UN chief: EU is a ‘fundamental pillar’ of the United Nations

The European Union is a “fundamental pillar” of the United Nations and should lead the way in solving conflicts and promoting human rights around the world, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told the European Parliament on Wednesday.

“A strong and united Europe is an absolutely fundamental pillar of a strong and effective UN,” Guterres said.

He called for the promotion and protection of human rights, warning that these rights were increasingly“losing ground to the national sovereignty agenda.’’

“Unfortunately, we have seen national sovereignty many times being invoked to justify the lack of capacity of the international community to address the terrible human rights violations (and) challenges that we see in many parts of the world,” Guterres said.

He pointed out that the recent migrant crisis “has undermined to a certain extent the moral authority of several countries” to champion human rights.

He commended the EU’s “strong commitment” to the protection of refugees and called on the bloc to be “at the centre” of negotiations over a global framework to manage the movement of migrants.

The UN chief also noted that he was counting on the EU’s leadership to implement the Paris climate change agreement, after U.S. President Donald Trump had threatened to withdraw from it.