Representatives of all 28 EU member countries gathered Monday at the Gate of Freedom memorial in Bratislava to remember the victims of totalitarianism.
Part of the heavily fortified border between former Eastern and Western Europe, the so-called Iron Curtain, ran through the area.
The Gate of Freedom, on the border between the former Czechoslovakia and Austria, was established by dissidents and the late priest for the homeless, Anton Srholec, as a place to remember people who died fleeing from the Eastern bloc.
The ministers visited the memorial under the auspices of an informal EU meeting, called by the Slovakian Justice Minister Lucia Zitnanska. Slovakia currently holds the six-month rotating presidency of the European Union.
The event took place one day before a European day of remembrance for victims of Stalinism and Nazism.
On August 9, German, Czech and Slovak representatives marked the 30th anniversary of an attempt by a German teenager, 18-year-old Hartmut Tautz, to escape the East. He was caught in the southern suburbs of Bratislava by Czech border guards and torn to pieces by their dogs.