President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People’s Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang. European Commission Vice-Pres…Read more
The EU at the UNthe EU is a permanent observer at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) since 1974it has observer status in most of the UN specialised agenciesit is a full voting member of 3 UN bodiesit is the only non-state party to mor…Read more
As part of our Leaders’ Agenda we will have an informal discussion at 27 on the new composition of the European Parliament after Brexit and other institutional issues, and a separate one on the post-2020 multiannual EU budget. Following my consultation…Read more
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European Council President Spokesperson
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Excellencies, thank you for being here today. And a special thank yo…
EU priorities at the UN General Assembly
Every year the Council of the EU adopts the EU priorities at the UN and the UN General Assembly, taking into account the UN’s agenda and global issues. These priorities guide the EU’s work for the year to come.
On 17 July 2017, the Council adopted the EU priorities for the UN and the 72nd UNGA (September 2017 – September 2018). The EU, together with its member states, will focus on the following three priorities.
Stronger global governance
The key EU priority will be to uphold, strengthen and reform the UN and the rules based global order. The EU will strive for clarity, transparency, efficiency, effectiveness and accountability as the key principles guiding UN action. This is essential to restore citizens’ and member states’ trust in the UN system to prevent and respond to crises, as well as to promote a rules based global order.
Peace and conflict prevention
Investing in upstream conflict prevention and planning for post peacekeeping scenarios is a priority for the EU. There are synergies between the EU Global Strategy and the UN vision of prevention as the golden thread that needs to run through all UN activities.
The EU and the UN are committed to strengthen their partnership in the global fight against terrorism and in the protection of victims. The EU also welcomes the reform of the UN Counter Terrorism architecture adopted by the UN General Assembly on 15 June 2017.
The EU will support the UN-led efforts in countries and regions requiring robust international action, including Syria, the Middle East, Libya, Ukraine, Yemen and African countries.
In the area of disarmament and non-proliferation, the EU will continue to promote universalisation and full implementation of the existing multilateral disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control treaties and regimes.
An enduring agenda for transformation
This year will be a defining year for the partnership between Europe and Africa. Africa is a strategic partner for the EU across all policy areas and the EU wants to support Africa in realising its full potential.
Building on the close EU-UN partnership on human rights, the EU will foster the promotion and protection of human rights, fundamental freedoms, rule of law and democracy worldwide. The EU will also support the UN’s coordinating role in promoting a coherent international response to humanitarian crises.
In addition, the EU supports the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and it is committed to achieve the 17 sustainable development goals by 2030.
Regarding migrants and refugees, the EU will push forward the negotiations for the UN global compact on migration, the development of the global compact for refugees, and the comprehensive refugees framework with pilot countries.
When it comes to climate change, the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement will be key to shape the global order. The EU supports a strong role for the UN in identifying and analysing security related risks linked to climate change.Read more
20 September 2017 – On the second day of the United Nations General Assembly’s high-level debate, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, underscored that the UN must rise to address many global challenges, including forced displacement and terrorism.
Mr. Tusk said the European Union (EU) continues to receive people in need of protection. He echoed his appeal to the international community to take responsibility for refugee protection and irregular migration, underscoring the EU’s support of the UN process to develop Global Compacts on Refugees and on Regular, Safe and Orderly Migration.
“Your engagement is needed right now, both in terms of money for humanitarian assistance, and more resettlement for those displaced by conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, and especially across Africa,” he told the Assembly.
In connection with the refugee crisis, Mr. Tusk urged a “crackdown on human smugglers that exploit vulnerable people and violate sovereign borders,” and welcomed the International Criminal Court investigation on smugglers in Libya for crimes against humanity.
Against the backdrop of repeated terrorist attacks, he stressed the need for the constant strengthening of the global fight against that scourge and violent extremism, including doing more on counter-radicalization. He reiterated his plea to the world’s Muslim leaders to stand strong against Islamist extremism as a real support in fighting terrorism. “In short,” the President said “we must be more determined than they are.”
In his address, the President of Finland called the Secretary-General’s determination to reform the UN “laudable,” spotlighting that transparency, accountability, efficiency and gender balance “should be the guiding principles of the UN system.”
Sauli Niinisto also welcomed the Secretary-General’s focus on conflict prevention, advocating for the marginalized to be given a voice in peace processes. “Women, children and adolescents often pay the highest price in conflicts but they can also help to pave a way out of the crisis,” he told the Assembly, while pointing to Finland’s contribution in establishing a Nordic network of women mediators who provide inclusive and meaningful participation in all phases of peace processes.
Pledging his support for UN peacekeeping reform, he drew attention to Finland’s increased participation in UN police missions – now through seven UN operations, including a specialized team on sexual and gender based violence in South Sudan. “It is my strong view that no UN peacekeeper nor any other UN personnel should be associated with misconduct of any shape or form. In particular, there must be ‘zero tolerance’ with regard to sexual exploitation and abuse,” he stressed.
Turning to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mr. Niinisto called that country’s nuclear weapons programme “a threat to global peace and stability,” that must be stopped. While stressing the importance of the continued unity of the Security Council, he underscored: “Such behaviour cannot be tolerated by the international community.”
Before leaving the podium, Mr. Niinisto expressed his strong belief that global challenges and threats be addressed together by the world community. “Peace and security, human rights and development belong to all of us. Only together can we make this world a better place,” he concluded.
Also taking the podium, President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria spoke in depth about international peace and its links to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), telling the Assembly that the UN peace and security architecture, together with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, “have provided a solid foundation for achieving peace and prosperity.”
Mr. Radev stressed that Bulgaria supports a surge in diplomacy for peace that places prevention as an overarching priority. “Prevention and mediation are essential means of reducing human suffering, including in addressing the root causes of forced displacements, bringing humanitarian, development and peace-building efforts together,” he elaborated.
The President pointed out that armed conflicts in many parts of the world continued to undermine peace and human values, asserting that “protracted conflicts require a holistic UN response encompassing preventive diplomacy, mediation, peace-building and effective special political missions.”
Calling climate change “one of the biggest challenges of our time,” he noted that the phenomenon not only impedes the well-being of countries, but also poses security threats to many of them.
Mr. Radev wrapped up his address by drawing attention to the need for promoting equality, countering discrimination and ensuring respect for human rights as keys to achieving lasting peace and sustainable development, saying “we believe that the protection of human rights should be placed at the centre of all action undertaken by the UN.”
For his part, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte pointed out that the problems confronting today’s world, such as climate change, migration, terrorism and cybercrime, are by definition international.
“No single country can tackle them in isolation. We need each other. […] In this turbulent world, the importance of the UN is growing every day, he told the Assembly.
The Prime Minister said “cooperation is key” when it comes to preventing terrorism, and that the UN is the prime forum for international cooperation. As a good example of cooperation, he pointed to the Global Counterterrorism Forum, saying its work “is not high-profile – most of it goes on behind the scenes – but it saves many lives.”
Turning to conflict, Mr. Rutte flagged that not enough attention is being devoted to the early its early stages of development, saying “That has to change.” He pointed to the MINUSMA peacekeeping mission in Mali where the Netherlands is using intelligence to carry out long-range reconnaissance work in anticipation of conflict – instead of waiting for it to happen.
Conflict prevention ties in with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which he calls “the ultimate prevention agenda” as “they address the drivers and root causes of instability and conflict.”
“Investing in human dignity, eradicating poverty, fostering climate resilience and promoting economic and social progress will reduce the incidence of conflict, instability and despair. Development and lasting peace – all in one package,” Mr. Rutte maintained.Read more
The European Union stands for freedom and a credible rules-based global order. Because this order is a real sine qua non condition for peace, stability and a global economy that works for everyone. An alternative to this order is chaos which always encourages violence, egoism and extremisms.
The United Nations is the best tool we have to address, on a global scale, today’s conflicts, famine, forced displacement, terrorism, and a return to nuclear tensions. For the EU and its Member States, it is imperative that the UN rise to these challenges. This is why together we contribute approximately one third of UN core financing, make one third of UN peacekeeping contributions, and put in half of all voluntary contributions to UN funds and programmes.
But we also expect the UN to become a more energetic, and a less bureaucratic organisation that can act with clarity and purpose in all its actions. Therefore, the EU considers the reform ideas of the UN currently on the table as the necessary minimum. What is needed is more ambition, not less.
The UN remains a vital forum to debate and a tool to implement our collective will, even if it has declined in popular esteem in recent years. I take the action by the UN Security Council on 11 September to sanction North Korea for carrying out more nuclear testing as a sign that the capacity for real leadership and unity is present. But it is still too little. No country should be allowed to undermine the global non-proliferation regime or to threaten peaceful countries. The European Union calls together with Japan and South Korea, our close friends and strategic partners, for a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. And we also call on all concerned to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran as a multilateral deal that is delivering more security for us all.
Europe also wants to work in partnership with African countries on challenges ranging from security and counter-terrorism to economic growth and job creation. We look forward to advancing these goals together at the African-European summit in Ivory Coast at the end of November. The European Union is already co-operating closely with UN missions on peacekeeping and conflict prevention in Mali, in the Central African Republic and other conflict zones. And we are also doing our best to alleviate a major humanitarian crisis, affecting more than 20 million people, in the Lake Chad Basin, South Sudan and Somalia. But more needs to be done. Now is the time to wake up to these escalating situations before it is really too late.
When it comes to the global refugee crisis, the EU continues to assume its responsibility. By receiving people in need of protection. By assisting host countries closer to the conflict zones. For three years now, the EU has appealed to the international community to take its responsibility for refugee protection and irregular migration. I am doing the same today.
In that context, the European Union is actively supporting the United Nations process to develop Global Compacts on Refugees and on Regular, Safe and Orderly Migration. Your engagement is needed right now, both in terms of money for humanitarian assistance, and more resettlement for those displaced by conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Myanmar, and especially across Africa.
At the same time, we should crack down on human smugglers that exploit vulnerable people and violate sovereign borders. I welcome that the International Criminal Court prosecutor is investigating the smugglers in Libya for crimes against humanity. We should treat them via a system of international sanctions just as harshly as those engaged in terrorism and piracy. The European Union calls on the international agencies to increase their presence on the ground in Libya immediately, so that we can work to improve the situation of those victimised by the smugglers.
2017 showed us that Da’esh as a territorial entity is fated for defeat. That’s good news. Sadly however, repeated terrorist attacks, also in Europe, demonstrate that the threat continues. So, we need to keep on strengthening the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism. In short, we must be more determined than they are.
Doing more on counter-radicalisation within the UN is badly needed. We welcome the establishment by the industry of the Global Internet Counter-Terrorism Forum to work in tandem with UN structures. The European Union has called on the major online companies to develop, as a priority, the means for automatic deletion of extremist content immediately after posting. And to the Muslim leaders of the world, I repeat the appeal I made after the London Bridge attack in June: your strong stance against Islamist extremism will be a real support in the fight against terrorism.
And finally on climate change. The Paris Agreement is the cornerstone of global efforts to tackle in an effective way climate change and implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The EU remains determined to implement the Agreement swiftly and fully, and to support our partners, in particular the vulnerable countries, in the fight against climate change. We will work with all partners who share our conviction that the Agreement is necessary to protect our planet, that it is fit for purpose. And that, in turn, it is good for economic growth and future jobs.
We meet at a time when the world is poised between hope and fear. The global economy and trade are expanding, but security tensions are rising and global co-operation is being increasingly questioned. Making international action robust, credible and transformative is the challenge. The European Union will never give up working with and within the United Nations until we meet this challenge.
The European Union and the United Nations were created in answer to the atrocities of the Second World War. This is why our European priority will always be to vigorously react against evil, violence and lawlessness in the international life. In confrontation with evil, the EU and the UN can not hesitate.
In our political life there are situations that are black and white, that are crystal clear, like in the case of the North Korea’s nuclear blackmail, terrorism, or the aggression on Ukraine. And it is then when we need to demonstrate that we are still able to distinguish between good and evil. Sometimes this takes courage. But the UN is not there to cowardly look for a compromise with the evil, but to mobilise the global community in the fight against it. Therefore, a moral judgement of the reality, clear and univocal, should be the first principle of our common action.
Many people in the world still believe that in this room have gathered those who have not given up on the ethical dimension of politics in the name of their own egoistic interests. Let us show them that their trust is justified.Thank you.Read more
One ofRead more
the topics of the G20, as you know, is migration. Europe has been struggling
with the unprecedented wave of illegal migration for two years now. We have
managed to overcome to a great degree the crisis on the East Mediterranean