The Greek Chairmanship of the Council of Europe, headed by Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis as President of the Committee of Ministers over the last six months, leaves behind concrete institutional legacies and digital success.
Mr Varvitsiotis presented the achievements of the Greek Chairmanship during yesterday’s ceremony for the handover of the Chairmanship to Germany.
During the meeting, a video recounting the major events of the six-month Greek Chairmanship was shown, titled: “6 Months in 6 Minutes”.
More specifically, after enumerating the various political and cultural actions carried out by the Greek Chairmanship and its institutional legacies — placing particular emphasis on the ‘Declaration of Athens’ and the founding of an Observatory for History Teaching — the Alternate Minister made extensive reference to the digital nature of the Greek Chairmanship.
As he noted, the Greek Chairmanship was the first fully electronic Chairmanship (e-Chairmanship) in the history of the Council of Europe, due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic in order to protect human life and public health. In this context, all meetings, conferences, events, seminars and workshops of the Greek Chairmanship, save very few exceptions, were held online.
This not only allowed for the seamless continuation of the organisation’s work, sending a clear message to all of Europe that the organisation remains vigilant in defending democracy, the rule of law and human rights, but also allowed the Council of Europe to come closer to European citizens, who thus came to understand that “we are working together to defend their fundamental liberties”, as Mr Varvitsiotis stated.
More specifically, as it became clear from the “digital overview of the Greek Chairmanship” of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, the following actions were carried out:
77 video conferences and digital meetings, covering approximately 6,000 minutes of digital communication, broken down as follows:
- 4 Ministerial Conferences (online)
- 26 online international seminars and events focusing on the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship (youth, gender equality, domestic violence and violence against women, vulnerable social groups such as children, unaccompanied refugee minors, Roma)
- 16 teleconferences with Ministers or Deputy Ministers of the member states in order to present the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship
- 10 digital discussions in the context of the ‘In discussion with …’ series
- 4 teleconferences and exchanges of views with the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly
- 11 major cultural events, including the central cultural event of the Greek Chairmanship (8 July 2020)
- 4 joint trilateral statements with the institutions of the Council of Europe
- 1 Trilogue with the Secretary General and the President of the Parliamentary Assembly on developments in Belarus
- 1 video conference with the OSCE Permanent Council in order to present the priorities of the Greek Chairmanship