Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis’ speech at the 131st Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe – Main Points (21.05.2021)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis participated today in the 131st Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, held via videoconference.

In his speech, Mr. Varvitsiotis referred to the efforts undertaken by the German Presidency to promote the Agency’s tasks and, in particular, to enhance the role of the European Court of Human Rights. Mr. Varvitsiotis also referred to issues related to artificial intelligence, as well as the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights, noting that the Greek Presidency that preceded the German one had placed particular emphasis on this issue.

The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also brought up the refugee/migration challenge, stressing that the instrumentalization of refugees and migrants by states aiming at destabilizing countries that are members of the Council of Europe should not be tolerated. Regarding the recent developments in Spain, he expressed solidarity with the Spanish side, noting the correspondence of these events with what happened last year in Evros.

The Alternate Minister also spoke about the German Presidency’s initiatives to address hate speech and to reinforce the work of the Council of Europe to fight discrimination. In this context, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that Greece takes over the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and vigorously supports any initiative against this phenomenon, especially with regard to anti-Semitism.

Finally, Mr. Varvitsiotis expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the German Presidency made its priority the issues of the youth of Europe and of the Future, as the Greek Presidency had previously done and reminded that the dialogue on the Future of Europe has already started, in line with the principles of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Democracy.

The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs also noted that the importance of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women must be further emphasized, while also expressing his regret at the position of certain Member States in the Council of Europe which does not allow consensus to be reached on such fundamental issues as the rights of women and children.

Concluding his speech, Mr. Varvitsiotis thanked the German Presidency for the work performed in the last six months, and wished good luck to the Hungarian Presidency that follows.

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