Foreword by the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso

José Manuel BarrosoThe European Union and the United Nations are natural partners for promoting peace, development and human rights, as well as for tackling new global challenges.

I welcome this fifth report on the achievements of the growing partnership with the United Nations which is of primary importance for the European Union. A core objective of the EU’s external action is the promotion of an effective multilateral system, in which the UN plays a central role.

This report focuses on our collaboration and illustrates how our political commitment is being transformed into concrete actions. Together we work to make a difference on the ground in helping those affected by hunger, conflict and lack of opportunities.

The EU remains the largest o!cial donor of humanitarian aid. It continues to support the central coordinating role of the UN and its agencies, funds and programmes working together with other humanitarian organisations to save lives and prevent suffering, as well as to help strengthen community preparedness in order to reduce the impact of frequent
natural disasters.

As regards development co-operation, we worked closely together on the key political issues which were debated in the UN. Moreover, we were able to make a real difference to people’s lives, for example helping those affected by the food crisis by delivering the €1 billion food facility approved by the EU. This report demonstrates there are many other areas in which the partnership has had a real effect in supporting those hardest hit by the impacts of current multiple crises through our joint efforts to rebuild lives in their aftermath, and through our ongoing work on areas such as health, education and capacity strengthening.

Across the world, the EU continues to support the UN in bringing sustainable development to communities threatened by conflict and natural disasters. Climate change can worsen existing situations of fragility and insecurity. In this work it is also vital that we have now established firm cooperation on the ground in promoting preparedness and prevention of crises.

While the world is progressively recovering from the global economic crises that have affected virtually all countries, it is crucial that the poorest countries are not left behind. This is a deep conviction Europe shares with the UN. The partnership between the EU and the UN is an essential component in our efforts to reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

2010 is a critical year for development at the global level. With only five years remaining before the agreed 2015 deadline for reaching the MDGs, there is now an urgent need to strengthen political commitment and take concrete action. I am convinced that with the right policies, strong political commitment, adequate levels and quality of investment and broad international support, the MDGs are achievable. The EU is determined to play a constructive role for the success of the UN MDG Summit in September 2010.

Our world is profoundly interdependent and we have to recognise that true progress can only be achieved if there are real opportunities for all.

With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in December 2009, you will gradually see the EU taking on new responsibilities and playing an even stronger role in external relations. I am confident that this will ensure that relations with the United Nations will continue to grow and deepen.

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission