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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.

– As delivered – 

Mr President, 

I feel honoured and humbled to add some words on behalf of the EU and its Member States to the many inspiring messages from the dignitaries who intervened before me. 

Mr President, 

We are here today to celebrate the life and memorable achievements of the former President of the Republic of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. He has set us an example of what to strive for and how to strive for it. It will guide us for years to come. 

Mr President, 

Nelson Mandela taught us all a major lesson in reconciliation, political transition and social transformation. He not only defeated apartheid in South Africa; he showed people in every continent that the moral force of democracy could overcome the barren might of tyranny. Only a person with his profound humanity, moral integrity and authority and clear vision for the future of his country, could have achieved this. For millions of people inside and outside of South Africa, he represents the struggle against racism and intolerance. 

Mr President, 

His vision for South Africa’s future continues to be of inspiration to all of us. Alongside South Africa’s political struggle, other battles have been waged in that country to improve the lives of those who have been denied economic opportunity and social justice. We stand with South Africa in these endeavours, consolidating our close relationship, which is strongly based on shared values.  

Mr President, 

Nelson Mandela’s values and his dedication to the service of humanity have been recognized by the General Assembly. His work on conflict resolution, race relations, human rights, reconciliation, gender equality and underdeveloped communities is reflected in all of the UN’s activities. His life will therefore continue to be an important source of inspiration and daily motivation for our work here at the General Assembly. As he said himself: “A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of.”  Let us give real expression to such concerns in our work here – in what we do and how we do it.

Mr President, 

While we grieve, there is no better way we can honour the memory of Nelson Mandela than by reaffirming our collective commitment to uphold the values of true and deep democracy, as well as of human dignity, for which he fought tirelessly. 

Thank you.


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