The role of the EU Delegation

The European Union has 118 Delegations in third countries and 5 Delegations to international organisations based in Geneva, New York, Paris, Rome, and Vienna.

The Delegation of the European Union in Rome is working on the basis of a triple mandate:

  1. with the United Nations (UN) system, since 1991, under specific actions and partnerships developed with the three UN specialised agencies based in Rome: the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  2. with the Holy See, since June 2006
  3. with the Order of Malta, after the accreditation of the Head of Delegation in June 2007

1. With the United Nations (UN) in Rome

The Delegation of the European Union in Rome, works essentially in the multilateral framework ensuring, since 1993, the liaison between the Headquarters in Brussels, the 28 EU Member States and the three UN Organisations based in Rome.

Rome is considered as the UN capital for activities in the fields of food and agriculture and hosts since 1948, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), since 1963 the World Food Programme (WFP) and since 1976 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The three UN Organisations are complementary and share a common goal to which Member Nations pledged at the first FAO World Food Summit of 1996: the eradication of hunger in the world. This goal was reiterated with the Millennium Declaration in 2000 and with the Declaration of the World Summit on Food Security in 2009, that puts specific emphasis on fighting global hunger and poverty, which is also one of the cornerstones of the EU development policy.

The Delegation’s mandate covers the following main tasks :

  • Representation of the European Union in the main bodies of the 3 UN agencies present in Rome, according to the specific status in each of them.
  • Consolidation of the European Community's positions in Rome, in order to reinforce the EU presence and visibility through regular meetings of the governing bodies, formal or informal donors' consultations, expert meetings, presentations in both the FAO and WFP, and to give appropriate feed-back to the HQs.
  • Coordination with the EU Member States, both in Brussels, mainly within the so-called AGRI-FAO Council Working Group, but also within the Council Working Groups on Food Aid, Humanitarian Aid (HAC), CONUN* and External Fisheries Policy. The European Union and the 27 EU Permanent Representatives to FAO, WFP and IFAD meet regularly (at least once a month) in Rome for EU coordination purposes.

2. With the Holy See

The year 2006 has been marked by an addition to the EU Delegation's initial mandate (up to 2006 limited to only the UN system in Rome), with the accreditation of the first Head of Delegation, Mr. Luis Ritto, as Ambassador to the Holy See on 24 June 2006.

On 1 January 2012, Mrs Laurence Argimon-Pistre was appointed as new Head of the European Union Delegation to the Holy See, to the Order of Malta and to the UN Organisations in Rome and officially presented her Credentials to Pope Benedict XVI on 6 February 2012.

The main objective of this accreditation is to ensure the representation of the European Union to the Holy See and to promote and defend the values and interests of the European Union in the Vatican.

Subjects of regular discussion with the Vatican include human rights, peace and democracy, freedom of religion in the world, and the dialogue of cultures and religions. Also of importance are matters related to development and the fight against poverty and hunger in the world.

3. With the Order of Malta

One year exactly after the accreditation to the Holy See, Mr Luis Ritto was also accredited as Ambassador to the Order of Malta, on 12 June 2007.

On 1 January 2012, Mrs Laurence Argimon-Pistre was appointed as new Head of the European Union Delegation to the Holy See, to the Order of Malta and to the UN Organisations in Rome and officially presented her Credentials to the Grand Master of the Order of Malta, Fra Matthew Festing, on 9 February 2012.

Through this third mandate with a religious Order heavily involved in humanitarian assistance, the EU consolidates its links with a very valuable partner in the fields of emergency relief, medical care, fight against poverty and famine, and special assistance to people affected by conflicts.

*CONUN: is the Council working group for the United Nations. It monitors United Nations activities, prepares the Council members and provides them with background documents.