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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Announcements - Statements - Speeches arrow Excerpts from Alternate FM, M. Varvitsiotis’ speech before the Parliamentary Committee on monitoring the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights-Briefing on the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe (29.05.2020)

Excerpts from Alternate FM, M. Varvitsiotis’ speech before the Parliamentary Committee on monitoring the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights-Briefing on the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe (29.05.2020)

Friday, 29 May 2020

In the context of briefing the Parliamentary Special Permanent Committee on monitoring the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, the Alternate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, stressed that Greece is armed with credibility in responding to the many challenges of the pandemic and economic crisis.

Presenting the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, Mr Varvitsiotis underlined the fact that Greece intends to leave a lasting legacy in the protection of human rights, stressing that the main issue of its Chairmanship is “the protection of human life and public health under pandemic conditions, and the effective management of a health crisis, with absolute respect for human rights, the principles of Democracy and the rule of law.” He also acknowledged the importance of the fact that all parties in Parliament gave the Greek Chairmanship their “vote of confidence” for highlighting and protecting human rights. He added that any restrictions during the pandemic took place under absolute democratic legitimacy and consent, and no one disputed the fact that, during this difficult period, Greece served the principles of democracy and the rule of law. 

Touching on the goals of the Chairmanship, the Alternate Minister stated that the issuance of an Athens Declaration this coming November on the protection of human rights during the pandemic era will be a great success. During the six months of the Chairmanship, the Greek side intends for Parliament to ratify the agreements Greece has signed in the context of the Council of Europe and to comply with the judgments rendered by the European Court of Human Rights.

In his second remarks, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs made specific reference to the issue that has arisen in regard to Hagia Sophia. Mr Varvitsiotis stressed that “irrespective of the actions addressed to a domestic audience rather than an international one and of the exploitation of symbols for effect, we must promote international law, respect for the rule of law, democratic rights and human rights as the cornerstone not just of our domestic policy but of our foreign policy as well — and this protects us against gratuitous provocations, such as the provocative event scheduled for today at Hagia Sophia, if it indeed takes place as announced.”

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