May 2017 Monthly Forecast

Posted 28 April 2017
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EU-UN Briefing

Expected Council Action

In May, the Council will hold its annual meeting on strengthening the partnership with the EU, under its agenda item on cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organisations. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will brief the Council.


Recognising the growing importance of the relationship between the EU and the UN, the Council has held annual briefings since 2010 (with the exception of 2012) on cooperation between the two organisations. The Council formally endorsed this relationship in 2014 when it adopted a presidential statement on EU-UN cooperation. Since 2013, Council members have also met informally on an annual basis with members of the EU Political and Security Committee.

The briefings on cooperation between the EU and the UN usually follow a consistent format. Mogherini is likely to emphasise the areas of cooperation between the two organisations, present the EU’s main foreign policy priorities and objectives, and address some of the ongoing crises that occupy the agenda of both the EU and the Council.

Since the escalation of the migrant crisis in 2015 and repeated incidents of drownings in the Mediterranean Sea, the EU has sought the best approaches to address the issue. At the moment, the EU is carrying out the naval operation Sophia, aimed at identifying, capturing and disposing of vessels and disabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers. The operation received the Council’s legal authority in 2015 when it adopted resolution 2240, which authorised states and regional organisations to inspect and seize vessels off the coast of Libya. In October 2016, the Council extended the initial authorisation for another year.       

In April, the EU hosted a conference in Brussels on supporting the future of Syria and the region. This was a major donor conference co-chaired by the EU and the UN, among others. Both Mogherini and Secretary-General António Guterres addressed conference participants and appealed to the international community for continued humanitarian assistance for Syria and the affected region.

Cooperation between the EU and the UN is most evident in Africa, where the two organisations work together in several peacekeeping contexts. The EU provides training for security forces and assists in security sector reform in the Central African Republic (CAR), Mali and Somalia. The EU also provides salaries for the UN-authorised AU Mission in Somalia. 

The issue of terrorism has become increasingly prominent on the agenda of both organisations. There has been an increase in deadly terrorist attacks in the EU over the last several years. In addition to fighters returning from battlefields in the Middle East, the EU continues to face a threat from radicalised extremists inside its borders. The EU has made efforts to enhance cooperation and information sharing between its members in order to address the issue of terrorism.

In the EU’s immediate neighbourhood, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has remained one of the organisation’s top priorities. As members of the Normandy format which also includes Russia and Ukraine, EU members France and Germany played instrumental roles in negotiating the Minsk agreement in February 2015, which remains the main framework for seeking a solution to the crisis. The EU has continued to maintain sanctions on Russia over its involvement in eastern Ukraine. 

Mogherini is likely to inform the Council about the EU Global Strategy, which was adopted by the European Council last year. The strategy sets out the main priorities regarding EU foreign policy: security of the EU, state and societal resilience, an integrated approach to conflicts and crises, cooperative regional orders, and global governance for the 21st century. The aim of the EU Global Strategy is to strengthen the ability of the EU to respond to evolving threats. In addition, Mogherini is likely to discuss the Middle East peace process, the situation in Libya, the humanitarian situation in Iraq, cooperation with other regional organisations, transnational crime, climate change and, sustainable development, among other issues.   

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Security Council Resolution
6 October 2016 S/RES/2312 This was a resolution that renewed the provisions of resolution 2240 aimed at disrupting human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants on the high seas off the coast of Libya.
Security Council Presidential Statement
14 February 2014 S/PRST/2014/4 This was a presidential statement on cooperation between the UN and the EU, highlighting the EU’s comprehensive approach to maintenance of international peace and security.
Security Council Meeting Record
6 June 2016 S/PV.7705 This was the annual meeting on cooperation between the EU and the UN.

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