On world Non-Governmental Organisation Day, celebrated on 27 February, the European Union applauds the fundamental contribution made by civil society organisations to the promotion of human rights, good governance, democracy and the rule of law. As such, they are key partners for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The Council today adopted a decision authorising the opening of negotiations for a new partnership with the UK, and formally nominating the Commission as EU negotiator. The Council also adopted negotiating directives which constitute a mandate to the Commission for the negotiations.
Girls and women have the exclusive right to make decisions about their bodies. None should see their body subjected to any kind of violence or abuse under any circumstances. Female Genital Mutilation is a severe breach of human rights and a dangerous violation of women's physical integrity. Today, we join our voices to say: Enough is enough. Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.
Today, the United Kingdom leaves the European Union and becomes a third country. While we regret the decision of the United Kingdom to leave our Union, we fully respect this choice and are ready to move forward.
The diplomatic representation of the European Union from now on will be ensured by an EU Delegation, under my authority as High Representative of the Union for Foreign affairs and Security Policy.
New EU rules on short-stay visas apply worldwide from 2 February 2020. They make it easier for legitimate travellers to apply for a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, while providing more resources for countering irregular migration risks and threats to internal security.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, announces today the appointment of Mr. João Vale de Almeida as the first Head of the future EU Delegation to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This has been duly notified to the United Kingdom. Mr. Vale de Almeida will take up his new functions on 1 February 2020.
As of that date, the United Kingdom will be a third country and as a consequence, the representation of the Union will be ensured by an EU Delegation.
We celebrate this year the 10th anniversary of the Charter of the Fundamental Rights and the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Yet these rights continue to be challenged around the world. In particular, children and youth continue to be the main victims of human rights violations. They are forced to seek refuge, recruited as soldiers, forced into child labour or torn apart from their families against their will.
The European Union reaffirms today its support to the universal ban on chemical weapons. It is a tribute to all those who have lost their lives or loved ones and suffered harm from chemical weapons as well as a commitment to promoting peace and security.
The Chemical Weapons Convention and the crucial work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have contributed to eliminating 97% of chemical weapons stockpiles declared by possessor states. This makes the Chemical Weapons Convention the world's most successful disarmament treaty.