Today we celebrate the International Day of Democracy. As the world slowly recovers from the outbreak of the pandemic, we are confronted with the multiple threats posed to democracy in societies across the world. It is time to ensure that the universal democratic values we uphold are defended to rebuild stronger and more resilient societies.
As the world still responds to the effects of the global pandemic, the human rights of many who have a religion or hold humanistic and/or atheistic beliefs are increasingly threatened. On the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence based on Religion or Belief, the EU stands in solidarity with all victims of persecution, wherever they may be.
On the 19th of August, we celebrate those who dedicate their time, effort and skills to others. Humanitarian workers may not be Olympic athletes, but on their working marathons, they often put their lives at stake to protect others. They thrive not to achieve the best time, but the most effective result. They carry the torch of solidarity and altruism. The EU honours all humanitarian workers saving lives and helping the most vulnerable in times of crisis worldwide. Their courage, will and determination is the victory of us all.
What started as a symbolic gesture in a few countries, with a few volunteers, has now become a global movement, involving hundreds of people and collecting tons of waste on beaches, rivers and lakes across the world, reaching more than 80 countries in the 2019 edition. On the 18th of August, we officially launch the 2021 edition of the #EUBeachCleanup, together with the UN and with the support of the bluest of friends, the Smurfs. This year’s campaign focuses on the protection of marine life, with physical and digital actions for everyone to join. The campaign will reach its climax around the World Coastal Clean-up Day on 18th September.