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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
Fischer against Sudeten monument
By Alix Kroeger
BBC, Prague

Joschka Fischer and Cyril Svoboda
Mr Fischer's own family came from a German minority in the region
The German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has spoken out strongly against plans to build a monument to the ethnic Germans expelled from central Europe after World War II.

Speaking in Prague, Mr Fischer said the European Union was the definitive and long-term way to overcome the evils of European history.

We must remember history, he said, but not become its prisoner.

The Association of Expelled Germans wants to build a monument in Berlin to the millions of ethnic Germans forced out of central and eastern Europe after 1945, including two-and-a-half million from Czechoslovakia.

Mr Fischer's own family came from a German minority in the region.

Praise for draft constitution

But he said the destruction of German minority culture in the region was a direct consequence of what the Germans themselves had done under the Nazis.

He said the European Union was the definitive way of overcoming a terrible past and he welcomed the enlargement of the EU next year, when the Czech Republic and nine other new members will join.

He added that the Union would only function if it were reformed, and he warned against making further changes to the new EU constitution.

If you open the box, you have to close it again, he said, describing the existing draft constitution as the best possible compromise.

Czechs spurn neighbours' demands
24 Apr 02  |  Europe

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