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Panel intervention on behalf of the European Union by Mr. Jüri Luik, Estonian Minister of Defence, at the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Vancouver, 15 November 2017


Panel intervention on behalf of the European Union by

Jüri Luik, Minister of Defence, Republic of Estonia

at the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Plenary Session 4: Early Warning and Rapid Deployment


Mr Chairman, Ministers, Distinguished Delegates,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU High Representative Ms Mogherini who is unfortunately unable to be here today.

On behalf of the EU High Representative, I would like to thank Canada (and the ten co-hosts) for hosting this topical and timely meeting, and welcome the opportunity to participate in this Panel discussion.

After saying a few words about the UN-EU partnership on Crisis Management, I will outline an example of cooperation on rapid response from the Central Africa Republic, and finally touch upon some key EU priorities on UN peacekeeping going forward.

1. The UN-EU Partnership on Crisis Management

The EU is currently implementing our Global Strategy for Foreign and Security Policy (presented by the EU High Representative in 2016). The strategy defines the role and sets out the core interests of the EU in security and defence within and beyond its borders. Focus is on building resilience and an integrated approach to crises management, from development to crisis response and prevention.

Reinforcing partnerships is at the centre of this effort. Cooperating closely with the UN provides EU crisis management with legitimacy. Identifying and capitalising on our comparative advantages make us both more efficient actors for peace and security. The EU, in terms of deployment, may act quicker than the UN and can complement UN efforts with advice, training, and capacity-building. And as the world's leading aid donor, the EU helps provide sustainability and proper governance.

Between headquarters, we regularly and systematically share information and best practices on horizontal issues such as for example conduct and discipline, and on mission specific strategic reviews. We discuss operational needs and agree on benchmarks to ensure the strategic direction and alignment of our efforts.

2. EU-UN cooperation in the field – example of rapid response in CAR

In the field, the EU works closely together with the UN from the outset of the planning of missions and operations, throughout execution, to exit and evaluation. We burden share and provide mutual support in-theatre, often on a daily basis, in all of our soon to be deployed 16 CSDP missions and operations.

Rapid response is a key joint EU-UN strategic priority where we are exploring options for further cooperation. In 2014, an EU military operation, authorised by the Security Council was deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR) to provide immediate temporary support to achieve a safe and secure environment in the Bangui area.

EUFOR CAR was carried out at a crucial point in time when the UN was lacking the ability to deploy in the face of a rapidly deteriorating situation, to protect those most at risk, and enable the delivery of humanitarian aid. Once the UN was on the ground, just over a year later, the EU handed over camps and other relevant equipment to the UN forces.

Building upon this and other similar experiences, we—the EU and the UN—continue our joint efforts to develop concrete and practical modalities for cooperation for when EU military operations are deployed in the run up to UN peacekeeping operations. This as a way to further facilitate cooperation on rapid response, and delivering on one of the EU's 2015 pledges at the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping.

3. Priorities going forward

In 2018, the EU Member States, together, will account for the largest part of assessed contributions to UN peacekeeping; 30.5 percent. We believe that peacekeeping operations remain a flagship activity of the United Nations and no efforts should be spared to ensure continuous improvement of our common crisis management tools.

The EU and its Member States commend and support the UNSG for his commitment to reforming the peace and security pillar in order to ensure effectiveness and better serve the needs of our people. We strongly support the Secretary-General’s leadership in combating sexual exploitation and abuse, based on prevention, enforcement, victim support and accountability. We remain committed to achieve gender equality through gender balance and gender mainstreaming and we continue to actively promote the Women, Peace and Security agenda, internally and externally.

The EU continues to advocate for a better definition of the role of regional organisations within UN-led interventions, facilitating—when appropriate—rapid deployment, acting in complementary to UN operations. We continue to support the development of African peace capacities, committed to give full support to the continent's efforts to manage its own security. Efforts to work towards a strengthened trilateral (AU-EU-UN) partnership, consolidated through a MoU to be signed at the upcoming AU-EU Summit, should further bolster support.

Let me end by thanking the host and co-hosts of this event. And to all of those who have made important contributions today and in the past in support of the UN's peace and security agenda.


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