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Politics

Sakellaropoulou: It Is Our Duty to Contribute to the Work of the Council of Europe

ATHENS – "The Greek Presidency of the Council of Europe is beginning with a focus on the protection of life, public health and human rights in a state of Covid-19 pandemic," President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on the occasion of Greece's assumption of the presidency of the Council of Europe.

Sakellaropoulou pledged assistance to the Greek presidency with all appropriate means and support for the relevant actions and events that are planned. "It is the duty of all of us to contribute to the work of the Council of Europe, a beacon of democracy and human rights worldwide, which illuminates and steadily guides the course of our country," she added.

She also referred to the special conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, which affects the functioning of the Greek presidency, as well as the choice of topics that will be highlighted, while noting that this is the first "Digital Presidency" (E-Chairmanship), which will make the most of the opportunities offered by new technologies.

 In her message, the President Sakellaropoulou pointed out:

"Today, Greece is taking over the Presidency of the Council of Europe, an institution that has made the greatest contribution to shaping common European values and consolidating peace, democracy, human rights and the rule of law on our continent. The Greek presidency will coincide with the 70th anniversary of the signing of the greatest achievement of the Council of Europe, the European Convention on Human Rights, on November 4.

   The assumption of the Presidency of the Council of Europe by our country will take place under the special conditions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic, which has hit all CoE member-states, also affects the functioning of the Greek presidency, as well as the choice of topics to be emphasised. This is the first "digital presidency" (E-Chairmanship), which will make the most of the opportunities offered by new technologies.

The central theme chosen is 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 and the principles of democracy and the rule of law. This issue is fully in line with the mission of the Council of Europe and the fundamental values that it stands for.

At the same time, it is extremely important that the Greek presidency will deal with the independence and efficiency of justice, a necessary condition for the existence of a rule of law.

Moreover, the Greek presidency will highlight the rights of young people. These rights include, as a matter of priority, the strengthening of education and democracy in the digital age, the protection of children as a vulnerable group, especially in times of crisis, the enjoyment of cultural heritage untouched by the effects of climate change and the strengthening of social rights and in particular the right of access of vulnerable social groups to health, in the light of the European Social Charter. These topics outline the modern challenges to human rights posed by the health crisis, digital technologies and climate change. The principles and values of the Council of Europe are the means by which these challenges can be tackled without Europe losing what makes it special.

We will assist the Greek presidency and support the relevant actions and events planned by any appropriate means. It is the duty of all of us to contribute to the work of the Council of Europe, a beacon of democracy and human rights worldwide, which illuminates and steadily guides the course of our country."

 

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