United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by his wife, Ban Soon-taek, left New York on Monday, 13 June, for Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the European Development Days Forum.
Upon arrival in Brussels on Tuesday, 14 June, the Secretary-General met with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. He stressed the need for international cooperation to face the emerging challenges related to terrorism and to the large movements of migrants and refugees to Europe.
The Secretary-General then met refugees and volunteers working at a soup kitchen in Brussels.
In the afternoon, he met with Martin Shultz, President of the European Parliament, with whom he also discussed large movements of refugees and migrants, development cooperation and the prevention of violent extremism.
Following a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and a number of EU Commissioners, the two men gave a joint press conference. In his remarks, Mr. Ban said that the challenges that the EU and the international community face today require strong partnerships.
He then addressed the opening ceremony of the European Development Days Forum, telling participants that every effort should be made to meet official development assistance targets and to improve links between development and humanitarian relief. (See Press Release SG/SM/17853.)
In the afternoon, the Secretary-General received the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold from King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. He also attended an Asia Society Dialogue meeting during which he recalled that the region had come a long way from the time, just one generation ago, when more than half its population lived in extreme poverty. (See Press Release SG/SM/17854.)
He also participated in an Advisory Board meeting of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, stressing that energy is the golden thread connecting economic growth, increased social equity and a healthy environment. (See Press Release SG/SM/17855.)
Finally, the Secretary-General participated in a commemoration at Brussels airport for the victims of the 22 March attacks before departing Belgium for St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.