On World Press Freedom Day, we pay tribute to the essential role of journalism in upholding online and offline freedom of expression in democratic societies and fostering transparency and accountability. The COVID-19 crisis has brought the importance of the work of the press into sharp relief. In times of uncertainty, more than ever, access to reliable fact-checked information, that is free from undue interference and influence, is crucial and contributes to a more resilient society. It is a matter of concern that the COVID-19 pandemic is being used in some countries as a pretext for imposing undue restrictions on freedom of the press.
As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, the European Union and its Member States have observed cyber threats and malicious cyber activities targeting essential operators in Member States and their international partners, including in the healthcare sector. Since the beginning of the pandemic, significant phishing and malware distribution campaigns, scanning activities and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been detected, some affecting critical infrastructures that are essential to managing this crisis.
As we mark half a century of Earth Day, we are faced with two crises: the coronavirus pandemic; and the gradually growing disaster for our climate. We must solve both challenges. The world was not prepared for the novel coronavirus. But we still have time to prepare for the climate crisis in every part of the world.
Thank you for this opportunity to discuss the implications of this pandemic in EU foreign affairs and for your strong support to a joint EU response to this global crisis. Because it is really a global crisis which is affecting all geopolitical aspects.
19/04/2020 - It is now more than a month that the corona virus has Europe in its grip. While every day we work flat out to address the crisis in all its aspects, it is good to step back and reflect on what living with COVID19 means, for our daily lives, for Europe, for the wider world and how it will affect our society.
11/04/2020 - The coronavirus has not only Europe but the entire global community in its grip and is the world’s common enemy. An enemy we can only defeat with a global approach and cross-border coordination. And while we have to mobilise all our resources to fight the virus at home, now is also the time to look beyond our borders, most specifically at our sister continent Africa and the Southern Neighbourhood, as well as at the Western Balkans, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Because solidarity cannot be an empty word and also because for as long as the virus will not be eradicated everywhere, it will remain a threat to all of us.