New UN Secretary emphasises a united Europe in the face of unpredictability

In an interview with the collaborative media group Europa (containing the Guardian, France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung and La Stampa of Italy) before the crucial meetings in Bonn and Munich, the new UN secretary general, António Guterres, stated that the world had become ‘largely chaotic’. He warns that only a commitment to multilateral governance could halt a potential threat.

With the win of the Republican populist Donald Trump, the Syrian and Yemeni wars occurring and four famines approaching the developing world, the state of the politics is in flux.

Guterres’ further warns of individuals comprising democratic values for votes and electoral wins,

“I think that political leaders need to be able, to tell the truth, and assert their values, even if that means losing the next elections…what we sometimes see are political leaders who forget about their values, use alternative truths as propaganda tools, just to win the next elections.”

The new US administration has criticised many of Guterres’ principals, such as multilateral governance and a tolerant approach to refugees.

The premise of multilateral governance is, in essence, multiple countries working together or cooperating on an issue — an example of this would be the European Union. With this, Guterres states that a strong Europe is necessary to stabilise the current state of politics and for being examples of unity on the world stage. Even with his adamant approach to a unified Europe, Guterres did not criticise Britain for voting to leave the EU; instead, he said that it was a ‘sovereign decision made by British citizens’.

With his own background as the UN high commissioner for Refugees, many are expecting him to take a more activist role than his predecessor Ban Ki-moon. He stated that “The secretary general must be in the frontline of the defence of all the principles that are essential in the UN charter, and namely all aspects of human rights.”