Greek Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis has turned down an invitation to participate in an international conference on crimes committed by Communist regimes to be held in Tallinn on Aug. 23.
"At a time when the fundamental values of the European Union are openly questioned by the rise of far-right movements and neo-Nazi parties across Europe, the above-mentioned initiative is very unfortunate," Kontonis said in his letter to the organizers of the conference, which was also quoted in the Greek media.
"The initiative to organize a conference with this specific content and title sends a wrong and dangerous political message that is the result of the agreements that followed the Second World War, revives the Cold War climate that brought so much suffering to Europe, runs contrary to the values of the EU, and certainly does not reflect the view of the Greek government and the Greek people, which is that Nazism and Communism could never exist as the two parts of the same equation," the minister said.
"The horror we lived through Nazism had a single version, the one we described above," Kontonis continued. "Communism, on the contrary, gave birth to dozens of ideological trends, one of which was Euro-communism, born in a communist regime during the Prague Spring period, in order to combine socialism with democracy and freedom."
The European Parliament in 2009 declared Aug. 23 as the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Communist and Nazi Regimes, 70 years after the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on that day in 1939.
Estonia has invited representatives of EU member states and Eastern Partnership countries to participate in the conference to be held in Tallinn on Wednesday.
Greek Minister of Justice Stavros Kontonis is a member of the prime minister's party Coalition of the Radical Left, popularly known by its syllabic abbreviation Syriza.
Editor: Aili Vahtla