??At the inauguration ceremony was held today to celebrate the official opening of the new European Union Delegation to the United Nations. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, opened the new premises in the presence of European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, Commission President José Manuel Barroso and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Also in attendance were ambassadors from EU Member States as well as Foreign Ministers and various high-level officials in New Yorkfor the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, all of whom were welcomed by EU Ambassador to the UN, Thomas Mayr-Harting. Catherine Ashton paid tribute to the tireless efforts of Ban Ki-moon and spoke of the importance of a strong and effective United Nations in tackling the common challenges faced by the EU and its international partners.
Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the former European Commission Delegation and Council Liaison Office have merged to form the European Union Delegation to the United Nations, under the authority of the High Representative/Vice-President Catherine Ashton.
On 2 May 2011, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on the official participation of the EU in the work of the UN. The official opening of the new building marks the symbolic final chapter in the launch of the Delegation.
The EU is the single largest financial contributor to the UN system. The 27 EU Member States fund 38% of the UN’s regular budget, more than two-fifths of UN peacekeeping operations, and about one-half of all UN Member States’ contributions to UN funds and programmes.
The EU works with all UN bodies, agencies and programmes across virtually the entire range of UN activities, from development policy and peace-building to humanitarian assistance, environment, human rights, and culture.