In a context of war raging in a region of Europe, at their first summit in 1993, the Heads of State and Governments stressed the need to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism and intolerance, to involve public authorities and the community at large to achieve those aims, and emphasized the political importance of history teaching.

In their plan of action, they urged for a reinforcement of mutual understanding and confidence between people through the Council of Europe's co-operation and assistance programmes, and as far as history teaching is concerned, by:

  • promoting education in the fields of human rights and respect for cultural diversity;
  • strengthening programmes aimed at eliminating prejudice in the teaching of history by emphasising positive mutual influence between different countries, religions and ideas in the historical development of Europe;

Final declaration and plan of action of the Vienna Summit

The 1994 symposium on "History, democratic values and tolerance in Europe" was a first attempt to assist history teachers in tackling this issue.