Greece is assuming the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe under the emergency circumstances imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In such an extraordinary context, it is even more imperative to highlight the fundamental principles and values lying at the core of the Council of Europe’s mission: Democracy, Rule of Law and Protection of Human Rights.
In this framework, the main theme of the Greek Chairmanship is: “Protection of human life and public health in the context of a pandemic – Effectively responding to a sanitary crisis, while fully respecting human rights and the principles of democracy and the rule of law”.
The European Convention on Human Rights foresees the possibility of temporary and permissible limitations from its provisions in emergency circumstances, inter alia, for reasons of public health.
However, the pandemic should not become a pretext for not complying with our commitment to the fundamental principles and values.
In Greece we managed to strike a fair balance between the protection of human life and public health and the rights of the individuals concerned, by using the art of persuasion.
I am proud of the perseverance shown by the Greek people and their high degree of compliance to the measures adopted, always upon the advice of the experts.
As all crises, the pandemic has offered opportunities. In my country, we succeeded in developing digital technologies at an unprecedented pace; Tasks that in normal times would have required months, were completed in 3 weeks.
Due to the extraordinary current circumstances, the Greek Chairmanship will mainly run digitally, and eventually, it will be a Digital Chairmanship (E-Chairmanship).
E-Chairmanship will provide transmission of events and actions of the Council of Europe to all citizens through the new technologies.
This will bring the Council of Europe even closer to the citizens and, especially, to the young people.
This is particularly important in November this year, when we will commemorate, at the Ministerial Conference in Athens, the 70thanniversary of a historic milestone: the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights, in Rome, on 4 November 1950.
The young generation will remain in the focus of our efforts, as a key priority. So, safeguarding the right of young generations to enjoy cultural heritage, unaffected by the impact of climate change, will be given special attention.
The Greek Ministry of Culture will organize a digital exhibition dedicated to the damage inflicted on monuments of cultural heritage by the effects of climate change.
Amidst these times of global uncertainty, we have set up on an ambitious agenda for the Council of Europe, guided by our trust in the Organization and the values it stands for.
In these endeavors, we count on the support of all member states of the Council.
Streamed live on May 15, 2020
Video of the statement