Safeguarding public health and addressing the coronavirus (Covid-19) health crisis are among the top priorities of Greece as it takes over the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the second half of 2020.
Alternate Foreign Affairs Minister Miltiadis Varvitsiotis assumed the position on May 15, from Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani during a video-conference meeting with representatives of the organization’s 47 member states.
Varvitsiotis outlined the priorities of the Greek chairmanship for the next six months which include the protection of human life and public health in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the effective management of the health crisis with full respect for human rights, the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
“In these critical moments, when Europe is being tested, it is up to us to do everything we can to ensure Europe emerges from the crisis stronger. This is a time for solidarity,” said Varvitsiotis.
“We believe that this spirit of solidarity and shared responsibility needs to take precedence today… because great challenges require collective responses,” he added.
Other priorities include ensuring respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law, along with the protection of vulnerable children and the rights of the younger generations in the fields of digital education, the environment and social issues, and digital technologies.
Meanwhile, on November 4, Athens is set to host the Committee of Ministers session and ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the European Convention on Human Rights.
“Greece is assuming the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) under emergency circumstances imposed by Covid-19. In such a context, it is imperative to highlight the fundamental principles of the CoE’s mission: Democracy, Rule of Law, Protection of Human Rights,” said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis via his twitter account.
Germany is next in line to Chair of the committee.