New York

11 December 2012

Secretary-General's remarks at the reception on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the European Union [As prepared for delivery]

I am pleased to join in this celebration.

The Nobel Peace Prize is a fitting tribute to the European Union and its forerunners, whose vision helped the continent emerge from the devastation of two world wars to forge unity, peace and prosperity.

Over the years, that vision expanded from economic cooperation to one which embodies a future built on integration and dialogue, respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.  You know, as does the United Nations, that these areas are all closely connected and mutually reinforcing.

Through the enlargement process, the European Union has embraced new members and provided aspiring ones with a direction and standards for which to aim.

In the process, you have become an engine for democratic consolidation and integration, upholding citizen’s rights and weaving nations and cultures together.

Your vision continues to expand.

The European Union is in the vanguard of promoting and defending human rights internally and worldwide.  With your ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, you broke new ground by becoming party to an international human rights treaty. 

That is but one example of the many ways the EU and its member states contribute across all pillars of our work.

Every year, we work together around the world to save and improve lives and build the capacities of communities, institutions and individuals.

We are striving as one to advance the Millennium Development Goals, and will accelerate our joints efforts as the 2015 deadline approaches.

With your support, the UN responded to crisis situations in over 50 countries last year.

Your commitment to peace through multilateralism can be seen in your many years of contributions to peacekeeping.

We count on that support to continue, and where possible, grow.

You have also provided pivotal support for scaling up our mediation capacities; I trust that we can do the same for prevention, which is among my top priorities.

We increasingly work side-by-side to address some of the most challenging situations, from the DRC to Somalia, South Sudan and the Sahel.

We are both focused on supporting countries achieve solid democratic transitions in moments of tumultuous change.

The award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union is a testament to the determination of the citizens of Europe to put their divided past behind them and serve as an inspiration to people all over the world.

On behalf of the United Nations, I extend our heartfelt congratulations.  We look forward to continuing to work closely to advance peace, development, human rights and the rule of law around the world. 

Thank you.