The European Council yesterday appointed former European Parliament vice-president Stavros Lambrinidis as the first EU Special Representative for Human Rights. The newly created role will ensure increased visibility and efficiency for EU human rights policy.
Hannes Swoboda, President of the S&D Group in the European Parliament, welcomed the appointment:
"In his former positions as vice-president of the European Parliament, and Greek Foreign Minister, Stavros Lambrinidis has shown great sensitivity and knowledge and has been very active on the issue of human and fundamental rights. His appointment will ensure that the European Union speaks with one loud and clear voice on universal human rights right across the world.
"Mr Lambrinidis is the best choice for this position. I am very happy to see a committed European in this important new role. His qualifications, expertise and vast experience will be indispensable and ensure he can make a big impact on defending human rights and maintaining the European Union's leading role in championing this vital issue."
Véronique de Keyser, S&D vice-president added her congratulations:
"I am delighted at the choice of Stavros Lambrinidis for this very important role. As a colleague in the European Parliament and beyond, he has proven not only knowledge and competence in the field but a human understanding and availability that have always been greatly appreciated.
"Stavros Lambrinidis has always been very outspoken and will without a doubt ensure that the portfolio of human rights will get a higher profile and reach."
Richard Howitt, S&D co-ordinator on human rights, welcomed Mr Lambrinidis' appointment:
"I am delighted our former colleague is to be the first holder of a new post first proposed and campaigned for by Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. He will bring great knowledge and perception in projecting Europe's human rights policies across the world.
"Having served in both the European Parliament and as Greek Foreign Minister within the European Council, Stavros is ideally placed to bring real authority to the post. As someone with a personal record of being willing to speak out, I am sure he will also not be afraid to intervene in favour of those who live in fear."
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