The European Union is a strategic partner of the Security Council
Cooperation UN/EU - Statement by Mr François Delattre, Permament Representative of France to the United Nations - Security Council - 6 June 2016
I welcome today’s briefing on cooperation between the United Nations and the European Union, in the presence of its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. I once again salute her presence among us.
The general tone of the statements around the table shows, I believe, the extent to which cooperation between the two organizations is both natural and essential, as their shared values and joint fields of action are many and growing. The European Union is indeed a major player in the maintenance of peace and a partner of the United Nations at the highest level level in this area. Like other regional organizations, its role is becoming increasingly central in the implementation of peacekeeping operations, be it in funding, military contributions or political support. More broadly, the European Union intervenes in favour of peace and security by using all its instruments in the context of a comprehensive approach.
Thus, the many missions deployed by the European Union, both military and civilian, under its Common Security and Defence Policy, contribute to the implementation of or support for the decisions of the Council in various regions of the world. That is particularly the case on the European continent, where the Union contributes, for example, to the stability of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the strengthening of the rule of law in Kosovo ; in Africa, including Mali, the Niger, the Central African Republic and Somalia, where the Union supports the structural reinforcement of African capacities to respond to crises and provides vital funding to African peacekeeping operations ; or in response to transnational threats through the action of the Union in the fight against the smuggling of migrants in the Mediterranean or against maritime piracy off the Somali coast.
We should also recall the contribution of European countries to various peacekeeping operations both financially — with its funding of nearly one-third of the general peacekeeping budget — and in human terms, as for example in Mali, where more than 1,000 peacekeepers are engaged in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali, with unprecedented resources. The European Union is also a strategic partner of the Security Council in the search for lasting solutions to the major crises on its agenda.
That is the case first and foremost with the peace process in the Middle East, where the European Union recalls tirelessly that a just and lasting solution can be achieved only through respect for the law and that our common priority must be to preserve the viability of the two-State solution. The Union fully supported the French initiative for peace in the Middle East. The 3 June meeting in Paris brought together many actors, including of course the European Union, with the aim of laying the foundations for a new momentum for peace that enjoys the active support of the entire international community, with the ambition of holding an international conference by the end of the year.
That is also the case on the Syrian track, where the European Union has added its voice to those who rightloy stress the urgent need to resume inter-Syrian negotiations for the establishment of a political transition in line with the provisions of the Geneva communiqué (S/2012/523, annex), endorsed by the Council, while stressing that it can reasonably occur only in a context of a lasting cessation of hostilities and the open, continuous and unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all in the need.
It is also true in Libya, where the European Union and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya are engaged in a massive effort to empower the Government of National Accord to fight the threat posed by the growing presence of terrorist groups in its territory. The European Union has particularly expressed its willingness to contribute, through its naval mission Operation Sophia, deployed in international waters off the Libyan coast, to strengthening the implementation of the arms embargo on Libya without prejudice to possible exemptions for the benefit of the Government of National Accord. To that end, we are working with our European partners on the Council on a draft resolution that would strengthen deep-sea intervention procedures against ships carrying weapons or associated equipment in violation of the arms embargo.
It is also the case with regard to the crisis in Ukraine, where the European Union is conducting a policy that combines dialogue and firmness. The sanctions are meant not to punish but to encourage the stakeholders to implement the provisions endorsed by the Security Council to resolve the crisis, including the package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.
The European Union is also a leading player in the response to the global migrant crisis. Let us see the situation for what it is. Faced with what amounts to the largest crisis of displaced persons and refugees since the end of the Second World War, in respect of which the entire international community shares an equal need for solidarity and responsibility, the determined action of the European Union is too often undervalued or misunderstood. It remains by far the largest purveyor of aid to refugees in the world. Its member States hosted more than 1 million refugees in 2015 alone.
Operations headed by the European Union, first and foremost Operation Sophia of the European Union military operation in the Southern Central Mediterranean, have saved thousands of people drowning in the waters of the Mediterranean and helped to combat migrant-trafficking networks in the region. The European Union is also addressing the root causes of this phenomenon, as demonstrated by the fact that it is the primary donor globally of financing for development, in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as by the substantive financing it provides to countries of origin and of transit. While the EU cannot resolve the migrant crisis alone, it is shouldering fully its responsibility on the political, security and financial fronts, as well as the moral and humanitarian fronts, so as to provide an effective response.
Today we are marking the anniversary of the Normandy landing, one of the key events that opened the way for the liberation of Europe and for the eventual creation of the EU.I should like to conclude by once again highlighting a key point of convergence between the EU and the United Nations. The two organizations are strategic partners to each other, united by a shared vision of the world in which right must prevail over might, and by a common vision of multilateralism. This is what makes the European Union, beyond its role as a regional organization, one of the central pillars of the current international system.