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Incontro Stampa: Presidente della Commissione UE, Ursula von der Leyen, con il Segretario Generale ONU, Antonio Guterres

Statement by President von der Leyen with António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations —

Dear António Guterres,

What a pleasure to have you here, and a warm welcome to the European Commission.

First of all, let me congratulate you for your appointment for a second mandate. I think the United Nations are very lucky and can be very grateful to have you at the helm of this big institution.

And I wanted to assure you that – and you know that – the European Union and the European Commission always stand by your side. We support you in your tireless work to strengthen multilateralism and to improve the rules-based order, globally, for all the topics we are dealing with together – be it peace and security, or the support for refugees, or overcoming the pandemic, but also fighting climate change.

So we are very happy that we have you here today in our College. We are, of course, also supporting you on your reform agenda and very curious on what you call ‘our common agenda’ where we always volunteer to take a leading role.

So once again a very warm welcome.


Remarks at Press Encounter with Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

Thank you very much. It’s a great pleasure to be back.

The European Union and in particular, the Commission, has been a very strong supporter of the UN in all the dimensions of our work. And so, this is the moment to express my deep gratitude and appreciation.

On the other hand, if it is true that, today, I am leading a universal organization, I am a European. And as a European, I am particularly proud with the contribution that I can see, the most important contribution of Europe to global civilization. And that is, in my opinion, the Enlightenment. The values of the Enlightenment, the primacy of reason, problems.

And this is particularly important when we see the risks of moving into a kind of post-enlightenment era. And when we see the multiplication of different forms of irrationality, nationalism, populism, racism, xenophobia, anti-semitism, anti-muslim hatred.

And I believe that the European Union is, and we count on the European Union to be on the forefront of the good battle for the values of the Enlightenment, which were, as I mentioned, the very important contribution of Europe to global civilization.

Thank you so much.