United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres addressed the European Parliament during its plenary session Wednesday in Strasbourg, affirming that the success of the European project and the destiny of the United Nations are closely intertwined.
“A strong and united Europe is an absolutely fundamental pillar of a strong and effective United Nations,” Guterres told Members of European Parliament (MEPs) in the Alsatian capital.
The Portuguese UN Secretary General, the first European head of the international organization since Austria’s Kurt Waldheim helmed it in the early 1980s, listed an array of global challenges that required the EU and the UN to work together.
Guterres listed the multiplication of conflicts and their changing nature; human rights violations, especially in the context of major human displacements due to war and economic fragility; climate change, and its consequences; and the situation of those who have missed out on the benefits of globalization as areas which needed partnership from the two international bodies in order to be tackled.
Strong cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations was the theme of a bilateral meeting before the speech between Antonio Guterres and European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.
Opening the parliamentary session with the UN Secretary General, Tajani stressed that “More than ever, we must work together to give our citizens concrete responses on conflict terrorism, radicalization, managing migratory flows, climate change, poverty and unemployment.”
“The United Nations and the European Union rose from the ashes of global conflict, they share the same values and the same objective: to promote peace and prosperity through multilateral cooperation,” the European Parliament president declared.
For his part, Guterres praised the European contribution to development cooperation and humanitarian aid: “The European Union is clearly the most successful project of peace sustainability in the world since the beginning of history.”
The UN chief also met with Thorbjorn Jagland, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, a pan-European human rights organization headquartered in Strasbourg. According to a press release, the meeting covered migration, conflict prevention, combatting corruption and the fight against terrorism, among other subjects.