4 May 2010
Security Council
SC/9918

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6306th Meeting (PM)


European Union Strongly Committed to Active Partnership with United Nations


in ‘Promoting Peace, Protecting the Vulnerable’, Security Council Told


High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Briefs;

Says 2009 Entry into Force of Lisbon Treaty Will Make Union ‘Stronger Partner’


Security Council members welcomed the European Union’s wide-ranging work with the United Nations on peace and security, as well as the potential for even stronger cooperation due to the new Lisbon Treaty arrangements, following a briefing by the first occupant of the Union’s consolidated security directorship.


Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, underlined the Union’s strong commitment to an active partnership with the United Nations in “promoting peace, protecting the vulnerable and helping people to live in safety and dignity”.


The partnership had grown rapidly in recent years, she said, describing both extensive support for United Nations programmes and European initiatives that supplemented the Organization’s efforts in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding.


Given the many unmet needs in peace and security, however, she hoped that the Union could help even more, following the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, which, she said, offered the opportunity for streamlined decision-making and greater policy coherence.


“With the Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s potential will increase,” she said.  “We should become more capable, better able to bring politics and economics together.  And better at combining different forms of intervention within a political strategy.  As a result, I hope we shall be a stronger partner for the UN.”


In her short period in office, she said, she had already discussed with the Secretary-General ways to improve cooperation on Somalia, Sudan, the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear activities, climate change, and other issues.


She stressed that the Union’s membership jointly constituted the largest contributors to the United Nation’s regular and peacekeeping budgets, and that the Union was also a strong supporter of the Organization in political and operational terms, providing mediation and material support, as well as supplementary missions in situations that ranged from the Balkans to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Haiti.


A large priority of the Union was building the capacity of other regional organizations in the maintenance of peace, which had been realized extensively in Africa through the financial instrument called the African Peace Facility.  She noted that the Union was also a staunch supporter of the Peacebuilding Commission and the International Criminal Court.


Following Ms. Ashton’s presentation, Council members expressed firm support for cooperation between regional organizations and the Security Council in the framework of Charter provisions for that cooperation, as outlined in Chapter VIII.


They welcomed, in particular, the European Union’s contributions, which were further detailed by European Council members, led off by Michael Spindelegger, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria.  Along with subsequent speakers, he expressed hope that such contributions would increase following the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force.


The representative of the Russian Federation maintained, however, that the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty would require a fine-tuning of European Union formats regarding its cooperative partnerships and relationships with some European Union structures with the United Nations.  Despite the growing need for an effective division of labour between the United Nations and other regional and subregional bodies, he stressed that the Charter-based responsibility of the United Nations to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security remained paramount.


Some speakers, such as the representatives of Uganda, Nigeria and Gabon, stressed the importance of the Union’s efforts to build capacity in other regional organizations, particularly the African Union, and urged that that endeavour be further strengthened in the near future.


The representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina, noting the many initiatives of the European Union in the Balkans, said that the achievement of common goals of the Union and the United Nations required a flexible and, at the same time, systematic approach, with coordination mechanisms that would ensure optimal use of both time and resources.


Also speaking this afternoon were the representatives of France, United Kingdom, Turkey, Japan, China, Brazil, United States, Mexico and Lebanon.


The meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and ended at 4:36 p.m.


Background


The Security Council this afternoon heard a briefing by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, as it considered cooperation with regional organizations.


Briefing


CATHERINE ASHTON, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, said that “A core objective of EU foreign policy is the development of an effective multilateral system with a strong UN at the centre.”  The reasons behind the creation of the United Nations were similar to those that drove European integration — “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.  Today, the United Nations and the European Union needed to promote the ideals that inspired earlier generations — peace, justice, human rights, the whole notion that power relations among States must be subjected to the rule of law.


The Union’s membership jointly constituted the largest contributors to the United Nation’s regular and peacekeeping budgets, and the European Union was also a strong supporter of the Organization in political and operational terms, she said.  The European Union and the United Nations were working on the ground in eight major crisis theatres and the European Union currently reported to the Council on three of its ongoing operations.  In the area of peace and security, she spoke of the extensive cooperation since the 1990s to mitigate the tragedy in the Balkans, which continued, in Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular, and elsewhere where further work needed to be done to allow the new States to succeed in eventual succession to the Union.


She said she was speaking at a special moment in the development of the Union, with the Lisbon Treaty in force as of December 2009, and stressing that the Treaty offered the opportunity to strengthen the Union’s international impact and strategic vision, through streamlined decision-making and greater policy coherence.


Work was advancing on the creation of the European External Action Service, under Ms. Ashton’s authority, she added, explaining that the Service would integrate diplomats from European Union institutions and member States and direct the delegations of the Union around the world, leading to more integrated policymaking and delivery.


Already in her short period in office, she had discussed with the Secretary-General ways to improve cooperation on Somalia, Sudan, the Middle East and Iran’s nuclear activities, climate change, and other issues.  There was a growing consensus internationally on the need to apply a comprehensive approach to crisis management and peacebuilding.  The same was true for the need to take into account the evident links between security, development and human rights.  Further, efforts must be tailor-made, reflecting the precise nature of every challenge in individual conflicts and in overarching topics, such as the role of women in peace and security.


Turning to concrete examples of European Union-United Nations cooperation in conflict prevention, she said sometimes the Union acted directly and other times backed the efforts of others.  For example, in Darfur the European Union supported the mediation efforts led jointly by the United Nations and the African Union.


In civilian and military crisis management, she said that the Union opened a new chapter in cooperation when it launched Operation Artemis in 2003, at the request of the United Nations and the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to protect civilians in Bunia in the eastern part of the country and followed by a backup force to support the United Nations during Congolese elections.


In some places, such as Kosovo after the reconfiguration of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the Union had supplemented the United Nations.  In other places it came first; for example in Chad, where its force to protect refugees from Darfur was succeeded by a United Nations Mission.  In Afghanistan, the Union was reinforcing an on-going United Nations operation, and off the coast of Somalia, the Union was working closely with both the United Nations and regional partners, in both policing the seas and building local capacity to try suspects.  A large priority, in fact was to build capacity of African partners in maintenance of peace, through the financial instrument called the African Peace Facility and other mechanisms.


She described extensive European support of the Peacebuilding Commission as well, and close work with the whole United Nations family for long-term stabilization.  In Haiti, the Union responded rapidly to calls for assistance ranging from humanitarian aid to military assets.  “We now need to pull together with clear plans for long-term construction,” she said.


The Union was also a staunch supporter of the International Criminal Court, because the fight against impunity for the most serious crimes remained a key factor in peacebuilding and conflict prevention.


In conclusion, she underlined the Union’s strong commitment to an active partnership with the United Nations in promoting peace, protecting the vulnerable and helping people to live in safety and dignity.  The partnership had grown rapidly in recent years, but there was even more work to be done.


“With the Lisbon Treaty, the EU’s potential will increase,” she said.  “We should become more capable, better able to bring politics and economics together.  And better at combining different forms of intervention within a political strategy.  As a result, I hope we shall be a stronger partner for the UN.”


Statements


MICHAEL SPINDELEGGER, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, said the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December had triggered significant changes for the European Union, especially for its foreign and security policy.  With the strengthening of the Office of the High Representative of Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which would be supported by the European External Action Service, the European Union would be able to speak to its partners with a stronger and more unified voice.  Among those partners, the United Nations occupied a preeminent place, especially as twenty-first century challenges such as combating terrorism and organized crime and preventing nuclear proliferation clearly showed that the world body could not operate in isolation.  Indeed, the United Nations required cooperation and concerted action by and with its international partners.


He went on to say that, in recent presidential statement, the Security Council had recently reaffirmed the important contribution of regional and subregional organizations to the peaceful settlement of local disputes and in preventive diplomacy.  Due to their understanding of particular conflicts and their respective root causes, as well as their specific capabilities, such regional organizations could have comparative advantage in addressing crisis situations.  In addition, local and regional ownership was often the key to the success of such efforts.  In the field of international peace and security, the firm and well-established cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations remained crucial.


With its Common Security and Defence Policy, the European Union had made an important contribution and had developed significant capacities for conflict prevention and resolution.  The European Union was currently engaged in 13 military operations and civilian missions.  He also stressed that the European Union was actively engaged in the multilateral negotiations in the Review Conference on the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), which was currently under way at Headquarters.  Nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and ensuring responsible development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy represented key challenges to which the European Union had found a common response, despite the large spectrum of views of its member States.


GÉRARD ARAUD ( France) said that much of which he wanted to say had been spelled out by Baroness Ashton.  Still, the similarities between her statement and what he had wanted to say at least proved that there was indeed a “European vision.”  It also proved that diplomats were used to repeating things all the time.  Continuing, he said that France had always supported cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and the European Union.


Indeed, the European Union had worked over the past decade alongside a host of United Nations missions, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Guinea-Bissau.  Recently, following the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, the European Union had quickly rallied to provide not only more than €1 billion in financial support, but other humanitarian assistance.  France hoped that with the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the relationship would continue and be reinforced, especially in areas such as peacekeeping, peacebuilding and elections monitoring, for instance in Burundi in the coming weeks.  France would spare no effort in reinforcing the links between the European Union and the United Nations.


MARK LYALL GRANT ( United Kingdom) agreed that the Lisbon Treaty would help the Union become a more effective partner with the United Nations, saying that the Union was already a natural partner for the Organization.  He described the wide range of cooperative activities conducted by the two organizations, focusing on the Union’s role in the Balkans, both in the strengthening of the rule of law and providing assistance for the countries in their aspirations for accession.  He also described close cooperation in Afghanistan and in the maintenance of effective sanctions regimes.  He looked forward to even greater cooperation in the years ahead, as relationships with regional bodies became even more important, particularly in the areas of conflict prevention and peacebuilding.


ERTUĞRUL APAKAN ( Turkey) welcomed the significant role that the European Union played in cooperation with the United Nations on the maintenance of international peace and security.  It supported the shared objectives and filled the gaps in the United Nations’ capability.  The scope of the European Union’s cooperation was extremely broad and multidimensional, addressing the entire scope, from conflict prevention to peacekeeping to peacebuilding, reconstruction and development.  He looked to stronger cooperation after the Lisbon Treaty.  As a negotiating candidate for membership to the Union, he noted that Turkey had prominently contributed to the peacekeeping efforts of the European Union in many areas.  He noted that continued enlargement of the European Union on the basis of common values and principles would further strengthen the Union’s capabilities to build stability in the world.


VITALY CHURKIN ( Russian Federation) said his delegation had listened with interest to the statements around the table and had been reminded of the old Russian proverb that repetition was often the best lesson.  The Russian Federation had always championed cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional mechanisms, based on the Charter, especially such cooperation as outlined in Chapter VIII.  The Russian Federation had also actively cooperated with the European Union, including cooperating constructively in the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process, as well as in fighting piracy in Somalia.


The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty would require a fine-tuning of European Union formats regarding its cooperative partnerships and relationships with some European Union structures, including with the United Nations.  He said that, despite the growing need for an effective division of labour between the United Nations and other regional and subregional bodies, the Charter-based responsibility of the United Nations to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security remained paramount.


YUKIO TAKASU ( Japan) said cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations constituted an integral and increasingly important part of the Organization’s architecture for maintaining international peace and security.  Indeed, under Chapter VIII of the Charter, the Security Council should be kept informed of the activities of all regional organizations, and in that spirit Japan welcomed today’s briefing and congratulated the European Union for its great contributions to global peace and security, in cooperation with the United Nations.  With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, Japan hoped that European Union foreign policy would show greater coherence and effectiveness under the leadership of the new High Representative.  He also noted that the Japan-European Union summit had been held last month in Tokyo.  Japan would continue to cooperate closely with the European Union in concrete areas, such as capacity-building of the Afghan police force, and support for the Djibouti regional anti-piracy training centre.


LI BAODONG ( China) said his country attached much importance to cooperation with regional organizations and appreciated the active role played by the European Union in helping maintain peace and security, particularly in preventive diplomacy, which China valued highly.  He supported the continued contribution of the Union in that area.  He also welcomed the Union’s support of African regional organizations and peacekeeping on that continent.  He was convinced the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty would strengthen the Union’s ability to extend pragmatic and effective cooperation in maintaining peace and security.


REGINA DUNLOP ( Brazil) said that it was important for the Security Council to keep abreast of the activities undertaken by regional organizations in assisting the 15-member body in fulfilling its mandate to maintain international peace and security.  As the Lisbon Treaty launched a new phase in the institutional development of the European Union, Brazil hoped it would strengthen the cooperation with the United Nations and “help what is already a mutually beneficial partnership”.  She welcomed the work the European Union was undertaking in stabilization of the Balkan region, in particular the EULEX Mission in Kosovo and the EUFOR in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The European Union was also undertaking significant peacebuilding efforts, and Brazil, as Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission’s Guinea-Bissau configuration, appreciated the Union’s contributions to security sector reform in that country.


RUHAKANA RUGUNDA ( Uganda) said his delegation was convinced that prioritizing the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union was the best approach.  Increasing such cooperation would allow the United Nations to better address the key challenges of the day.  He particularly commended the European Union for the support it had given to the African Union in addressing peace and security matters on the African continent, especially the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).  He stressed the need for the United Nations Secretariat to enhance its communication, engagement and exchange of views with the European Union and similar regional and subregional structures, to curb duplication of efforts.


BROOKE D. ANDERSON( United States) said her delegation shared the European Union’s commitment to multilateral diplomacy to address complex challenges.  The United States deeply appreciated the lasting contributions the European Union had made to peace and security across a wide range of issues.  Indeed, the European Union had been a critical partner in crisis situations.  The European Union had worked towards lasting solutions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; it had committed substantial resources to a wide array of situations in Africa; and it had also worked actively to ensure development and defeat extremism in Afghanistan.  The United States was also grateful for the European Union’s rapid response to the 12 January earthquake in Haiti, and welcomed its involvement in the recent Donors’ Conference.  The United States applauded the many contributions the European Union had made to peace and security, including its ongoing promotion of maters related to “women peace and security”.


MIRSADA ČOLAKOVIĆ ( Bosnia and Herzegovina) said achieving long-term stability was a growing challenge for the successful winding down of peacekeeping missions.  Traditional peacekeeping activities were no longer enough.  Indeed, European Union experience had shown that activities related to State-building, security sector reform and broader efforts to promote democracy, human rights, good governance and the rule of law were now becoming commonplace.  Bosnia and Herzegovina commended the European Union’s peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts throughout the world, and especially in Africa, he continued, recognizing the European Union’s partnership with the African Union.  Further, the European Union had comparative advantages in dealing with conflicts in its own region, but also with regard to its capacity to assist in post-conflict rehabilitation and recovery.


He said that European Union institutions could provide indispensable contributions for long-term stability and the consolidation of social and economic systems in post-conflict societies.  He underlined the importance of the European Union Rule of Law missions, which were primarily aimed at strengthening legal and judicial systems.  That was one of the vital preconditions for achieving political stability and security, as well as social stability.  He also noted that the first European Union mission was in the western Balkans region.  In addition, five years ago, the European Union had established a presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina through military missions EUFOR/ALTEA and the European Union Police Mission (EUPM).  He was of the view that the success of the cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations relied on a common vision and common goals.  Nevertheless, reaching those goals would require a flexible and systematic approach, where coordination mechanisms ensured optimal use of both time and resources.


CLAUDE HELLER ( Mexico) supported the work of the European Union as a strategic partner of the United Nations in its efforts to support peace and help protect vulnerable people.  He encouraged the Union to strengthen that cooperation in the framework of the United Nations Charter, particularly through technical cooperation to help build national and regional capacity to prevent conflict and build respect for human rights and the rule of law.  Mexico, as part of its strategic partnership with the Union, affirmed its willingness to forge new forms of triangular relationships to achieve shared objectives.


RAFF BUKUN-OLU WOLE ONEMOLA ( Nigeria) welcomed the European Union’s partnership with the United Nations and other regional organizations, along with the concrete steps it had taken to improve such cooperation.  He expressed appreciation, in particular, for the strong relationship between the European Union and the African Union.  The dialogue between the European Union, the African Union and other African organizations should be further strengthened, he said.  Support for the African security architecture, post-conflict strategies and other African capacities also needed to be strengthened.


ALFRED MOUNGARA MOUSSOTSI ( Gabon) said today’s briefing was in line with the Charter’s call on the United Nations to strengthen partnership and cooperation with regional entities.  He highlighted the efforts undertaken by the United Nations with the assistance of the European Union, including in Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Balkans.  He hoped that the European Union would step up its cooperation with the African Union and other regional organizations, so that they, too, could share its rich experience in peacekeeping, peacebuilding and security cooperation.


Speaking in his national capacity, NAWAF SALAM ( Lebanon) said Chapter VIII of the Charter enshrined the firm commitment of the United Nations to cooperation with regional and subregional entities.  Indeed, the European Union and similar entities had supported the efforts of the United Nations in myriad spheres regarding the maintenance of international peace and security.  Those efforts had been successful because the two structures shared many goals and principles, including the promotion of human rights, the rule of law and development.


He hoped that, with the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force, the European Union would grant priority to its foreign policy by promoting, among other things, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, and putting an end to violations of international and humanitarian law in that region.  The European Union should be more active in that area, especially because it was a partner in the diplomatic Quartet on the Middle East peace process.  He also urged the European Union to boost cooperation with the African Union and the League of Arab States.


Taking the floor again, Ms. ASHTON thanked delegations for their positive comments and recognition of the role played by the European Union.  She also agreed that the Lisbon Treaty’s entry into force provided an opportunity to develop a more coherent and comprehensive strategy for the European Union.


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For information media • not an official record