Foreign Minister Steinmeier at the intergovernmental consultations with Italy: We have to continue coming to grips with our shared wartime history

17.03.2014 - Press release

Foreign Minister Steinmeier and his Italian counterpart Federica Mogherini are flying together this afternoon (17 March) from the EU Foreign Affairs Council consultations in Brussels to Berlin to take part in the German‑Italian intergovernmental consultations.

The implementation of the recommendations of the German‑Italian Commission of Historians will be one of the main issues discussed in the bilateral talks between Frank‑Walter Steinmeier and Federica Mogherini during the intergovernmental consultations. Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement:

Coming to grips with our shared wartime past, this most difficult chapter in the long history of Germany and Italy, is of crucial importance to both of us. The establishment of the German‑Italian Commission of Historians by the two Governments was an important first step. In the coming years, we want to continue our cooperation on implementing the Commission’s central recommendations in a spirit of trust. We reaffirm our goal to lay the foundations for a shared culture of remembrance in Germany and Italy. Consolidating the partnership between our two countries, we are determined to also jointly examine the difficult times in our history.

Background information

The German‑Italian Commission of Historians set up by Federal Minister Steinmeier and his then Italian counterpart Frattini in 2008 to “jointly examine German‑Italian wartime history, in particular with regard to Italian military internees, as a contribution to creating a common culture of remembrance”, presented its final report in December 2012.

The report contains recommendations to the two Governments on the creation of a shared culture of remembrance between Germany and Italy. In line with these recommendations, the Federal Foreign Office is funding remembrance projects in close coordination with the Italian Foreign Ministry relating to events from 1943 to 1945, as well as further research work in both countries.

This includes a permanent exhibition on the fate of Italian military internees at the memorial for National Socialist forced labour in the Niederschöneweide district of Berlin, a book of commemoration for the victims of military internment, an “atlas of violence” on the crimes of the SS and Wehrmacht in Italy as well as other remembrance projects initiated by victims’ associations and communities in Italy.

One million euros are earmarked in the Federal Foreign Office budget for the German‑Italian Future Fund in the draft federal budget for 2014. The funding is to be consolidated in the current legislative term.

Bilateral relations

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