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On July 7, the Foreign ministers of Germany, France, Egypt and Jordan held an important discussion on the risks linked to the unilateral annexation of parts of the West Bank. Unfortunately I could not attend as I was travelling in order to deal with other equally important issues. The EU was represented by the Secretary General of the EEAS and the EU Special Representative for the Middle East.

“Demography is destiny” said the sociologist Auguste Comte: the basic idea is that population trends and distributions determine the future of a country or region. Recently, my colleague Dubravka Suica, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for demography and democracy, provided us with an analysis of the foreseeable consequences of the demographic changes underway in Europe and globally. This work deserves our full attention, because this subject is both central to the Union's internal affairs and for its place in the world.

We need to build a common strategic culture in Europe. If we agree more on how we see the world and the challenges it contains, it will be easier to agree on what to do about them. Given our different histories, this will take time. It requires many discussions among all involved in the shaping of Europe’s foreign policy, both in Brussels and capitals. We need to understand where each of us is coming from; what worries people and why; but also what we have in common.

In the almost ten years since civil war began in Syria, I have followed closely its appalling developments and the horrors that the Syrian people have gone through. I come from a country that went through a civil war and perfectly know how it divides and destroys a society.

More than 12 million Syrians, half of the pre-war population, had to flee their homes. Over half a million have lost their lives. An entire generation of Syrian children has only known war. As Europeans, we have collectively been unable to stop these massacres at the gates of our continent. When we pursue our efforts to build a stronger Common Foreign and Security Policy for the EU, I often think of Syria and what we could have done there.

On 18 June, the European Union and Mercosur concluded negotiations on the Political Dialogue and Cooperation part as well as on the Preamble, and on the General, Institutional and Final provisions of the EU-Mercosur Association Agreement.

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On 29 June, the Maduro regime announced that the EU Ambassador had 72 hours to leave the country. The EU firmly condemns this decision and profoundly regrets the further international isolation that will result. We call for this decision to be reversed.

The sixth Negotiation Round of the Political and Cooperation Pillar of the modernised Association Agreement between Chile and the European Union was held by means of videoconference on Thursday 25 of June. The delegations were headed by the Chief Negotiators, on the European side by the Managing Director for the Americas of the European External Action Service, Edita Hrdá, and on the Chilean side, by the acting Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Ambassador Raúl Fernández.

 

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The Council today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation, with this list being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.

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On 23 June I had the opportunity to speak before the Parliamentary Committee for the Economic and Social Reconstruction of Spain after the COVID-19 pandemic, in the Congress of Deputies. It was a great honour to appear in Spain’s parliament for the first time since my appointment as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

Torture denies the dignity of the human being. Its victims suffer both visible and invisible wounds. And this is still the horrifying reality today. On International Day in support of Victims of Torture, EU High Representative Josep Borrrell states “At a time when the world is joining efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, human rights must remain at the core of our battle. On this day, we give a voice to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been victims of torture and those who are still tortured today.”

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