Monday

22nd Oct 2018

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"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.

Solana considers one EU seat in UN solution to divisions

In an interview with Die Welt, the EU's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, offers some suggestions for how the current crisis in Europe could be avoided in the future. One of the main ideas would be for the EU to be represented by one seat in the UN.

Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban

Germany has announced a unilateral arms ban on Saudi Arabia over its killing of a journalist, but France, the UK, and the US have not followed suit.

Europe and Asia seek stable relations in troubled times

Covering two-third of the world's economic output and governing more than half of the world's population, the Europe and Asian leaders' summit in Brussels on Friday tests potentials for outlining a post-Trump world order.

EU looks at Morocco and Tunisia to offload migrants

EU member states and the European Commission are pressing ahead with plans to possibly use Morocco and Tunisia as countries to offload asylum seekers and migrants - part of larger bid to create a so-called "safe third country" list.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban
  2. Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar
  3. Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit
  4. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  5. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  6. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  7. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  8. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us