The EU thanks the Special Rapporteur for her first update to this Council and express our continued strong support to the mandate.
We welcome the timely focus of the latest report and express strong concern at the additional protection gaps and risks that have emerged with, and been further exacerbated by restrictive measures and disruptions in social and child protection services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fight against child sexual abuse is a priority for the European Union. To provide for an effective response we have adopted a strategy for 2020-2025, which covers eight initiatives to implement and develop the right legal framework, strengthen the law enforcement response and catalyse a coordinated multi-stakeholder action in relation to prevention and investigation, as well as assistance to victims of child sexual abuse. We are currently preparing a new legislative proposal which will strengthen these contributions further in the detection, removal and reporting of child sexual abuse online.
We thank the SR for the list of recommendations in the report. Given your commitment to integrate a gender-perspective throughout your work, the EU would like to enquire about best practices in terms of making gender equality a priority in all efforts to address the risks of sale and sexual exploitation of children, both online and offline, during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
 The report contains a thematic study on the impact of COVID-19 on the heightened risks of sale and sexual exploitation of children, and on how the mitigation measures to contain the crisis threaten to further erode the situation of children whose vulnerability may have been exacerbated by the exceptional circumstances created by the pandemic.