Press Releases

    SG/SM/9653
    20 December 2004

    Europe’s Support Key in Strengthening United Nations Peacekeeping, Crisis Management, Secretary-General Says in Statement to European Council

    Calling for Bold Action in 2005, He Stresses Need for Full European Engagement in Supporting Global Multilateral Framework

    NEW YORK, 17 December (UN Headquarters) -- Following is the text of Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s statement to the European Council, “The United Nations and the European Union:  Our Shared Agenda”, in Brussels, today, 17 December 2004:

    I am grateful for this invitation to speak to you at such an important moment for the world community and for our respective organizations.

    In recent years, there has been steady and very welcome growth in cooperation between the European Union and the United Nations.  We have done a great deal to give real substance to this relationship.

    Today, our personnel are working together in Afghanistan, the Balkans, Africa and many other places.  European support for rapid deployment is playing a key role in strengthening United Nations peacekeeping and crisis management.  You have been active in efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  As members of the Quartet, we continue to press Israelis and Palestinians to take the simultaneous steps that could galvanize implementation of the Road Map.  And in Iraq, we all recognize our shared and indeed compelling interest in building a stable, united and democratic country at peace with itself, in a peaceful region.

    The strength of this partnership gives me great hope that we will now be able to make far-reaching progress on an equally urgent and much wider agenda:  readying ourselves to meet the threats of the twenty-first century.

    The report of the High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change is now in your hands.  With great lucidity, the Panel has set out a new and comprehensive vision of collective security for a world of interconnected threats and mutual vulnerability between rich and poor, and weak and strong.  Just as important, the Panel has demonstrated why no country can afford to deal with today’s threats alone, and why no threat can be dealt with effectively unless other threats are addressed at the same time.

    The Panel’s vision places a strong emphasis on prevention and on building up the capacities of States to deal with threats and fulfil their responsibilities.  It sets out clear guidelines for the use of force.  It has given us an agreed definition of terrorism, which has long eluded us.  And it has put forward ideas for significantly updating United Nations bodies.  Taken together, the

    101 recommendations in the report offer the prospect of effective global policies and a renewed United Nations.  The Panel has brought us closer than we have ever been to answering some of the burning questions of our times.

    The burden now falls to us.

    Some recommendations are within my purview, and I will move ahead quickly on those.  In particular, I intend to take the lead in promoting a new comprehensive strategy against terrorism.

    But we shall not succeed unless you, as Member States of the United Nations, are ready to play your part.

    As you know, the General Assembly has called for a Summit to be held next September to review progress in implementing the Millennium Declaration.  To help in your discussions between now and then, you will also soon have in your hands the report of the Millennium Project on what it will take to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, and my own report on the progress we have made in the past five years in all areas covered by the Declaration.

    It is my hope that you will arrive at the Summit ready to reach decisions on the most important policy issues.

    I also hope that not all action will be frozen until September.  Where we can reach agreement and act sooner, we should not hesitate to do so.

    In September last year, I argued that we were at a fork in the road.

    One path leads to the breakdown of the system of collective security that has served us so well since 1945; to a reliance on ad hoc, improvised or unilateral responses to the new challenges that have been identified; to a dangerous and chaotic world indeed.

    The other, not easy but in my view fully worth the effort, leads to global solidarity based on shared doctrines and commitments, and to a global security architecture that has a chance of commanding the respect -- and the adherence -- of all States.

    As we move ahead, full European engagement will be essential.  For many decades now, European nations have pursued a common destiny.  From the ashes of tyranny, division and war, you have embraced reconciliation and cooperation, and built an economic and political union that has brought an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity to your citizens.  You have proved to yourselves and to others that former rivals and enemies can replace horror with hope.

    That success means the world now looks to you to support a global multilateral framework.  Nowhere is that support more essential today than in equipping ourselves to meet the perils ahead.  We need you to play your role not only at the Summit next September, but in the process leading up to it, by working to bridge divergent views and find a broad consensus.

    If 2003 was a year of deep division, and 2004 has been a time of sober reflection, 2005 must be a year of bold action.  Historic, fundamental progress is possible.  There is much to be done.  I do not underestimate the difficulties.  But we must succeed.  Together, we can and must build a safer, prosperous, more just world.

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