Despite the growing “deficit in multilateralism”, exacerbated by the rise in power political competition, the European Union remains mobilized to work closely with the United Nations, which has kept functioning even at the height of the cold war, the bloc’s foreign affairs chief told the Security Council today.
“The multilateral system is under pressure like never before,” observed Josep Borrell, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union, noting that the bloc, with multilateralism in its DNA, has invested in the United Nations both politically and financially. Bloc members back United Nations initiatives like the Sustainable Development Goals, Paris Agreement on climate change and work on human rights, he added.
However, with the return of power politics, the “deficit in multilateralism” has deepened, he said. The Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine has compounded global problems, with tens of thousands of dead and over 5 million refugees — the fastest growing refugee crisis since the Second World War. This is not a European war, he declared, adding: “This is an attack on the foundations of the UN and this Security Council, by a permanent member of the Council.”
The European Union is fully mobilized to keep Ukraine economically afloat and militarily able to defend its people, he continued, stressing that bloc sanctions are not the cause of food shortages and target only the Kremlin’s ability to finance the military aggression — not the conduct of legitimate trade.
Elsewhere in the world, the European Union continues to help prevent and solve conflicts and crises, he noted. Over 4,000 people are deployed by the European Union in 18 crisis‑management missions and operations on three continents, always working in close cooperation with the United Nations, including operations in the Mediterranean, off the Somali coasts and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In the ensuing discussion, members stressed the importance of the United Nations-European Union partnership, outlining the bloc’s contribution to the world body’s initiatives, including peacekeeping, sustainable development, climate action and human rights. They also exchanged views on the European and global security arrangement, as well as European Union sanctions against the Russian Federation.
Albania’s Foreign Minister, Olta Xhaçka, said Moscow’s aggression “poses a challenge to the values of freedom, democracy and justice that bind Europeans together”, pointing out that increased insecurity will always result in increased defence spending, which could lead to a decrease in investments in other areas, such as innovation, education and public services. She also noted that Western Balkan States made a choice to invest in their future — for more development, increased security and stronger institutions accountable to their citizens. “This is the value of European Union enlargement,” she stressed.
France’s delegate highlighted the European Union’s contribution to the United Nations peacekeeping, noting that the bloc’s member States collectively deploy nearly 5,300 personnel in those missions around the world, also paying tribute to 683 European personnel who were killed in these operations since 1948. She added that Brussels’ sanctions have only one objective — to bring Moscow back to adherence to the Charter of the United Nations.
Echoing that, the representative of the United States said the European Union clearly demonstrated its support of the values of the Charter through its actions to uphold the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity after the Russian Federation’s unjust, unprovoked and illegal war against Ukraine.
However, the Russian Federation’s representative refuted such claims, reporting that the relations between the European Union and his country have now completely collapsed, as the bloc adopted a policy of strategically pressing his country out of Europe. Despite his country’s warnings, the Union went down a path towards the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and undertook geopolitical absorption of space around it, pitting the East against the West. It also adopted a policy of transforming the economic alliance into a military and political one. Given the obvious hostility of the Union towards his country, the Kremlin has no choice but to reconsider basic approaches to the development of relations with the bloc.
Injecting an African perspective, Gabon’s representative highlighted the importance of burden-sharing in crisis management and said the partnership between the United Nations and the European Union is illustrated in Africa, where the two bodies work side by side in Somalia, Central African Republic and Libya. In Africa, security risks flowing from repeated abuses by extremist groups undermine shared values of liberty and democracy, he said, voicing support for trilateral cooperation among the African Union, European Union and the United Nations.
China’s delegate urged the European Union to play an active role in international relations by resisting the revival of confrontation by camps and blocs, respect the legitimate security concerns of all countries and help establish balanced, sustainable global and regional security mechanisms. He also called on the bloc to be more attentive to the needs of developing countries and increase donations to the United Nations humanitarian and development work.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Ghana, Mexico, Ireland, Norway, India, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Kenya and the United Kingdom.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 12:16 p.m.