Spindelegger: “Significant upgrading of the EU at the United Nations”
UN resolution grants the EU stronger rights of representation
Vienna, 5 May 2011 – “Our intensive diplomatic endeavours over the past months have paid off. The European Union has finally been granted rights at the UN General Assembly which correspond to its role and weight within the United Nations,” said a delighted Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger in response to the adoption of the respective resolution by the UN General Assembly, which was closely followed by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton.
After a debate on the resolution was adjourned last September, the EU institutions and EU member states tried to convince the UN member states to support the text. “It is in Austria’s interests that the EU speaks with a strong common voice in New York. I therefore used my contacts with colleagues outside the EU to do my share of convincing and explaining the legitimate concern of the EU,” emphasised Spindelegger.
The EU and its member states are not only the largest contributors to the UN budget, they are also reliable partners of the UN, providing important support for the work of the United Nations. The EU already has observer status within the United Nations. The adoption of the new resolution by the UN General Assembly upgrades the EU’s rights of speech and representation. In the future, the EU’s position will no longer be presented by the rotating EU Presidency, but by the EU delegation and/or the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton. The EU representatives may now take the floor or submit proposals themselves.
Austria will continue its traditionally strong UN policy and support of issues like respect for human rights, disarmament, and the protection of civilians in armed conflict. “Thanks to the adoption of the resolution we now have a stronger partner on our side. The EU’s common foreign policy as laid down in the Treaty of Lisbon can now be implemented within the framework of the UN General Assembly. This recognition of the new EU foreign policy by the UN should also set a precedent for other international organisations,” concluded the Foreign Minister.
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