Written by a leading expert in the field, this book analyzes the complex relations between the European Union (EU) as a regional organization and the United Nations (UN) as an international, global governance institution.
The book explores how collaboration between the EU and the UN has evolved and how the two entities collaborate both structurally and in day-to-day work. It shows how the EU acts within institutions such as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and how UN funds and entities, such as UNHRC, UNICEF or UN Women, interact with the EU and its member states.
Through its analysis the book demonstrates how, despite recent criticism, patterns of multilateralism and cooperation between regional and international institutions can be central to stable patterns of rules-based regional and global governance.
This chapter provides thoughts about developments and prospects for the EU and the UN in global governance. Given current challenges to multilateralism and the role the EU and UN play within global governance, it looks ahead of what changing global power relations, pressures on multilateralism and new modes of negotiation and multilateral diplomacy could imply for the two entities, on the one hand, and their interconnections, on the other. Clearly, given the ways in which the EU operates, based on multilateral negotiations between its member states – alongside its supranational institutions – it is a core example of ‘rules-based governance’. It upholds such principles as the rule of law and strongly supports human rights (both in the sense of individual human rights and economic and social rights). However, being constituted of 27 member states, each with different preferences and priorities, means that finding agreement within the collectivity of members is not always easy. The UN, in turn, is of quintessential importance for global governance and the maintenance of peace and stability in a broader, encompassing context. The work conducted by its various units and entities on a daily basis is of core importance to human well-being in a general sense. The chapter also discusses minilateralism as a potential alternative mode and constituent part of multilateralism. Finally, the chapter shows how the UN increasingly relies on regional organizations as partners for its activities; in this sense, regional multilateralism and international cooperation often go hand in hand.
This chapter summarizes the contents of the book. It shows how the EU as a regional organization and the UN as a global governance institution have several overlapping core aims and principles. While the EU is focused on the internal, regional developments of its member states, next to external, global action, the UN, by definition, is an actor operating on the global level. The synergies between the two organizations are evident and important. Complementarities and patterns of mutual reinforcement also apply to collaboration between the UN and other regional integration schemes, such as the AU. Global power politics, at times, tends to undermine and endanger multilateralism on the international level and collective decision-making patterns among member states. In the ideal case, however, global-level organizations are ‘resilient’ and able to continue their activities despite such trends. Overcoming the ‘all-against-all’ dynamics of power politics is of quintessential importance to the maintenance of global stability. It is multilateral negotiations and decisions derived based on patterns of rules-based governance that allow collective steps to be taken in the interest of an organization’s collectivity of member state actors. Finally, the chapter shows how complementarity and synergies between regional and global governance actors are, without a doubt, of core importance to the maintenance of peace and stability, both in a regional and an international context.
This chapter describes the focus and sequence of topics discussed in the book. It demonstrates how various aspects related to the roles of the European Union (EU) and of the United Nations (UN) in global governance are interrelated. The chapter shows how the UN is the prime international organization dealing with various aspects related to the maintenance of peace and stability, and has an explicit aim to enhance human well-being across the globe. The EU, by comparison, is just one regional integration scheme that interacts – both through its member states directly and as an organization – with the UN on a daily basis, as well as in a more structural way. The chapter shows how relations between these two overarching institutions encompass many different aspects, from institutional cooperation between many of their sub-entities – for example, UN specialized agencies with the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) or the European Parliament (EP) – to mutual representation, shared aims and common activities and engagement. It shows how the book ‘zooms in’ on the EU as an organization but acknowledges that this is just one example of a ‘regional cluster’ of states that are collaborating to achieve common goals and endeavours together with the UN as a global actor.
This chapter discusses in which ways the EU – a regional multilateral scheme – and the UN – a global international organization – tackle challenges to multilateralism. The chapter describes how both institutions have been faced with pressures and criticism in the recent past, despite the range of important activities both are conducting. In times of pressure, a known mechanism is that governments take credit for all that goes well but international or regional organizations are blamed for developments that do not seem to go so well. This does not mean that there cannot be improvements – as is the case for many governments as well – but rather that a scepticism of supranational and international institutions seems to have increased with such phenomena as the global financial crisis. The chapter describes how ‘multilateralism’ and rules-based governance are at the core of the operations of both institutions, and considers some options for the future. Finally, specific cases are highlighted where the ‘agendas’ of the UN and the EU seem to largely overlap (notably, in the area of human rights and in adherence to the rule of law) while still showing some differences in practice.
This chapter addresses recent challenges to the UN, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The latter has affected the organization is various ways. First, the patterns of deliberation, cooperation, discussion and voting within its institutions had to be adapted on short notice. For example, UN staff at headquarters was asked to work from home and – as in many other organizations and institutions across the globe – meetings were shifted to online events. However, the pandemic has also affected the very work of the organization. For many UN specialized agencies, such as the UNHCR, tasks have become more complex in view of the pandemic, while the very effects of the crisis create more need for assistance. Financial pressures on member states due to the global financial crisis, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, make many of them more reluctant to contribute financially to the work of such organizations, creating a gap in funding that has ‘double effects’ (higher financial requirements but less availability of funds and willingness to contribute) and forcing organizations to look for new avenues of funding.
This chapter discusses how cooperation between the EU and the UN is conducted in daily patterns of interaction in Brussels. It demonstrates how various UN entities try to find alignment in their positions towards the (different parts of) the EU. The chapter further addresses some of the coordination activities between, notably, the UNHCR, UNICEF and entities of the EU dealing with challenges to migration. It puts a special emphasis on the mechanisms available to protect children in migration. Clearly, there are many overlapping areas of activity of various parts of the UN and different entities of the EU. Synergies are being explored, and both organizations strive to be influential in the planning and preparatory activities of the other organization.
This chapter has as a focal point cooperation between UN Women and the EU. It begins with a brief introduction to their relations and previous and current agreements. Following this, it provides a deeper analysis of the respective programmes and agreements, focusing notably on the Spotlight Initiative and the EU 4 Gender Equality: Together Against Gender Stereotypes and Gender-Based Violence. It discussed challenges to the respective programmes in relation to the gendered impact of COVID-19. Then, it examines the topics of gender mainstreaming and the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, as well as the role of EU institutions in facilitating this agenda. The chapter demonstrates how the EU and the UN have been advancing gender equality and supported the role of women and of girls in various contexts, including those characterized by conflict and war.
This chapter provides an overview of recent developments and trends in the EU as a regional integration scheme. It investigates the historic development of EU external representation and foreign policy, notably, in relation to the UN. After reviewing the early period of foreign policy coordination under EPC, a more in-depth review of the institutional changes created under the Maastricht Treaty and ToL will be given. After discussing these treaty-induced institutional changes over time, the present situation is reviewed, with an emphasis on the current role of the HR/VP, the EEAS and the representation of the EU in the UN. The final section of the chapter contains a brief outlook on the future, reflecting on the EUGS, the recent revision of this document in the framework of the ‘Strategic Compass’ and contemporary trends in the EU’s external representation and foreign policy.
This chapter discusses the institutional embedding of the EU and its member states into the UNGA and the UNSC. It shows how there is a significant overlap of strategic interests in a rules-based multilateral order between the EU and the UN, whereby their different institutional characteristics – supranational versus intergovernmental – may cause friction. The chapter provides an overview of the role of the EU in the UNGA and the historical development of Resolution 65/276 (2011), which attributed to the EU representative capacities within the UNGA as an ‘enhanced observer’ with unique rights (compared to other regional organizations, which may, however, follow suit in the future). The chapter illustrates how the EU is now in a strong position to represent its collective preferences in the UNGA, while still being dependent on its member states due to the institutionally limited role of an observer. It also focuses on the voting behaviour of EU states within the UNGA. Finally, the chapter deals with EU representation within the UNSC, where its members held two permanent seats (France and the UK) before Brexit but now only one (France).