Letter from EAFT "Freedom of philosophical conviction".Published on 12/08/2022
Dear President of the European Commission
On behalf of the European Association for Free Thought (EAFT) , which is well known to your services, we are contacting you to express a number of reservations concerning the very principle of appointing a new special envoy for the European Union for the protection in third countries of freedom of religion or freedom not to believe.
We note that confessional circles have engaged in intense lobbying with a view to the appointment of a new special envoy to succeed Mr Christos Stylianides.
One of the names that has been circulating in recent days is notoriously supported by the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, which suggests that such a special envoy, if appointed, would not give the same priority to protecting non-believers in third countries, who are also persecuted in some parts of the world.
Added to this is the fact that the idea of appointing a special envoy duplicates the Guidelines, adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 24 June 2013, which provide that the protection of freedom of religion or freedom from belief is fully ensured by Member State embassies and EU embassies in third countries. They are therefore better equipped to carry out this task than just one man or woman, not to mention the unnecessary costs that this would entail, which could be seen as maladministration.
Tony Van der haegen Guy T'hooft
Chairman's Relations Officer
with the European Institutions
CC . Bjoern Seibert, Head of Cabinet to Mrs von der Leyen
- Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
- Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President of the European Commission, responsible for dialogue under Article 17 of the TFEU
- Vincent Depaigne