European Union appoints special envoy for religious freedom


Published: 2021-05-06 11:08

Last Updated: 2024-06-24 05:43

Source: EuroNews
Source: EuroNews

Wednesday, the European Commission appointed a special envoy to "promote freedom of religion and belief," which "is being attacked in many parts of the world."

This position was created in 2016 by former Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, but his successor, Ursula von der Leyen, did not renew it in 2019.

The appointed special envoy is the 62-year-old Cypriot Christos Stylianides, who was a former European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and a former member of the European Parliament (a right-wing pro-European). He is "associated" with the Vice President of the Commission in charge of "promoting the European way of life," Margaretis Chinas.

"Freedom of religion or belief is under attack in many parts of the world," Chinas said in a tweet. He added that this appointment "shows that we are determined to protect the rights of all religions and beliefs."

About 50 members of the European Parliament belonging to the European People's Party, the Fidesz party led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and the group of European conservatives and reformists, called last October to revive this position "as soon as possible."

According to a statement by the Commission on Wednesday, the role of the Special Envoy is to "establish a dialogue with national authorities and other actors in countries where discrimination is practiced, and to work to encourage dialogue between religions and to take measures aimed at eliminating extremism and preventing religious extremism in other countries."

It should also work to "promote religious diversity and tolerance through educational programs."