The European Commission has turned down calls from two former Soviet republics and four former socialist states to equate communist regimes’ repressions with Nazi war crimes.
The decision comes in response to last week’s letter signed by the foreign ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and the Czech Republic. The countries’ top diplomats called on the EU executive body “to criminalize the approval, denial or belittling of communist crimes,” reports EurActive website.
The six eastern European countries believe that the denial of such crimes should be treated the same way as the denial of the Holocaust and must be banned by law.
However, the commission which drafts EU laws said that opinion on the matter in the member states is too different and that so far conditions have not been met for Brussels to pass such legislation. The executive based its answer on an independent report it commissioned earlier.
The study notes that “even among member states that have suffered the same kind of regimes, legal instruments, measures and practices may be different as it may be the timing for their adoption and implementation”.
“According to the information collected, it appears that until now there is no, in the EU, national court decision which sanctioned in a concrete case the denial of crimes committed by totalitarian communist regimes,” the report reads.
Up until now, Hungary, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Poland have banned the denial of offences committed by communist regimes during the Cold War era.
Lithuanian Minister of Justice Remigijus Šimašius said that the EU Commission has not rejected the six nations’ initiative, but rather opened a door to further discussion, writes Interfax.