The European Parliament’s delegation headed by AFET and DROI chairs David McAllister and Pier Antonio Panzeri met with António Guterres, the UN Secretary General, in New York on Tuesday.
The delegation of MEPs reiterated the UN’s key role in promoting effective multilateralism and protecting universal rules and values. The EU actively supports the UN reform process which focusses on three pillars: peace and security architecture, the UN development system, and UN management. The reforms will enhance accountability and transparency of the use of UN budget, in a move to better serve and protect.
MEPs highlighted the stronger EU-UN partnership and the need to join forces in working on common priorities, particularly today when multilateralism is being challenged. The soft power role of the EU Member States acting as a driving force within the UN was underlined, especially at the unprecedented moment when they will soon make up one third of the UN Security Council members. For MEPs, this should enable the Security Council to take, whenever needed, the necessary strong measures, with adequate mandate and funding. According to all interlocutors, the EU remains the strong predictable partner for the UN.
“We fully supports the reforms undertaken by António Guterres, he is giving a new impetus for a stronger UN!” said Mr McAllister.
The delegation held high level meetings with the new President of the 72nd UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, and also discussed peace, security, conflict prevention and human rights with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman and Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix.
MEPs addressed UN reforms with Under-Secretary-General of Field Support, Atul Khare, Under-Secretary General for General Assembly and Conference Management, Catherine Pollard, and Assistant Secretary General for Coordination, Fabrizio Hochschild. Reforms and development were also at the heart of the discussion with UNDP Administrator, Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner.
Human rights were a recurrent theme throughout the meetings, addressing pressing global challenges: climate change, economic crises, security threats and increasing migration flows. Discussions covered the UN’s responsibilities to prevent and respond to serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law; the key role of human rights in peace-building and peace-keeping; and, more broadly, the process of UN reform and the need to mainstream human rights. The Chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights made a plea for a further strengthening of the cooperation between Parliament and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Given the overall efforts to make Human Rights less of a priority, meetings dealing with specific Human Rights issues were held including with the Assistant Secretary General and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P), Ivan Simonovic, looking at the current situations in Yemen, Syria/Iraq, Myanmar; and with the Chair of the Third committee, Einar Gunnarsson, on the shrinking space for civil society.
Composition of the Delegation
Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, David McALLISTER (EPP, DE), Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), Arnaud DANJEAN (EPP, FR), Jo LEINEN (S&D, DE), Eugen FREUND (S&D, AT), Eleni THEOCHAROUS (ECR, CY), Urmas PAET (ALDE, EE), Barbara LOCHBIHLER (Greens/EFA, DE).
Chairman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT), Andrey KOVATCHEV (EPP, BG), Teresa JIMÉNEZ-BECERRIL BARRIO (EPP, ES), Soraya POST (S&D, SE) and Rikke KARLSSON (ECR, DK).