Delegation of the European Union to Uganda

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07/02/2021 – HR/VP Blog – I went to Moscow this week to test, through principled diplomacy, whether the Russian government was interested in addressing differences and reversing the negative trend in our relations. The reaction I received points visibly in a different direction. So, as EU we will have to reflect on the broader implications and chart a way forward. We are at a crossroads. The main parameters of the geopolitical landscape of the 21st century are being drawn.

In some parts of the world, girls under 18 are circumcised and assumed ready for marriage. Ester recalls that she was very excited and agreed to this “BUT when the day came and already cut, oh God I was like half dead,” she cried. Female genital mutilation is a crime and a violation of human rights. It cannot be justified as a cultural or traditional practice. The practice has been around for more than a thousand years, and continues to persist until this very day, further impacted by the shadow pandemic, disrupting efforts for its elimination. But change is possible, and it is happening.

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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04/02/2021 – HR/VP blog – On Monday, I spoke to the Robert Schuman Foundation about our priorities for this year: easing tensions in our neighbourhood, opening a new chapter in our relationship with the United States, rebalancing our relations with China, putting European strategic autonomy into practice and reviving multilateralism.

03/02/2021 – HR/VP blog – The Arctic is a fascinating region and Arctic affairs are becoming ever more geopolitically important. The impact of climate change, security issues and rivalries are growing, as is the need for cooperation and multilateral agreements.

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.

27/01/2021 – HR/VP blog – On 25 January we launched the first pilot of the new Coordinated Maritime Presences (CMP) concept in the Gulf of Guinea off the coast of West Africa. In addition to our existing naval operations in the Mediterranean and in the Western India Ocean, we are strengthening our role as a global maritime security provider.

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.

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.

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