Europe's Role in the United Nations


The European Union works closely with the UN on a number of issues from human rights to sustainable development. The EU has enhanced observer status at the UN.

In 2009, the Treaty of Lisbon enhanced coordination, efficiency and consistency of the European Union's foreign policy and created the European External Action Service under the leadership of a High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy. This development also enabled the European Union to strengthen its profile within the United Nations.

The European Union cooperates on many levels with the United Nations. Its Member States contribute around 30% of the budget of the United Nations and 33% of the UN Peacekeeping budget. Taken as a whole, the EU is the largest contributor to the UN. At the political level, the European Union works in close cooperation with the United Nations in such areas as peacekeeping, development, human rights or humanitarian assistance. Examples of this involvement include the European Union's missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR/ALTHEA), Kosovo (EULEX), Afghanistan (EUPOL), or Mali (EUTM) which are mandated by the United Nations.

In intergovernmental negotiations within the United Nations, EU Member States work to align their positions. This allows the European Union or a designated Member State to negotiate on behalf of all 28 Member States of the European Union and to make the European voice heard.

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