For information only - not an official document

27 May 2019

The Secretary-General

Remarks at reception hosted by the Mayor of Vienna on the Occasion of the 40 th Anniversary of the Vienna International Centre

27 May 2019

VIENNA, 27 May (UN Information Service) - Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, all protocol observed,

It is for me an enormous pleasure, an enormous joy and an enormous honour to be present at this wonderful reception in one of the most beautiful rooms in the world and to be here to pay tribute to Austria and to Vienna in particular.

I am very proud that the UN has a headquarters in Vienna.

Vienna is one of the capitals of the world. Vienna is a centre from which culture has radiated to all over the world.

Be it the fantastic music composed in this city, be it the philosophers that lived here, be it the different kinds of artists that produced all these wonderful things that we enjoy all over the world, thanks to the creativity, the freedom and the beauty of this wonderful city.

And for the UN, you have been very gracious hosts.

The UN benefits from the enormous sympathy and the enormous support of the City of Vienna and the Government of Austria. And the UN benefits from a working environment that is absolutely fabulous.

It is a privilege for those that work in the UN to be able to work here in Vienna. It is by far, one of the -- if not the - most pleasant work stations for UN staff in the world, and we are very grateful to the municipality, to the Government and to the people.

I must say that I personally have a problem with Vienna: I was once in a meeting with about 40 or 50 UN colleagues from all over the world and we were trying to discuss and to come to a conclusion on what was the most beautiful city of our countries. And Lisbon went to the final with Vienna and we badly lost by votes. And I really never accepted it very well.

The point is that whenever I come to Vienna I have to recognize that there are very good reasons for that vote to take place in that way. But there is still a little bit of envy.

But that envy of course is very small compared with the enormous gratitude and admiration that I have for this wonderful city, for its wonderful people.

You have been in the centre of the history of Europe, in the centre of the history of the world. And so nowhere else in the world could the UN be better placed than in Vienna.