9 May 2017 - The European Union is a strategic partner of the UN [fr]
Co-operation between the United Nations and the European Union - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 9 May 2017
I would like to welcome Ms. Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to the Security Council and to thank her warmly for her briefing.
As we do every year on 9 May, today the States members of the European Union celebrate Europe Day in honour of the shared project that they have brought to life together since the signing of the Treaty of Rome more than 60 years ago now.
The decision to hold this annual meeting of the Council on the cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union on this symbolic day is anything but trivial. It reflects the closeness of two organizations that share the same values and whose areas of joint intervention are constantly increasing. It is also testament to the huge importance that the United Nations has for the European Union in its conduct of its external policies, as shown by Ms. Mogherini’s presence in New York today, on this special day for all Europeans, and I thank her for it once again.
Today the European Union is a major player in peacekeeping and a strategic partner of the United Nations in that area.
As with other regional organizations, its role is becoming ever more central to the implementation of peacekeeping operations, whether through financing, military contributions or political support.
The European Union’s numerous missions, military and civilian, within the framework of its common security and defence policy, help to implement Security Council decisions in many regions of the world. That is particularly the case:
- in Europe itself, where, for example, it contributes to the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to strengthening the rule of law in Kosovo;
- in Africa, including in Mali, the Niger, the Central African Republic and Somalia, where it helps to strengthen African crisis-response capabilities structurally and provides crucial funding for African peace-support operations;
- and in responding to cross-cutting threats through its efforts to combat migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean and maritime piracy off the coast of Somalia.
I could give many more examples.
We should keep in mind the financial contribution that European countries make to peacekeeping operations, covering 40 per cent of the total budget for peacekeeping — but also on the human front, as in Mali, for instance, where more than 1,000 European Blue Helmets are working with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali with unprecedented means at their disposal.
More broadly, the European Union intervenes in support of peace and security by using the full range of its tools within a global approach designed to promote political solutions and address the underlying causes of conflicts and terrorism in depth. That makes it entirely consistent with the Secretary-General’s vision for action by the international community throughout cycles of conflict, from prevention to peacebuilding.
The European Union is also a core partner of the Security Council in its efforts to reach lasting solutions to the major crises on its agenda.
Some examples of that include the Syrian issue, where the European Union has added its voice to those emphasizing the urgency of resuming inter-Syrian negotiations with a view to setting up a political transition that accords with the provisions of resolution 2254 and the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012. That can be achieved only in an environment where there is a sustained cessation of hostilities and free, unhindered, consistent access to humanitarian aid.
Another such example is in Libya, where the European Union is deployed alongside the United Nations Support Mission in Libya in a major effort to enable the Presidential Council of Prime Minister Serraj to combat the threat posed by the growing presence there of terrorist groups. In addition, through the European Union Sophia military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR), deployed in international waters off the Libyan coast, and based on the relevant Council resolutions, the Union is also helping to fight migrant smuggling and strengthen the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya.
A third example is the crisis in Ukraine, in which the European Union has pursued a policy of dialogue and firm support for the work of the Normandy group, whose efforts will continue in the months to come. The European sanctions are intended not as punishment but rather as encouragement to the parties involved to implement the provisions that the Security Council has endorsed to bring about an end to the crisis, that is, the package of measures for implementing the Minsk agreements.
Lastly, the European Union is a leading actor in the response to the global migrant crisis.
In the face of what appears to be the greatest crisis of displaced persons and refugees since the end of the Second World War, in which we must show both solidarity and responsibility, the European Union’s proactive efforts are too often downplayed or misunderstood. It continues to be by far the biggest provider of humanitarian aid to refugees around the world. Its operations, with EUNAVFOR Sophia in the forefront, have saved the lives of tens of thousands of people in distress in the waters of the Mediterranean and have been combating the migrant-trafficking networks in the Mediterranean.
The EU is not ignoring the importance of tackling the underlying causes of the issue, as it has demonstrated through the priority it has given to financing for development in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its major financial support to countries of origin and transit.
To cite just one example, the European Union contributes well over 50 per cent of governmental assistance to development globally.
So while it cannot solve the migrant crisis on its own, it contributes its full share of political, security, financial, moral and human responsibility in attempting to respond as effectively as possible.
Finally, I would like to echo a remark of Ms. Mogherini’s and note the deep attachment that France, and our community of nations as a whole, has to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and its full implementation, which represents one of the greatest challenges of our time and which needs all of our engagement.
I would like to conclude by emphasizing once again a fundamental point of convergence between the United Nations and the European Union, which is their shared commitment to multilateralism and a world where the law is stronger than mere might. That is one of the elements that go to make the European Union one of the pillars of today’s international order, far beyond its role as a regional organization.