This commentary was authored by Eberhard Rhein, a former senior European Commission official for external relations and a lecturer on economic policy at the Mediterranean Academy for Diplomatic Studies in Malta.
It was first published on blogactiv.eu.
"On 3 May, the UN decided to allow EU representatives to participate in the debate at the General Assembly and present oral proposals or amendments in the name of the EU. This decision follows eight months of intensive discussions with other UN member states, in particular those of the Caribbean Common Market. It will turn out to be a milestone in the history of the United Nations.
Without changing the basic nature of the UN as an inter-governmental organisation of some 200 sovereign states or the status of the EU as an observer, it allows the EU to speak with one voice whenever it so desires.
This facility will offer the EU greater visibility on the global scene and push it into more coherence: any EU spokesperson, whatever their rank, will only be able to intervene after member states have 'tuned their violins', so to speak.
If successful, the new facility will induce other regional organisations with external competences, e.g. ASEAN, the African Union or GCC, to ask for similar privileges. This would in due time streamline UN debates. The number of interventions will tend to decrease, as UN member states will find it more effective to present coordinated positions. UN work will grow more stimulating and productive.
Beyond streamlining the internal EU decision-making procedures, like generalising co-decision, the Lisbon Treaty therefore may prove one day to have also been a catalyst for more effective global governance, something humanity will desperately need in the coming decades."