NEW YORK, MAY 9 – Increasingly active also as a security and humanitarian provider worldwide – its Member States contribute to almost 40 per cent of the UN budget for peacekeeping operations, collectively the largest contributor; it also provides 50% of the voluntary contributions to the UN system- the European Union criticized the United States for the $640 million cuts to United Nations agencies. Addressing the Security Council on May 9 – Europe Day – the European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that investing in UN agencies, where the Trump administration has just cut U.S. funding, is as important to global peace and security as defense spending — “and sometimes even more.”
“We, Europeans, consider this support to the UN system as a crucial investment in our own security”, Mogherini told the Council addressing directly “the EU’s American friends” to make clear that “military capabilities are only one element in the bloc’s security strategy that also stresses economic development, health care, education, strong state institutions and democracy”. She said that’s why the EU contributes half the total budget of U.N.’s funds and agencies focusing on those issues. U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley replied calling the EU a partner in many areas but urged stronger EU action on Syria, North Korea and Iran. She also expressed deep concern about the migrant situation in Libya and the Central Mediterranean region. “We recognize the challenges the European Union and its member states – especially Italy – are facing with the continuous flow of refugees. We commend them for their sustained efforts to counter migrant smuggling and human trafficking”, Haley said.
Mogherini, who later met Haley in New York stressing that the EU-US partnership is crucial to support the UN and multilateralism, spoke at lengths about these challenges. “The tasks of our EU military operation in the Mediterranean, today, include not only to dismantle the networks of smugglers off the coast of Libya, but we also completed the training of the first group of Libyan coastguards and we also delivered to them the first motorboats so that the security of the territorial waters can be in their hands. And, as mandated by the Security Council, Operation Sophia is also enforcing the arms embargo, and only last week, we seized a shipping of weapons and ammunitions. Your endorsement of our Operation is a great sign of the trust that this institution puts in the men and women serving under the European flag. Doing it the European way in the UN context”. (@OnuItalia)