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PACE President hails Assembly’s backing for Athens Declaration on how democracies face pandemics

“I am delighted that the Assembly – in the unanimous vote of the Standing Committee on Friday – has given its full backing to the Athens Declaration of the Committee of Ministers Chairmanship, which sets out how democratic societies deal with health crises such as COVID-19,” said PACE President Rik Daems.

“This initiative, the culmination of Greece’s successful chairmanship, spells out – among other things – that all measures taken to deal with a pandemic must be proportional, continually re-evaluated, sanctioned by law and overseen by parliaments.”

“The Assembly is already doing everything it can to ensure governments take this approach, and we’ll be working hard on this in the months to come. In January, for example, we will be debating the ethical and legal aspects of vaccine development and deployment.”

“I was particularly pleased that our own statement welcoming the Athens Declaration – together with the Secretary General’s ‘toolkit’ – was adopted with support from all sides of the Assembly. This shows that all of us adhere to the fundamental values that the Council of Europe upholds and defends, even in the most difficult of circumstances.”