Thank you to all of you. Sorry for being late. It has been quite a long and intense - I would not say Foreign Affairs Council because it was not strictly speaking a Council - but an informal meeting of the Foreign Affairs Ministers to discuss about the worst upsurges in violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in many years, since 2014.
European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo today announced the start of discussions to address global steel and aluminum excess capacity. During a virtual meeting last week, the leaders acknowledged the need for effective solutions that preserve our critical industries, and agreed to chart a path that ends the WTO disputes following the U.S. application of tariffs on imports from the EU under section 232.
Respecting our differences is part of who we are and how we relate with others. Our democracies are built upon the appreciation for diversity. On the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), the EU reaffirms its strong commitment to promote and protect the full and equal enjoyment of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) persons. On this occasion, we illuminated EU buildings in rainbow colours as an act of support.
Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and rights. On the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT), the European Union reaffirms its strong commitment to respect, protect and promote the full and equal enjoyment of human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons.
The European Union is actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to contribute to defusing the ongoing violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Over the past days, High Representative for foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell has been continuing his outreach to support efforts to de-escalate the extremely worrying situation in the region, especially in and around Gaza.
The grave escalation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the major upsurge in violence in and around Gaza, must stop. This follows days of tension and clashes in Jerusalem, including at the holy sites and increasing violence in towns in Israel and the West Bank.
The EU is dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children. The priority must be to protect civilians. All efforts should be directed at avoiding civilian casualties, and supporting de-escalation.
It has been a long and intense Foreign Affairs Council. Let me focus on the two main issues, which reflect our strategic priorities: the Western Balkans on one side and the relations with the United States on the other.
There were a number of other current issues, let me cite among them Palestine, let me start with it. Our initial focus was on the situation with regard to the postponed Palestinian elections, but we also discussed about the serious situation on the ground.
A l'occasion de la journée de l'Europe 2021, Ihssane Benalluch, influenceuse et ambassadrice de bonne de l'UE au Maroc volonté a invité Claudia Wiedey, ambassadrice de l'Union européenne au Maroc à un live chat.