23 June 2021

Remarks at Press Encounter with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

António Guterres

Thank you very much. It's a great pleasure to be back.

The European Union and in particular, the Commission, has been a very strong supporter of the UN in all the dimensions of our work. And so, this is the moment to express my deep gratitude and appreciation.

On the other hand, if it is true that, today, I am leading a universal organization, I am a European. And as a European, I am particularly proud with the contribution that I can see, the most important contribution of Europe to global civilization. And that is, in my opinion, the Enlightenment. The values of the Enlightenment, the primacy of reason, problems.

And this is particularly important when we see the risks of moving into a kind of post-enlightenment era. And when we see the multiplication of different forms of irrationality, nationalism, populism, racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-muslim hatred.

And I believe that the European Union is, and we count on the European Union to be on the forefront of the good battle for the values of the Enlightenment, which were, as I mentioned, the very important contribution of Europe to global civilization.

Thank you so much.