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Let us speak in Spanish because I am sure that most of the people who are interested in this issue are Spanish. And in any case, the ones who have been asking for this debate most of them speak Spanish. And for time to time, it is good for me to speak in Spanish.

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Ms President, dear Members of the European Parliament,

Afghanistan is another place where there is not a lot of room for optimism. But even if there is no room for optimism, we have to continue being engaged in a country where a lot of civilian casualties have been happening and 40% of these casualties are women or children.

The final judgement in the case of Ratko Mladić by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) brings to an end a key trial in Europe’s recent history for war crimes, including genocide, which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Remembering those who lost their lives, our deepest sympathies are with their loved ones and those who survived. This judgement will contribute to the healing for all those who suffered.

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Ms President, Honourable Members of the European Parliament,

It is certainly the right moment to talk about Belarus. Belarus is again at the very top of the international agenda for the events that everybody knows and the continued repression by Lukashenko’s regime. 

This repression has been strongly condemned, as much as the massive human rights violations, which continue unabated since the past elections in August 2020, almost one year ago.

World Oceans Day reminds us of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere. Thousands of sea animals are killed each year as a result of marine pollution. Almost one third of reef forming corals, and more than a third of marine mammals are now threatened with extinction. The disappearance of tropical coral reefs also threatens to destroy the livelihoods of half a billion people. Together we can all try to protect our ocean.

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06/06/2021 – HR/VP Blog – This week, I visited Jakarta, for talks with the leaders of Indonesia and ASEAN. A main reason of this trip was to signal EU engagement with this dynamic part of the world, towards which the global centre of gravity is shifting. My discussions proved there is clear demand in the region for more EU engagement and presence: on the pandemic, for recovery, for connectivity and in the area of security.

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We have been exploiting and destroying our planet’s ecosystems way too long. The world loses forest the size of a football pitch every three seconds. Pollution compromises ecosystems and triggers biodiversity loss as never before. World Environment Day comes just one day after the 2021 edition of the European Green Week, an opportunity to bring people together to find solutions and concrete actions to tackle pollution once and for all, making the ambition for a zero-pollution and toxic-free environment a reality.

On 4 June, President Putin signed a new law banning anyone with links to so-called “extremist organisations” from running in elections in Russia. This new law is yet another tool against critical and opposition voices, which will further curtail political pluralism in Russia. This decision, ahead of the State Duma elections in September and in conjunction with the laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organisations”, reinforces a systematic crackdown on democracy, human rights and freedoms. Moreover, it is of additional concern that this law will have retroactive force.

The Council today decided to strengthen the existing restrictive measures in view of the situation in Belarus by introducing a ban on the overflight of EU airspace and on access to EU airports by Belarusian carriers of all kinds.

On 4th June, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, concluded his four-day visit to Indonesia and the headquarters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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