20 October 2020 – Event under the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Title: “The impact of the covid-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups”

Opening speeches (11:30 – 12:00 am)

Miltiadis Varvitsiotis,
Chairman of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Dora Bakoyannis,
Member of the Hellenic Parliament,
Chairperson of the Greek Delegation to PACE,
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dr Domna- Maria Michailidou,
Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs


1rst Section: Covid-19 and Vulnerable Groups (12:00 – 12:45 pm)

The covid-19 pandemic, as being a threat to human life and public health, raised concerns about the effective protection of social rights and the way societies responded immediately in order to ensure that needs are met for all citizens, by means of human value and equality of treatment and opportunities.

No one should be left behind. To this direction, the immediate activation of mechanisms, including all possible recourses – material and human – was the necessary condition for the creation of a satisfactory support framework, with emphasis on vulnerable groups (elderly, disabled, Roma, etc.).

Synergies, consistency, solidarity, a strong social safety net for all, without exclusions, in the

spirit, that always springs from Europe and our human-centered culture, is the only way to deal with the effects of the pandemic on every level: individual, social, political, economic.

Moderator: Maria Nikoltsiou, Journalist  


  1. George Stamatis, Secretary General of Social Solidarity and Fight against Poverty
  2. Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, Scientific Advisor European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)
  3. Maria Gavouneli, President of the National Human Rights Committee, Professor of School Low National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
  4. Xenia Papastavrou, Manager of OPEKA, (Organization of Welfare benefits and Social Solidarity).


2nd  Section: Child Protection under Crisis Conditions (13:00 – 13:45 pm )

In this unprecedented situation that tests the resilience of social systems and causes feelings of fear and anxiety, the concern about children’s rights protection, for the continuance of educational process, for the safe and continuous operation of every structure for children and family support and especially, care for those with disabilities, illness, abandonment or neglect, is a priority of the welfare state and owe to be uninterrupted and adequate.

Also, as the impact of the pandemic affects the economy increasing inequalities, emphasis is being placed on taking the necessary measures to protect children from poverty. Children suffer from poverty differently than adults and are more likely to experience the effects for life.

Moderator: Katerina Panagopoulou, Journalist


  1. Dr Domna-Maria Michailidou, Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Affairs
  2. Luciano Calestini, Representative of Unicef in Greece
  3. George Nikolaidis, former President of Lanzarote Committee of European Council, Head of the Department of Mental Health and Social Welfare, of the Institute of Child Health, Psychiatrist.
  4. Theoni Koufonikolakou, Deputy Ombudsman for the Children’s Rights


3rd  Section: Homeless and Covid-19 (14:00 – 14:45 pm)

The spread of the coronavirus in the countries of European Council has led to the quarantine the majority of the population, while highlighting the importance of housing, something that for many people seems a given. However, not everyone has this opportunity. The causes of homelessness include a complex interaction between structural factors, the weakness of social systems and individual cases. This means that homelessness is a complicated phenomenon, which under the new conditions must be tackled immediately, taking into account good practices, but also focusing at the care systems failure. Helping the homeless to deal with Covid-19, can be the beginning of a specific plan of systemic interventions for the homeless, through social policies where no human being will be “invisible” and socially excluded.

Moderator: Fanis Papathanasiou, Journalist


  1. Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of Athens
  2. Dimitris Papastergiou, President of Central Union of Municipalities and Mayor of Trikala
  3. Andreas Pottakis, The Greek Ombudsman