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Brussels, 25 October 2018
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Let me start by thanking Barbara [Pesce-Monteiro, UN Secretary-General's Representative towards Europe] and all the other UN colleagues here in Brussels, in Geneva, in New York, and elsewhere in the world because it is true, we work very closely together.
I cannot think of any single file on which we are working and we are not working together, but also on the ground, in all the countries where our people are trying to make the difference for good.
I would like to thank the artist [Cristobal Gabarro] for having enlightened this square that is the core, the heart of the European Union. It has also enlightening my days because I see it from my office and I will say a few words on this piece of art in a few moments.
But first, let me say that celebrating together 70 years of the UN, of the Human Rights Charter is for us the most natural thing to do. I have seen it as never before this year in the [United Nations] General Assembly, that has been different from the others - I think.
For us, the European Union, work with the United Nations system, with all the agencies of the UN, is the most natural one to do. For us, strengthening, supporting, and also financing the UN system is key, because we are based on the same - not only values and principles which is very important - but on the same philosophy which is that of cooperation.
The United Nations came together, united, after the Second World War to state in a solemn but also effective way that only through international cooperation the world could avoid dramatic events like the ones that Europe experienced, and together with Europe, the rest of the world, during the two World Wars.
Europe was born on the same principle - that the logic of confrontation, of competition is not leading to anything but conflict and competition. The only way out of that, the only way to prevent conflicts, crises and human suffering is to cooperate together - to look for a common ground even when it is difficult, to prevent, to work, not only for peace and security, but also for human rights and human development.
This is the core DNA of both the United Nations and the European Union. I think that we were somehow born together out of the same worries, out of the same "never again" and out of the same wish to make human life easier to live and more dignified.
This partnership now covers all the work we are doing - from climate change to every single crisis we are facing, from the work that is done in the General Assembly to the one in Geneva and - as I said - on the ground everywhere in the world.
Our first, strongest partner is always the United Nations, and I can tell you, you will always have in the European Union the strongest partner ever because we know that strengthening, also reforming the United Nations system is the way forward for a better world, and this world needs that dramatically.
Let me say why I am so grateful to the artist for this wonderful piece of art. Because I think that it not only brings hope, color and diversity to this otherwise a bit grey city - which by the way is also beautiful - but most of all, because the globe is presented as a mirror. Looking at the world, you see yourself.
I think that this is a very powerful appeal to individual responsibility, because I often say the European Union is what we make of it, but also the world is what we make of it. It is up to us, each and every one of us, to have a good picture in the composition of these triangles of mirrors because these triangles of mirrors reflect our own faces and it depends on us, on the approach we take, if the global picture is a good one or not.
I think it is a sign of hope. It is also reflecting these figures that are all different from each other and even different within each of them, symbolising the complexity of identity and the fact that you cannot bring identity to one single element. We have different layers of identity, and this is not a contradiction, I think this is a strength of human beings and societies.
This joy in representing diversity and this appeal to reflect a good face in the collective image of the world, I think is something extremely powerful, and brings together the UN and the European Union.
Thank you very much for, first of all, inviting us to celebrate together this day and we take this as a reminder of how important our common work is for our citizens, be it next door, be it very far away, everywhere in the world, from the Pacific Islands to the Arctic.
We will continue to work together, and count on us, count on the European Union to continue to strengthen and support the United Nations system every single day.