UN and European Union sign financial and administrative agreement

UN and European Union sign financial and administrative agreement

The United Nations and the European Union (EU) signed a framework agreement today on financial and administrative matters, which Secretary-General Kofi Annan said would "improve considerably our operational relationship" in humanitarian and other matters.

The agreement, signed at UN Headquarters in New York by UN Deputy Secretary-General Louise Fréchette and Poul Neilsen, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, is significant in that it simplifies procedures and rules, including reporting requirements, between the UN and the EU and provides for closer cooperation between the two bodies.

Answering reporters' questions before the signing, Mr. Annan said: "We do have a good relationship with the European Union. On the humanitarian front, they have been very active to play a role, and several have discussed with me the possibility of making hospital beds in Europe available for Iraqi children who need treatment.

"I think they have always played an important role in the humanitarian area and the EU has been funding these efforts and would want to cooperate much more effectively on the ground with us and others," he added.