Panel 101: The European Union and the United Nations Ten Years after Lisbon
The European Union and the United Nations Ten Years after Lisbon
This panel considers the relationship between the EU and the UN a decade after the Lisbon Treaty entered into effect, which led to several changes in EU coordination and representation at the UN. The papers investigate the unity, leadership, and role of the EU across a variety of UN forums, including the General Assembly and environmental institutions.
Presentations of the Symposium
Navigating the ‘Common Approach’ to EU Diplomacy at the UN: EU Member States as Facilitators in UNGA Negotiations After Lisbon
At the UN in New York, the EU and member state delegations succeeded in 2011 in passing an enhanced observer status resolution in the GA that would allow the EU Delegation to fulfill the demands of the Lisbon Treaty to represent the EU at the UN. However, because this enhanced observer status is limited--the EU delegation does not have the right to vote, put forward candidates, or co-sponsor resolutions--the EU delegation and EU member state delegations must pursue a ‘Common Approach’ to diplomacy at the UN. A great deal of scholarship has explored the remarkable voting cohesion of the EU member states as well as the role of the EU delegation in coordinating a common line, but less attention has been paid to questions of candidatures and actively championing resolutions where EU member states retain full privilege of UN membership. This paper examines how EU member state delegations utilize (or not) the EU Delegation and their membership in the EU in these negotiation domains that remain the prerogative of member states. It focuses candidatures, examining how EU member state delegations utilize, invoke or ignore the EU delegation and its coordination practices in both the pursuit of roles as co-chairs/facilitators in GA negotiations as well as during the chairship. Specifically, it examines five cases of facilitation during the 2018-2019 GA session through UN documents and extensive interviews with diplomats: Sweden (2030 Agenda for Development), Lithuania (2nd HLS on South-South Cooperation), Ireland (Partnership for SIDS), Hungary (Global Health and Foreign Policy) and Luxembourg (equitable representation and membership on the Security Council). This paper provides an initial assessment of how EU member state facilitators resolve the tension between upholding a common EU position and fostering broader consensus across the UN membership in large-scale multilateral negotiations.
Food Assistance: What Coordination between the EU and the UN?
Since 2016, the United Nations (UN) has promoted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, establishing as main goals the end of poverty and hunger, the enhancement of food security and healthy measures, as well as the promotion of well-being for all. In this context, the European Union (EU), whose role as international actor has been increasing over the last twenty years, and the UN share the same values and goals. Together, through established partnerships and coordination, the UN and the EU are committed to providing humanitarian aid to people affected by natural and man-made crises. Focusing specifically on food assistance policy, the paper seeks to empirically answer the question whether and how the UN and the EU coordinate when shaping and implementing food assistance policy. Following a definition of cooperation, coordination and collaboration, the paper goes on to define what is food assistance policy and who are its actors and its tools and then assesses the partnership between the two organisations in countries where the EU is especially invested, Ethiopia and Chad. Finally, the empirical assessment entails another relevant issue concerning the EU’s role vis-à-vis the UN: is the EU only a donor or does it play an active role in the food assistance policy process? The paper seeks to contribute to the empirical research on EU-UN partnership coordination as well as to EU humanitarian aid literature
An Outside-in Assessment of the EU’s Role in Global Environmental Politics
Applying an innovative outside-in perspective, this paper explores several dimensions of the European Union’s role in contemporary global environmental politics. The selected cases to study are the institutions on chemical governance (i.e. the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel Conventions, complemented with the so-called ‘Synergies’ process), the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Environment Assembly. Three issue-specific dimensions of the EU’s role in these UN-wide institutions are examined: environmental ambition, environmental leadership and environmental diplomatic activity. Aiming to map these dimensions in an unbiased and non-EU centric way – the “outside-in” perspective - the paper uses observations by neutral witnesses of the EU’s role in the different global environmental frameworks. Newly collected data from a targeted online survey with reporters from specialized press, i.e. the Earth Negotiation Bulletin (ENB), are presented. The ENB is an independent, authoritative reporting service on global environmental negotiations and its reporters are attending international conference to summarize the process of the negotiations. In the survey, they have been asked to assess and compare the role of the EU – according to the three dimensions – with other international actors. This outside-in perspective allows for maximizing the observational distance between the source of the observation and the object of the study. The paper inquires how the role of the EU varies between different negotiation contexts and within each forum. Variation is issue and time specific and has different effects on the three studied dimensions.
The EU at the UN Human Rights Council: Exploring Sources of Divergence among the Member States
In 2018, the European Commission proposed extending qualified majority voting to the process of agreeing common EU positions on human rights in multilateral forums. The proposal came about because vetoes were being used to block EU agreement on statements to present at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in particular. At the same time, in the last five years, the EU member states serving on the HRC have ‘split’ their votes (they have voted differently) more often than they did in the previous five years. This paper explores the extent of divergence among EU member states at the HRC. First, it first tracks divergence over a relatively long period of time, by analysing all of the occasions on which EU member states failed to vote in the same way in the HRC and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), since the early 1990s. It considers whether there has been a recent increase in ‘split voting’, and whether the member states remain divided over similar issues over time or have diverged on a wider range of issues. Second, it identifies the member states that most often diverge from a majority EU position. Third, it analyses in more depth the substance of those issues on which member states have diverged by analysing their discourse in the CHR and HRC. What, exactly, is the source of the divergences? Have there been defections from established EU positions or are the splits occurring on new issues? What does divergence at the HRC tell us about the direction of EU human rights policy?