14 June 2016

Opening remarks to press with the President of the European Commission

Ban Ki-moon

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.