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No woman or girl should suffer from violence. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a severe violation of human rights and an act of violence against women and girls. It is estimated that more than 200 million women and girls worldwide have suffered from FGM. In Europe, at least 600,000 women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM, often severely affecting their health and well-being, even endangering their lives. COVID-19 has disrupted prevention programmes, seriously undermining progress towards reducing this heinous practice. Any backward step puts thousands of women and girls at risk.

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30/01/2021 – HR/VP Blog – On 1 January 2021, Brexit took full effect, with the UK becoming a ‘third country’. While the public debate has focused on the economic fallout, we also need to decide how the EU and the UK can cooperate on foreign and security policy. On 25 January, EU Foreign Ministers discussed the issue, giving their guidance, with EU unity and interests as the central thread.

Holocaust survivor and Italian writer Primo Levi – the first to make a detailed written recollection of the atrocities that happened in Auschwitz – said: “We cannot understand [Fascism], but we can and must understand from where it springs, and we must be on our guard. Because what happened can happen again. For this reason, it is everyone's duty to reflect on what happened”.

25/01/2021– HR/VP blog – Last week, at the European Commission, we adopted a new strategy to strengthen the international role of the euro and increase our resilience to extraterritorial unilateral sanctions. The fields of finance and economics are increasingly used as tools in international competition. We need to enhance EU’s strategic autonomy in these areas.

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Good afternoon,

Well, to be the first meeting of the year, we have had a very though, heavy agenda. Let me run [you] through our discussion.

From growing onions in the sand, beekeeping to preserve wildlife, building homes from plastic bottles, to solar parks and other initiatives to switch to green: such concrete actions, big or small, help to mitigate climate change. Yet there is a need for drastic action. Climate action is at the heart of the European Green Deal – from ambitiously cutting global emissions, to investing in research and innovation, to preserving the natural environment.

The Council today adopted conclusions on ʻClimate and Energy Diplomacy - Delivering on the external dimension of the European Green Dealʼ. In its conclusions the Council recognises that climate change is an existential threat to humanity. It notes that global climate action still falls short of what is required to achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speech delivered by Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement

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Mr President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

I welcome the five main lines included in this substantive, timely and forward-looking report.

15/01/2021 – HR/VP Blog – For more than two months, conflict has been raging in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. The situation is desperate for the local population and the conflict is unsettling dynamics both within Ethiopia and the whole region. I have passed a clear message to the Ethiopian leadership: we are ready to help, but unless there is access for humanitarian aid operators, the EU cannot disburse the planned budget support to the Ethiopian government.

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