EU — Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton at the UN Security Council

State­ment by High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cather­ine Ash­ton at the UN Secu­ri­ty Council

New York, 4 May 2010
I am grate­ful for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to speak at the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil about the grow­ing co-oper­a­tion between the Unit­ed Nations and the Euro­pean Union in the area of peace and secu­ri­ty.
The Euro­pean Union attach­es great impor­tance to its part­ner­ship with the UN. A core objec­tive of EU for­eign pol­i­cy is the devel­op­ment of an effec­tive mul­ti­lat­er­al sys­tem with a strong UN at the cen­tre. The UN Char­ter and this Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil are the pri­ma­ry frame­work for the rules-based inter­na­tion­al sys­tem that we seek.

The rea­sons behind the cre­ation of the UN are sim­i­lar to those that orig­i­nal­ly drove Euro­pean inte­gra­tion: “to save suc­ceed­ing gen­er­a­tions from the scourge of war”. Today, the UN and the EU need to pro­mote the ideals that inspired ear­li­er gen­er­a­tions – peace, jus­tice, human rights, the whole notion that pow­er rela­tions among states must be sub­ject­ed to the rule of law – in a new world. We share many objec­tives and we work close­ly togeth­er, at Head­quar­ters and in the field. We are con­vinced that com­plex prob­lems require com­pre­hen­sive, glob­al solu­tions. We agree we must advance the caus­es of secu­ri­ty, human rights and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment togeth­er – oth­er­wise none will succeed.

It is no sur­prise then that EU Mem­ber States joint­ly con­sti­tute the largest con­trib­u­tors to the UN reg­u­lar and peace­keep­ing bud­gets. But this part­ner­ship is about much more than mon­ey. The EU is a strong sup­port­er of the UN in polit­i­cal and oper­a­tional terms.

The EU and the UN are work­ing togeth­er on the ground in 8 major cri­sis the­atres — in Europe, Africa, the Mid­dle East and Asia. The EU cur­rent­ly reports to this Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil on three of its ongo­ing operations. 

Giv­en the UN’s man­date in the area of peace and secu­ri­ty and giv­en the expan­sion of EU exter­nal action in recent years, it is log­i­cal that we have built a grow­ing part­ner­ship in peace and secu­ri­ty – which has com­ple­ment­ed our long-stand­ing co-oper­a­tion in devel­op­ment and human­i­tar­i­an assistance.

For exam­ple in the 1990s we worked close­ly togeth­er to try pre­vent and cur­tail the trag­ic and unnec­es­sary wars in the Balka­ns. Since then, much progress has been made but our joint work there is not yet com­plete. With respect to Bosnia-Herze­gov­ina steps remain to be tak­en to secure a well­func­tion­ing state. Fur­ther work is also need­ed in oth­er coun­tries of the region for them to suc­ceed on their path of even­tu­al suc­ces­sion to the Euro­pean Union – which remains our goal. In the Balka­ns as much as else­where, we know that a last­ing peace depends not so much on for­eign inter­ven­tion but on the efforts and com­mit­ment of local polit­i­cal lead­ers themselves.

I am speak­ing at the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil at a spe­cial moment in the devel­op­ment of the Euro­pean Union. The Lis­bon Treaty is now in force. This is a his­toric step which mat­ters to Euro­peans and non-Euro­peans alike.

The Lis­bon Treaty offers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to strength­en the EU’s inter­na­tion­al impact and strate­gic vision, through stream­lined deci­sion-mak­ing and greater pol­i­cy coher­ence and con­sis­ten­cy. Work is advanc­ing on the cre­ation of the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice, which will oper­ate under my author­i­ty. It will inte­grate diplo­mats from the EU insti­tu­tions and the Mem­ber-States. It will also direct the Del­e­ga­tions of the EU around the world, includ­ing here at the Unit­ed Nations.

The Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice will lead to more inte­grat­ed pol­i­cy-mak­ing and deliv­ery, by bring­ing togeth­er all the instru­ments of our glob­al engage­ment – polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic and cri­sis man­age­ment — in sup­port of our strate­gic goals.

This should also make the EU a bet­ter part­ner for the UN. And I ask for the sup­port of all UN Mem­ber-States to sup­port efforts so that EU rep­re­sen­ta­tives can act effi­cient­ly with­in the UN – to max­imise the EU’s con­tri­bu­tion to achiev­ing com­mon UN goals.

In my short peri­od in office as High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive, I have estab­lished an impor­tant work­ing rela­tion­ship with the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al. We have dis­cussed many issues which also top the agen­da of the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil. These include pira­cy and the sit­u­a­tion in Soma­lia, Sudan, the Mid­dle East Peace Process, and the seri­ous con­cerns about Iran ’s nuclear activ­i­ties and its per­sis­tent refusal to abide by sev­er­al Res­o­lu­tions of the Secu­ri­ty Council.

We have also dis­cussed issues like cli­mate change and the Mil­len­ni­um Devel­op­ment Goals that affect the wider inter­na­tion­al secu­ri­ty land­scape. The impact of cli­mate change threat­ens the future of mil­lions of peo­ple. It could wors­en exist­ing sit­u­a­tions of fragili­ty and inse­cu­ri­ty – and it could cre­ate new con­flict con­stel­la­tions. For the Mil­len­ni­um Devel­op­ment Goals, it is impor­tant that we step up our efforts, par­tic­u­lar­ly in those areas where improve­ments have been modest.

There is a grow­ing con­sen­sus inter­na­tion­al­ly on the need to apply a com­pre­hen­sive approach to cri­sis man­age­ment and peace-build­ing. The same goes for the need to take into account the evi­dent links between secu­ri­ty, devel­op­ment and human rights. 

Along with com­pre­hen­sive approach­es we also need to ensure our efforts are tai­lor-made, reflect­ing the pre­cise nature of every chal­lenge. This is true for indi­vid­ual con­flicts. But it also applies to over-arch­ing top­ics such as the role of women in peace and secu­ri­ty. This year we mark the 10th anniver­sary of Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil Res­o­lu­tion 1325 which was a mile­stone in mak­ing the entire inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty more aware of and focused on the spe­cif­ic needs and con­cerns of women in the area of peace and security.

Mr Pres­i­dent, allow me to illus­trate how the EU is con­tribut­ing to the UN’s work in peace and secu­ri­ty with some con­crete exam­ples, begin­ning with con­flict prevention.

In many cri­sis zones, Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al and the EU work hand in hand. Indeed, medi­a­tion and medi­a­tion sup­port are now grow­ing ele­ments of EU-UN co-oper­a­tion. Some­times we act direct­ly our­selves; at oth­er times we back the efforts of oth­ers. For exam­ple, in Dar­fur, the EU has pro­vid­ed sup­port through the Trust Fund set up by the Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al to facil­i­tate the medi­a­tion efforts led joint­ly by the UN and the African Union.

In the area of cri­sis man­age­ment, civil­ian and mil­i­tary, our co-oper­a­tion has devel­oped sig­nif­i­cant­ly over a short peri­od of time. In 2003 we launched Oper­a­tion Artemis at the request of the UN and the Gov­ern­ment of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Repub­lic of Con­go to pro­tect the peo­ple in Bunia, East­ern Con­go. This was the first time the EU assist­ed the UN in the area of peace and secu­ri­ty. This oper­a­tion opened a new chap­ter in our coop­er­a­tion. It was fol­lowed lat­er on by a back­up force to sup­port the UN at the time of the elections.

In some places we have sup­ple­ment­ed the UN, for exam­ple in Koso­vo, after the recon­fig­u­ra­tion of UNMIK. In oth­er places we have pre­ced­ed the UN; for exam­ple in Chad, where our force to pro­tect refugees from Dar­fur was suc­ceed­ed by MINURCAT.

And in yet oth­ers we are rein­forc­ing an on-going UN oper­a­tion — for exam­ple in Afghanistan with EUPOL. Or we are work­ing close­ly with both UN and region­al part­ners. Take our naval oper­a­tion Ata­lan­ta, com­bined with the train­ing mis­sion for the secu­ri­ty forces in Soma­lia. The lat­ter is set with­in a UN frame­work of sup­port for the Tran­si­tion­al Fed­er­al Government.

As part of our com­pre­hen­sive approach to the pira­cy prob­lem, the EU Sta­bil­i­ty Instru­ment has been sup­port­ing the efforts of Kenya and the Sey­chelles to pros­e­cute pira­cy sus­pects. We do this with a pro­gramme devel­oped joint­ly with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

One of our biggest pri­or­i­ties is to assist our African part­ners in the devel­op­ment of their capa­bil­i­ties on con­flict pre­ven­tion, cri­sis man­age­ment and peace­build­ing. We have cre­at­ed a spe­cif­ic finan­cial instru­ment, the African Peace Facil­i­ty, to under­pin this work.

With respect to the whole con­flict cycle, spe­cial efforts are need­ed on peace­build­ing. Too many con­flicts re-emerge or linger and pro­long the need for inter­na­tion­al engage­ment. In all this, the lead­ing role of the Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil is evident.

But I also want to men­tion our joint efforts in the Peace Build­ing Com­mis­sion. It is essen­tial to bring togeth­er all resources to help coun­tries suc­ceed on the path of post-con­flict recov­ery. The EU has exper­tise in these areas and it is the biggest donor to all four coun­tries on the agen­da of the Peace Build­ing Com­mis­sion. Five years after its cre­ation, this is a good moment to take stock and see what can be improved. 

In the areas of long-term sta­bil­i­sa­tion and devel­op­ment we are work­ing close­ly with the whole UN fam­i­ly. In Haiti, after the dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake, our joint actions are a good exam­ple of how we can max­imise EU-UN syn­er­gies. The EU respond­ed rapid­ly to UN calls for assis­tance rang­ing from human­i­tar­i­an aid to mil­i­tary assets. We now to need to pull togeth­er with clear plans for long-term reconstruction.

The fight against impuni­ty for the most seri­ous crimes remains a key fac­tor in peace­build­ing and con­flict pre­ven­tion. That is why the EU is a staunch sup­port­er of the Inter­na­tion­al Crim­i­nal Court. Pro­mot­ing the uni­ver­sal­i­ty of the Court and bol­ster­ing the enforce­ment of the Court’s deci­sions are among the key top­ics for the upcom­ing Review con­fer­ence in Kampala.

Mr Pres­i­dent,
Per­haps I could fin­ish by under­lin­ing three things:
First that the EU is strong­ly com­mit­ted to an active part­ner­ship with the UN: pro­mot­ing peace, pro­tect­ing the vul­ner­a­ble and help­ing peo­ple to live in safe­ty and dignity.

Sec­ond, that this part­ner­ship has grown rapid­ly in recent years and has demon­strat­ed its added val­ue on the ground. There is a good deal we have achieved togeth­er. But there is even more work to be done.

And third, that with the Lis­bon Treaty’s the EU’s poten­tial will increase. We should become more capa­ble; bet­ter able to bring pol­i­tics and eco­nom­ics togeth­er. And bet­ter at com­bin­ing dif­fer­ent forms of inter­ven­tion with­in a polit­i­cal strat­e­gy. As a result, I hope we shall be a stronger part­ner for the UN.

Thank you very much. 

Euro­pean Union 

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