The Council of Ministers appointed Stavros Lambrinidis of Greece as the first EU Special Representative for Human Rights. Lambrinidis will take office on 1 September, with an initial mandate running until the end of June 2014.
The Special Representative will serve under the High Representative Catherine Ashton, and will work closely with her. The task is closely connected with the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, adopted in June and put in place to render the Union's human rights policy more effective and focused while making human rights as a cross cutting theme in all external action of the Union.
According to Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja, the appointment will strengthen the Union's human rights activities and give a face to the work. ”Nevertheless, it should be stressed that the appointment of the Special Representative will not diminish the High Representative Ashton's obligation – nor that of political decision makers in the member states – to raise human rights issues in their work,” the Minister says.
Stavros Lambrinidis has a degree in law and his earlier positions include Minister for Foreign Affairs of Greece and the Vice President of the European Parliament.
Further information: Deputy Head of the Unit for Human Rights Policy Janina Hasenson, tel. +358 9 1605 5956