On 20 September, as part of the SAIL Tel Aviv festival, the EU supported a massive beach clean-up in Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Together with partners at the Tel Aviv Municipality, Atidim, NGOs EcoOcean and Plastic Free Israel, European Ambassadors and many diplomats posted in Israel led a clean-up of beaches in Jaffa to raise awareness of the environmental impact caused by marine litter.
September 21 marked International Peace Day. While I look forward to one day celebrate the peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, in the meantime we shouldn’t lose sight of the need to keep moving in that direction. While the EU believes peace is possible, current trends are pushing it further away than ever.
On the International Day of Peace, the European Union reaffirms its commitment to peace and security, to human rights and sustainable development for all, to international cooperation and to the rules-based international order with the United Nations at its core. Sustainable peace has always been and will remain at the centre of the European Union's external action, as restated in the Global Strategy.
On the occasion of the International Day of Democracy, the European Union reaffirms its commitment towards democracy as a fundamental right of every human being. Every woman and every man has to be free to participate to the political, economic and social life of her or his country. No one should fear to speak up, to demonstrate peacefully, to go to vote or to expect fair and inclusive policies from a government. Democracy can only function if participation and trust between democratic state institutions, governments and citizens are guaranteed.
On this first International Day commemorating the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief, we pay tribute to all those around the world who lost their lives and suffered attacks because of their religion or belief. Persecution as a response to religious belief or affiliation, or lack thereof, is a violation of international law and requires joint work to combat it.