Saturday

3rd Dec 2016

EU heading for single UN seat, UN official says

The UN's deputy secretary general believes the European Commission will in future represent the EU in the United Nations as the voice of the European bloc worldwide.

"I think it will go in stages," Mark Malloch Brown told EUobserver on Monday (2 October). He explained that the European Commission already has an observer seat on the executive board for funds and programmes, where the commission is a big donor.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"We are going to see a growing spread of that and then steady formalisation of it institution by institution, probably starting in the UNDP or UNICEF [development aid units] first," Mr Malloch Brown said.

"It is not going to happen with a flash and a bang," he added, but said he hoped that "it will happen as quickly as possible."

The main obstacles to such a move, explained Mr Malloch Brown, could be that sovereign [UN] member states are wary of the rise of international institutions seeking to become a layer between them and another international institution.

"There is a lot of political theory in the way and it is not limited to the EU member states – there are a lot of other member states that see this as the thin end of the wedge and that other regions will then make the same case for regional organisations," he said.

Mr Malloch Brown explained that the European Commission office in New York working on UN issues "tends to be on the good side of issues so people are kind of quite keen to see it evolve – so it will get there but it is just going to be steady persuasion."

"I'm a huge fan of it," he stated. The number two UN official was in Brussels to speak at a policy briefing on UN reform in Brussels arranged by EU think-tank Friends of Europe.

UN reform 'needed'

He called on the EU to refrain from shying away from UN reform, saying it is urgently needed.

Mr Malloch Brown told the audience that current UN governance, including the UN security council, no longer reflects global reality because it is still largely based on the outcome of World War II.

"A security council without real membership opportunities for countries such as India, Brazil or any African country is clearly not reflecting how power is distributed today," he said.

He compared UN reform to the EU's own development in two ways. Firstly, it never stops due to constantly evolving challenges and risks and secondly, it is a politically difficult process for national states concerned about the transfer of power .

"When it comes to reform, I would say we have covered the first mile, but this will be a marathon," he told his audience of ambassadors, journalists, EU officials and business leaders.

Commission won't call Castro a dictator

The EU executive says that a statement decribing the former Cuban leader as a "hero for many" is balanced and suggests that the use of the word dictator by a commissioner doesn't reflect its position.

News in Brief

  1. Talks on wholesale roaming rules to start
  2. Lead MEP Dieselgate committee: Italy and Slovakia will cooperate
  3. Transparency NGO sues EU commission on Turkey deal
  4. Pro-EU liberal wins UK by-election
  5. Finnish support for Nato drops, Russia-scepticism grows
  6. Cyprus talks to resume in January
  7. Documents from German NSA inquiry released
  8. Transport commissioner 'not aware' of legal action on emissions

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. CESIElects Leaders and Sets Safety & Health at Work and Gender Equality Among the Guidelines For Next Term
  2. European Gaming & Betting AssociationContinues to Grow its Membership and Welcomes its Newest Member Association
  3. ACCASupports the Women of Europe Awards, Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  4. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  5. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  6. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First
  7. MIRAIA New Vision on Clean Tech: Balancing Energy Efficiency, Climate Change and Costs
  8. World VisionChildren Cannot Wait! 7 Priority Actions to Protect all Refugee and Migrant Children
  9. ANCI LazioRegio-Mob Project Delivers Analysis of Trasport and Mobility in Rome
  10. SDG Watch EuropeCivil Society Disappointed by the Commission's Plans for Sustainable Development Goals
  11. PLATO15 Fully-Funded PhD Positions Open – The Post-Crisis Legitimacy of the EU (PLATO)
  12. Access NowTell the EU Council: Protect our Rights to Privacy and Security