Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide
In the fields of Srebrenica was written the darkest page of Europe’s recent history.
Today we commemorate all the victims, in the 20th anniversary of the massacre. Time and words cannot heal the pain of a mother who could not even lay her child to rest. But time and words can, today, remind us all what Europe is – should be – about.
A whole generation hoped in a new era of peace after the Cold war. That is my generation: we dreamt of a united continent, and woke up to the gloomiest of nightmares.
In Srebrenica, Europe is faced with its shame. Europe failed to stand up to the promise of our founding fathers and to the dreams of their grandsons: no more war in Europe, no more murders in the name of race or the nation. No more genocides.
Srebrenica is a call to action. That action is: never let it happen again.
Srebrenica tells us that the original intuition of our European Union is still valid and it is the only way to bring peace in our Continent. Dividing the peoples of Europe among “us” and “them” will only originate new conflicts.
Christian and Muslim, Serb, Croat and Bosniak. Migrant and local. Aiming for “ethnically pure” states will not bring about peace. We need to make it possible for all communities to come together, not to tear apart. Our union is about living together.
For these reasons, we are working with all the Western Balkans to keep on the European path. And all 28 Member States, all of the European Union institutions support the perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina to become part of our Union. We hope – and we work – for a future of partnership, of justice, of reconciliation. For all the citizens of this country and of this part of Europe.
In Srebrenica, we Europeans, fell. The one thing to do now, the only way to pay respect to these victims, is to rise again. And to do it in one of the most difficult times for Europe. Withhold the memory, work for reconciliation and for a European Union based on brotherhood and solidarity, and strong enough to face the many and difficult challenges we have inside our borders and all around us. For my generation to be the last one to witness and to live such tragedy in Europe.