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.
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.
Today, the EU will light up its headquarters in Brussels to show its support for eradicating an alarming problem that is still too common. One in three women in Europe has experienced physical and/or sexual violence.