Expected Council Action
In March, 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 in maintaining international peace and security. Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will brief the Council.
Cooperation between the UN and the EU has evolved over the years and has continued to grow in importance. Recognising this, the Council has had a practice, starting in 2010, of holding annual briefings (except in 2012 and 2018) on cooperation between the two organisations. In 2014, the Council endorsed this relationship when it adopted a presidential statement on EU-UN cooperation. Since 2013, Council members have also met annually with members of the EU Political and Security Committee.
The EU members of the Council have made a concerted effort to coordinate their positions and present a unified front on some issues on the Council’s agenda, such as Kosovo, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela. Another practice that has emerged recently has been for the EU members of the Council (including incoming and recently departed members) to make joint statements at the Council media stakeout presenting the EU position on specific Security Council issues.
In another effort to enhance this coordination, Mogherini met with the foreign ministers of current EU members of the Council on 28 January in Brussels. She emphasised bringing the EU’s views on peace and security and on the importance of multilateralism to the Council.
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.
The EU has maintained a strong interest in finding a political solution to the conflict in Syria and has led major humanitarian efforts in the region. It has announced plans to organise a third Brussels conference on supporting the future of Syria and the region. At the Brussels conference last year, donors pledged $4.3 billion for humanitarian assistance. Mogherini has emphasised that eventual EU funds for post-conflict reconstruction in Syria will be directly linked to the UN-led political process.
In the context of peacekeeping, the cooperation between the EU and the UN is most evident in Africa, where the two organisations work alongside one another in several countries. The EU provides training for security forces and assists in security sector reform in the Central African Republic, Mali and Somalia. The EU also provides salaries for the UN-authorised AU Mission in Somalia. Member states of the EU are the largest collective contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, providing over 30 percent of total contributions.
The EU has emphasised its commitment to preserving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement which places limits on Iran’s nuclear programme and provides sanctions relief. In May 2018, the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA which the Council had endorsed in 2015 in resolution 2231. In January, France, Germany and the UK announced the creation of a Special Purpose Vehicle which would facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran. The EU members of the Council have maintained a unified position on the importance of preserving the JCPOA as long as Iran continues to adhere to its provisions.
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.
UN DOCUMENTS ON EU-UN COOPERATION
|Security Council Resolutions|
|3 October 2018S/RES/2437||This resolution renewed the authorisation for member states to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya that they have reasonable grounds to suspect are being used for migrant smuggling or human trafficking.|
|20 July 2015S/RES/2231||This was a resolution that endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran.|
|Security Council Presidential Statement|
|14 February 2014S/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 Records|
|8 March 2018S/PV.8200||This was a briefing in which Italian Foreign Minister and current OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Angelino Alfano briefed the Council on main priorities of the Italian chairmanship of the organisation.|
|9 May 2017S/PV.7935||This was a briefing by Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on cooperation between the EU and the UN.|