Speaking from New York on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker came out in defence of multilateralism, saying international cooperation still had a place in the world, calling it “the way of the future”.
“Multilateralism must be given a chance. It is difficult to do that because it is the way of the future,” said Juncker during a press conference with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, “We are here to affirm that the multilateral approach is not dead, it must be maintained, it is our only chance to shape the future of the planet in an acceptable way for all stakeholders.”
The two veteran European politicians met during a high-level session of the 73rd UN General Assembly.
Avoiding to cite the US, Juncker avoided pointing fingers directly at the US or President Donald J. Trump‘s unilateralist and isolationist approach to foreign policy but did say that some of the UN’s members are deliberately turning their back on forging stronger global partnerships in favour of a “go-it-alone” attitude.
Juncker said he was at the general assembly to reiterate the European Union’s unwavering support for the UN, which he described as the cornerstone of law-based multilateralism.
Guterres responded to Juncker by returning the compliment and describing the EU as an exemplary partner of the United Nations, saying the two sides “share the same concerns for multilateralism and a regulated international order” based on peace and security, as well as sustainable development, and the protection of human rights.”
“We share the same concerns about climate change. The fact that it is moving faster than us makes it an absolutely essential global priority,” Guterres said after he thanked the EU for its support in many operations around the world, including in the humanitarian and development fields as well as in peacekeeping missions.