The Bishops of the European Union welcome the appointment of Frans van Daele as EU Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU, made public on Wednesday 7 December 2022 by EC Vice-President Margaritis Schinas. Cardinal Hollerich: “We congratulate Mr van Daele and we are ready to cooperate with him. We call on the European Commission to provide adequate resources and a well-defined mandate”.
The appointment of Mr van Daele was made public on Wednesday 7 December 2022 by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas.
The President of COMECE, H.Em. Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, reacts to this news from Prague, where he is meeting Prime Minister Petr Fiala in the context of the Czech EU Presidency. “On behalf of the COMECE Assembly of EU Bishops – Cardinal Hollerich states – I congratulate Mr van Daele on his appointment. We are ready to cooperate with him. We take this opportunity to reiterate our call to the European Commission to provide the new EU Special Envoy with adequate resources, and a well-defined mandate, that will enable Mr van Daele to carry on his important responsibility to protect and promote Freedom of Religion, a fundamental right that is under threat in many parts of the world”.
The EU Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief is an important position that has made visible the violations of religious freedom in different regions around the world, contributing to improve the situation of those religious minorities that suffer from discrimination, intolerance and, in some cases, even persecution.
The first EU Special Envoy was appointed in May 2016, making a remarkable work to address the most important cases of religious freedom’s breaches, including, among the others, abusive blasphemy legislation, forced conversion, killings of leaders and members of religious minorities.
Since the establishment of this office, despite a clear lack of sufficient resources – both financial and human, and the vague mandate – the EU Special Envoy on FoRB became an international reference in the protection and promotion of religious freedom worldwide. This important role has been recognised by the European Parliament in its 15 January 2019 resolution.