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EU Council president says international community is “losing a sense of urgency

This picture taken on February 1, 2017 in Paris shows a journalist reading the February 1, 2017 issue of French satirical newspaper "Le Canard Enchaine", with a headline relating to French presidential election candidate for the right-wing Les Republicains (LR) party Francois Fillon allegedly giving his wife fake jobs and reading "Francois Fillon protests in front of investigators: "But since I tell Penelope didn't do anything!"". Fillon on February 1 hit back at fresh claims he paid his family huge sums for doing "fake jobs", accusing the incumbent Socialist government of mounting what he called an "institutional coup d'etat". The scandal, which first erupted last week, is pulling down Fillon's campaign, with a new poll showing that the former PM, who for weeks was the frontrunner in the race, would now be eliminated in the first round of the election in April. The Canard Enchaine newspaper reported on February 1, 2017 that Fillon had arranged for his wife Penelope to be paid around 830,000 euros ($900,000) as a parliamentary aide for more than a decade. / AFP / CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images)

, The EU council head says the United Nations is “stuck in a rut.” Speaking at the UN general assembly he said the UN “was founded to protect us from our demons, to elevate the global community towards peace, cooperation and solidarity.”

He added, “And yet… The climate crisis is wreaking havoc. The global effort to combat poverty is faltering. The Russian war against Ukraine is aggravating food insecurity and generating an energy crisis.”

Michel, addressing leaders in New York, said, “We are losing the sense of urgency which the pandemic instilled in us. And progress on gender equality is too slow.

“‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’. This is the mantra of the Indian Presidency of the G20. We are, after all, a global family. And the United Nations is the backbone of this family. But as Secretary-General Guterres says, this family is a dysfunctional one.

“The European Union aspires to a multipolar world, a world which cooperates and moves towards greater democracy and more respect for human rights.”

He said, “But trust is eroding. Tensions are multiplying. A dangerous bipolar confrontation threatens us. As if everyone has to take sides against each other.

“Just like the frantic nuclear arms race last century, artificial intelligence, particularly in the military sphere, is becoming the arena for geopolitical competition.”

Michel said, “The late Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, wisely said: ‘The United Nations was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell’.

“today, the United Nations system is stuck in a rut, and is being hindered by hostile forces. We must put multilateral cooperation back on track. For that, we need to:
Restore trust.
Resolve the most pressing problems.
Repair the United Nations system.

“Trust is built on respect for the sacred principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and human rights.”

Michel, a former Belgian PM, said, “Nevertheless, for the last 19 months, a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia, has been waging a war of conquest against a neighbouring country which has never threatened it. A war with all its horror and contempt for human life.

“The General Assembly has condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine on several occasions. This is, of course, a powerful reminder of the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity. But that has not stopped the Kremlin in its murderous adventure. Nor has it curbed its sense of impunity… But this impunity will not last forever. Justice will be done. The European Union will steadfastly support Ukraine in exercising its right of self-defence.

“During this war against Ukraine, the other major challenges facing the world have not gone away.”

Turning to other issues, he said, “The planet is boiling. The world is torn apart by poverty and injustices. A miracle will not happen if we do not decide to mobilise the necessary funding. Now.

“We have made a collective pledge to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. But if we stick to the schedule announced so far, global warming will reach 2.5 degrees by the end of the century.

“We must wake up to this reality. The European Union has raised its targets for renewable energy use and energy efficiency. We are calling for a tripling of renewable energy targets, with the G20 following suit, and a doubling of energy efficiency targets by 2030.

Michel added, “It is also in the interest of all developed countries to help developing countries to move towards net-zero emissions. Only one quarter of global private investment is being made in developing countries. And yet, the G20 is responsible for 80% of global emissions.”

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