Brussels, Belgium

14 June 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to press with the President of the European Commission [scroll down for Q & A]

Goede namiddag, dames en heren,
Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs,
(Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,)

President Juncker and I have had a wide-ranging and fruitful discussion.

I thanked him for the cooperation, commitment and support that the European Union continues to provide to the United Nations and our joint efforts.

The challenges that the EU and the international community face today require strong partnerships.

On 22 March, we grieved with Brussels as this vibrant and diverse city experienced horrific violence.

Allow me to reiterate my condolences to the victims and their families, and my solidarity with the people and Government of Belgium.

At the time, I expressed hope that Europe’s commitment to human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence would be the “true and lasting response to the hatred and violence”.

My hope was confirmed by the images of compassionate citizens in the centre of Brussels, grieving in solidarity and committed to diversity.

I urge the people of Belgium and all of Europe to remain committed to these ideals.

Leaders and communities have to be steadfast in opposing xenophobia, discrimination and violence.

I commend President Juncker’s leadership in our efforts to forge a common European and global response to the large movements of refugees and migrants.

I appreciate all efforts to ensure greater responsibility sharing among European States.

We also need to support communities to be able to host the large number of arrivals.

I remain deeply distressed at the high number of deaths in the Mediterranean.

We must also work together to address the root causes of displacement and ensure better protection.

President Juncker and I also discussed the support of the EU to the efforts of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders to bring about a peaceful settlement in Cyprus, under the auspices of the UN’s Good Offices.

I thanked President Juncker for the exemplary cooperation between the UN and the EU in these efforts.

We also exchanged views on disaster reduction, humanitarian action and sustainable development.

The EU was instrumental in supporting the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

As we embark on implementing these landmark accords, I count on the EU to continue leading by example.

I commend EU member states for taking steps to align their national development plan with the 2030 Agenda.

I also thank the EU for signing the Paris Agreement.

I urge the EU to work to accelerate the process for the Agreement’s early entry into force.

In addressing the pressing issues of our time, the norms and values of the UN Charter remain our guide.

At the core of the Charter is the belief that cooperation between the UN and regional bodies is essential for preventing and resolving conflict, protecting human rights and achieving a better world for all.

The UN-EU partnership is an inspiring example of what is possible when we work together.

Thank you.

Question on whether the Secretary-General thinks a solution will be reached this year on Cyprus.

Secretary-General: I am encouraged by the strong commitment of the leaders of the two Cypriot communities to advance. I know that this involves a lot of complicated processes but the two leaders have shown strong commitment and my Special Envoy, Mr. Eide, is always working very closely with the two leaders so that we can make a decision.

During many years, they have identified all the pending issues, what needs to be done, and they have made some good progress on the agenda but they have to do some more.

All the pending issues are on their table, it is a matter of choice, what kind of measures they would like. Therefore, I am strongly encouraging them to make further progress. Of course, if they can make such good decision before the end of this year, it would be most most welcome.

In fact, not only the people of the two communities but the whole world, the European Union have been really wishing to have that. I will do my best to support them in their difficult process of making decisions.

Question on the refugees and migrants’ crisis and the EU-Turkey agreement.

Secretary-General: The United Nations appreciates the enormity of the challenges of European Union countries to deal with this large number of refugees coming to this continent. I know that each and every country receiving these refugees and migrants has had not only resources problems but even political difficulties. I fully share their concerns.

At the same time, I have been urging leaders of the European Union to show their global solidarity and compassionate leadership.

The challenges are so great, it has gone beyond the European continent. It has become a global issue: that is why the United Nations is going to discuss this matter at the global level, not only the refugee issue taking place in the European continent but all over the world.

On 19 September, there will be a High-level meeting, just one day before the opening of the General Assembly. I have invited all the leaders to come to participate. I have also presented my own plans or ideas so that this can be discussed among the Member States. The President of the General Assembly has already appointed two facilitators, the Permanent Representatives of Ireland and Jordan, representing both North and South. They are working with the Member States.

The main [point] in my report is that we expect the Member States to draw out some Global Compact based on the shared responsibility in addressing this issue. And we expect that they will address the root causes of migrants and refugees, and we expect that there will be more legal pathways opening, also protection of refugees and migrants, and respecting their human rights and human dignity, and also eradicating xenophobic and hatred attitudes toward those people.

Also, we expect that Member States will appreciate the valuable contributions that these refugees and migrants can provide to the communities. I really appreciate the great support and compassion shown by the communities, and the leadership of the European Union.

Thank you.