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Strengthening Multilateralism: The European Union at the UN General Assembly

21/09/2018 - 16:09
News

Senior EU leaders will be at the United Nations for the General Assembly 24-28 September to show the EU's commitment to a strong and effective United Nations and build support for multilateral diplomacy and a rules-based global order.

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY, UNGA

The week of 24-28 September will see flagship events in New York organised by the EU which focus on the priorities adopted by 28 EU Foreign Ministers at their June meeting. These include a meeting on the "Alliance for Torture-Free Trade", an event on fighting plastic pollution, a convening of the "Global Tech Panel" and a meeting on the Syria crisis to reaffirm EU and international support to a political solution and address the humanitarian crisis inside Syria and across the region.

Other flagship events include the protection of civilians and respect for international humanitarian law, "Good Human Rights Stories" and the EU-UN "Spotlight Initiative" aimed at eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls. There will also be a call to action on gender-based violence in emergency situations. Amongst other events, the EU and UNICEF will also launch a "Generation Unlimited" initiative on youth.

Reaffirming the EU-UN partnership

On Sunday 23 September, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini will meet UN Secretary General António Guterres and issue a Joint Communiqué to reaffirm the EU-UN partnership.

They will also meet with African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to discuss increasing cooperation between the European Union, African Union and United Nations. President Juncker will also address the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit to mark the centenary of the late South African President's birth.

On Tuesday 25 September, President Juncker, Vice-President Frans Timmermans and High Representative /Vice-President Mogherini will join the President of the European Council Donald Tusk for the opening of the 73rd General Assembly. President Tusk will address the full General Assembly on behalf of the EU on Thursday 27 September.

Federica Mogherini will chair a meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers on 24 September with Syria and Libya on the agenda. The same day, she will also chair a meeting on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – also known as the Iran nuclear deal.

EU priorities at UNGA

The EU's priorities at UNGA are built around the conclusions adopted by EU Foreign Ministers on 25 June and fall under three areas; peace and conflict prevention; a common positive agenda with the promotion and protection of human rights at the heart of multilateralism and thirdly expanding global engagement on issues like fighting climate change, the environment, migration, counterterrorism and WMD non-proliferation.

How does the EU support multilateralism?

There are threats to the multilateral system today. Protectionism and unilateralism are not the answer. The EU is responding by strengthening support for the international system, finding new partners across the world and working in new ways.

The EU has shown its support for the UN and multilateral system in a number of real and effective ways in recent years. Here are some examples:

UN reform:

The EU and its partners supported the reform agenda of UN Secretary General's António Guterres.

Sustainable Development Goals:

The EU has played a fundamental role in supporting and pushing for Agenda 2030.

Paris Agreement on Climate Change:

The EU played a leading role throughout the negotiations and was instrumental in securing a positive outcome.

Iran nuclear deal:

the EU has maintained a clear and united position in support of the deal which is in the security interests of all.

Global Compact on Refugees:

The EU has displayed unity in the Global Compact on Refugees process.

Human rights in Myanmar:

The EU successfully led a UN Human Rights Council resolution on Myanmar, in March 2017.

In times of global uncertainty, the EU is a reliable, rational and effective global actor.  There is a demand for "more Europe", for a more assertive and bolder EU showing leadership.

The entire agenda of the individual EU representatives can be found on their websites

Press and audio-visual material will be available on EbS, EEASEuropa and Consilium websites.