EU Justice Ministers Gather at Freedom Gate beneath Devin Castle

Slovak Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska speaking at the Freedom Gate memorial. Estonian Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu standing next to her. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, August 22 (TASR) – The current strengthening of extremist elements in Europe could lead to a new totalitarianism, Slovak Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska said Monday at the opening of a two-day ministerial conference marking the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes.

As a presiding country of the Council of the European Union, Slovakia is hosting a meeting of justice ministers and their deputies from the EU, who were joined by figures from their respective national memory institutes at a commemorative event at the Freedom Gate memorial beneath Devin Castle. The memorial, near the Morava River that divides Austria and Slovakia, is dedicated to people who were killed by communist border guards when attempting to cross the Iron Curtain.

“Witnessing a rise of radical and extremist elements in Europe, we mustn’t turn a blind eye to this phenomenon, otherwise it will lead to a new totalitarianism – be it of brown, red or other colour. In any case, it would be totalitarianism, claiming further victims,” said Zitnanska.

Estonian Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu stated that apart from commemorating victims of past totalitarian regimes, it is also necessary to support countries that are still fighting for the right to decide independently on their own fate.

“We must condemn the efforts of the Russian Government aimed at glorifying past regimes. Likewise, we must condemn all displays of military aggression against neighbouring countries as we’re currently witnessing being carried out by the Russian Federation,” said Reinsalu.