Friday

15th Dec 2017

'Double standards' no reason not to talk about human rights, says new envoy

  • Stavros Lambrinidis is a former MEP and foreign minister (Photo: European External Action Service)

The EU's first ever special representative for human rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, has promised to "increase the visibility, the coherence and the effectiveness of EU human rights policy" on the world stage despite tension with EU trade policies.

He described himself to MEPs on Monday (3 September) as the face of EU human rights policy implementation, "its telephone number, and its facilitator."

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

A former European Parliament vice-president and Greek minister of foreign affairs with a background in civil rights law, Lambrinidis said his mandate would not include human rights abuses in EU member states.

He also acknowledged that advancing human rights in the world would be more difficult where double standards occur - the EU has trade agreements with several countries where rights are not respected.

"This [double standards] is not an argument or an answer against not applying human rights in other countries. In fact, to be able to discuss openly some of these issues is extremely lacking in many countries and this is unacceptable," he said.

Human rights, repeated Lambrinidis, are either at the root of many conflicts or a fundamental element of their solution.

Among his more pressing concerns is the current crisis unfolding in Syria, but also how to prevent human rights crises from developing in the first place.

Speaking in broad terms on his mandate and perceived working relationship with the EU institutions, member states, and other human rights bodies, Lambrinidis said the dialogue on human rights with countries like China and Russia needs to be moved up to the highest political levels to become more effective.

"I am not in favour of talking for simply talking. But talking here is extremely important," he noted.

Merely addressing concerns, themes, and the plight of individuals is not enough, said Lambrinidis, whose mandate runs until 30 June 2014.

He said experiences with the Greek dictatorship as a child between 1967 and 1974 had left an indelible impression upon him. Both his parents worked in defence of human rights.

Appointed by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Asthon on 25 July, Lambrinidis will help put in place the EU's overarching human rights framework, adopted by member states on 25 June.

The framework aims to introduce some coherency on human rights across EU policies.

France kicks out Roma, again

Roma in France's northern city of Lille were expelled from their camps over the weekend despite promises by President Hollande to end the practice.

Two EU states break ranks on Jerusalem

Hungary and the Czech Republic have broken EU ranks on US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital despite warnings it could bring back 'darker times'.

Feature

Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees

Lebanon hosts over one million Syrian refugees, and has received some €1bn in EU funds. Caught in a geo-political tug of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Lebanon's domestic politics have cast a longer shadow over its Syrian 'guests'.

EU complicit in Libyan torture, says Amnesty

The EU and its members states have signed up to 'Faustian pact' with Libyan authorities in the their effort to prevent migrant and refugee boat departures towards Italy, says Amnesty International.

News in Brief

  1. Luxembourg appeals Amazon tax decision
  2. EU leaders agree to open phase 2 of Brexit talks
  3. Juncker: May made 'big efforts' on Brexit
  4. Merkel took 'tough' line on Russia at EU summit
  5. EU leaders added line supporting 'two-state' solution
  6. EU leaders agree to 20 European Universities by 2024
  7. Belgian courts end legal proceedings against Puigdemont
  8. French central bank lifts 2017 growth forecast

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  2. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  3. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  4. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  5. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  6. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  10. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  11. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  12. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties

Latest News

  1. Polish PM ready for EU sanctions scrap
  2. Dutchman to lead powerful euro working group
  3. EU mulls post-Brexit balance of euro and non-eurozone states
  4. EU asylum debate reopens old wounds
  5. Estonia completes two out of three priority digital bills
  6. EU countries are not 'tax havens', parliament says
  7. Tech firms' delays mean EU needs rules for online terror
  8. Slovak PM: Human rights are not a travel pass to EU