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The European Parliament calls for a new UN Parliament and a 2020 UN reform summit

Stockshots in Strasbourg - EP building

The European Parliament called on the EU’s governments to advocate the establishment of a UN Parliamentary Assembly at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly starting in September. A resolution on the EU’s UN policy adopted today in Strasbourg states that a “United Nations Parliamentary Assembly within the United Nations system” should be created “to increase the democratic character, the democratic accountability and the transparency of global governance and to allow for better citizen participation in the activities of the UN.”

Democracy without Borders welcomes the resolution as an important milestone. “Multilateralism and democracy are under attack worldwide. A democratization and strengthening of the UN must be part of the countermeasures,” said executive director Andreas Bummel. The international Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly that is coordinated by the NGO is supported by over 1,500 members of parliament from more than 100 countries as well as numerous scientists, former UN officials and personalities.

“Multilateralism and democracy are under attack worldwide. A democratization and strengthening of the UN must be part of the countermeasures.”

“The UN urgently needs more openness and a stronger democratic foundation,” commented European lawmaker Jo Leinen. The EU and its member states should actively support a parliamentary assembly. EU lawmaker Eugen Freund said that not much has been achieved in terms of UN reform over the past forty years. The idea of complementing the UN General Assembly with a body of elected representatives was “very appealing”.

According to Daniel Jositsch, a member of the Swiss Council of States, “the escalating crisis in international cooperation” shows that “new ways must be found to combat global problems”. The EU Parliament’s demand for a UN Parliamentary Assembly was “very positive”. Now it depends on the implementation by the governments, he said. Last week, Jositsch announced that he would pursue the matter in Switzerland.

Lawmaker Ivone Soares from Mozambique pointed out that the Pan-African Parliament and the Latin-American Parliament also support a new UN Parliamentary Assembly. “The time has come for progressive governments from these world regions to work on this,” Soares said.

In the resolution, the European Parliament also called for the preparation of a UN summit in 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of the United Nations at which “comprehensive reform measures for a renewal and strengthening of the United Nations” should be discussed.

According to Democracy Without Borders, a UN Parliament can be established by a decision of the UN General Assembly. “It is particularly important that the opposition and minorities also get a global voice,” Bummel emphasized.

Initially, the UN Parliament should have largely consultative powers. As Jo Leinen and Andreas Bummel explain in their new book A World Parliament, they believe that the assembly should serve as the nucleus for a future world parliament.

Image: The European Parliament’s plenary building in Strasbourg, © European Union 2018 – Source: EP