The European Parliament gathered on Monday in Strasbourg for the first session following Britain's departure from the European Union.

European Parliament Vice President Mairead McGuinness drew stark comparisons between Britain leaving the EU and the need for "the defence of democracy and tolerance and our daily commitment to European values."

McGuinness opened the session with a minute's silence for "the victims of the Foibe massacres, and the exodus of Istrians, Rijekan and Dalmatians from their land during and after the Second World War." These were the mass killings allegedly perpetrated mainly by Yugoslav Partisans against the local ethnic Italian population.

She underlined the "transition from opposing power blocks to a union for peace" to keep Europe strong by putting "values and respect for all its citizens in first place," and announced the welcoming of newly elected members.

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