Europe and UN form bulwark against ‘might makes right’ worldview, EU foreign affairs chief tells Security Council

12 March 2019

“The concept of global governance risks being replaced by the old law that ‘might makes right’”, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, told the Security Council on Tuesday, during a meeting looking at on-going cooperation between the UN and the 28-member body.

Federica Mogherini said that fundamental rules that have governed international cooperation for decades are being questioned, even though they are more necessary now than ever. She cited Russia’s “illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its behaviour in eastern Ukraine,” which, she said, shows what happens when international law is violated: “Tensions rise and conflicts proliferate.”

Accepting that the current multilateral system is not perfect, Ms. Mogherini said that the European Union was supportive of the UN reform agenda laid out by Secretary-General António Guterres, which it seeks to expand and improve: “the UN is our common home. It is the centre of gravity of the international system, the tool we have, to build a more peaceful and cooperative global order.”

Ms. Mogherini said that the EU is investing in cooperation with the UN system as never before, and reminded the Security Council that EU Member States collectively contribute one-third of the UN peacekeeping budget, which is “more than any other global power.”

Explaining that EU cooperation with the UN and Africa goes well beyond peacekeeping, Ms. Mogherini said that the current approach of the EU is to act as a “partner of equals” with the continent, rather than simply as a donor, setting common priorities and collaborating closely with the African Union and United Nations. Working together in this way, the three organizations have helped some 30,000 African migrants, formerly held in Libyan detention centres, to voluntarily return home, or find international protection, she said.

She described the United Nations as the key partner for the EU on conflict resolution in Africa, and said that “wherever there is a peace process and a UN peacekeeping mission, the European Union is there to support politically, financially, and with our own missions.”

Examples of EU-UN cooperation:

  • Syria: the EU and UN are co-chairing the third Brussels conference on the future of Syria and the region,
  • Libya: The EU and UN are members of the “Libya Quartet,” (EU, UN, League of Arab States and African Union), which is coordinating action to bring peace to Libya,
  • Venezuela: the EU is working with UN agencies to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches those in need,
  • Mali: the EU is supporting the UN mission in Mail with European training and capacity building missions,
  • Sustainable Development Goals: the EU is strongly committed to the full implementation of the SDGs

 

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