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Source: Republic of Greece – Foreign Affairs

In Strasbourg, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis sent the double message that Greece is defending human rights as well as Europe’s borders. The Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs visited the Council of Europe ahead of Greece’s Presidency, which starts in May and will focus on the younger generation and youth rights. To this end, Mr. Varvitsiotis had successive meetings with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Director General for Democracy, Snežana Samardžić-Marković, and the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos. During his meetings, the Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs set out the key priorities of the Greek Presidency, which concern: a) education and democratic culture in the digital age, b) children as vulnerable persons (at risk of poverty, victims of violence, trafficking, labour exploitation, unaccompanied minors, children with disabilities), c) safeguarding cultural heritage from climate change and the right of the younger generation to unhindered enjoyment of cultural heritage, d) European Social Charter – Social rights in the context of the Council of Europe. Greece will hold the Presidency of the Council of Europe for six months, from 15 May to 18 November 2020, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights, which took place in Rome on 4 November 1950. The Greek Presidency’s main objective is to promote the importance of knowledge of and familiarisation with the values of the Council of Europe (Democracy, Rule of Law, Human Rights) in connection with technological developments, climate change and the contemporary challenges of the coming decade. Mr. Varvitsiotis also briefed his interlocutors on the situation on the Evros border, highlighting that this is Europe’s border, and he pointed to Erdogan’s attempt to exert pressure on Europe by weaponizing migrants. He stressed that migration is not a bilateral issue but a European issue par excellence with geopolitical dimensions, with neighbouring Turkey engaging in an ongoing game of spreading fake news. “Greece,” he concluded, “will continue to defend human rights and the borders of Europe.”

MIL OSI Mediterranean News