Estonia holds a major international discussion on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War

Tomorrow is the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on European soil. To mark this anniversary, Estonia is organising a high-level international meeting as part of its UN Security Council Presidency.

“The world is currently facing one of the greatest crisis of recent decades. Therefore, we have an even greater responsibility to recall one of the most painful chapters in our common history, remember all its victims and make sure that we never forget the lessons of this tragedy,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said.

According to the foreign minister, it is the first time for the UN family to convene with such a large number of high-level participants since the pandemic began. “Over the past weeks, I have been in direct contact with my colleagues and I am very glad that nearly 50 foreign ministers from across the world will come together virtually for this high-level discussion,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said.

More than half of the Security Council members attend with high-level participants: Germany, France, Belgium, the Dominican Republic, Vietnam, United States and the United Kingdom. As increasing the transparency of the Security Council is one of the priorities of the Estonian Presidency, the meeting is held in a format that is open to all UN member states. Foreign ministers from most European countries have confirmed their participation, including the Nordic countries, the Baltic States, Georgia and Ukraine, as well as Kenya, Bolivia, Brazil and Madagascar.

Opening statements will be made by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo and Professor of History at Yale University Timothy Snyder.

Reinsalu said that at one of the world’s most important decision-making bodies upholding peace and security, Estonia’s own history has only reinforced our resolve to protect shared values and security. “Unfortunately, the end of the Second World War did not bring peace and security for many countries, and they continued to suffer long after 1945. For Estonia, the Second World War only ended in 1994 with the departure of Russian troops. Even now, Europe is not completely at peace; aggression in Ukraine and Georgia continues. It is important to discuss the lessons of the past, look honestly at current security threats and firmly stand up for international law in the future,” Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu emphasised.

The meeting begins on Friday 8 May at 17.00 Estonian time. The event can be watched on the Foreign Ministry’s YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as online news portals and the websites of the Foreign Ministry and the Estonian Mission to the UN.

Indicative schedule
17.00 Introduction by Foreign Minister Reinsalu
17.05 President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen
17.15 Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN Rosemary DiCarlo
17.25 Professor of History at Yale University Professor Timothy Snyder
17.40-18.20 Statements by UN Security Council members (according to protocol, Estonia is the last member to make a statement)
18.20-… statements by other UN members

The event is held on the secure virtual events platform Hybridity, which was developed in Estonia.