27 May 2015

Opening remarks at the joint press conference with the President of the European Commission

Ban Ki-moon

Thank you very much, Mr. President,

It’s a great honour and pleasure to visit the European Union with the new leadership installed.

We have a very good and extensive exchange of views on matters of our common concern.

Last night, I also attended a dinner consultation with all 28 foreign or development ministers of the European Union to discuss matters of our concern, including migration and sustainable development.

In a short while, I will have the honour of addressing the European Parliament.

During this year that marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ founding, we have three major opportunities to set the world on a more sustainable, equitable and prosperous path.

We must renew the global partnership for development at the International Conference on Financing for Development which will be held in Addis Ababa in July.

I commend that those countries that have met the target of committing 0.7 per cent of GNI, gross national product, to official development assistance, including 0.2 per cent for the world's least developed countries. I urge other OECD countries to follow that example. I welcome yesterday's decision by EU Member States to re-commit to that target. I urge them to spare no efforts to reach it as soon as possible.

A successful outcome in Addis Ababa is crucial for building trust and momentum towards an ambitious post-2015 development agenda in New York in September and a comprehensive and universal agreement on climate change in December in Paris.

The emergence of violent extremism is a grave threat to international peace and security. All countries and organizations should join hands to forge a multi-faceted response that respects international human rights and humanitarian law. I will present a comprehensive plan of action on how counter violent extremism and terrorism to the General Assembly later this year.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The complex challenges of migration and refugee protection are also foremost in our minds. In the Mediterranean, many women, men and children are losing their lives while fleeing war or simply seeking a better future.

Our response must be comprehensive, focusing on countries of destination, transit and origin. We need to crack down on smugglers while saving lives and upholding human rights and international law.

The United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration are ready to work with European leaders to address both the emergencies and root causes, and to explore how the Member States of the European Union can provide legal alternatives to such dangerous voyages, including resettlement, work and study visas, and enhanced family reunifications.

In that regard, I welcome the announcement by the European Commission a short while ago of a proposal for the relocation of 40,000 of asylum-seekers as a step in the right direction. I highly commend the very compassionate leadership of President [Jean-Claude] Juncker of the European Commission. I encourage EU Member States to show compassion as they consider this important proposal to share their resettlement responsibilities. This can enable the European Union to address the dramatically increasing flows of people while setting an example for other regions of the world facing similar challenges.

Again, I thank President Juncker for your leadership and strong support. You can count on me.

Thank you.