UNITED NATiONS -- The European Commission president and United Nations chief opened the first EU-U.N. high-level dialogue Thursday by saying the need to work together is critical, especially at a time when the war in Ukraine has created a global food and energy crisis.
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU’s executive arm, said before the start of the meeting at the Greentree Estate on New York's Long Island that it comes “at a crucial time” because “the world is at a major inflection point” and the global system, “with the United Nations at its core, is at stake.”
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said multilateralism is needed more than ever to tackle the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, “a dramatic climate emergency,” and multiplying conflicts.
Guterres cited in particular “the dramatic impact of the Russian invasion in Ukraine that has led, independently of the suffering of the Ukrainian people, to a terrible crisis also in food, energy and in finance.”
He said that what is needed is not just any kind of multilateralism but “a networked multilateralism.” The EU-U.N. partnership “is a fundamental pillar of this networked multilateralism,” he said.
Von der Leyen warned that “Russia’s war on Ukraine is damaging the international order and the global economy,” threatening food security and triggering “skyrocketing prices for fossil fuels worldwide, with devastating knock-on effects on livelihoods.” She added that “we will support Ukraine as long as it takes.”
Von der Leyen said the EU and U.N. “are both working hard and fighting for the rules-based system because we know that we cannot take it for granted.” The best proof, she said, is that the EU and its 27 member nations are the largest financial contributors to the U.N., providing 14 billion euros a year.