“In May 2021 we made a statement that finally the EU Special Envoy on FoRB was appointed. Now in September 2021, only 4 months later, we are disappointed that Christos Stylianides has decided to take up another role and to make the position of the Special Envoy vacant again. We urge the European Commission to look for a successor as soon as possible”, says MEP´s and co-chairs of the Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief & Religious Tolerance, Peter van Dalen and Carlo Fidanza, to the news that Special Envoy on FoRB has taken on a new position in the Greek Government.
According to Van Dalen and Fidanza, it is more than high time that a Special Envoy on FoRB will start working: “When the Von der Leyen Commission started in December 2019, it was noticeable that the position of the EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief was unfortunately not filled. Now we are almost two years further in time and with the resignation of Stylianides, who could not achieve anything in his 4 months, we are back at square one.
Van Dalen and Fidanza: “Religious freedom is under increasing pressure worldwide. Reports from NGO´s show year after year that violence against Christians and other religious minorities is on the rise. We now also hear shocking stories from Afghanistan. It is crucial that we stand for freedom of religion around the globe. So the European Commission should appoint a new Special Envoy without delay.”