Wien, 25. July 2012 Press release

Spindelegger: “EU human rights policy has been given a voice and face”

Austria’s Foreign Minister congratulates Stavros Lambrinidis on his appointment of EU Special Representative for Human Rights

Vienna, 25 July 2012 – “The appointment of the first special representative for human rights is yet another step to strengthen the human rights policy of the European Union’s external relations. I congratulate Stavros Lambrinidis most warmly on his new and challenging task”, Austrian Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said on the decision of the European Union to appoint the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece as Special Representative for Human Rights of the European External Action Service.

The new Special Representative will certainly increase the profile and effectiveness of the EU’s commitment for human rights worldwide. He is expected to speak up and point out shortcomings and actively promote the focal areas of the human rights policy of the European Union. The promotion of freedom of religion, the protection of religious minorities and defending the freedom of the media are central topics where the EU will have to get more pro-actively involved in the future”, Spindelegger continued. “I expect Stavros Lambrinidis to advocate coherence for EU policy and to contribute to a closer integration of human rights aspects of other fields of politics, such as trade, development cooperation, security or the fight against terrorism. Close partnership with the civil society will be of particular importance in implementing the human rights strategy to ensure long-term success of the EU in its fight for these universal values.”

Lambrinidis previously held the positions of Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs and Vice President of the European Parliament. He will hold the position of EU Special Representative from 1 September 2012 until 30 June 2014. His appointment is an integral part of the new human rights package of the EU which also includes the Strategic Declaration adopted by the Council at the end of June and the detailed action plan of the EU on human rights.

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