8 July 2020
The ECR was extremely pleased by the decision of the European Commission to reappoint a Special Envoy to promote Freedom of Religion or Belief, as this is both vital and justified. The ECR Group in the European Parliament had been putting immense pressure on the European Commission for this decision.
“To exercise your faith is a very important human right. The EU should ensure this remains a priority”, said Dutch ECR MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen (NL), after the Commission president recently indicated she wanted to abolish the position of Special Envoy altogether. Christians are the largest group of people persecuted for their belief worldwide. “There is a lot of work for the Special Envoy on Freedom of Religion or Belief. We must insist that the Envoy be equipped with more capacity and budget than the previous one.”
Swedish ECR MEP Charlie Weimers added: “I warmly welcome the new appointment of the Special Envoy. We cannot stand idly by when persons around the world from innumerable faith backgrounds face severe persecution. I look forward to cooperating with the new appointee to ensure the EU stands strong on its commitments to protect freedom of religion and belief worldwide.”
Italian ECR MEP and Co-chair of the Intergroup for Freedom of Religion Carlo Fidanza stated: “At last, the Commission fixes a shortfall and restores a very significant role in promoting freedom of worship in the world. We hope that the action of the new Special Envoy will be strongly supported by the Commission’s political initiative.”
The mandate of the previous Special Envoy, Mr Jan Figel, ended in November last year.
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