Child labour affects 152 million children worldwide. The EU has been working with UNICEF and other partners to put an end to a phenomenon that takes childhood away and puts the future of millions of kids worldwide at risk. Earlier this week, EU High Representative Josep Borrell and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta Fore, held a phone call during which they discussed ways to continue working together to fight the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and agreed to jointly promote the education of children, including digital learning as a priority. “School is the most important equality producer in the world,” Borrell said. One of last year’s themes for the joint EU-UNICEF #TheRealChallenge social media campaign was child labour.
On International Day of UN Peacekeepers we pay tribute to the invaluable work of peacekeepers and honour those who have lost their lives while on duty. The EU works closely with the UN on peacekeeping and civilian, police and military crisis management, to enhance security both inside and outside the EU. The EU and the UN also aim to increase participation of women in peace operations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the challenges and threats faced by peacekeepers are even greater than ever, as they are not only having to cope with the pandemic, but also with supporting and protecting the people in the countries they are based in.
In 2019, I visited as Spanish Minister for Foreign Affairs the Simon Bolivar bridge, a 300 metres long bridge spanning Venezuela and Colombia. The bridge is named after the Venezuelan statesman and it was until the Venezuelan economic crisis a popular crossing point for citizens to shop across the border. Today, the bridge is a point where many Venezuelan refugees start the journey to look for a better future. At the time, I could witness the dire situations that many Venezuelans migrants and refugees are escaping from and the risks and misery they face. 5 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants have by now sought safety and new opportunities across the world, mostly in neighbouring countries. During my visit, I was already appointed as EU High Representative and was committed to organise European and international support for the refuges and migrants. The visit at the crossing over the Táchira River confirmed how badly this is needed.