In Europe and in the world, all minds are focused on actions to tackle the outbreak of COVID-19 and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The European Union works on all fronts to support these efforts. The latest information can be found on the dedicated European Commission website. We take this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those in need, anywhere in the world. On the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on 21 March 2020, the European Union reiterates its unwavering commitment to fighting racism and xenophobia and all other forms of intolerance. Not only on this day, but every day.
Today 17 March, Members of the European Council held a videoconference on COVID 19 in order to follow up on previous conclusions of 10 March 2020 together with the ECB President, the President of the Eurogroup and the High Representative.
Gender equality is a core principle of the European Union. Yet it is still not a reality. In business, politics and society as a whole, we can only reach our full potential if we use all of our talent and diversity. Women face too many hurdles and barriers on their way. In Europe and beyond, women continue to be targets of gender-based violence, stereotypes and hate speech.
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.
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.