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EU at the 72nd UN General Assembly: highlights

22/09/2017 - 15:36
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A high-level delegation of the European Union, including Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and several EU Commissioners, attended the ministerial week of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on 18 – 22 September in New York. The EU representatives participated in a large number of events at the United Nations and met with world leaders, reflecting the European Union's engagement as a force for positive change, in support of multilateralism and a rules-based global order. The level and breadth of the EU's participation illustrates the strong cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations, who work hand in hand to jointly deliver peace and security, advance human rights and sustainable development, thus changing lives across the globe for the better.

Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, addressed the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on behalf of the EU, on 20 September 2017. In his speech, President Tusk focused on:

  • the importance of strengthening the UN as the backbone of the rules-based global order:

"The United Nations is the best tool we have to address, on a global scale, today's conflicts, famine, forced displacement, terrorism, and a return to nuclear tensions. For the EU and its Member States, it is imperative that the UN rise to these challenges. <…> We also expect the UN to become a more energetic, and a less bureaucratic organisation that can act with clarity and purpose in all its actions. Therefore, the EU considers the reform ideas of the UN currently on the table as the necessary minimum."

  • the necessity to achieve a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula:

"No country should be allowed to undermine the global non-proliferation regime or to threaten peaceful countries. The European Union calls together with Japan and South Korea <…> for a peaceful denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. And we also call on all concerned to uphold the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran as a multilateral deal that is delivering more security for us all."

  • the EU's contribution to handle the refugee crisis and further actions needed to curb human smugglers:

"When it comes to the global refugee crisis, the EU continues to assume its responsibility. By receiving people in need of protection. By assisting host countries closer to the conflict zones. For three years now, the EU has appealed to the international community to take its responsibility for refugee protection and irregular migration. I am doing the same today."

  • the need to step up the fight against terrorism and increase efforts to tackle radicalisation:

"2017 showed us that Da'esh as a territorial entity is fated for defeat. That's good news. Sadly however, repeated terrorist attacks, also in Europe, demonstrate that the threat continues. So, we need to keep on strengthening the global fight against terrorism and violent extremism. In short, we must be more determined than they are. Doing more on counter-radicalisation within the UN is badly needed. <…> The European Union has called on the major online companies to develop, as a priority, the means for automatic deletion of extremist content immediately after posting."

  • the EU's commitment to swiftly and fully implement the Paris Agreement:

"The Paris Agreement is the cornerstone of global efforts to tackle in an effective way climate change and implement the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The EU remains determined to implement the Agreement swiftly and fully, and to support our partners, in particular the vulnerable countries, in the fight against climate change. We will work with all partners who share our conviction that the Agreement is necessary to protect our planet, that it is fit for purpose."

High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini, most notably, chaired the E3/EU+3 and Iran Ministerial Meeting on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 20 September. On top of a number of bilateral meetings, including with Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Lavrov, she also addressed a high-level event on Libya under the auspices of the UN Secretary General and delivered a statement on behalf of the European Union at the ministerial meeting of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBT), urging the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to make credible progress on its obligations to denuclearise.

On 21 September, High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, together with Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Christos Stylianides, will host a high-level meeting on the future of Syria and the region in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New-York. UNSG Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, USG/Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock and High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi took the floor. More than 40 Foreign Ministers, including key actors, participated in the meeting; Russia was represented by Deputy Foreign Minister Gatilov. Federica Mogherini said that the European Union is willing to provide for the early recovery in the de-escalation zones and the liberated areas of Syria while keep working and investing in the future of the country. She also announced a second conference to be held next spring, where the EU and the international community will launch the “Brussels Process”. This includes continued support to the UN-led process for a negotiated political solution in line with UNSCR 2254 and ensuring respective needs for Syrians inside Syria and in neighbouring countries are met.

On 20 September, the EU and the UN launched their new Spotlight Initiative to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. Over the next few years, comprehensive programmes will be implemented in the core areas of intervention such as strengthening legislative frameworks, policies and institutions, preventive measures, access to services and improving data gathering in Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean.


More information:

Address by President Donald Tusk at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly

EU-UN Spotlight Initiative

The EU launches the 'Brussels process' for Syria

Remarks by High Representative Mogherini at the EU hosted high-level event on Syria in the margins of the 72nd UN General Assembly

Federica Mogherini met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Statement delivered on behalf of the European Union by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the Tenth Article XIV Conference in support of the Entry-into-Force of the CTBT