The EU's Preferences for Multilateralism: A SWOT Analysis of EU/UN Relations

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UNU-CRIS Occasional Papers
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This paper aims to present an overview of the EU-UN relations and map the actualand possible EU-UN relationships and their implications for global governance. First,a general overview is presented of how the EU and the UN interact (empiricalevidence). Secondly, a more detailed overview is given in one field of interaction:peace and security. Thirdly, a SWOT analysis is presented that highlights theStrengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats that will influence how EU/UNrelations will develop in the future. Finally, some ideas will be presented on how EU/UN relations can develop in thefuture. It will be argued that, all along the last decades, there has been a gradualconvergence of aims and policies between these two actors. Even though EU’sforeign policy still lacks of character and of a clear institutional asset; even though theUN is often perceived as a weak and overburden actor, the truth is that theircooperation is growing in efficacy and dimension. Peace and security is proving to bethe field in which the declarations of intent coming from the EU and UN aredeveloping into concrete actions. The new security concept adopted by the UN, encompassing development, humanrights and security in a triangular relationship, is converging with EU’s securityapproach and places the organisation as a preferred partner for the UN in this mostvisible area of cooperation. The paper stresses out that despite their structural deficiencies/weaknesses, the threatsprovided by national interests and competitions, the opportunities and the strengths ofsuch cooperation will prove to be stronger in the future.