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EU must refocus on UN's own peacekeeping capacity - Mary Lou McDonald

14 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called for the EU to 'shift the focus of its efforts and resources away from increasing EU military capacity and to focus instead on building up the UN's own capacity for peacekeeping and mounting UN-led missions - particularly for the prevention of genocide.'

Ms McDonald was speaking before she attended the National Forum on Europe at Dublin Castle where UN Secretary General Kofi Annan delivered a keynote speech at 12 noon on the theme of 'EU/UN Cooperation in Crisis Management'.

Speaking this morning, Ms McDonald said:

"I want to welcome Kofi Annan to Dublin. We have been given an unprecedented opportunity to listen and engage with the UN Secretary General on the future role of the United Nations.

"The UN has been constantly and consistently under funded and over the past number of years, and it is widely recognised that one of the results is that its capacity to intervene to prevent genocide is not sufficient. But instead of channelling the necessary additional resources into the UN the European Union has been busy building up its own military capacity. Furthermore, when troops are deployed to EU led missions they become unavailable for any actions the UN may wish to lead and manage directly. It is clear that the creeping militarisation of the EU has directly undermined the capacity of the UN to effectively deal with international crises.

"Sinn Féin believes that the United Nations must, as a matter of urgency, develop the capacity to deal with genocide prevention. Kofi Annan's support for the outsourcing of peacekeeping operations to regional military alliances is an admission that the UN is under resourced. The reality is that outsourcing military operations runs a very high risk of leading to the ultimate decline of the UN as a credible organisation at the expense of the EU and other regional alliances. Such an outcome would have huge and very negative implications for the international community as a whole.

"We have reached a crossroads in regards to the relationship between the UN and the EU. It would be my preference that EU member states made the troops and other resources available to support UN-led missions, and to support financially and otherwise increasing the in-house capacity of the UN to prevent genocide, and undertake other important peacekeeping tasks.

"I will be asking the Secretary General if he can clarify, apart from outsourcing missions to EU intervention battle groups, what other options for increasing UN peacekeeping capacity have been considered and ruled out, and on what grounds, and does he not agree that it would ultimately be preferable and more beneficial for the international order for the UN to develop adequate in-house peacekeeping capacity, rather than being forced to contract this work out to regional military alliances?" ENDS

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