Over the last few years, EU institutions have taken on the task of promoting an 'active European remembrance' of Europe's twentieth century totalitarian experiences. At stake in this process is the possibility of constructing an EU-wide historical narrative. However, EU-level debates on the remembrance of European history are permeated by struggles between policy actors who vie for control over the telling of Europe's past. Using insights from the agenda-setting and framing literatures, the article examines the conditions under which memory narratives are able to become prominent or, conversely, lose ground in the EU's overall discourse. It concludes that, although the constellation of actors in place was a key factor in explaining fluctuations in the EU's remembrance discourse, the weight of their arguments also depended on how well their discourse resonated with existing memory cultures at the domestic and the EU levels.