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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, Co-chairs,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Montenegro* and the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia align themselves with this declaration.

The EU would like to thank the two co-chairs, the PR of Lithuania, H.E. Mr. Dalius Cekuolis and the PR of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, H.E. Mr. Camillo Gonsalves for convening this meeting and providing us with an opportunity of having an in depth discussion on the issue of the role and authority of the General Assembly and its relationship to the other principal organs of the United Nations and other groups outside the United Nations. We very much welcome the initiative that the President of the General Assembly has been invited to this meeting to share his view with us on this important question. We believe that his views and ideas will contribute to achieving concrete and tangible results of the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group.

Mr. President, Co-chairs,

The European Union is fully committed to effective multilateralism with the United Nations at its core. Strengthening the UN based on effective and sustainable funding in line with real capacity to pay, and increasing the efficiency of its functioning are top priorities for us. The revitalization of the GA is an integral part of overall UN reform, as in this context is the full implementation of its resolutions. The EU continues to be committed to revitalization and to supporting efforts aimed at strengthening the role and authority of the GA, in line with the UN Charter and relevant resolutions. We should bear in mind that it is the only intergovernmental body with a universal membership and its broad mandate with far-reaching responsibilities explain why we aim at revitalizing the GA and why such revitalization is necessary.

The EU believes that revitalization can be ensured only when the GA takes relevant action on issues of common concern to the international community. By doing so, it lives up to its role as one of the principal organs of the UN.

The GA revitalization process has already led to positive developments in this regard. One of our most valuable achievements is holding thematic debates which facilitate more in-depth discussions on current issues of critical importance to the international community. The EU especially values the interactive character of thematic debates allowing closer engagement of the General Assembly with other stakeholders, including civil society, other international and regional organizations, groups outside the United Nations system.

Strengthening the visibility of the GA would obviously increase the weight and impact of its work. For this reason, the EU would encourage further interaction with media and civil society, including by building on the activities of the Secretariat, especially the Department of Public Information.

The EU is convinced that one of the ways forward is the swift implementation of existing resolutions on the revitalization of the GA, including the outcome of the 2005 World Summit, and the conduct of the comprehensive review of the inventory contained in document A/63/959 as provided for in OP3 of resolution 64/301. We welcome the effort of the Co-Chairs in this regard. Indeed, having considered the inventory items related to the topic of this meeting we are under the impression that a vast majority – over 80 percent of the provisions have been implemented or are being implemented on an ongoing basis. The provisions that could be considered as not implemented on substance should be addressed and analyzed on a case-by-case basis. This exercise could be reflected in the report of the AHWG and, if appropriate, in the resolution. In this context, the EU wishes to thank the co-facilitators for their non paper.

Speaking on the provisions related to the report of the Secretary-General on the work of the organization, resolution 51/241 mandated the General Assembly to refer sections of the report for more detailed consideration by the Main Committees. However, this provision has never been applied in practice. The EU believes that feasibility of implementing this provision of the resolution should be further looked into.

As regards the annual report of the Security Council, we underline that these reports have been improved over the years. As for the provisions outlined in the inventory items 12, 16 and 18, they could be updated taking into account the practice of most recent sessions. In the view of the EU, the Working Group on the working methods of the Security Council contributes to further improving the reports as well as the relationship between the Security Council and the General Assembly in general.

On the provisions related to public relations activities, we think that the provision encouraging the Secretary-General to provide the Office of the President of the General Assembly an assistant to the Spokesperson should be addressed during the thematic meeting dedicated to the functions of the Office of PGA and its relationship with the Secretariat. The proposals by the Secretary-General will help guide our discussions in this regard.

As to the relationship of the General Assembly to other principal organs of the UN, the EU believes that improving transparency and cooperation remain important goals. The General Assembly should benefit from information about the meetings between the Presidents of the General Assembly, the Security Council, ECOSOC, and the Peace Building Commission. Periodic briefings by the President of the General Assembly on his recent activities, including official travels continue to be an appreciated practice and are valuable source of information.

As regards others groups outside the UN, the EU would like to reaffirm its attachment to the GA, in a context of emerging global challenges. As the only universal body, it has full legitimacy and a unique opportunity to display a comprehensive approach. That is why the EU wishes the GA to remain relevant in a fast moving world facing multiple and complex crises. The EU, strongly attached to multilateralism and to the work of the GA, wishes the GA to be able to take up the challenge of conciliating legitimacy and efficiency. In this context, the EU welcomes the outreach made by recent G20 presidencies to associate as much as possible the GA to its work in a process of thorough consultation and in a spirit of accountability and transparency.

Thank you.

* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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