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MFA statement regarding the celebration of the National Memorial Day in Italy

Upon National Memorial Day, marked in the Italian Republic on 10 February, the Ministry reminds of the importance of commemorating the tragic events of WWII and the post-war period. Paying respect to the victims of war is fundamental in any civilised society, and is inextricably linked to the principles of reconciliation and peaceful coexistence among nations. These are among the core values of the EU, which was built precisely to prevent such atrocities, as experienced in the two world wars and the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, from ever happening again.

Yesterday’s attempts at unilateral and selective re-interpretations of historical events in the border area were not made in the spirit of these values. The statements promoting historical revisionism are deeply concerning also because they are in stark contrast with the basic principles of the European order laid down in the Helsinki Final Act on Security and Cooperation in Europe.  


The Ministry therefore reiterates that the WWII and post-war events should be discussed in accordance with the premises of the joint report of the Slovenian-Italian historical and cultural commission “Slovenian-Italian Relations in the period 1880–1956” published in 2000.


Excerpts from today's statement by Minister Dr Miro Cerar:

The history of the border area, and indeed the history of the entire Primorska region is one of great hardship. The Slovenian territory had to endure the ravages of fascism, which left deep wounds and pain.


The EU was founded on liberal values and the desire to prevent totalitarianism and regimes that oppress their own citizens or citizens of other countries. One of the goals of the EU is also to prevent hatred among peoples and countries. This is why the words of the president of the European Parliament are all the more unacceptable. It is inadmissible for anyone to distort the historical events that took place in the Slovenian-Italian border area.


History should be left to historians, not the current politics. In 2000, Italy and Slovenia drafted a joint report on the Slovenian-Italian relations in the first half of the previous century. This report is the fruit of collaboration and common understanding among historians from both sides of the border, and as such common grounds for the interpretation of the history of the area.


Paying respect to the victims of war is fundamental for any civilised society and is inextricably linked to the principles of reconciliation and peaceful co-existence among nations.


In my capacity as Minister of foreign affairs, I will send a letter to President Antonio Tajani and remind him of this joint report of 2000, clearly stating that his statements were utterly unacceptable.