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Wednesday, 08 September 2010

Ashton to obtain speaking rights at UN

European Council and Commission representatives confirmed reports that the United Nations is to grant the EU the right to speak at the body's General Assembly ahead of its 64th session, which starts on 15 September in New York. Thus far, the EU has only had observer status at the UN. With the Lisbon Treaty, however, and the election of a permanent Council president and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU's position at the UN appears to urgently require an upgrade.  According to Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, EU members France and the UK, who would hate to lose their influence in the UN Security Council, were initially reluctant to accept the idea. Ultimately, they have agreed to a compromise under which the head of EU diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, will have the right to speak on the EU's behalf in the General Assembly but not in the Security Council.
Apparently, the EU's request is also compelling other organisations, such as the Arab League, the African Union and ASEAN, to seek equal status. It is still unclear what response these organisations will receive, as the UN is unwilling to open a Pandora's box of new speaking rights.

Source: EurActiv