,” concluded the letter.
“As you surely are aware the European Parliament has been throughout its existence an undeniable pillar of freedom, democracy, non-discrimination and rule of law in Europe and indeed at a global level and has never hesitated to reaffirm the values it stands for,” replied The President on 14 February 2014, however he did not consider the ban of genocidal totalitarian symbols necessary. Nevertheless, a general ban of totalitarian symbols would have had a strong message to the European people who had suffered under the brutality of both rightist and leftist dictatorships.
Diplomatically avoiding the request itself, President Schulz cited the Rules governing cultural events and exhibitions on Parliament’s premises, stating that “these rules are, and will be in the future, an effective tool to avoid any undue displays of potentially disturbing images or symbols within the European Parliament.”
On 25 February, the Memorial Day for the Victims of Communism, Transylvanian MEP Tőkés said that 25 years after the fall of soviet-communist dictatorships double standards still prevail in the European Union, and the silent toleration of communist symbols continues violating the memory of millions of victims.
Strasbourg, 25 February 2014