General Assembly grants EU higher participation status

United Nations General Assembly Hall in New YorkThe General Assembly on 3 May 2011 voted to upgrade the status of the European Union’s (EU) participation at the United Nations 192-member body.

The General Assembly resolution (A/RES/65/276) on the participation of the EU in the work of the UN was adopted by 180 UN Member States and will allow senior EU representatives to present to the Assembly the common positions of the European bloc. Syria and Zimbabwe abstained and 10 countries did not vote.


Herman van Rompuy


Statement by Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council


Catherine Ashton


Statement by Catherine Asthon, VP/HR, present at the moment of the Resolution

It also gives EU representatives the right to make interventions during sessions; be invited to participate in the general debate of the General Assembly; and permits EU communications relating to the sessions and work of the Assembly to be circulated directly as documents of the Assembly.

Under the resolution, EU representatives will also be permitted to present proposals and amendments agreed to by EU member States, but not to challenge decisions of the Assembly’s presiding officer.

EU representatives will also be allowed to exercise the right of reply regarding positions of the EU. The European bloc’s representatives shall be ensured seating among the observers, but they will not have the have the right to vote or to put forward candidates.

Zimbabwe introduced an oral amendment that would have denied the EU the right of reply to statements made by UN Member States, but the proposal was defeated with only six votes in favour and 142 against. Twenty other countries abstained.

UN General Assembly Press Release on the Resolution:

UNRIC Library Backgrounder: “Participation of the European Union in the work of the United Nations: official UN documents” (English – html or pdf; French – pdf)