July 22, 2024

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A top European Union official says Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exposed an urgent need to reform the “sclerotic and hobbled” global decision-making at the United Nations.

Charles Michel, the president of the European Council of EU leaders, expressed support for calls to limit veto powers at the U.N. Security Council under emergency conditions and to broaden the body’s global representation.

“For the last 19 months, a permanent member of the Security Council — Russia — without any shame, has been undertaking a war to conquer its neighboring country,” Michel said Thursday, speaking on the third day of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting of world leaders.

The European Union is a permanent observer at the U.N., and is one of three non-member-states permitted to speak at the General Debate.

“It can even abuse his veto rights to prevent sanctions against itself and even use the Security Council to disseminate propaganda, disinformation and lies — let’s be honest.”

He added: “This United Nations system is today sclerotic and hobbled by hostile forces. We must assume our responsibility.”

The war in Ukraine, along with climate change and post-pandemic global poverty, have been the focus of the annual event this year that included an in-person address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Michel argued that the lack of proper global representation at the Security Council reflected outdated power structures, when some countries were still colonial powers, and hampered the body’s ability to act.

“The planet is falling. The world is being torn asunder by poverty and injustice,” he said. “Entire swaths of the world: Africa, South America, the Caribbean, Asia are under or non-represented. We support the comprehensive, massive reform of the Security Council to amplify the voice of these regions.”

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