The Better Peoples of the United Nations

The Better Peoples of the United Nations?
Europe's Practice and the United Nations.

European Journal of International Law, Bd. 15 (2004), S. 857-884.


Are the Europeans indeed, as they think, the ‘better peoples’ of the United Nations? In this article, the author takes a closer look at this flattering European self-image by selecting a few issues of the general theme of »Europe's practice and the UN«. Having recalled, in Section 2, Europe's marginal role in the foundation of the UN at the end of World War II, and the fragmented existence of Europe in the Organization in the long period of the Cold War (Section 3), the article turns to its central subject - Europe's compliance with the rules of the UN Charter. Here, in Section 4, matters which the author considers particularly important or characteristic are singled out, among them the prohibition of the use of force, the obligation of states to settle their disputes by peaceful means, the protection of human rights, and decolonization and economic cooperation with developing countries. In Section 5, the article reflects on the efforts of the EU Member States to coordinate their foreign and security policies with regard to, and in, the United Nations. In the sixth and last section, it seeks to explore the future place and role of Europe in the UN. In his conclusion, the author suggests that Europe has no choice but to remain loyal to the idea of a multilateral international system based on the fundamental rules of the UN Charter. Intellectually and conceptually, the EU and the UN are built on the same foundations, so that a failure of multilateralism on the global level would necessarily have negative repercussions on the European project.