08/07/2020

BRUSSELS: European Commission renews function of Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU

BRUSSELS – The European Commission today decided to renew the function of Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. The decision was announced by EC vice-president Margaritis Schinas who is the European Commissioner for Promoting the European Way of Life; “We decided today to renew the function of Special Envoy for the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU. Together with @vonderleyen the forthcoming appointment shows our determination to ensure the rights of ALL faiths and beliefs are respected across the world.

The function of Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU was created on 6 May 2016 after an European Parliament Resolution.  Slovakian politician Ján Figel’ was the first Special Envoy. The function was without envoy since the Ján Figel’s mandate expired in November 2019. No such special envoy was appointed in the Von der Leyen Commission. After much criticism, the Von der Leyen Commission has now decided otherwise.

Also Read: The importance of Religious Freedom for Europe

The European Commission’ s function of Special Envoy for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU has its equivalent in the US Commission on International Religious Freedom headed by current chairman Tony Perkins and Nadine Maenza as Vice Chair. Both the EC’s FRoB and the USCIRF serve to advocate and promote religious freedom in foreign policy.