28/02/2020 - It felt a bit like a “Commission school trip”, but it was a powerful signal. No less than 20 EU Commissioners and President von der Leyen participated yesterday in the 10th joint meeting of the European Commission and the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. That so many Commissioners travelled was clear proof of the priority that relations to Africa represent for the new European Commission.
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.
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.
Last week Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as well as Equatorial Guinea announced their subscription to the Hague Code of Conduct against ballistic missiles proliferation, hence becoming the 141st and 142nd Subscribing States to the Code respectively.
This is an important step towards the universalisation and effective implementation of the Code of Conduct. All States that have not yet subscribed to the Code of Conduct should follow this example, in particular those possessing ballistic missile capabilities and space launch vehicles.
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.
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.