Statement by High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini on the 20th Anniversary Commemoration of the Srebrenica Genocide

The darkest page of Europe’s recent history was written in the fields around Srebrenica.

We commemorate all of the victims upon the 20th anniversary of the massacre. Time and words cannot heal the pain of a mother who has been unable to lay her child to rest. But time and words can, today, remind us all of what Europe is – and should be – about.

A whole generation hoped for a new era of peace after the Cold War. That is my generation: we dreamed of a united continent, and woke up to the darkest of nightmares.

In Srebrenica, Europe is faced with its shame. Europe failed to stand up and deliver the promise of our founding fathers and the dreams of their grandchildren: No more war in Europe. No more murder in the name of race or nation. No more genocide. Srebrenica has been a call to action. That action is to never let it happen again.

Srebrenica tells us that the original intuition of our European Union is still valid, and is the only way to bring peace upon our continent. Dividing the peoples of Europe among “us” and “them” will only generate 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 themselves and each other apart. Our Union is about living together.

For these reasons, we are working with all of the Western Balkan states to stay on the European path. All 28 Member States and all of the European Union’s institutions support the perspective of Bosnia and Herzegovina becoming a part of our Union. We hope – and we work – for a future of partnership, of justice, of reconciliation. For all citizens of this country, and of this part of Europe as a whole.

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 so in one of the most difficult times for Europe. By holding the memory, working for reconciliation, and working toward a European Union based on brotherhood and solidarity, strong enough to face the many and difficult challenges within our borders and around us. For my generation to be the last to witness and live with such tragedy in Europe.

Video message of HR/VP Mogherini on the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide: (