EP on Baltic annexation
Written by David Ferguson in Brussels
Wednesday, 22 June 2005
"For half a century, they lost their human rights and suffered terror and deportations," said European Parliament President Josep Borrell. Opening the Brussels plenary, Borrell recalled that it was 65 years ago, in June 1940, that three new Member States of the EU - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - lost their independence after occupation by the Soviet Union.
"In these difficult times for the EU, we should recall the accession of the Baltic states to the EU, convinced this would help build their freedom and prosperity," Borrell said. "We should now proceed to work together in building a united Europe based on shared values. This must be based on respect for human rights and it requires constant vigilance. Those who forget history risk repeating it."
Borrell's opening statement comes as the Parliament considers a resolution by Estonian MEP Tunne Kelam, together with MEP Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania's first president following independence from the Soviet Union. The draft resolution calls for "...the Russian Federation, as the legal successor to the Soviet Union, to accept assessments given by the European Parliament and other democratic bodies as to the occupation of the three Baltic States."
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were annexed from 15 till 17 June 1940 The occupation of the three Baltic States was a direct result of the 23 August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact providing for the three countries' division into zones of 'influence'.