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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. President,

It is an honour for me to appear before the General Assembly today to present on behalf of the Member States of the European Union, the draft resolution on the participation of the EU in the work of the United Nations, contained in document L. 64 Rev. 1.

I want in particular to thank the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for being here today in a moment of great significance for the European Union.

As my distinguished colleagues will recall, the Member States of the European Union brought this issue to the attention of the GA last September. At that moment, the General Assembly concluded that more time was required to give consideration to our request. Following this decision, the European Union and its Member States launched a further phase of consultations reaching out to all the UN membership through informal consultations of the whole, meetings with regional groups and bilateral encounters.

Mr. President,

The process of consultations has continued until the last moment, including last night, and today I have the pleasure to announce that on the basis of the very extensive consultations with amongst others, CARICOM, the Member States of the European Union wish to introduce an oral revision to its text that we believe could lead to a decision by consensus on this draft resolution.

The changes concern only the annex. They are the following:

– paragraph b) will read: “Invited to participate in the General Debate of the General Assembly, in accordance with the order of precedence as established in the practice for participating observers and the level of representation;”

– paragraph d) will read: “Permitted to present proposals and amendments orally as agreed by Member States of the European Union; such proposals and amendments shall be put to a vote only at the request of a Member State;”

– paragraph e) will be deleted;

– paragraph f) will read: “Allowed to exercise the right of reply regarding positions of the European Union as decided by the presiding officer; such right of reply shall be restricted to one intervention per item;”

– Finally, the paragraph before last of the annex will now read: “The representatives of the European Union shall not have the right to vote, nor to co-sponsor resolutions or decisions, nor to put forward candidates.”

For ease of reference we have distributed copies of these changes to all delegations in the room.

Mr. President,

The changes I have just described qualify further the capacity for action of the European Union at the United Nations reflected in the modalities. In no way do they increase this capacity for action. They are fully respectful of the intergovernmental nature of the United Nations.

The Member States of the European Union are grateful to all those that have engaged with them in the discussions in order to work towards an adoption by consensus of the draft resolution as orally revised. I would like to confirm here and now that this final text is the product of the joint efforts of a very broad spectrum of the UN membership.

Mr. President,

The essence of this draft resolution is to allow the representative of the EU to intervene on behalf of its 27 Member States – among representatives of other major groups, and to enable them to contribute effectively to the work of the UN.

The text now before you, as revised orally, provides assurances that concepts are clear, the language is simple, and it responds to concerns expressed in the course of the consultations. Among others, we have sought to address the following questions:

First, ensuring respect for the intergovernmental nature of the UN. As we have agreed from the outset, the UN is, and should remain, an organisation of States. The European Union will remain an observer at the General Assembly.

Second, ensuring that the modalities granted to the European Union will not affect negatively the capacity of individual UN members to address the General Assembly. The goal of this resolution is to provide a more orderly framework for the coordinated action of EU Member States at the UN. The outcome is that, in general, the number of interventions from EU Member States has diminished and more space has been freed up for delegations from other regions.

Third, this draft also addresses the request by many UN members that other regional organisations may be granted modalities such as those the EU is seeking. The text explicitly acknowledges this possibility in cases where an organisation’s member states have agreed arrangements that allow that organisation’s representatives to speak on behalf of the organisation and its member states. The General Assembly would have to decide on each case, on the basis of an explicit request from the Member States of the organization concerned.

Fourth, we have also acted on the request from several of you to remove references to the Treaty of Lisbon. The focus of the draft resolution before you is squarely on the United Nations.

Mr. President,

The European Union is firmly convinced that the answers to the challenges we face, not only as an international community but also as representatives of the millions of people sharing the limited resources of our planet, can only be found through effective and fair multilateralism. The United Nations is at the core of such a system of global governance and the European Union wishes to bring its full weight to bear in supporting and strengthening it.

Let me conclude by thanking again the representatives of all UN members for their constructive engagement in the negotiation of this draft resolution and I respectfully ask for your support for the adoption by consensus of this draft as amended orally by me.

I thank you, Mr. President.


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