European Commission will “renew its efforts” for promoting religious freedom
"We decided to renew the special function of the envoy for the Promotion of religious and transnational perspectives in the European Union," informed European Commissionner Margaritis Schinas. Schinas added that the appointment of the new envoy shows that the Commission authorities are determined to "ensure that the rights of all religions and beliefs are respected around the world."
The function of Special Envoy for the Promotion of Religious Freedom and beliefs outside the European Union used to be performed by the Slovakian Jan Figel. His mandate was extended several times, but it expired at the start of the new European Commission at the end of 2019 and was not extended.
Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen, was to decide on this matter but failed to do so.
Criticism came from the Chairman of the European Community Episcopate Commission Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, President of the European Rabbis Conference, Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt, Center for Documentation of Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, Christian human rights organisation ADF, MEPs from Austria and Germany, as well as 135 members of the German Bundestag.
On the 9th of July, under a cross-party initiative, the interested stakeholders decided to continue the work of the special envoy’s office.