Міністерство закордонних справ України

3, Київ 18:06

Відносини Україна - ЄС

Історія відносин Україна-ЄС

Відносини між Україною та Європейським Союзом були започатковані в грудні 1991 року, коли Міністр закордонних справ Нідерландів, як представник головуючої в ЄС країни, у своєму листі від імені Євросоюзу офіційно визнав незалежність України.

Політика України щодо розбудови відносин з Європейським Союзом впроваджується на основі Закону України від 1 липня 2010 року «Про засади внутрішньої і зовнішньої політики». Відповідно до статті 11 Закону однією з основоположних засад зовнішньої політики України є «забезпечення інтеграції України в європейський політичний, економічний, правовий простір з метою набуття членства в ЄС».

Разом з цим, намір України розбудовувати відносини з ЄС на принципах інтеграції був проголошений набагато раніше. Так, у Постанові Верховної Ради України від 2 липня 1993 року «Про основні напрями зовнішньої політики України». Україна вперше заявила про власні євроінтеграційні прагнення. У документі закріплювалося, що «перспективною метою української зовнішньої політики є членство України в Європейських Співтовариствах за умови, що це не шкодитиме її національним інтересам. З метою підтримання стабільних відносин з Європейськими Співтовариствами Україна підпише Угоду про партнерство і співробітництво, реалізація якої стане першим етапом просування до асоційованого, а згодом - до повного її членства у цій організації».

У подальшому стратегічний курс України на європейську інтеграцію був підтверджений та розвинутий у Стратегії інтеграції України до ЄС, схваленій Указом Президента України 11 червня 1998 року, та Програмі інтеграції України до ЄС, схваленій Указом Президента України 14 вересня 2000 року. Зокрема, у Стратегії набуття повноправного членства в ЄС проголошено довготерміновою стратегічною метою європейської інтеграції України.

Підтримка курсу на інтеграцію до ЄС традиційно надається й на рівні Верховної Ради України, зокрема відповідні положення містяться в Постанові Верховної Ради України з приводу рекомендацій парламентських слухань про співробітництво України та ЄС, ухваленій 28 листопада 2002 року, Заяві Верховної Ради України від 22 лютого 2007 року з приводу підготовки до початку переговорів щодо нової угоди між Україною та ЄС, Постанові Верховної Ради України з приводу рекомендацій парламентських слухань про стан та перспективи розвитку економічних відносин України з ЄС та Митним союзом, ухваленій 19 травня 2011 року, а також в Постанові Верховної Ради України від 20 березня 2012 року.

Договірно-правова співробітництва Україна-ЄС

Чинною правовою основою відносин між Україною та ЄС є Угода про партнерство та співробітництво (УПС) від 14 червня 1994 р. (набула чинності 1 березня 1998 р.), яка започаткувала співробітництво з широкого кола політичних, торговельно-економічних та гуманітарних питань. Укладення УПС дозволило встановити регулярний двосторонній діалогу між Україною та ЄС на політичному та секторальних рівнях, впровадити впорядкований режим торгівлі між обома сторонами на основі принципів ГАТТ/СОТ, визначити пріоритети адаптації законодавства України до стандартів та норм Європейського Співтовариства (acquis communautaire) у пріоритетних секторах української економіки.

У рамках УПС визначено 7 пріоритетів співпраці між Україною та ЄС: енергетика, торгівля та інвестиції, юстиція та внутрішні справи, наближення законодавства України до законодавства Євросоюзу, охорона навколишнього середовища, транспортна сфера, транскордонне співробітництво, співпраця у сфері науки, технологій та космосу.

На основі УПС розвивається політичний діалог Україна-ЄС у формах щорічних зустрічей на найвищому рівні: Саміт Україна-ЄС (за участю Президента України, Президента Європейської Ради та Президента Європейської Комісії); засідань Ради з питань співробітництва (за участю Прем’єр-міністра України, Високого Представника ЄС із закордонних справ та безпекової політики, міністра закордонних справ головуючої в ЄС країни); Комітету та галузевих підкомітетів з питань співробітництва Україна-ЄС; Комітету парламентського співробітництва; зустрічей політичного діалогу на рівні міністрів закордонних справ; засідань в рамках секторальних діалогів; регулярних консультацій на рівні робочих груп. Щороку здійснюється обмін візитами на високому та найвищому рівнях.

З метою надання двостороннім відносинам нового імпульсу і для врахування нових умов співробітництва, зокрема в контексті розширення ЄС 2004 року, сторони розробили та 21 лютого 2005 року під час засідання Ради з питань співробітництва схвалили План дій Україна-ЄС – двосторонній політичний документ, який дав змогу суттєво розширити двостороннє співробітництво України до ЄС без внесення змін до чинної договірно-правової бази. За своїм змістом План дій містив перелік конкретизованих зобов'язань України у сфері зміцнення демократичних інституцій, боротьби з корупцією, структурних економічних реформ та заходів по розвитку співпраці з ЄС в секторальних сферах. Серед ключових здобутків у розвитку відносин протягом терміну Плану дій: надання Україні статусу країни з ринковою економікою в рамках антидемпінгового законодавства ЄС, надання Україні права приєднуватися до зовнішньополітичних заяв і позицій ЄС, укладення Угоди про спрощення оформлення віз та Угоди про реадмісію осіб, поширення на Україну фінансування Європейського інвестиційного банку (Рамкова угода між Україною та Європейським інвестиційним банком), поглиблення секторальної співпраці, започаткування переговорів щодо укладення нового базового договору на заміну УПС.

З огляду на завершення у березні 2008 року 10-річного терміну дії УПС, 5 березня 2007 року Україна та ЄС розпочали переговорний процес щодо укладення нової угоди між Україною та ЄС. На період до укладення нової угоди чинність УПС щороку автоматично продовжується за взаємною згодою сторін. Після завершення вступу України до Світової організації торгівлі 18 лютого 2008 року були започатковані переговори в частині створення поглибленої та всеохоплюючої зони вільної торгівлі між Україною та ЄС, що відкриває шлях до лібералізації руху товарів, капіталів та послуг та широку гармонізацію нетарифних інструментів економічного регулювання. 9 вересня 2008 року на Паризькому саміті Україна та ЄС досягли політичної домовленості про укладення майбутньої угоди в форматі Угоди про асоціацію, яка будуватиметься на принципах політичної асоціації та економічної інтеграції. У ході  15-го Саміту Україна-ЄС в Києві 19 грудня 2011 сторони оголосили про завершення перегорів по майбутній Угоді про асоціацію, а 30 березня 2012 текст майбутньої Угоди було парафовано главами переговірних команд України та ЄС.

Система координації співробітництва між Україною та ЄС

Основними документами, якими на сьогодні визначається форма, зміст, а також  процедура та механізми координації співробітництва між Україною та ЄС, є Угода про партнерство та співробітництво (УПС) від 16.06.1994 р. та Порядок денний асоціації між Україною та ЄС для підготовки та сприяння імплементації Угоди про асоціацію (ПДА) від 20.11.2009 р.

Згідно із зазначеними документами основними координуючими органами є: 

  • Саміти Україна-ЄС (консультації на вищому політичному рівні), проведення яких передбачено статтею 7 УПС;
  • Консультації на рівні профільних міністрів, які проводяться в рамках Ради з питань співробітництва між Україною та ЄС, а також в інших випадках за взаємною згодою сторін (стаття 7 УПС);
  • Рада з питань співробітництва між Україною та ЄС (утворена згідно статті 85 УПС), яка здійснює нагляд за виконанням положень УПС. До складу Ради входять представники Ради ЄС, Європейської служби зовнішньої діяльності і Європейської Комісії та члени Уряду України. У своїй діяльності Рада керується Правилами процедури, затвердженими на засіданні Ради 03.06.1998 р. у Брюсселі.
  • Комітет з питань співробітництва між Україною та ЄС як допоміжний орган Ради (утворений рішенням Ради від 03.06.1998 р. відповідно до статті 87 УПС). Комітет відповідає за належне виконання УПС, підготовку засідань Ради та виконання її рекомендацій, а також забезпечує безперервність партнерських відносин між Україною та ЄС. У своїй діяльності Комітет керується Правилами процедури, які є додатком до Правил Процедури Ради, затверджених на засіданні Ради 03.06.1998 р. у Брюсселі.

В рамках Комітету у відповідності до статті 10 його Правил процедури утворено 7 підкомітетів:

      1. «Торгівля та інвестиції»,
      2. «Економічні та соціальні питання, фінанси та статистика»,
      3. «Політика в сфері підприємств, конкуренція, співробітництво в регуляторній сфері»,
      4. «Енергетика, транспорт, ядерна безпека та екологія»,
      5. «Митне та транскордонне співробітництво»,
      6. «Юстиція, свобода та безпека»,
      7. «Наука та технології, дослідження та розробки, освіта, культура, громадське здоров’я та медіа».

У своїй діяльності Підкомітети керуються затвердженими ними Правилами процедури, типовий текст яких є додатком до Правил процедури Ради і Комітету, затверджених на засіданні Ради 03.06.1998 р. у Брюсселі.

  • Комітет старших посадових осіб (КСПО) Порядку денного асоціації Україна-ЄС (утворений згідно пункту 9 ПДА), який готує оцінку прогресу імплементації ПДА, а також пропозиції щодо визначення майбутніх пріоритетів та будь-яких  необхідних доповнень до ПДА. КСПО очолюють: з боку ЄС – керівник профільного підрозділу Європейської служби зовнішньої діяльності, з боку України – керівник профільного підрозділу Секретаріату Кабінету Міністрів України.

З урахуванням вищевикладеного внутрішньодержавний механізм координації відповідної міжвідомчої взаємодії в Україні виглядає таким чином:

  • Українська частина Ради з питань співробітництва між Україною та ЄС (утворена Указом Президента України № 148 від 24.02.1998 р.) на чолі з Прем’єр-міністром України у складі керівників усіх причетних міністрів і відомств. Першим заступником Голови Української частини Ради є Перший віце-прем'єр-міністр України - Міністр економічного розвитку і торгівлі України, заступниками Голови Української частини Ради є за посадами Міністр закордонних справ України та Міністр юстиції України.

NB: У зв’язку зі змінами в Уряді України наразі готується проект Указу Президента України про внесення змін до Указу Президента України № 148 від 24.02.1998 р., яким передбачається, що Першим заступником Голови Ради буде Перший віце-прем'єр-міністр України, а заступниками Голови Ради будуть Міністр закордонних справ України, Міністр економічного розвитку і торгівлі України та Міністр юстиції України.

  • Українська частина Комітету з питань співробітництва Україна-ЄС утворена Указом Президента України № 148 від 24.02.1998 р. (зі змінами і доповненнями згідно з Указом Президента № 929 від 27.09.2011 р. )  на чолі з Заступником Міністра закордонних справ України – керівником апарату (згідно з Указом Президента), до складу якого входять перші заступники/заступники керівників, керівники профільних структурних підрозділів причетних міністерств і відомств, Секретаріату Кабінету міністрів України, керівництво та секретар Комітету з питань європейської інтеграції Верховної Ради України. У своїй діяльності Українська частина Комітету керується Положенням, затвердженим постановою КМУ № 1074 від 13.07.1998 р.
  • Українська частина Комітету старших посадових осіб Порядку денного асоціації Україна-ЄС, яку очолює керівник профільного підрозділу Секретаріату Кабінету Міністрів України.

Крім того, згідно з Указом Президента України № 148 від 24.02.1998 р. на МЗС покладена функція забезпечення політичних відносин України з ЄС та координація діяльності органів виконавчої влади у сфері зовнішньої політики та політики безпеки.

У свою чергу, Мінекономрозвитку, згідно із зазначеним Указом, відповідає за здійснення міжвідомчої координації з питань економічного та соціального співробітництва України з ЄС.

Заяви, виступи та спільні позиції ЄС з регіональних та міжнародних питань

Déclaration de l’UE en réponse à la Représentante spéciale et coordinatrice de l’OSCE pour la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains, Ambassadrice Madina Jarbussynova ,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1031, 18 грудня 2014

1. L’Union Européenne et ses Etats membres accueillent avec plaisir l’ambassadrice Madina Jarbussynova, Représentante spéciale et coordinatrice de l’OSCE pour la lutte contre la traite des êtres humains, pour sa première intervention en cette qualité au conseil permanent.

2. Comme indiqué dans le rapport annuel 2014 de l'ONUDC et auquel vous vous êtes référée, la traite est un crime commis le plus souvent au niveau intra-régional et dont les formes prédominantes demeurent l’exploitation sexuelle et le travail forcé. Ce constat impose d’agir avec détermination dans la région de l’OSCE qui est directement concernée ; l’organisation a un rôle important pour aider les Etats participants et partenaires. Nous sommes favorables à ce que vous poursuiviez la pratique de diffusion d’un rapport annuel sur les activités anti-traite de l’OSCE : il s’agit d’un document important pour guider notre action, notamment dans le cadre de l’organisation.

3. En vous fondant sur le plan d'action de 2003 et son récent addendum de 2013, nous vous encourageons à agir simultanément sur les quatre leviers favorisant une approche globale et intégrée. Les efforts doivent porter sur la réduction de la demande pour prévenir le phénomène ; l’identification, la protection et la prise en charge des victimes, jusqu’à leur indemnisation ; la poursuite en justice, la condamnation des criminels et la confiscation des biens et profits résultant de ce crime ; enfin, le partenariat avec tous les acteurs pertinents, dont ceux essentiels de la société civile, au plan national et international.

4. Madame la Représentante spéciale et coordinatrice, la sensibilisation des décideurs et l’action sur le terrain doivent guider votre action.

5. En termes de sensibilisation, les activités ont été nombreuses en 2014 : entre autres, la conférence co-organisée avec le Conseil de l'Europe a renforcé la coopération internationale. Nous nous réjouissons qu’elle ait débouché sur des actions concrètes comme l’atelier conjoint organisé fin octobre à Strasbourg pour les procureurs et juges. La conférence de l’Alliance contre la traite des personnes a confirmé, y compris au travers des évènements parallèles de grande qualité, que l’OSCE permettait des débats fructueux entre les représentants institutionnels, ceux du secteur privé et de la société civile ; cela a également été le cas lors de la session thématique de la conférence de la dimension humaine à Varsovie. Nous soutenons cette approche qui fait émerger des bonnes pratiques. Votre travail de sensibilisation sur les liens entre traite des êtres humains et d’autres activités criminelles, telles que  l’immigration illégale, est utile et doit être poursuivi.

6. En termes d’action, outre les visites de suivi dans les pays, 2014 aura été riche en publications, comme l’étude sur la lutte contre le blanchiment d’argent provenant du crime de traite, qui a mis en relief un axe d’effort déterminant pour lutter efficacement contre les réseaux criminels ; nous mentionnons à cet égard la directive 2014/42 du 3 avril 2014 concernant le gel et la confiscation des instruments et des produits du crime dans l'Union européenne. Nous vous félicitons pour le manuel sur la prévention du travail forcé dans les foyers de diplomates, présentés aux experts des capitales la semaine dernière. Nous vous encourageons à accroître la coordination, notamment avec les missions de terrain, essentielles pour la lutte contre la traite.  L’important travail qu’elles ont réalisé doit se poursuivre et nous souhaitons que vous puissiez les aider.

7. Nous réaffirmons notre détermination à lutter contre toutes les formes de traite d’êtres humains en vue de leur éradication. Entre 2010 et 2012, 30.146 victimes ont été identifiées dans l'Union européenne mais il ne fait guère de doute que l’ampleur du phénomène va bien au-delà. Depuis l’adoption de la directive 2011/36, l’UE est très active en déclinant par des actions précises sa stratégie anti-traite 2012-2016 fondée notamment sur une approche basée sur les droits de l’homme, la protection des victimes et de leurs droits.

8. Le rapport intermédiaire de mise en œuvre de cette stratégie, diffusé lors de la 8ème journée européenne contre la traite, mentionne les nombreuses initiatives déjà prises par l’UE. Il indique qu’elle va poursuivre ses efforts : des orientations précises sont identifiées, parmi lesquelles la création d’une coalition du monde des affaires en Europe, le renforcement du réseau informel des mécanismes nationaux d’orientation ou encore le soutien à la plate-forme européenne  de la société civile. Nous voyons de réelles convergences avec la politique anti-traite de l’OSCE qui s’appuie sur la complémentarité avec les autres partenaires. Nous vous encourageons à coopérer ensemble, l’approche multidimensionnelle de l’OSCE correspondant à  la stratégie de l'UE.

9. L’OSCE dispose d’un ensemble d’engagements complet et de structures compétentes pour lutter contre la traite des êtres humains. Elle est un partenaire crédible pour lutter contre la traite et ainsi renforcer la stabilité et la sécurité de notre région. Nous remercions toutes les structures exécutives pour le travail accompli et les encourageons à ne pas relâcher les efforts. Il est important que vous ayez les moyens adaptés à votre mission.

EU Statement on the Geneva International Discussions ,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1031, 18 грудня 2014

1. The European Union reiterates its strong support for the Geneva International Discussions, the latest round of which took place on 9-10 December. The EU continues to support the active participation of the OSCE in it, and believes that its extensive cross-dimensional experience and its contribution on the ground can be useful.

2. While differences remained on several of the agenda items and political developments in the region, the EU welcomes that all participants reconfirmed their commitment to the Geneva International Discussions, which remains the best forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia.

3. We welcome the relatively stable and calm situation on the ground with no major security incidents occurring since the previous round in October. However, the EU notes with deep concern the potential closure of a number of crossing points along the Abkhaz Administrative Boundary Line, further restrictions in the crossing regime in South Ossetia, and the continued deployment of fences and other obstacles at different locations along and beyond the ABLs. We are concerned about the impact of these steps on the freedom of movement and other basic rights of the local population and we call on the Russian Federation to reverse them. The EU also took note of the exchange of views on the future status of the ethnic Georgian population in both Akhalgori valley in South Ossetia and Gali region in Abkhazia.

4. We reiterate our call on all stakeholders to engage constructively in order to avoid further impact on the daily lives of people living in the areas concerned. We call on all participants to address these unacceptable developments within the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms, with the aim of finding appropriate solutions. We take note of the pragmatic cooperation in the context of the IPRM in Ergneti and we strongly support the resumption of the effective functioning of the Gali IPRM meetings without preconditions.

5. We believe that the issue of non-use of force and international security arrangements continue to be core subject of the Geneva International Discussions. We welcome participants’ agreement to continue working on the joint draft statement at the next round. In this context the EU calls on all participants to continue to work together towards sustainable security arrangements. We believe that a clear commitment by Russia on non-use of force is essential.

6. Referring to the discussions in Working Group II, the EU took note of the exchange of views on education and language issues in the breakaway regions. We commend the support expressed by the Georgian and Abkhaz participants towards practical steps in the field of cultural heritage. We also welcome that participants addressed the issue of missing persons: the EU believes that improving the situation of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees from the conflicts, including by promoting their right to return, is an important component of the Geneva International Discussions.

Mr Chairman,

7. The European Union takes this opportunity to express once again its concern on the so-called “Treaty on Alliance and Strategic Partnership” recently signed between the Russian Federation and the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia which violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, contradicts OSCE commitments, principles of international law and international commitments of the Russian Federation, including the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008. In this regard, we follow with great concern the military exercise carried out by the Russian Federation in South Ossetia on 5 December, as well as the developments around the so-called “Agreement on Alliance and Integration between the Russian Federation and the Republic of South Ossetia”. The EU takes this opportunity to reiterate its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its international obligations, including to providing access for humanitarian organisations to the breakaway regions. We also reiterate our call for unhindered EUMM access.

8. We remain convinced, that there is an urgent need for a meaningful cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia, in particular for the benefit of the civilian population, including robust monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the Administrative Boundary Lines. We encourage the current Swiss and incoming Serbian OSCE Chairmanships to continue exploring possibilities to return a meaningful OSCE presence to Georgia.

9. The European Union is looking forward to the next round of the Geneva International Discussion scheduled for 17-18 March 2015.       

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine ,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1031, 18 грудня 2014

1. The European Union welcomes the significant decrease in the level of hostilities, as also reported by the SMM, since the initiative of President Poroshenko to hold ”a day of silence” on 9 December. However, tensions are still high and we remain concerned by the continuing sporadic attacks, mainly towards positions of the Ukrainian army. We note the SMM reports about an understanding reached between the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) and representatives of the armed pro-Russian separatists concerning a withdrawal of heavy weapons. If implemented this would be a welcome step.

2. We once again express our support for the Trilateral Contact Group and we join the Chairperson-in-Office in calling for a resumption of consultations without further delay. We note that Ukraine has repeatedly called for resuming consultations. We continue to express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and welcome that she will remain in her current position.

Mr Chairman,

3. We are reaching the end of a difficult year: a tragedy for the people of Ukraine, and an ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine. We have said the same things many times in this council. However, the situation has not fundamentally changed, and so we have no choice and must repeat once again our familiar themes.

4. The EU reiterates its support for the Minsk agreements, as a step towards a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We urge all parties to fully implement them in their entirety without delay. We once again underline the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context. We call in particular for a full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE. Recent developments have again underlined the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders and we call on Russia to respect it. We also call for the immediate release of all illegally detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov, and other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia and in the occupied Crimea. We reiterate that a continued inclusive Ukrainian-led and Ukrainian-owned national dialogue will be important to consolidate Ukraine’s unity and internal cohesion. The OSCE can play an important role in facilitating this dialogue.

5. Mr Chairman, we deeply regret that Russian so-called ”humanitarian convoys” continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of or inspection by the Ukrainian authorities and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. The EU calls on all parties to support and facilitate access for national and international humanitarian aid, in accordance with these fundamental principles. In this context we welcome the humanitarian aid convoy to Ukraine organised by Poland with full conformity of international standards and in full cooperation with the respective Ukrainian authorities.

6. Following the recent report published by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, the situation in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea continues to be characterised by systemic human rights violations affecting, for the most part, the segment of the population, which opposed the unlawful March “referendum”. We pay special attention to the cases of dozens of representatives of different religious communities who have been harassed or forced to leave the peninsula since March.

7. We continue to strongly support the efforts of the Chairmanship and the OSCE in Ukraine. We welcome the ongoing expansion of the SMM and progress made in establishing infrastructure to better provide safety and security for the increasing number of monitors. We remain concerned by security incidents involving the SMM, including a recent incident where a SMM patrol was detained and threatened by armed pro-Russian separatists and another incident where a SMM patrol was caught up in shooting directed at Ukrainian military vehicles. We deeply regret SMM reports that the so-called “Donetsk Peoples Republic” severely limits the SMM’s ability to monitor events in the areas controlled by this group. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors and UAVs, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the border. We continue to support the activities of the autonomous institutions in regard to Ukraine, including the recent roundtable with representatives of Russian and Ukrainian journalists’ unions organised by the Representative on Freedom of the Media.

8. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We once again urge Russia to recognise by acts these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

9. We find the statement by Foreign Minister Lavrov that Russia has the right to deploy nuclear weapons to Crimea completely unacceptable.

10. Mr Chairman, at this last ordinary Permanent Council meeting during the Swiss chairmanship we would like to commend the Chairmanship for its leadership throughout this crisis and for its strong efforts in promoting stability and peace in Ukraine based on OSCE values, principles and commitments. We look forward to working with the incoming Serbian chairmanship on a return to respect for the fundamental principles of the OSCE and to build upon the efforts of the current chairmanship in resolving the crisis in and around Ukraine.

AOB - EU Statement on Libya,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1031, 18 грудня 2014

1. Mr Chairman, as we stated just a few days ago in Basel, the OSCE's southern region – the Mediterranean –will be kept on our agenda in 2015 as one area of priority. Events in the Middle East and North Africa, including Libya, represent a major risk to security in the Mediterranean region and the OSCE area as a whole. On 16 December, High Representative Mogherini made a declaration on behalf of the European Union on Libya.

2. “The EU reiterates its strong support for the UN's efforts to bring together key stakeholders in a dialogue on Libya's future. In this regard, it endorsed the efforts of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Bernardino León, to take forward the Ghadames process. There is no alternative to a political solution based on dialogue, respect and trust. 

3. The EU condemns the violence which weighs heavily on the civilian population and undermines the prospects for a peaceful negotiated settlement. The recent military actions of the weekend are of particular concern. The EU calls for restraint on all sides and supports UN calls for a ceasefire so as to give the necessary space for inclusive national dialogue.

4. The EU welcomes the engagement of those parties who have reacted positively to the UN initiative. The EU is concerned by the negative impact of the situation in Libya on other countries and calls on all those with an interest in the stability of Libya to support constructively the process. 

5. Those who are undermining prospects for a political solution risk tipping Libya fully into civil war. They must face consequences for their actions. The EU's strong commitment to the unity and territorial integrity of Libya and the need to prevent the spread of terrorism, means that it remains ready to consider further actions, including restrictive measures, should circumstances so require. The UN Security Council should also take measures against those obstructing dialogue.”

EU Statement on the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s Report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Programme,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1031, 18 грудня 2014

1. The European Union thanks the US Mission to the OSCE for their statement in last week’s Permanent Council meeting regarding the US Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation programme. We welcome this statement which clearly demonstrated a willingness to address past mistakes as well as a determination to learn from them. 

2. The report raises important questions about serious violations of fundamental rights that took place in the period between 2001 and 2009.

3. The release of the executive summary of the Senate report is a positive step in confronting publicly and critically the way in which the CIA's responsibilities were discharged regarding allegations of torture and ill-treatment of suspects during US custody abroad.

4. We recognise President Obama's commitment to use his authority to ensure that these methods are never used again.

5. The EU condemns all forms of torture and ill-treatment and is working towards their prevention and eradication within the EU and worldwide, as a priority of its human rights policy.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine,OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 775, 17 грудня 2014

The European Union and its Member States would like to start by reiterating our appreciation to the Monegasque Chairmanship for having steered the FSC throughout the period ahead and during the Basel Ministerial Council in a dedicated and highly professional manner. We will elaborate further on the work done during the third trimester, including on the basis of the Monaco Chair's Perception paper and the observations and suggestions contained therein, on the occasion of the assumption of the FSC Chairmanship by Mongolia in January 2015.

Coming back to the crisis in and around Ukraine, we welcome the initiative by President Poroshenko of a "day of silence" on 9 December and note the decrease in hostilities since then, as reported by the SMM. We have also noted efforts undertaken to facilitate the withdrawal of large calibre weapons from the line of contact as agreed in the Minsk Memorandum.

At the same time, we remain concerned about the continued build-up of Russian-backed separatist armed groups along the line of contact, in particular in Donetsk, as well as by numerous instances of SMM personnel being threatened and prevented from carrying out their duties according to the SMM mandate and the Minsk Agreements.

Thus, several worrying cases of SMM monitors being denied free passage, in particular towards Novoazovsk, by members of the separatist armed groups have been reported by the SMM throughout the past week.

We are therefore compelled to strongly remind all involved of their responsibility for ensuring a safe environment for SMM monitors and equipment, including UAVs, and for free, safe and unrestricted access, including to all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with the SMM mandate.

Furthermore, we urge all parties to show utmost restraint, implement fully and without further delay their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and reengage with a view to finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We once again underline the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context.

We call in particular for a halt to the violations of the ceasefire and to the inflow of weapons, equipment and troops from across the Russian border as well as for a withdrawal of any illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment from eastern Ukraine.

We continue to follow with great concern the humanitarian, economic and social impact of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the root cause of which are the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists. The impact on the civilian population should not be exploited for military or political ends.

We deeply regret that unauthorised convoys, bearing the inscription “Humanitarian help from the Russian Federation”, continue to enter Ukrainian territory without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. The European Union calls on all parties to support and facilitate access for national and international humanitarian aid in accordance with these fundamental principles. Assistance should be delivered through appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

MS Statement, Conference of High Contracting Parties to the 4th Geneva Convention, 17 грудня 2014

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

[alignment paragraph]

The EU and its Member States are staunch advocates of support for international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles and are committed to promoting compliance with international humanitarian law by all States and non-state actors.  The Fourth Geneva Convention is a key humanitarian instrument that enjoys universal acceptance.  It therefore should not be misused for political purposes but needs to be fully respected by all parties to armed conflict at all times. We are witness to countless blatant violations of IHL in conflicts today, including deliberate attacks against civilians, and it is our responsibility to remind parties to the conflict of their obligations under IHL. We share the responsibility to ensure respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention and this is why we are here at this gathering.

Mr. President,

The European Union and its Member States have held consistently that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the territories occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, including the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. As was the case for the last Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention concerning the application of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories, which took place here in Geneva in 2001, our goal is to achieve a better application of the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

The Swiss Government has made efforts to ensure that the Conference Declaration reflects this objective.  The Conference Declaration reaffirms the statement of the Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 15 July 1999 and the Declaration of 5 December 2001.  It reiterates the need to respect fully the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict, including non-State actors.  It reminds us that no violation of international humanitarian law by any party to a conflict can relieve the other party from its own obligations under international humanitarian law and stipulates that where serious violations of international humanitarian law occur, they should be thoroughly investigated and those responsible should be brought to justice.

The Declaration calls on the Occupying Power to fully and effectively respect the Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. The Declaration reminds the Occupying Power of its obligation to administer the Occupied Palestinian Territory in a way which fully takes into account the needs of the civilian population while safeguarding its own security needs. 

Mr. President,

Respect for international humanitarian law and human rights law is a cornerstone for peace and security in the region. In this light, we reiterate our position that the continued expansion of illegal settlements is not only obstructing peace, by threatening the viability of the two state solution, but it is also in itself illegal under international law.  We are also concerned by security and administrative measures adopted by Israel in the occupied territory such as the construction of the separation barrier, where built on occupied land, which constitutes a violation notably of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law.  We also remain very concerned by the resumption of the practice of punitive house demolition, continuation of administrative demolitions and the transfer of Palestinian prisoners into Israeli territory  We call on Israel to reconsider its current planning and zoning policy in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and to respect fully Palestinian property rights.

Mr. President,

The recent conflict in Gaza has once more demonstrated the need for all parties, including non-State actors, to respect fully the Fourth Geneva Convention to ensure the protection of the civilian population.  We strongly condemn the criminal and indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, directly harming civilians.  Such serious violations of international humanitarian law, as well as any use of civilians as human shields, use of UN premises, including schools, for military purposes and firing of rockets from civilian areas are unacceptable. The EU condemns the loss of hundreds of civilian lives, among them many women and children. While explicitly acknowledging Israel's legitimate security concerns, we underline that Israeli military operations must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law. We stress the need for the protection of civilians at all times.

We remain deeply concerned about the disastrous humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip  A key principle of international humanitarian law is the obligation on the Occupying Power to ensure that the basic needs of the civilian population are fulfilled For this reason we reiterate the need for the immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons to and from the Gaza Strip.  .

Mr. President,

We need to find a just, comprehensive and durable solution to the conflict.  Our position is clear: our ultimate objective remains a two state solution, with the State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine, living side by side in peace and security and mutual recognition.  The European Union and its Member States continue to actively work with our Israeli and Palestinian partners, as well as with the rest of the international community, to finally achieve this goal. 

Déclaration de l'UE en réponse aux représentants personnels de la Présidence, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1030 , 11 грудня 2014

1. L'Union Européen remercie les trois représentants personnels de la Présidence pour leurs interventions. Les actes de haine que vous décrivez, qu’il s’agisse de l’antisémitisme, de la stigmatisation des musulmans, de l’exclusion des chrétiens, du racisme à l’encontre des populations Roms ou bien encore des discriminations contre les femmes, y compris dans les pays de l'UE, sont contraires à toutes les valeurs des droits de l'homme. Elles doivent être combattues avec détermination. Ce n'est pas seulement une nécessité mais aussi une obligation pour tous les Etats participants, résultant des engagements sans équivoque de l'OSCE dans la lutte contre toutes les formes d’intolérance. Votre travail inlassable de plaidoyer, aux côtés du BIDDH, contribue à maintenir cet objectif à l’agenda.

2. Dans ce combat, l’UE tient à saluer les efforts entrepris, sous l’égide de la présidence suisse, afin d'harmoniser vos activités. L’UE est convaincue que les mesures que vous avez engagées en vue de mieux articuler vos travaux respectifs, via notamment l'organisation de visites conjointes, ainsi que vos activités avec celles du BIDDH, vont dans le sens de plus d’efficacité. Votre souci de bâtir une relation de travail étroite avec les autres organes compétents en matière de lutte contre le racisme au Conseil de l'Europe et aux Nations Unies répond à un impératif de cohérence plus que jamais nécessaire face au caractère multiforme des manifestations de haine. Vous pourrez compter sur notre plein soutien pour la poursuite de vos efforts en ce sens.

3. Tout en prenant en compte la spécificité de certaines formes d’intolérance, il nous apparaît essentiel en effet d’éviter une segmentation des activités de l’OSCE, qui aboutirait à privilégier le combat contre certains types de discrimination au détriment d’autres, au risque de les accroître ou bien de susciter une concurrence contreproductive entre les victimes de l’intolérance. Il s’agit de maintenir une approche commune dans notre lutte qui vise à endiguer la haine de l’autre en raison de ses différences, quels que soient ses motifs, et à rappeler l’égale dignité de tout être humain.

4. A cet égard, l’UE est particulièrement préoccupée par l’instrumentalisation politique de certains appels à la haine et la négation des libertés fondamentales de certains individus ou communautés dans l’espace OSCE. L’année écoulée, nous avons eu l’occasion de déplorer plusieurs fois le manque d’implication des autorités publiques de certains Etats participants dans la lutte contre les actes d’intolérance en raison de l’appartenance nationale, ethnique, raciale, religieuse, d’orientation sexuelle ou d’identité de genre ; leur silence, voire l’adoption de mesures ouvertement stigmatisantes, encouragent ces comportements. Les lois présentées comme visant à réprimer « la propagande homosexuelle » récemment adoptées ou en cours d’examen dans l’espace OSCE constituent un exemple concret des mesures encourageant la discrimination à l'encontre des personnes LGBTI, en violation des libertés fondamentales de ces dernières. Par notre histoire, nous, Etats de l’OSCE, avons le devoir de faire en sorte que la diversité ethnique, culturelle, religieuse, politique, sociale, géographique et autre, qui constitue notre espace, demeure une richesse, et non une cause et un instrument de conflit.

5. Ce devoir passe par l’adoption d’une approche exhaustive impliquant à la fois une lutte active de nos autorités publiques contre toutes les formes d’intolérance, y compris en combattant les préjugés, mais aussi par la mise en œuvre strict des engagements en matière de crimes de haine. Les ressources du BIDDH doivent être utilisées à plein escient en ce sens. L’UE bénéficie également du travail de collecte de l’agence des droits fondamentaux afin d’affiner ses politiques dans ce domaine. L’établissement de partenariats avec la société civile est déterminante à la fois pour identifier les discriminations et sensibiliser les citoyens et leurs dirigeants. A cet égard, nous saluons la tenue de la conférence de Berlin les 12-13 novembre ainsi que l’adoption de la déclaration adoptée la semaine dernière à Bâle à l’occasion du 10ème anniversaire de la déclaration contre l’antisémitisme.

6. En conclusion, l’UE réitère sa détermination à mettre en œuvre les engagements de l’OSCE dans la lutte contre toutes les formes d’intolérance et de discrimination, et à tirer pleinement partie de l’assistance technique fournie par le BIDDH, ainsi que des travaux des représentants personnels.

Declaration by High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on Human Rights Day, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1030 , 11 грудня 2014

The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the Statement made by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini on 10 December 2014 on the occasion of Human Rights Day:

“Today we celebrate Human Rights Day to mark the adoption, 66 years ago, by the United Nations General Assembly of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The theme for this year's International Human Rights Day - Human Rights 365 - reflects the aspiration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times, is entitled to the full range of human rights.

The EU is committed to upholding these rights. Two years ago we adopted the Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy, together with its Action Plan, and we appointed an EU Special Representative for Human Rights. Since then, with the support of EU Member States, we have been advocating human rights in over 40 human rights dialogues with third countries and we have been engaging with regional and multilateral organisations, including the UN.

EUSR Stavros Lambrinidis has closely and proactively interacted with key partners and supported the role of civil society organisations throughout the world. EU delegations have been monitoring, reporting, and acting on human rights issues, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.

We have achieved a lot but much remains to do. One such area of work is torture. The Convention against Torture was adopted by the UN 30 years ago today and yet torture is still widely practised around the world. This demands our urgent attention.

The renewal in 2015 of our Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy will be the opportunity to renew our commitment and to address new challenges to the universality and indivisibility of human rights.”

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine ,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1030 , 11 грудня 2014

1. The European Union welcomes the initiative by President Poroshenko to hold a “day of silence” on 9 December and the fact that hostilities were largely suspended on that day. We hope this marks the beginning of a full adherence to the ceasefire agreed in Minsk in September.

2. The latest developments take place following heavy fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine with some of the most intensive shelling since the Minsk agreements were adopted in September. While our ministers were in Basel, we continued to receive alarming reports by the Special Monitoring Mission of ceasefire violations, heavy shelling and military build-up. We express our concern about the observation by the SMM that columns of over 100 unmarked green military vehicles were travelling west towards the city of Donetsk, in the pro-Russian separatists controlled area, on 5December. That observation corresponds to reports about a similar number of military vehicles crossing the border from Russia on that same day.

3. We express our hope that the expected upcoming meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk will advance the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group, which must continue to play an essential role. We reiterate our support for the Minsk agreements, as a step towards a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We urge all parties to fully implement them without delay. We once again underline the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context. We call in particular for a halt to the continuous violations of the ceasefire, a withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE. Recent developments have again underlined the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders and we call on Russia to respect it. We also call for the immediate release of all illegally detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov, and other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We reiterate that a continued inclusive Ukrainian-led and Ukrainian-owned national dialogue will be important to consolidate Ukraine’s unity and internal cohesion.

4. We follow with great concern the humanitarian, economic and social impact of the crisis, the root cause of which are the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists. The impact on the civilian population should not be exploited for military or political ends. We deeply regret that Russian so-called ”humanitarian convoys” continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of or inspection by the Ukrainian authorities and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. The EU calls on all parties to support and facilitate access for national and international humanitarian aid, in accordance with these fundamental principles.

5. Mr Chairman, we are encouraged by the strong support to the efforts of the Chairmanship and the OSCE in Ukraine that we witnessed at the Ministerial Council in Basel. We should build upon this support to further strengthen the OSCE’s engagement in and around Ukraine. We welcome the ongoing expansion of the SMM and stand ready to contribute with further financial support. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors and UAVs, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the border. We are concerned by further incidents where shots were fired at an SMM patrol and UAVs. We continue to call for a significant expansion and extension of the Border Observation Mission at two Russian checkpoints.

6. We reiterate our support for the efforts of the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine, including the conference on mediation in crises as part of the National Dialogue Project that is taking place in Odesa as we speak.

7. We note the public statements by President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov that every state, including Ukraine, has the right to choose allies and political regimes and ensure its security and that Russia will respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. We look to Russia to restore respect for fundamental principles and international law.

8. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We once again urge Russia to recognise by acts these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in around Ukraine,OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 774, 10 грудня 2014

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine in some parts of which shelling has intensified over the past week causing further military and civilian casualties, and damaged civilian buildings and infrastructure.

As witnessed by the SMM, Russian-backed separatists continue to concentrate heavy weaponry, and use it offensively, in particular around Donetsk airport, in a persistent attempt to consolidate control and gain strategic advantages. This further destabilises the situation, and grossly violates the Minsk agreements.

We therefore urge all parties to: show utmost restraint; implement fully and without further delay their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum; and reengage with a view to finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this respect, we take due note of all efforts to arrange a stable ceasefire along the line of contact and the initiative of President Poroshenko a "day of silence" to be observed on 9 December.

It is clear that little can be achieved without the Russian Federation's genuine commitment and constructive engagement. The Russian Federation needs to assume and exercise its responsibilities. The inflow of weapons, equipment and troops from across the Russian border must be halted. Equally, we call for the withdrawal of any illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment from eastern Ukraine.

We are also seriously worried by acts of armed violence against the SMM. This includes shooting at its personnel and UAVs, as well as attempts to impede activities by restricting the free movement of its monitors.

We remind all involved of their responsibility for ensuring a safe environment for SMM monitors and equipment, including UAVs, and for free and unrestricted access, including to all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk in accordance with the SMM mandate.

Furthermore, the European Union calls on all parties to respect international humanitarian principles and protect civilians and infrastructure from fighting, and to facilitate the work of international humanitarian organisations. The humanitarian impact of the crisis on the civilian population should not be exploited for military or political ends.

Assistance should be delivered through appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. We note with regret that yet another unauthorised convoy, bearing the inscription “Humanitarian help from the Russian Federation”, was dispatched on 30 November by the Russian Federation to eastern Ukraine, and are of the opinion that once again fundamental international humanitarian principles have not been observed. This way of proceeding constitutes a breach of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on the Outcome of the Basel Ministerial Council,OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 774, 10 грудня 2014

The European Union and its Member States would like to reiterate our congratulations to the FSC Chairmanship for the excellent work ahead and during the Basel Ministerial Council which expertly facilitated the consensus reached on two FSC documents. We are also pleased to underscore our appreciation to participating States for their efforts allowing us collectively to achieve the results we did at the Basel Ministerial Council in the Politico-Military field.

For our part, we began and pursued negotiations in a constructive spirit and on the basis of principle positions that we have consistently promoted throughout the year and in particular during Monaco's FSC Chairmanship.

In the field of SALW and SCA these relate to support for full implementation and strengthening of relevant OSCE commitments and activities to combat illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and SCA. Therefore, ahead of Basel we clearly stated our ongoing opinion that the FSC should ensure coherence and complementarity with OSCE commitments related to the UN framework, inter alia, the outcome document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States, the Arms Trade Treaty, UNSC Resolution 2117 on SALW, as well as UNSC Resolutions 2106 and 2122 on women, peace and security.

In this context, we believe the ATT is relevant to our work in the FSC. The ATT is a global Treaty pursued over many years through the UN. Indeed, the UN Secretary General serves as the Depository, and the Treaty remains open for signature at the UN in New York. The relevance to SALW work in the OSCE area will only increase after the ATT’s entry into force on 24 December, and we look forward to discussing such through the FSC Security Dialogue.

Furthermore, the Member States of the European Union have reaffirmed our support for the full implementation of the OSCE Code of Conduct while welcoming the initiative of the Swiss and Monegasque Chairmanships to table for discussion the Draft MC Declaration dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the adoption of this landmark OSCE document.

We believe the adoption by the MC in Basel of the Decision on SALW and SCA as well as the Declaration on the CoC contributes positively to the FSC efforts and future work in enhancing the normative framework of the OSCE politico-military dimension of security.

We would have wanted them much stronger and closer to the existing security realities and developments, but acknowledge at the same time that through their adoption progress has been made in promoting a cooperative spirit in the FSC work.

We regret that for third consecutive year the participating States were not able to reach consensus and even properly discuss the Draft Decision on Issues Relevant to the FSC in order to define tasks for the next year. This was one more missed opportunity for constructive dialogue aimed at restoring trust and confidence in the FSC that has been severely impacted by the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Our approach to this document was based on the understanding that the negotiation process is an important confidence-building measure in itself. This is why we were ready to actively engage in drafting in order to help foster as broad agreement as possible on the need to preserve, consolidate and modernise the OSCE politico-military acquis. We therefore strongly urge delegations to contribute to restoring an inclusive and open dialogue within the FSC without preconditions and limitations.

Notwithstanding the failure to discuss and adopt a FSC framework decision, we are of the firm opinion that the full implementation and modernisation of existing OSCE politicomilitary commitments, in particular the Vienna Document, remain an urgent task to be pursued by the FSC, with a view to enhancing the Organisation's risk reduction, conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities, as well as verifiable transparency and predictability in the military field. The FSC shall also take steps towards revitalising the security dialogues on conventional arms control and confidence and security building measures.

We urge all participating States to reengage in constructive discussions to this end by taking stock, inter alia, of the lessons learned during the crisis in and around Ukraine.

To conclude, let us assure all participating States that we remain firmly committed to preserving and enhancing the FSC toolbox with a view to restoring trust and confidence in the OSCE area. Redoubled efforts and strong political will are however more than ever needed in order to overcome the negative effect of the crisis in and around Ukraine on the implementation and the value of the OSCE commitments in the field of CAC and

CSBMs.

Agenda Item: Report by the Director General on Monitoring and Verification in the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the Joint Plan of Action,Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 11 грудня 2014

Madam Chair,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland‡, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2014/62 on Monitoring and Verification in the Islamic Republic of Iran in relation to the extension of the Joint Plan of Action, and Deputy Director General, Tero Varjoranta, for the technical briefing on 5 December. We would like to express our continued support to the Director General and his staff for their work on this issue.

Madam Chair,

3. We fully support the ongoing diplomatic efforts by the E3/EU+3 to seek a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. After ten rounds of negotiations and numerous meetings during the past months, the Foreign Ministers of China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the EU, have decided to extend the measures of the Joint Plan of Action to allow for further negotiations until 30 June 2015. The EU fully supports the request to the IAEA to continue to undertake the necessary nuclear related monitoring and verification activities in Iran under the JPA, including monitoring of fuel fabrication for the TRR and defined centrifuge related activities. The implementation by Iran to date of the Joint Plan of Action has served as a confidence building measure. We expect Iran to continue to fulfil its nuclear commitments under the JPA as extended.

Madame Chair,

4. The EU notes that the continued and additional monitoring and verification activities until 30 June 2015 will incur additional financial costs to the Agency. We welcome the information that the Department of Safeguards will continue to make efforts to absorb part of the additional workload. Regarding the extra-budgetary voluntary contributions that the Director General says will be needed for the next seven-month period, EU Member States are prepared to consider sympathetically the resource needs of the Agency, as long as there is not sufficient provision in the Regular Budget of the IAEA.

5. Finally, Madam Chair, the EU underlines that resolving all outstanding issues will be essential to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated long-term settlement, which is the EU's objective. It remains vital that Iran engages fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues, including those pointing to possible military dimensions, in order to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.

6. With these comments, the EU endorses the continuation of the Agency undertaking monitoring and verification in relation to the nuclear-related measures set out in the Joint Plan of Action, as further extended, and takes note of the Director General's report GOV/2014/62.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the 21st Meeting of the OSCE Ministerial Council on “Fight against Terrorism: Common Challenges within and beyond the OSCE area” Plenary Session II, 5 грудня 2014

The European Union and its Member States thank the Ministers of Turkey, Malta, and Thailand for their fruitful insights to open the debate on one of the most relevant security topics of today: the fight against terrorism. The relevance of the topic has again been underlined by the OSCE at this Ministerial Council, where we are about to adopt declarations on Foreign Terrorist Fighters and on Kidnapping for Ransom.

The resilience of terrorist groups, and their ability to regenerate and take new forms, must not be underestimated. There is no better example than ISIL/Da’esh and its predecessor organisations: In 2010, most of Al Qaida’s top leaders had been killed or captured. At present, ISIL/Da’esh controls great swathes of Iraq and Syria, has huge assets at its disposal, and is attempting to extend its influence to South Asia, North Africa, and elsewhere. The threat emanating from terrorists organisations such as Al Qaeda and its splinter groups also remains real and potent.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, combatting terrorism and violent extremism that leads to terrorism requires a long-term and comprehensive approach by the whole international community. We recall that the EU and its Member States welcomed the adoption of UNSCRs 2170 and 2178, which have both helped sharpen the focus of the international Counter Terrorism framework in some important thematic areas, in particular with regard to foreign terrorist fighters, where a EU strategy is being developed. We strongly support action under UNSCR 2170 to tackle the sources of ISIL/Da’esh's wealth and weapons. We also welcome the 1267 Monitoring Team report and its recommendations. The EU and its Member States are ready to continue supporting capacity building to counter the financing of terrorism.

The EU co-operates closely with the UN on counter terrorism. One of the main areas of our cooperation is in the field of Countering Violent Extremism, which is also a crucial component of the OSCEs work on counter terrorism.

As outlined in the 2005 EU Counter Terrorism Strategy, the EU pursues an integrated approach to counter terrorism, combining prevention, protection, pursuit of and the response to terrorist threats and attacks.

In addition, the EU recently adopted a revised Strategy to Combat Radicalisation and Recruitment to Terrorism. In this context, we have also opened a dialogue with Internet companies on how to confront radicalisation online and have agreed upon establishing joint training activities for law enforcement, industry and civil society.

We are further developing a package of measures to help build the capacity of third countries most affected by the terrorist threat. We support, for example, several counter terrorism initiatives in South East Asia, including by funding a 2-year capacity building programme for ASEAN countries. We are further developing a programme of activities focussed on Syria, Iraq and countries in the Middle East and North Africa affected by the Syria crisis and ISIL/Da’esh. In this regard, work focussed on counter-radicalisation and counter terrorism strategic communication are priorities for action, alongside improving the effectiveness of border and aviation security. Additionally, we are launching a regional initiative on Countering Violent Extremism in the Sahel/Maghreb.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF), of which the EU is a member, is one of the most important new initiatives in the global fight against terrorism. Together with Turkey, we co-chair the Global Counter Terrorism Forum’s Working Group on the Horn of Africa, where we currently conduct a mapping exercise of the region. We fully support the International Institute of Justice and the Rule of Law in Malta, established in the framework of the GCTF. This institute has an important role to play in providing rule of law based training to justice sector stakeholders on how to address terrorism and related transnational criminal activities.

Counter terrorism activities cannot be seen in isolation from other work. We are working to mainstream Counter Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism into all relevant EU activities and we call on all OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation to do the same.

As a regional organisation under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE plays an important role in countering transnational threats on the basis of its comprehensive concept of security and in full respect of OSCE commitments. The OSCE works to strengthen cooperation among, and capacities of, its participating States and Partners. We recall that all OSCE participating States are committed to implement all measures addressing transnational threats in full accordance with their commitments in the fields of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, as well as their obligations under international law.

In conclusion, let me thank all speakers one more time for their interesting remarks. We believe that this was an excellent opportunity to exchange views on the important topic of counter terrorism and we welcome the strong involvement of Partners in this debate. We would like to remind that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening cooperation with our Partners, including through the OSCE, wherever the Organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security.

Statement in the support of Cyprus' membership in the Wassenaar Arrangement on the occasion of the Wassenaar Arangement Plenary Meeting, Vienna, 2-3 листопада 2014

Madame Chair,

I am talking the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. (alignment formula: [Norway and Ukraine have aligned themselves with this statement.])

I would like to reiterate the full support of the EU and its Member States for Cyprus' ongoing application to participate in the Wassenaar Arrangement.

As a Member State of the European Union, Cyprus already applies common high standard controls for conventional arms and dual use items and technology exports set by the European Union as mandatory for all its Member States.

The Initial Elements establish four criteria to participate in the Wassenaar Arrangement that guide Participating States in measuring the ability of candidate countries to contribute to the purposes of the Arrangement:

1. Whether the candidate country is a producer or exporter of arms and industrial equipment.

2. Whether it has taken the Wassenaar Arrangement control lists as a reference in its national export controls;

3. Its non-proliferation policies and appropriate national policies;

4. Its adherence to fully effective export controls.

Cyprus meets all of these criteria.

We are firmly convinced that Members of the Wassenaar Arrangement should remain focussed on those four criteria - and those criteria only - when evaluationg membership applications in order to be consistent with the goals of the Arrangement.  The EU has repeatedly pointed out that Cyprus' application should not be opposed with arguments that are not relevant to the area of arms and dual-user export controls. Doing otherwise weakens the Arrangement and undermines our non-proliferation efforts and our promotion of stringent and responsible arms and dual-use export controls.

Madame Chair,

Wassenaar Arrangement exchange of information enables Participating States to apply stringent export control standards. This information is not available to States who do not participate in the Arragement. Within the EU internal market, most dual-use items circulate freely and circulation of military items has been significantly eased following the entry into force of the Directive on Intra-EU transfers. Cyprus is consequently and exporter of controlled items regardless of its indigenous production capacities. The EU believes that the effecitveness of controls required by the Wassenaar Arrangement would be better ensured at EU level if all EU Member States participated in the information exchange process of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

We therefore strongly urge all States participating in the Wassenaar Arrangement to support Cyprus' admission during Plenary Meeting.

Thank you. 

Statement on the occasion of the Special segment on the preparations for the UNGA Special Session on the World Drug Problem to be held in Vienna, 3 грудня 2014

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

1. We thank you for the revised non-paper circulated on 12 November 2014 and we welcome it as a good basis for continuing preparations for the UNGASS 2016. We also thank the Secretariat for the Report on the preparations for, the possible outcomes of, and organizational matters relating to the 2016 Special Session.

2. UNGASS 2016 will be a prominent platform and a very useful opportunity for the international community to take stock of the achievements to date and to elaborate workable and operational solutions to the world drug problem for the longer term, while addressing the immense challenges of the world drug problem with full respect of human rights. A successful outcome of UNGASS 2016 will provide solid input as a stepping stone towards the target date of 2019 and also beyond , notably in terms of the worldwide promotion of human rights.

3. We also believe that in 2016 UNGASS will be a first useful opportunity to assess the role of drug policies to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and targets that the international community shall agree upon in September 2015.

4. The EU strongly believes that UNGASS should not be a mere replica of the High Level Review of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action carried out in March 2014 under your able leadership. Of course, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement shall serve as a very important basis for the debate, but we should seize the opportunity to discuss within UNGASS 2016 also those issues that, regrettably, have not been included in the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement. We appreciate the reference in your non paper on a discussion on “what works and what does not” at the national, regional and international level. Nevertheless, UNGASS is a review of the achievements made and challenges encountered in the implementation of the Political Declaration, and this should remain the key priority.

5. We reject the argument that Member States should refrain from discussing, within UNGASS 2016, issues that were not included in the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement.

6. A priority from the EU perspective is the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including for drug-related crimes and, in the wider framework, the promotion of effective drugs policies based on respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights.

7. We would like to share some specific comments on your proposals contained in the revised non-paper, in particular with regards to the proposed draft provisional agenda for UNGASS 2016.We consider that human rights as well as the involvement of the civil society should be cross-cutting issues in all High Level Workshops. We welcome the inclusion of a strong engagement of the NGOs in the revised non-paper. The EU attaches a great importance to the role of civil society, including the scientific community, in the elaboration and effective implementation of drug policies. We also support the proposal of a formal civil society hearing during CND 2015 and a formal civil society hearing prior to UNGASS, the outcomes of which should contribute to the UNGASS processes, as well as the formation of a Civil Society Task Force.

8. We appreciate your efforts to guarantee an inclusive preparatory process leading to UNGASS 2016 and emphasise the need to ensure the most effective involvement of all relevant UN agencies and bodies, in particular dealing with public health, human rights, development and security both in the preparations for and during UNGASS 2016 itself.

9. As far as the draft agenda is concerned, we support your proposal to have a three-day Special Session and we appreciate the replacement of the regional panels with a more general discussion at the plenary session. We support your proposal to focus on achievements and challenges in addressing the world drug problem, in the framework of a more effective implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

10. We welcome the idea to organise High Level Workshops during the UNGASS 2016 in parallel to the high level general debate and the suggestion that these workshops should be interactive, including involvement of all stakeholder. We appreciate that the number of workshops has been reduced to four and we consider that this will make the debate more proactive and focused.

11. As regards Workshop 1 on demand reduction and related issues “Drugs and Health”, we are convinced that this should be an opportunity to examine the range of equally important and mutually reinforcing drug demand measures, including targeted prevention, early detection and intervention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and recovery. We believe that providing various options for treatment and social support for persons with drug use as well as risk and harm reduction measures, including prevention of overdoses and reduction of drug-related deaths, should be an essential element of drug policies at national, regional and international level. Therefore we would like to see the topic in Part 1 of the workshop reflecting the full range of drug demand reduction measures with the following broader name: “Drugs and health: drugs demand and blood-borne disease reduction interventions". We would also like to express our appreciation on the inclusion of the subtopic on “Availability of controlled substances for medical purposes”.

12. As regards Workshop 2 on “Supply reduction and related measures and on countering money laundering and promoting judicial cooperation”, we appreciate the inclusion of the subtopic on new psychoactive substances currently not under international control, as the spread of these substances is one of the main challenges from the perspective of the European Union. As regards the subtopic on precursors, we would like to recall that precursors control is not a new challenge per se. We would therefore suggest focussing in particular on precursors control related to non-scheduled chemicals and emerging precursors. As regards the subtopic on cybercrime, we would like to point out that this term encompasses broader issues than those falling under the remit of UNGASS and therefore the title of Part 2 should be replaced by a more specific and focused term or with the initial formulation, i.e. "use of the internet".

13. We would also like to propose the inclusion of “drug-related information exchange” as an additional issue to be discussed under Part 1, on "Domestic, regional and cross-regional responses to drugs-related crime, including judicial cooperation in criminal matters". This would allow to examine the challenges occurring in the process of collection and exchange of data and information concerning drugs and more specifically mapping of the drug-related information sources, broader standardisation and comparativeness of the data and tools, competent institutions and data provision.

14. With regard to Workshop 3, we would like to recall our strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances as well as the importance of proportionality of sentencing for drug-related offences and alternatives to coercive sanctions for drug-using offenders. Therefore we ask that these issues are included under Part 1.

15. Under subtopic "Drugs, youth, women, children and communities" we would propose to include "Risk Groups", to reflect the whole spectrum of target groups requiring special attention in the context of drugs policy.

16. As regards Workshop 4, we welcome the inclusion of the subtopic on alternative development, which we appreciate as an important long term approach to tackle some of the root causes of illicit drug cultivation.

17. We believe that the action-oriented recommendations to be prepared by the CND and adopted at UNGASS 2016 should be concrete and focused, providing solid input as a stepping stone towards the target date of 2019 and beyond. We support your proposal to reflect in a Chair’s summary the salient points raised during each of the High-Level Workshops.

18. With regards to the omnibus resolution on drugs approved in the Third Committee on November 25, the European Union has consistently expressed its concern regarding the paragraph calling for the organization in New York of a High Level Event in 2015, in order not to duplicate the work assigned to the CND in the framework of its mandate within the UN system. We joined consensus for the adoption of the resolution on the understanding that this high level thematic debate will be organized within existing resources, that it will not require the adoption of a resolution on modalities and that any meeting should be organized with the active participation and involvement of the CND, as the lead preparatory body for UNGASS 2016. It is unfortunate that this paragraph on inclusiveness has been discussed in an exclusive manner.

19. We commend Austria and Thailand for having submitted a draft decision on the preparations for the UNGASS 2016 [and we look forward to finding a solution for the effective preparations for UNGASS]. The EU believes that the Bureau of the CND leading UNGASS preparations should be an Extended Bureau, including representatives from the Regional Groups. (The final formulation of this paragraph will depend on the outcome of the informal consultations on the draft decision currently taking place in Vienna)

20. Finally, we support the proposals put forward concerning the organization of work for the UNGASS Special Segment at the occasion of the 58th session of the CND, in March 2015, that will be a crucial step to take further decisions in particular on the substantive matters of UNGASS 2016.

21. We conclude by reiterating our commitment to provide further inputs as regards the preparation process for the UNGASS 2016.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

EU Statement – General Debate, Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), Annual Meeting of States Parties, 1-5 грудня 2014

Mr Chairman,

Let me first, on behalf of the European Union, congratulate you on assuming the Presidency of our meeting and assure you of our full cooperation and support.

[Alignment clause]

1. The European Union strongly supports the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention as a cornerstone of international efforts to prevent biological agents or toxins from ever being developed, produced or otherwise acquired and used as weapons. It is a crucial element of our collective security and one of the key instruments of multilateral disarmament and non-proliferation. Universalisation of the Convention remains our priority: we urge those remaining States not yet Parties to the Convention to ratify or accede to it as soon as possible.

2. In its Strategy against the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the EU identified the risk coming from biological agents and toxins being used as weapons as a challenge to international peace and security. In line with the principle of effective multilateralism, the EU and its Member States have constructively engaged in the inter-sessional process by actively promoting universality, national implementation and full compliance with the Convention.

3. A lot has already been achieved. Through three Council Decisions, the EU has provided tangible and effective support to the BTWC. The EU and its Member States are engaged in supporting improvements in bio-safety and bio-security around the globe; through the expertise of WHO we support projects aimed at promoting bio-risk awareness, laboratory bio-risk management and development of national laboratory strategies to counter biological risks and enhance the core facilities. The EU has made continued efforts aiming at developing Centres of Excellence, mobilising resources to develop coherent and adequate CBRN policies. Current projects are focused at knowledge development and transfer of best practices on bio-safety, bio-security and bio-risk management, strengthening laboratory procedures, development of laboratory ISO-bank system, creation of an international network of universities and institutes to raise awareness on the dual-use dimension of biotechnology.

4. Since 2004, 17 States have joined the Convention, and there has been a modest increase in the number of CBM submissions, including from some State Parties submitting their first time. However, a lot more remains to be done to increase the level of participation in the CBM process. We could improve the current situation by complementing compliance reporting with consultations based on CBMs.We need CBMs to be more relevant. The EU and its Member States strongly encourage all States Parties to participate in the annual CBM exchange. The politically agreed CBMs represent a unique instrument to help increase mutual trust, generate transparency and thus help demonstrate compliance with the Convention. With the financial support of the EU, the ISU has developed a CBM electronic facility which is ready to be launched and used.

5. Appropriate verification remains a central element of an effective BTWC disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Verification measures have the objective to build further confidence among States parties in the continued adherence to their obligations under the Convention. However, there is currently no consensus on a verification protocol to the BTWC. The EU and its MS are willing to work towards identifying alternative options that could achieve similar goals. For the time being, we need to focus on concrete ways to strengthen the existing mechanisms of the Convention. The current inter-sessional process, as well as the time remaining before the Review conference provides us with a good opportunity in this regard.

6. Effective national implementation is fundamental for the integrity of the Convention. The current inter-sessional process offers also an opportunity to identify innovative approaches, to enhance national implementation through voluntary exchanges of information, such as the proposed peer-review mechanism. The EU and its Member States look forward to discussing it further at the next meeting of States Parties.

7. We need to continue to think about how we maintain and strengthen compliance with the Convention as we move towards the Eighth Review Conference in 2016.

8. Substantive working documents were submitted at the last meeting of experts regarding the biennial item on how to strengthen the implementation of Article VII. The cross-regional interest in this topic shows that there is room for a substantive discussion and for the identification of concrete avenues for work, which could be reflected in the report of the meeting of States Parties, for further consideration at the next Review Conference.

Mr Chairman,

9. The EU believes in the need to increase international coordination and cooperation in order to promote biological and health capabilities for responding to and mitigating human, animal and plant disease outbreaks whether natural, accidental or of deliberate character.

10. The largest and most complex Ebola epidemic outbreak on record in West Africa has already claimed more than 5,000 lives and has seen over 14,000 cases. The EU and its Member States are at the forefront of international response: they have mobilised political, financial and scientific resources to help contain, control, treat and ultimately defeat Ebola. The EU's total financial contribution to fight the epidemic is over €1 billion including funding from Member States. The EU has given €373 million to fight the disease - covering emergency measures and longer-term support. These funds contribute to epidemic surveillance, diagnostics, treatment and medical supplies; they enable deployment of doctors and nurses and training of health workers; they raise awareness about the disease among the population. In addition to existing EU and bilateral development partnerships, the EU is also providing some €145 million in development and early recovery assistance with a view to reinforce the capacity of governments to deliver vital public services. Furthermore, the EU supports the African Union's medical mission in West Africa. In order to reduce the risk of further spread of Ebola, EU funding has also been allocated to countries neighbouring the affected region where we support early detection and awareness building.

11. Ebola provides us with lessons learned that can be applied, especially on command and control of the response as well as the role played by surveillance, quarantine and diagnostic laboratories. Working in strict coordination with the WHO, OIE and FAO, as illustrated by the Ebola outbreak, is a necessity and must be further encouraged. In this context, we welcome the Global Health Security Agenda. 

Mr Chairman,

12. Advances in bio-sciences are vital when it comes to fighting disease outbreaks but appropriate technology transfer controls are also necessary to ensure that we are not inadvertently assisting in developing biological weapons under the guise of cooperation in biological sciences or in the economic and technological fields. Ultimately, strengthening international cooperation would also require monitoring and assessment of advances in science and technology and its impact on the Convention. One possible way could be strengthening the role of the ISU, while organizing thematic workshops open to the Inter Academy Panel on International Affairs and competent and relevant industry and academic experts on selected topics to meet in addition to, or alongside, the annual meetings of experts.

Mr Chairman,

14. We have offered a number of concrete ideas to strengthen the BTWC. Less than two years separate us from the next Review Conference: we believe it is time already now to start preparations for it. In this respect, we feel that meeting just for two weeks per year is not enough. The EU and its Member States thus would like to suggest and to put forward for the consideration of States Parties a proposal regarding a preparatory mechanism. 

15. As of 2015, in preparation of the Eighth Review Conference, States Parties could hold informal consultations in Geneva to strengthen the Convention. These consultations could focus on areas that are likely to command consensus among States Parties. These open-ended meetings could be convened either at the level of Geneva delegations or, as appropriate, reinforced by representatives from capitals under the auspices of the Chair and the Vice-Chairs of the meeting of States Parties. The President-elect of the Review Conference could take forward these consultations under his auspices.

16. The EU is convinced that it is important to give priority to process now. Once a workable procedural arrangement for informal consultation among State Parties has been set up, it will serve as a framework in which in-depth discussion on substance can evolve in preparation of the 2016 Review Conference. We hope this proposal will meet the interest of all States Parties and look forward to further discussions on it.

Thank you.

EU Statement, COUNCIL OF THE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION, 105th Session, 25-28 листопада 2014

Thank you Chair.

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

We are in a time marked by significant multiple simultaneous migration and humanitarian crises. The EU's capacity to act when major migrant or refugee crises are looming in Europe’s neighbourhood has been repeatedly tested and stretched. The EU, with the inauguration of its new executive earlier this month, designated a Commissioner with explicit responsibility for migration and home affairs, which testifies to the priority given to addressing migration.

In times of severe crises and consecutive forced displacement, it is important not to forget the fundamental principles underpinning our policies and action, in particular respect for human rights and humanitarian principles as well as refugee law and international humanitarian law, where applicable, to make sure that those displaced - regardless of their status - are treated in a manner protecting their fundamental human rights. In this regard, we take note with satisfaction of the position paper of IOM on the World Humanitarian Summit, and its five policy recommendations.

IOM has proven to be an important actor at a time when the international community has faced four simultaneous complex humanitarian emergencies at level 3 – these most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises being in Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Iraq. IOM has significantly contributed to the humanitarian response in all these crises, while remaining active in many other emergencies around the world, including the crisis in Ukraine. IDPs from Crimea and Donbas face a growing need for humanitarian aid in view of the approaching winter. The EU supports IOM's valuable assistance, especially to the most vulnerable groups of persons.

We commend the IOM's extensive network, available to respond quickly and effectively on the ground, maintaining a tradition of being a flexible and reliable humanitarian partner. Within the UN cluster system, IOM is the manager of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management cluster for natural disasters, and plays a key role in emergency shelter, logistics, protection and early recovery. Another IOM practice we commend is the successful incorporation of human-trafficking preventive action into the immediate response, for example in the Philippines. The EU will closely continue to follow the ongoing work on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, a topic for which IOM is a champion.

We can only meet the challenges associated with migration if we address them jointly. We can only unleash the positive potential of migration if we work together as we have been until now.

That is also why we commend the level of engagement and dedication whereby the IOM and its Director General continue to contribute to enhancing the understanding of good migration governance – a migration that is safe, orderly and regular, which benefits migrants as well as host societies and countries of origin and destination. This is done through e.g. IOM’s participation in international fora and regional consultative processes, through capacity building and training with states, and through service delivery.

We are pleased that progress has been made in recent years, notably in relation to the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development as well as to the 2014 Global Forum on Migration and Development.

Next year will be yet another important year, as the negotiations in New York on the post-2015 development framework will culminate.  I am happy to say that we cherish the work done in this respect by the IOM as the leading international organisation active in the field of international migration.

Maximising the positive impact of migration on development is an important policy priority for the EU, as demonstrated by its dual policy framework in this area. Migration and development is one of the thematic priorities of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, which provides the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy, and is also integrated into the EU development policy framework, of which the Agenda for Change is the latest building block. The EU is aware of the significant contribution that development cooperation can provide to migration by tackling the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement as well as by improving living conditions in countries of origin.

Making migration an integral part of the world’s development strategy will have a meaningful impact on the lives of migrants, affording them greater access to human rights and to the fruits of their labour.

The EU stands ready to continue its support to partner countries in their efforts to ensure a better migration and border management as well as improved protection and reception capacities.

Thank you very much, Chair.

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by Mr Jacek Bylica Principal Advisor and Special Envoy for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 19th session of the Conference of the State Parties, 1 грудня 2014

Ms  Chairperson,

Mr  Director-General,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The candidate countries …………….align themselves with this statement.

Ms Chairperson,

let me express the appreciation of the European Union (EU) for the outgoing Chairperson, Ambassador Sa'ad Abdul Majeed Ibrahim Al-Ali, Permanent Representative of Iraq to the OPCW, for the most efficient and effective manner in which he has handled the work of the Conference during the last year. Let me also welcome you, Ambassador Vesela Mrden Korac, Permanent Representative of Croatia to the OPCW, as the new Chair of the Conference and assure you of the European Union’s full cooperation and support throughout your tenure. We would also wish to express thanks to the former Chair of the Executive Council Ambassador Olexandr Horin of Ukraine and the present Chair Ambassador Alvaro Moerzinger of Uruguay, as well as to the Vice-Chairs and Facilitators for their valuable contribution to the work of the Organization and to the achievement of the goals of the Convention for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (CWC).

Ms  Chairperson,

2015 will remind us that 100 years have elapsed since chemical weapons were used, on a massive scale, in combat during the First World War. The effect of these weapons was so horrific that states moved quickly towards banning them. But unfortunately they are still being used today. The entry into force of the CWC has been the most successful international disarmament instrument so far, having eradicated almost universally and within short time an entire category of declared weapons of mass destruction. This resounding success has been best illustrated by the awarding of the 2013 Nobel Peace prize to the OPCW.

Ms Chairperson,

The OPCW is currently facing the biggest challenge since its creation: the Syrian chemical weapons crisis. The horrific chemical attack in Ghouta on 21 August 2013 constituted a blatant violation of international law and amounted to a crime against humanity and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The EU condemned this crime in the strongest terms and stressed that those responsible must be held accountable. Following the adoption of the 27 September 2013 Executive Council decision and the UN Security Council resolution 2118, the international community has directed substantial resources to ensuring the declared chemical stockpile was removed from Syria and subsequently destroyed along with the infrastructure associated with its production and the declared munitions developed for its delivery. Achieving this daunting task on tight timelines has tested the capabilities of all involved, in an unprecedented example of multilateral disarmament cooperation through the OPCW and the UN.

I would like to pay tribute to the dedication of the Director-General and all the OPCW Technical Secretariat staff, as well as to the Special Coordinator of the OPCW-UN Joint Mission and her staff, for the exemplary way they have carried out this operation in very challenging circumstances. Equal tribute should be paid to all parties having contributed financially or in kind to this unprecedented task, especially those that have made available land and maritime facilities and maritime escort. The EU has contributed with around 17 million EURO.

While considerable progress has been achieved with the successful removal of the declared chemicals from the country and their near destruction, important tasks remain to be done. And this is why we welcome the appointment of Ambassador Denot Medeiros as the Director-General’s Special Consultant on Syria. 

During recent Executive Council meetings a great number of State Parties, including the EU Member States, have voiced grave concerns over the findings of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) set up by the Director-General to establish the facts concerning allegations of the use of chlorine gas as a chemical weapon against the civilian population in Syria. Indeed, in its second report the FFM stated that “it has found information constituting ‘compelling confirmation’ that a toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly”, “as a weapon”, and witnesses reference the “invariable” presence of helicopters during the attacks, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses. The report also references a number of more recent allegations of chemical attacks. 

The EU reiterates its fundamental position that the use of chlorine gas as a chemical weapon constitutes a breach of the CWC and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, and that those responsible for these horrific acts must be held accountable. The EU fully supports the decision of the Director-General that the FFM continue its work and is looking forward to the Mission’s third report, and further investigations and reporting on the more recent allegations.  

The EU also considers it of utmost importance that the Technical Secretariat retain the samples taken during the removal and destruction process, as well as those samples taken in Syria from the so called Abandoned Chemical Weapons in order to fulfill its obligations under the Convention, facilitating the actions by the Secretariat in the joint efforts to eliminate the chemical weapons program of the Syrian Arab Republic.

In the same vein, we call on the Syrian Arab Republic to take the necessary measures to ensure that its chemical weapons program is completely and irreversibly eliminated. This includes the destruction of the remaining production facilities and the provision of sufficient information to answer any  questions arising from the discrepancies in the Syrian declarations. The Syrian Arab Republic must provide conclusive and credible evidence to support the assurances that it has fully abandoned its chemical weapons program and ensure sufficient confidence.  For example, it is simply not credible to maintain that there is no available documentation associated with the program. In this regard, we commend the Declaration Assessment Team of the Technical Secretariat for its work on this important issue and we look forward to future reports on its activities and any progress made. Given the open issues, the EU expects that the Executive Council will continue to monitor the situation in Syria as well as to meet at the established frequency, remaining seized of the matter.

The EU considers that the Syrian Arab Republic, as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, is responsible for meeting the costs arising in connection with the elimination of its chemicals weapons program and the verification thereof. Syria must fully meet these obligations.

In this respect, I would like to reiterate our statement at the 77th Executive  Council regular session, where we drew the attention to the decision of the Council of the European Union, dated 10 February 2014. This decision introduced a derogation to the restrictive  measures against the Syrian Arab Republic, so that, if Syria chooses, frozen assets belonging to the Syrian Central Bank or to Syrian public entities can be paid on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the OPCW for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and related verification activities. This includes destruction of the remaining  Production Facilities and activities connected to the verification missions of the Technical Secretariat. The EU has addressed a letter to the Director-General informing him of the aforementioned possibility and requested him to demarche  the Syrian authorities to this effect.

Ms Chairperson,

Turning to the other points of the agenda, we firstly underline that achieving the goal of universality remains one of our principal challenges. We encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts towards achieving universality in a targeted and tailor-made manner. The European Union calls upon the few States not Party to the Convention to ratify or accede without delay and will continue its active support for reaching this common objective with concrete actions.

Secondly, we must also recall that the destruction of existing stockpiles of chemical weapons remains a core objective of the Convention. The EU congratulates those States which have completed their destruction processes, but we are concerned that some were unable to meet the destruction deadlines. We regret that the Russian Federation has had to delay its own planned completion date by five years. We urge the possessor States to continue their efforts to complete destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the provisions of the Decision of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties on the final extended deadlines.

Thirdly, for States Parties to the Convention a main concern is to ensure its effective implementation in accordance with the provisions of Article VII. It is a serious matter that only half of the States Parties to the Convention have comprehensive implementing legislation in place. We recognize that this poses a legislative and administrative challenge. The EU encourages Technical Secretariat to continue assisting States Parties to meet their obligations.

Looking beyond these challenges, Ms Chairperson, we must also reflect on how the mechanisms of the Convention can prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons and enhance the trust and confidence which forms the basis for our shared commitment to a world free of chemical weapons. We need to think about how the Convention can be strengthened to ensure that no chemical weapons are developed or produced under the guise of purposes not prohibited under the Convention.

In this respect, we take note with interest of the report of the 21st meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board and the recommendations contained therein. As the OPCW needs to strengthen its effectiveness, it will need to adapt to the changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology. The report of the SAB provides valuable guidance for the path to follow. And we know that this is one of the main tasks of the Director-General in the near future.

We also recognize that the implementation of all articles of the Convention constitutes a tangible contribution to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the hands of non-state actors such as terrorists. Considering recent developments in different parts of the world, relevant action regarding promotion of chemical safety and security has acquired even more importance.

Likewise, we need to ensure that the Article VI verification regime is as effective as possible, also by directing inspections to the sites that are most relevant. Other means of enhancing the capabilities in this area, by reducing discrepancies, should be considered. Declarations must be complete, accurate and timely submitted. Information received from the States Parties shows that logistical difficulties in regard to transmission of declarations is one of the most frequently cited reasons for late submissions. The recent introduction of the SIX system for the Secure Electronic Transmission of Article VI Declarations has been a remarkable improvement, a follow-up to the Third Review Conference recommendations of April 2013.

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X and looks forward to taking a decision at this session which will allow the OPCW to rehire a limited number of experienced inspectors, in order to deal with future contingencies, facilitating capacity-building inside the inspectorate.

The EU stands ready to discuss concrete proposals put forward under Article XI, in accordance with the relevant Decision taken by the Third Review Conference. The EU actively supports the OPCW activities regarding assistance, protection and international cooperation directed to States Parties of all regional groups. Particular emphasis is placed on supporting the Program for Africa. We encourage States Parties to take advantage of the assistance provided through the funded activities, by participating in them according to their own needs. We also attach importance to the cooperation with other international organizations. The recent UN-OPCW Joint Mission in Syria is a significant example. The EU considers it essential to identify and implement lessons learned.

The follow-up process to the Third Review Conference, which takes place under the supervision of the Executive Council, in cooperation with the Technical Secretariat, is a priority for the EU. It is important, however, that we strengthen  the involvement of other stakeholders such as chemical industry associations,  private sector, academia and civil society. This is necessary to ensure an effective, universal approach to adapting the CWC to today’s world. Incorporating existing knowledge and competencies, developing synergies, avoiding duplication of efforts and improving transparency must be a priority.

The Member States of the EU express appreciation to all participants having contributed constructively to the consultations on the draft Program and Budget for 2015, with a view to consensual adoption during the current Conference.

The assessed contributions of the EU Member States account for 40% of the overall budget annually, and in addition the EU has so far contributed close to 10 million EURO through a number of EU Council Decisions and Joint Actions since 2004. A new Council Decision concerning an amount of over 2.5 million EURO for the years 2015-17 is in the final stages of approval.

Finally, we underline that the implementation of the Convention requires an Organization which is capable of undertaking its duties effectively. It is in our collective interest that the Technical Secretariat is well equipped with the necessary tools and has the capacity to fully implement the verification regime. This includes maintaining and developing its capabilities, expertise and preparedness to conduct challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use. The EU welcomes initiatives taken by the Director-General and within the policy-making organs to enhance the management and work practices of the OPCW. We encourage the continuation and systematization of these initiatives.

We are looking forward to working with all delegations in a constructive and open manner at this Conference and we trust that it will be a success.

I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this session of the Council and be published on the OPCW website and extranet.

Thank you Ms Chairperson.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 772, 26 листопада 2014

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about increased levels of violence in parts of eastern Ukraine resulting in numerous civilian and military casualties as well as in further aggravation of the humanitarian situation. The persistent attacks of Russian-backed separatists against a number of strategically important areas under governmental control continue to bring about escalation in grave violation of the ceasefire and the Minsk Agreements.

We note in this respect the SMM observation of a significant increase in the amount of heavy weaponry, manned in most cases by professional military without insignia as well as of equipment and men in camouflage with Russian Federation flag patches and other badges on them.

This is a particularly worrying development, which may explain the increase in violence, bearing also in mind the significant number of persons in military-style clothing crossing the border in both directions as being witnessed for several weeks by the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk.

We are compelled to call once again on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities with a view to avoiding further re-escalation of hostilities, including by preventing any movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine, and withdrawing any troops, weapons and equipment under its control from Ukraine, as well as by exercising its influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk.

All parties must now show utmost restraint, strictly abide by their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and re-engage towards finding a peaceful sustainable solution to the crisis based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We recall in this respect the important role of the OSCE SMM in supporting the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We are however deeply concerned about its work having been severely hampered by the effective grounding of its UAVs following sophisticated military-style jamming as well as by recent cases of shooting in the direction of its personnel. These incidents are completely unacceptable. We remind all parties concerned of their responsibility for the safety of the SMM monitors and their equipment and for free and unrestricted access throughout Ukraine, including all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on the Fight against Transnational Threats in the Mediterranean Region, 58th OSCE Joint Meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Permanent Council, 27 листопада 2014

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Secretary of State for Security of Spain, H.E. Francisco Martínez Vázquez to the 58th Joint Meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Permanent Council.

Today's Joint Meeting of FSC and PC is yet another valuable demonstration of the commitment to enhancing cooperation with our Mediterranean Partners.

We would like to thank the Secretary of State and the Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco in Austria, H.E. Ali El Mhamdi for sharing their comprehensive and interesting views on transnational threats and their relevance in the Mediterranean Region. 

We welcome the information provided by the Secretary of State about the close cooperation with Partners, especially on the close co-operation with the government of Morocco. We have followed with interest his views regarding the importance of the issue of migration in the Mediterranean region, the need to address the root causes of migration and the relevance of concrete cooperation in countries of origin and transit. We also recall the fight against smugglers and traffickers in human beings.

As a regional organisation, the OSCE plays an important role in countering transnational threats on the basis of its comprehensive concept of security and in full respect of OSCE commitments. The OSCE works to strengthen cooperation among, and capacities of its participating States, Partners and other relevant organisations. OSCE participating States are committed to implement all measures addressing transnational threats, in full accordance with their commitments in the field of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, as well as their obligations under international law. Adherence to relevant universal anti-criminal instruments is of crucial importance in this regard. We therefore encourage all participating States and Partners for Cooperation to become parties to these instruments.

Mr Secretary of State, we share your views about the importance of the threat that ISIL/Da’esh and Foreign Terrorist Fighters represent for the Mediterranean region and beyond.

We welcome Morocco’s active engagement in the work of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum, in particular through the initiative to co-chair, together with the Netherlands, the new working group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters whose inauguration will take place in Marrakech on 15-16 December this year.

We believe that there is a need to further recognise the interdependency between the OSCE area and the Mediterranean as a whole, as stated in the Helsinki Final Act. We welcome the attention to security challenges in the Mediterranean region and remain committed to pursuing and strengthening cooperation with our Mediterranean neighbours, including through the OSCE, wherever the Organisation can be of relevance and added value with its comprehensive approach to security. Enhancing co-operation against transnational threats contributes to stability and peace in the whole Euro-Mediterranean region and improves the security of our citizens.

It is important to reiterate on this occasion the EU's continued support for strengthened implementation of OSCE commitments in the area of SALW, Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) and conventional weapons. The risks stemming from illicit trafficking of SALW and ammunition have reached a new dimension, particularly due to events such as those experienced in Northern Africa and the Middle East. In this regard, we look forward to Ambassador Kobieracki’s presentation on the OSCE mission to Tunisia on Co-operation on SALW, Border Security and Counter-Terrorism.

The European Union continues allocating substantial resources, within its Strategy on SALW, to support concrete activities aimed at enhancing the SALW control in the OSCE area. In this regard, we welcome and promote international cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and other main actors. We also see merit in further developing the cooperation with our Mediterranean partners to combat illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and conventional ammunition.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the Secretary of State for his visit and we thank him and the Moroccan Ambassador for their interesting and valuable presentations. 

EU Statement on the signing of a “Treaty on Alliance and Strategic Partnership” between the Russian Federation and Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1028, 27 листопада 2014

The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement issued by High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini on 24 November on the signature of a “Treaty on Alliance and Strategic Partnership” between the Russian Federation and Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.

“The Russian Federation’s signature today of a so-called “Treaty on Alliance and Strategic Partnership” with Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia is detrimental to ongoing efforts to stabilise the security situation in the region.

Just like earlier agreements signed between the Russian Federation and Abkhazia, this violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, contradicts principles of international law and the international commitments of the Russian Federation, including the 12 August 2008 Agreement and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008.

The EU reiterates its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.” 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1028, 27 листопада 2014

The Ministerial Council in Basel in one week will inevitably be dominated by the crisis in and around Ukraine and the actions by Russia in clear violation of OSCE principles and commitments. With this in mind, we will limit ourselves to a few points on this topic today.

We continue to be alarmed by the many reports of ceasefire violations, heavy shelling and military build-up in parts of eastern Ukraine. The armed pro-Russian separatists continue to destabilise the situation, try to gain strategic advantages and consolidate control as reported by the Special Monitoring Mission.

We reiterate our support for the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, as a step towards a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We urge all parties to fully implement the Minsk agreements without further delay. We once again underline the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context. We call in particular for a halt to the continuous violations of the ceasefire, a withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE. Full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders is essential and we call on Russia to respect it.

Mr Chairman, in its seventh report, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission paints a very bleak picture of the human rights situation in the areas controlled by the armed pro-Russian separatists. There are many cases of serious human rights abuses by separatists, including torture, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, summary executions, forced labour, sexual violence, as well as destruction and illegal seizure of property.  According to the report these violations are of a systematic nature and may amount to crimes against humanity.

Reports by the SMM likewise describe serious human rights violations. For instance we note that several armed entities independently arrest and detain people in a variety of facilities, including basements. We also note from these reports cases of persons, including women and children, being arbitrarily detained and physically abused while others go missing.  

According to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission the situation in Crimea is marked by increasing human rights violations and protection challenges. This is especially the case for minority and indigenous groups and those in a position of vulnerability. The growing number of enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars constitutes one example. We note that several of these observations are similar to those highlighted by the High Commissioner on National Minorities.

Mr Chairman, we reiterate our support for the Trilateral Contact Group. We also reiterate the important role of the SMM. We remind all parties concerned of their responsibility for a safe environment for the SMM monitors and equipment, including UAVs, and for free and unrestricted access, including to all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk in accordance with the SMM mandate. We note with concern that the UAVs have now been severely limited in their operations for weeks as a result of electronic jamming of communications which has hampered the ability to monitor the ongoing fighting. We also note reports that Russia does not accept the role of the SMM in monitoring the border in accordance with the Minsk Protocol. For instance the head of the Russian contingent at the Joint Centre for Control and Coordination reportedly insists that there is a 16 km no-fly-zone along the border. This must be corrected without delay. We also express concern that the JCCC is working on terms of reference that include involvement of the SMM and joint patrolling without the SMM being consulted. We stress the importance we attach to the independence and impartiality of the SMM and the right of the Chief Monitor to organise its work in accordance with its mandate.

Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU statement, INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION FOR MIGRATION 105th COUNCIL MEETING, 25-28 листопада 2014

Thank you Chair.

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Alignment paragraph

We are in a time marked by significant multiple simultaneous migration and humanitarian crises. EU's capacity to act when major migrant or refugee crises are looming in Europe’s neighbourhood has been repeatedly tested and stretched. The EU, with inauguration of its new executive earlier this month, designated a Commissioner with explicit responsibility for migration and home affairs, which testifies to the priority given to addressing migration.

In times of severe crises and consecutive forced displacement, it is important not to forget the fundamental principles underpinning our policies and action, in particular respect for human rights and the humanitarian principles as well as refugee law and international humanitarian law, where applicable, to make sure that those displaced - regardless of their status - are treated in a manner protecting their lives, human rights and dignity. In this regard, we take note with satisfaction of the position paper of IOM on the World Humanitarian Summit and its five policy recommendations.

IOM has proven to be an important actor in a time when the international community has faced four simultaneous complex humanitarian emergencies of the highest level 3 – the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises - in Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Iraq. IOM has significantly contributed to the humanitarian response in all these crises, while remaining active in many other emergencies around the world.  We commend the IOM extensive network available to respond quickly and effectively on the ground, maintaining a tradition of being a flexible and reliable humanitarian partner. Within the UN cluster system, IOM is the manager of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management cluster for natural disasters and plays a key role in emergency shelter, logistics, protection and early recovery. Another IOM practice we commend is the successful incorporation of human-trafficking preventive action into the immediate response, for example in the Philippines. The EU will closely continue to follow the ongoing work on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, a topic for which IOM is a champion.

We can only meet the challenges associated with migration if we address them jointly. We can only unleash the positive potential of migration if we work together as we have been until now.

That is also why we commend the level of engagement and dedication whereby the IOM and its Director General continue to contribute to enhancing the understanding of good migration governance – a migration that is safe, orderly and regular, which benefits migrants as well as host societies and countries of origin and destination. This is done through e.g. IOM’s participation in international fora and regional consultative processes, through capacity building and training with states, and through service delivery.

We are pleased that progress has been made in recent years, notably in relation to the 2013 UN High Level Dialogue on Migration and Development as well as to the 2014 Global Forum on Migration and Development.

Next year will be yet another important year, as the negotiations in New York on the post-2015 development framework will culminate.  I am happy to say that we cherish the work done by IOM in this respect.

Maximising the positive impact of migration on development is an important policy priority for the EU, as demonstrated by its dual policy framework in this area. Migration and development is one of the thematic priorities of the Global Approach to Migration and Mobility, which provides the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy, and is also integrated into the EU development policy framework, of which the Agenda for Change is the latest building block. The EU is aware of the significant contribution that development cooperation can provide to migration by tackling the root causes of irregular migration and forced displacement as well as by improving living conditions in countries of origin.

Making migration integral part of the world’s development strategy will have a meaningful impact on the lives of migrants, affording them greater access to rights and to the fruits of their labour.

The EU stands ready to continue its support to partner countries in their efforts to ensure a better migration and border management as well as improved protection and reception capacities.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 772, 26 листопада 2014

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about increased levels of violence in parts of eastern Ukraine resulting in numerous civilian and military casualties as well as in further aggravation of the humanitarian situation. The persistent attacks of Russian-backed separatists against a number of strategically important areas under governmental control continue to bring about escalation in grave violation of the ceasefire and the Minsk Agreements.

We note in this respect the SMM observation of a significant increase in the amount of heavy weaponry, manned in most cases by professional military without insignia as well as of equipment and men in camouflage with Russian Federation flag patches and other badges on them.

This is a particularly worrying development, which may explain the increase in violence, bearing also in mind the significant number of persons in military-style clothing crossing the border in both directions as being witnessed for several weeks by the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk.

We are compelled to call once again on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities with a view to avoiding further re-escalation of hostilities, including by preventing any movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine, and withdrawing any troops, weapons and equipment under its control from Ukraine, as well as by exercising its influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk.

All parties must now show utmost restraint, strictly abide by their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and re-engage towards finding a peaceful sustainable solution to the crisis based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We recall in this respect the important role of the OSCE SMM in supporting the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We are however deeply concerned about its work having been severely hampered by the effective grounding of its UAVs following sophisticated military-style jamming as well as by recent cases of shooting in the direction of its personnel. These incidents are completely unacceptable. We remind all parties concerned of their responsibility for the safety of the SMM monitors and their equipment and for free and unrestricted access throughout Ukraine, including all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement in Response to H.E. Ambassador Ali El Mhamdi and Mr Karim Haggag, OSCE Contact Group Meeting with Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, 21 листопада 2014

Mr Chairperson, the European Union and its Member States would like to welcome H.E. Ambassador Ali El Mhamdi and Mr Karim Haggag to the Mediterranean Contact Group and thank them for raising the important issues of migration and combatting terrorism.

The EU notes with great concern the increased number of terrorist attacks over the past months on the Sinai and in the Nile valley, in Alexandria and the Cairo region. We strongly condemn terrorism in all its forms and express our condolences for the loss of life.

Terrorism poses one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, to all States and to all people. We remain fully committed to tackle in a comprehensive and coordinated manner the regional threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism and address the underlying instability and violence which has given ISIL/ Da’esh and other terrorist groups a foothold, alongside our regional and international partners.

We want to underline again that military action is necessary but not sufficient to defeat terrorism. It is part of a wider effort comprising measures in the political/ diplomatic, counter-terrorism and terrorism funding, humanitarian and communication field. The EU is determined to develop and implement a holistic approach in support to and in coordination with regional partners and others.

We therefore call on all partners to enforce relevant UNSCR 2170 and 2178, ensuring that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law.

The EU pursues an integrated approach to counter-terrorism, combining prevention, protection, pursuit of and the response to terrorist threats and attacks. The approach is based on criminal justice as well as on the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of, and full respect for, human rights which permeates all EU policies, including countering terrorism.

With our partners, we promote strengthening the criminal justice approach in counter-terrorism, with a focus on rebalancing policies away from an excessive emphasis on the confession-based approach towards an evidence-based approach, while simultaneously building capacity for human rights-compliant interrogation of terrorist suspects where appropriate and necessary. The EU is willing to share its experience and expertise in this field.

We see countering Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that leads to Terrorism (VERLT) and de-radicalisation as crucial to tackle terrorism. The process of radicalisation happens in terrorist training camps, conflict areas but also in prisons or through the internet. To start de-radicalisation processes, the EU encourages addressing root causes of radicalisation and to promote a multi-stakeholder approach, closer coordination with key multilateral and regional initiatives, and relevant bodies. Stakeholders from civil society as well as social and local institutions with expertise in their specific area of work must be supported and individual personal support by civil-society experts should be offered.

Te fight against international terrorism remains one of our highest priorities. We recall our continued support for the OSCE’s role in contributing to the global fight against terrorism, which offers a unique capability to support not only participating States but also Partners for Co-operation with its cross-dimensional approach.

Mr Chairperson, in regard to migration, the EU and its Member States would like to recall their position, that a deepened dialogue and cooperation with third Countries of transit and origin of migratory flows is essential to reap the benefits that well-managed migration can bring and to respond to the challenges of changing migration trends.

The overall strategic framework of the EU external action in the migratory field is the "Global Approach to Migration and Mobility" which, inter alia, calls for special attention to be given to the protection and empowerment of vulnerable migrants, such as unaccompanied minors, asylum-seekers, stateless persons and victims of trafficking.

The EU is committed to the conclusion and the effective implementation of Mobility Partnerships (MP) with strategic third countries: the recent signing of MPs with our partners for cooperation Morocco, Tunisia, and Jordan are illustrative examples of the EU's commitment.

Finally, the EU is also actively involved in the Regional Processes, which have been conceived to create a stable platform of dialogue with Countries of origin and transit of migratory flows, while also seeking to prevent irregular migration.

We once again would like to thank the distinguished speakers for their interesting presentations.

EU Statement on the Middle East Peace Process, OSCE Contact Group Meeting with Mediterranean Partners for Co-operation, 21 листопада 2014

Mr Chairperson, recalling the statement by HRVP Federica Mogherini on Tuesday 18 November, the attack in the Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem on Tuesday morning, killing at least 4 people can only harm any step forward towards peace.

It is an act of terror against worshipers at morning prayers and is condemnable by all means. We express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. 

The European Union would like to draw attention to the recent European Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, 17 November 2014, in which the Council adopted following conclusions:

“The EU is gravely concerned at the growing tension and increasing violence on the ground. It condemns all recent terrorist attacks and expresses its condolences for the loss of life. It urges all parties to refrain from any action that would worsen the situation by way of incitement, provocation, excessive use of force or retaliation. The EU calls on political leaders from all sides to work together through visible actions to de-escalating the situation.

In this regard, the EU is particularly concerned at worrying developments and recurrent violent clashes at the Haram al-Sharif/ Temple Mount. The EU appeals for full respect of the Holy Sites.

The EU fully acknowledges the role of Jordan as Custodian to the Muslim Holy Shrines in Jerusalem and welcomes the tripartite meeting in Amman on 13 November between King Abdullah, Secretary of State Kerry and Prime Minister Netanyahu where concrete steps towards a calming down of the situation were agreed upon.

The EU looks forward to a swift and effective implementation of such measures and recalls that, actions that call into question stated commitments to a negotiated solution must be avoided.”

As highlighted to all interlocutors during the recent visit of the High Representative in the region, we are extremely worried by the current situation that – in the absence of political perspective – can further deteriorate. We urge political leaders to act responsibly and to work for a quick de-escalation of tensions.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, H.E. Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1026, 20 листопада 2014

1.The EU warmly welcomes H.E. Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini back to the Permanent Council. We thank her for her comprehensive and candid address. We reiterate our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office in Ukraine, including through Ambassador Tagliavini’s engagement in the Trilateral Contact Group.

2. We are alarmed by the recent heavy shelling in parts of eastern Ukraine and by reports about convoys moving from Russia into the areas de facto controlled by Russian-supported separatists with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, tanks and troops without insignia. The separatists are continuing to destabilise the situation, trying to gain strategic advantages and consolidate control as reported by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). We share Ambassador Tagliavini’s concern about a worsening of the situation.

3. On 17 November, the EU Foreign Affairs Council reiterated the EU’s support for the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, as a step towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis, which needs to be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. It urged all parties to fully implement the Minsk agreements without further delay. It once again underlined the Russian Federation’s responsibility in this context. It called in particular for a halt to the continuous violations of the ceasefire, a withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE.

4. We reiterate that we consider the so-called “presidential and parliamentary elections” in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts on 2 November as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognise them. They are in breach of the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol. We call on Russia to assume its responsibility in this regard. All sides should work towards early local elections in these parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk Protocol, as the only legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities.

5. Mr Chairman, to ensure implementation of commitments undertaken by the parties under the Minsk agreements, we underline the need for intensification of talks in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group, with the support of Ambassador Tagliavini, and call on all concerned participants, the Russian Federation in particular, to engage actively and constructively. We agree with Ambassador Tagliavini that all signatories must keep their commitments and do so in good faith.

6. We appreciate Ambassador Tagliavini’s attempts at furthering the implementation and strengthening of the arrangements agreed in Minsk, including the provisions related to the cease-fire.

7. We welcome Ambassador Tagliavini’s remarks about an inclusive political dialogue in Ukraine. We believe that on the basis of the outcome of the 26 October parliamentary elections a broad national consensus should be sought in view of intensifying much needed political and economic reforms in Ukraine, including constitutional reform, decentralisation, reform of the judiciary, law enforcement, fight against corruption and ensuring the rights of persons belonging to national minorities. A renewed inclusive, country-wide national dialogue on reforms will be important to consolidate Ukraine's unity and internal cohesion.

8. In concluding, we express our appreciation of Ambassador Tagliavini’s tireless efforts in working towards a sustainable political solution with full respect for OSCE principles and commitments. We wish her success in her endeavours and once again express our strong support for her work.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1026, 20 листопада 2014

1. The EU remains gravely concerned about the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine as well as in Crimea as highlighted in our previous statements today. We are particularly alarmed by the recent heavy shelling and by reports of convoys moving across the Russian border into separatist held areas with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, tanks and troops without insignia. We note from the SMM's reporting that the days 'the convoys were sighted were followed by intensified outgoing artillery shelling' from the territory de facto controlled by Russian-supported separatists. We also note the SMM observation of men in camouflage ‘with Russian Federation flag patches and other badges on their uniforms’ in Luhansk city. Furthermore, we note the observation of an “armoured truck carrying an antiaircraft machine gun” with a “Russian flag on it”.

2. Having assessed the situation on the ground, the EU Foreign Affairs Council last Monday initiated the preparation for a decision by the end of this month on additional listings targeting separatists. The EU will continue to closely follow the situation on the ground and will act accordingly. We reiterate our call for a halt to the continuous violations of the ceasefire, a withdrawal of all illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE. In this context, we expressed our position on the need for a swift expansion and extension of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints earlier today. Full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders is essential and we call on Russia to respect it.

3. We reiterate the important role of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in supporting the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum and the need to provide the SMM with the resources needed to fulfil these tasks. We remind all parties concerned of their responsibility for a safe environment for the OSCE monitors and equipment, including UAVs. We once again call for the monitors to have free and unrestricted access, including to all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, to fulfil their mandate. We deeply regret that armed pro-Russian separatists do not provide the SMM with such access. We reiterate our interest in hearing more about the activities of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination (JCCC) and its relationship with the SMM and call for more transparency.

4. We welcome the recent OSCE-brokered access to important parts of the MH17 crash site and reiterate our call on all States and actors to ensure full access and provide full co-operation with the ongoing independent international investigations. It is essential to safeguard the integrity of these international investigations. We underline that those directly and indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 will be held accountable and brought to justice.

5. Mr Chairman, we continue to follow the humanitarian impact of the crisis and the rising number of affected persons with great concern. We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian principles and to facilitate the work of international humanitarian organisations. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide assistance. The impact on the civilian population should not be exploited for military or political ends. Assistance should be delivered through the appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. We deplore that the Russian Federation has once again conducted so-called “humanitarian” convoys without adhering to international law, norms and principles.

6. Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU statement in response to the Report by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ms. Astrid Thors, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1026, 20 листопада 2014

1. The European Union warmly welcomes High Commissioner Astrid Thors back to the Permanent Council and thanks her for her comprehensive report on recent activities.

2. The EU highlights its support for the office and the mandate of the High Commissioner. We reiterate the importance we attach to the respect of rights of persons belonging to national minorities. We call on all OSCE participating States to respect the mandate of the HCNM and to co-operate closely with her office on all matters related to national minorities and to make full use of its expertise. Quiet diplomacy, which characterises the work of the High Commissioner, is less visible to the public but brings results of lasting importance. We reiterate that the HCNM should have the necessary means to fulfil her mandate.

3. We commend the work done in the areas of education, including in multilingual and integrated education, effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public life as well as policing in multi-ethnic societies.

4. We also see the need for developing effective policies for integration of persons belonging to minorities as an essential aspect of a tolerant and stable society. We commend the High Commissioner for her activities in promoting the Ljubljana Guidelines on Integration of Diverse Societies and the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations. Any concerns in respect to minorities should be addressed with full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourly relations. We are also grateful for the HCNM’s timely focus on the need to ensure full respect for the commitments of the Helsinki Final Act at this year’s HDIM.

5. We welcome the HCNM’s engagement in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine, and note the HCNM’s recommendations to the Government of Ukraine on language an identity issues. The EU would like to make the following points in the context of the situation in and around Ukraine.

6. First, the EU believes that a renewed inclusive, country-wide national dialogue on reforms, involving all stakeholders from all the regions of Ukraine will be important to consolidate Ukraine’s unity and internal cohesion. However, any dialogue requires a readiness to engage on all sides. The rights of persons belonging to national minorities need to be fully ensured in line with the relevant international standards, including those of the OSCE and the Council of Europe. We welcome the commitment of the Government of Ukraine in this regard. We reiterate our continuing concern about the widespread violations of rights in parts of eastern and southern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatists including denying people the possibility to vote in the recent Rada elections.

7. Second, we share the High Commissioner’s deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula. We have many times expressed our concern about the precarious position of both the Crimean Tatar and the Ukrainian-speaking communities after the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We are concerned about continuing reports, which the HCNM also bears witness to, of disappearances, police raids and arrests. We condemn in particular the persecution and intimidation of the Tatar community, including cases of kidnapping, torturing and killing of young male Crimean Tatars. We share the High Commissioner’s view that the authorities in effective control of Crimea appear to be pursuing a deliberate policy to undermine and marginalise the self-governance structure of the Crimean Tatars, including through the eviction of the Mejlis from its premises in Simferopol and interrogations of its activists.

Third, we would like to hear the High Commissioner’s assessment of the imposition of Russian citizenship in Crimea, and how this relates to the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations. We share the HCNM’s view that the denial of basic rights may also increase the risk of inter-ethnic conflict on the Crimean peninsula. We reiterate that the HCNM and other international human rights actors should be granted full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

8. We support the High Commissioner’s activities in Serbia in this reporting period in the fields of education, minority languages and ethnic minority culture, in close cooperation with the Serbian authorities.

9. We welcome her visit to Albania, the first visit by a High Commissioner since 1994. Progress has been made concerning the protection of rights of persons belonging to national minorities and we encourage the authorities to enhance the dialogue with representatives of these minorities.

10.  We share the High Commissioner’s concern that the situation of minorities in Kyrgyzstan remains precarious and we call upon the authorities to enhance their efforts to promote integration and build a cohesive multi-ethnic society. We commend the High Commissioner for her active engagement in Tajikistan, in particular activities concerning the Central Asia Education Programme. The situation concerning minority communities remains a concern to us. We are pleased that the Government of Tajikistan’s response to the violence in Khorog in May 2014 was measured and encourage the authorities to implement the agreements that were reached with civil society.

11. Finally, we thank Ms. Thors and her staff for their excellent work and once again express our full support for the High Commissioner and her team.

Agenda item 5 (c): Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 20 листопада 2014

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2014/58, on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Deputy Director General, Tero Varjoranta, for his comprehensive technical briefing on 12 November. The EU would like to reiterate its full support for the Agency and for its key verification role.

 Mr Chairman,

3. The EU fully supports the on-going diplomatic efforts led by Baroness Catherine Ashton, together with China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue.

4. The EU notes from the Director General's report that the Agency is ready to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues under the Framework for Cooperation, but that this can only be realised by increased cooperation by Iran andby the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documents, sites, material and personnel in Iran, as requested by the Agency.

Mr Chairman,

5. The EU deeply regrets the lack of progress on PMD issues and that essential measures under the third Step relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations were not implemented by the agreed deadline of 25 August. After two further technical meetings in Tehran on 7 October and 2 November, Iran has still not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation. We fully endorse the Agency's approach of considering and acquiring an understanding of each outstanding issue, and then integrating all of the issues into a "system" and assessing that system as a whole. We welcome the confirmation in the report that once the Agency has established an understanding of the whole picture concerning issues with possible military dimensions, the Director General will report on the Agency's assessment to the Board of Governors.

6. In addition, the EU shares the Agency’s concern highlighted in the report that the activities at the Parchin site are likely to have further undermined the Agency's ability to conduct effective verification, and concur that it remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency's questions and access to the particular location in question. We reiterate that it is essential and urgent that Iran cooperates fully and in a timely manner with the Agency regarding all outstanding issues.

7. The EU wishes to reiterate its position regarding implementation of UN Security Council and Board of Governors' resolutions. We call on Iran to implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to its Safeguards Agreement and to bring into force its Additional Protocol, which is a requirement under UNSC and Board of Governors resolutions. In the absence of this, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore is not able to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

8. The EU underlines that resolving all outstanding issues will be essential to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated long-term settlement, which is the EU's objective. It is vital that Iran engages fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues, including those pointing to possible military dimensions, in order to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Agenda item 5b: Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 20 – 21 листопада 2014

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his oral report. The nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and its decision to cease all cooperation with the IAEA remain a matter of grave concern to the European Union.

3. The EU has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms the third nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 12 February 2013, which is an outright violation of its international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. This nuclear test represents a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

4. The EU further condemns the continuation of the DPRK’s proliferation activities and recalls that all UN Member States are obliged to comply with the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

5. The EU deplores the DPRK's decision to pursue the ill-advised path of provocation and isolation, in defiance of the international community's united condemnation of the DPRK’s use of ballistic missile and ballistic missile technology. The EU also continues to deplore the DPRK's continuous provocative launches of Short Range Ballistic Missiles, as well as the test-firing of medium range ballistic missiles this year. The pursuit by the DPRK of its illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, as well as its willingness to trade in related technologies, constitutes a grave challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to peace and stability in the region.

6. The EU has given effect to UN Security Council Resolution 2087 (2013) and UN Security Council Resolution 2094 (2013). In line with the objectives of those Resolutions, and as a further step in defence of the international non-proliferation regime, the EU adopted additional autonomous restrictive measures. These measures include prohibitions on the export and import of goods and technology which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes. Additional measures in trade, transport and financial sectors have also been taken by the EU.

Mr Chairman,

7. The EU is deeply concerned by the DPRK’s statements claiming to have the right to conduct nuclear tests. The EU would also like to recall its serious concerns about the DPRK's uranium enrichment programme as well as the construction of a Light Water Reactor at the Yongbyon site. We remain equally concerned about claims that the DPRK may be capable of building a miniature nuclear warhead, a further step needed to complete the development of a nuclear-tipped warhead.

8. The Director General’s (DG) report for the September Board noted that since his report of a year ago, the Agency has observed, through satellite imagery, ongoing renovation and new construction activities at various locations within the Yongbyon site. Furthermore, the Agency has observed, mainly through satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water at the 5 MW(e) reactor, signatures which are consistent with the reactor's operation. All these activities appear to be broadly consistent with the DPRK's statements that it is further developing nuclear capabilities. This can only deepen our concerns.

9. The EU continues to believe that the IAEA has an essential role to play in verifying the application of safeguards in the DPRK, and again urges the DPRK to allow an early return of IAEA inspectors and to provide the IAEA with the requested access to individuals, documentation, sites, equipment and facilities.

10. The EU stresses, once again, that the DPRK is bound by its international obligations, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094, and by its IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement under the NPT, and urges the DPRK to comply with them fully, unconditionally and without delay. The EU demands that the DPRK abandons all its existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment programme, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and refrains from any further provocative actions and statements.

11. Additionally, the DPRK should commit itself to the September 2005 Joint Statement and to the ultimate objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. In this context, the EU calls upon the DPRK to re-engage constructively with the international community and in particular the members of the Six-Party Talks by taking meaningful steps towards denuclearisation in order to work towards lasting peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and in order to secure a more prosperous and stable future for the DPRK. The EU also calls on the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

12. Finally, Mr Chairman, the EU would like to recall that the IAEA General Conference, in its Resolution (GC (57)/RES/14) on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement between the Agency and the DPRK, decided that the IAEA should remain seized of the matter. The EU requests the Director General to keep the Board of Governors informed of this issue. The EU also requests to maintain this item on the agenda of Board of Governors’ meetings.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on "elections" in eastern Ukraine

The EU considers the holding of "presidential and parliamentary elections" in Donetsk and Luhansk "People’s Republics" on 2 November as illegal and illegitimate and will not recognise them. These so-called "elections", as well as any acknowledgement or recognition of them, are in breach of the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol and we call on Russia to assume its responsibility in this regard. The EU calls on all sides to work towards early local elections in these parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk Protocol, as the only legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities.

In order to find a sustainable political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine through dialogue, the EU urges all parties to fully implement the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum swiftly and without further delay. It once again underlines the Russian Federation's responsibility in this context and calls in particular for a withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian border with permanent monitoring under the OSCE verification. It recalls that a solution to the crisis can only be based on the respect of Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The EU is particularly worried about continuing violation of the ceasefire, the resulting losses of lives and increasing numbers of internally displaced persons. The EU will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and calls on all parties to facilitate distribution of aid to populations in need, on the basis of non-discrimination, cooperation with established humanitarian actors and with the consent of competent national authorities.

The Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2015,Statement on the occasion of the TACC, 17-19 листопада 2014

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The EU wishes to thank Director General Amano and the Secretariat for the documents provided for this meeting and in particular the Agency’s Proposed Programme for 2015 as contained in document GOV/2014/52. We also thank Deputy Director General Kwaku Aning for the technical briefing on the 29 October as well as for his introductory remarks.

3. At the outset, the EU and its Member States would like to reaffirm our longstanding and strong support for the Agency’s Technical Cooperation activities and welcome the proposed programme for 2015. We fully appreciate the role of the IAEA in promoting a responsible development of peaceful applications of nuclear technology including in the areas of: Safety and Security, Water Resources and Environment, Health and Nutrition, Food and Agriculture, Energy, Industrial Applications/Radiation Technology, Nuclear Knowledge Development and Management. We also commend the Department of TC for its focus on supporting human capacity building as a crosscutting priority of the TC Programme in each of its six technical fields.

4. With reference to the thematic distribution of resources, we note that the largest share of the TC Programme in 2015 will be devoted to health and nutrition, addressing fundamental human needs. In this regard, we would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the Director General for his Report entitled “IAEA support to enhance response capacities of Member States in regard to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, including Ebola Virus Disease”, as contained in document GOV/INF/2014/22, and the relevant technical briefing held on the 17 October.

5. We support the participation of the Agency, within its mandate and through its TC Programme, to the global effort called for by the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We commend the Department of Technical Cooperation for the ongoing emergency TCP Reserve project aimed at strengthening the capacities of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea for rapid and effective EVD diagnosis, in close collaboration with the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) and with WHO. We look forward to receiving updates on the Agency’s short-term support, as well as on the proposed off-cycle regional project to strengthen national and regional capacities in detecting zoonotic diseases.

6. In more general terms, we greatly value the continuous efforts by the IAEA to align its TC Programme with the international development agenda, and we look forward to receiving a report on the contribution of the TC Programme to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 2015 will offer a unique opportunity to the Secretariat to present to Member States and a broader audience a comprehensive assessment of such contribution. We are also confident that the IAEA will be able to enhance its role in the Post-2015 development agenda and we encourage the Agency to continue its advocacy of the importance of science, technology and innovation in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. We also welcome and encourage Member States’ participation in support of the Post-2015 development agenda.

7. The EU and its Member States look forward to the implementation of the resolution of the 58th General Conference “Strengthening of the Agency’s technical cooperation activities” contained in document GC(58)/RES/12 as well as the Board decision “Report of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities (WGFAA), including to examine the ways and means to render resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund sufficient, assured and predictable” contained in GOV/2014/49.

8. Indeed, we will continue to strongly support all those measures intended to improve the TC programme, and to further enhance consultation, transparency, accountability, effectiveness and efficiency. In particular, the EU believes that the role of the TACC should be strengthened by organising regular informal meetings of the TACC in a timely manner so as to foster discussions on the TC Programme both among Member States, and between Member States and the Secretariat. We also remain convinced that it is important to ensure fair and well-balanced access to the TC Programme. In this sense, we would like to encourage the Secretariat to continue working to facilitate the participation, in particular, of the least developed countries (LDCs).

9. We would like to emphasize the importance of the conclusion of the required Revised Supplementary Agreements (RSAs) and reiterate our view that Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) should be further promoted. Recalling that Agency assistance should be provided only to those countries signatory to a Revised Supplementary Agreement, we welcome the signature of 124 RSAs by the end of August 2014. We also appreciate that further progress has been made in the process of signing and updating CPFs, bringing to 89 the number of valid CPFs at present. We take this opportunity to stress once again the importance of CPFs, as they allow a deeper understanding of national development plans, foster synergies among projects focusing on the same country and seek linkages with United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF).

10. In this regard, the EU and its Member States positively note the efforts made by the Secretariat in promoting the UNDAF joint programming in the last few years. We encourage further progress to develop partnerships with relevant UN organizations, multilateral financial institutions, regional development bodies and other relevant inter-governmental and non-governmental partners. Our expectation is that the IAEA will continue improving the interaction with those entities, in particular in the United Nations system, in order to increase leverage, long-term sustainability and impact of TC activities and to avoid duplications and inefficiencies.

11. Along these lines, the EU and its Member States welcome and further encourage the continuing efforts of the Secretariat to optimize the quality and rationalize the number of TC projects, in order to increase the programme efficiency and create synergies among projects. In our opinion, it is important to give priority to more focused and comprehensive projects, which will contribute to a more efficient use of the available resources, avoid duplications, and facilitate better evaluation of their quality. We believe that increasing the “value for money” through a systematic search for more efficiency gains is essential.

12. In this regard, the EU and its Member States would also like to reiterate the importance of achieving measurable outcomes based upon verifiable performance indicators included in each project. We continue to believe that a robust application of Results-based Management would contribute to the alignment of projects to the planned and intended results. We are also convinced that a shared, reliable and systematic monitoring activity would certainly help in raising transparency and accountability of the TC Programme, in order to better evaluate projects according to lessons learned and the criteria of relevance, ownership, sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness. Therefore, we have positively acknowledged the application of the RBM approach in all phases of the TC Programme cycle 2014-15 and we request the Secretariat to continue its relevant monitoring activity also in 2015.

13. We note that a rate of attainment of 88% has been used as a basis for calculating the resources expected to be available next year. We take note of the distribution of the TC core programme for 2015 onwards and of the Footnote-a/component, which reflects the ongoing priorities of Member States as well as the distribution of TC core programme by region. We welcome the emphasis on support to human capacity building with 69.3% of 2015 core resources planned for delivery under various human resources components.

14. The European Union continues to provide financial support to both the IAEA and to other cooperation initiatives with third countries in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and technology. In the budget period 2007-2013, the EU contributed to the IAEA approximately EUR 120 million. As further support to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the EU has allocated € 225 million over the period 2014 – 2020 for the promotion of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear material in third countries.

15. The EU and its Member States would like to recall the importance of timely and full payment of National Participation Costs (NPCs) and of the implementation of mandatory safety and security measures by recipient Member States, as key factors enabling them to fully benefit from TC Programme activities. We also reiterate our call on the Secretariat to ensure that the technical assistance provided through the Programme meets relevant criteria defined by the General Conference resolutions and guidelines, relevant safety, security and safeguards requirements and, where appropriate, relevant decisions of the UN Security Council.

16. In conclusion, we express our appreciation for the Agency’s TC Programme and reassure the Secretariat of our continued support and cooperation. With these comments, the EU and its Member States support the recommended actions in document GOV/2014/52.

Thank you,

Evaluation of Technical Cooperation Activities in 2014,Statement on the occasion of the TACC, 17-19 листопада 2014

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. At the outset, the EU would like to take this opportunity to thank the Director of the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS), Mr. Carsten Meyer, the staff of OIOS and the Secretariat for preparing the report on “Evaluation of Technical Cooperation Activities in 2014” as contained in document GOV/2014/54 and its annexes. We also wish to thank the Director of OIOS for the technical briefing on 28 October, as well as for his introductory remarks.

Mr. Chairman,

3. In reaffirming their longstanding and strong support for the IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme, the EU and its Member States have repeatedly stressed the importance of reliable and systematic evaluation and monitoring activities, in order to help raise efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability of the programme. In this regard, we would like to express our appreciation to both OIOS and the External Auditor in evaluating TC projects.

4. Whilst noting that the External Auditor’s latest findings are included in the report by the Director General on "The Agency's Financial Statements for 2013" contained in document GOV/2014/14, in the following comments we will focus solely on the Report by the Director of OIOS (GOV/2014/54) before us.

5. The EU and its Member States take note of the findings of the four evaluations contained in the Report and its annexes. We are firmly convinced that the work of OIOS is an indispensable part of the project cycle, as acknowledged by the General Conference in all its Resolutions on strengthening the IAEA technical cooperation of the last few years. We appreciate that TC activities are evaluated on the basis of specific outcomes achieved in relation to the relevant Country Programme Framework (CPF) or national development plan. We also appreciate that OIOS included the monitoring aspect in all of its 2014 evaluations.

6. The findings of “Evaluation of the technical cooperation programme fellowship component” confirm that the development of human resources and capacity building have been quite successful. According to the Report overall, the fellowship component of the TC Programme is relevant to the needs of IAEA Member States and is achieving its aims. Nonetheless, fellowships appear to be more effective when specific contributing factors are in place, both in terms of government capacity and of the intrinsic quality of the project. In this regard, we believe there is some room for improvements, as identified in the relevant recommendations suggested by OIOS. We note that there is evidence of intended and unintended positive impact related to the TC Programme fellowship component, even though the lack of regular follow-up monitoring has limited the understanding of its extent.

7. The evaluation of the “Technical Cooperation Work on Nuclear Knowledge Management and Development” clarifies that TC projects in this field have contributed to positive short and long-term outcomes for IAEA Member States and counterparts. In general, the findings reflect a satisfactory degree of efficiency, effectiveness and quality of the technical support provided by the Agency, despite some procedural oversights and communication gaps. In view of the report-related findings, we are concerned that misunderstandings seem to persist amongst Agency staff and national counterparts as to how knowledge management should be defined, and what the Agency’s role is with respect to providing such support through the TC Programme. It has also been found that monitoring and evaluation in this sector have been generally weak, with poorly defined and measured outcomes, negatively affecting the ongoing project management and their long-term sustainability.

8. We appreciate that OIOS conducted a general evaluation of the “external communication and outreach activities of the TC programme”. We positively note that a broad range of communication products and services produced by the Department of TC are considered by IAEA staff and Member States’ representatives as relevant and generally supportive to their counterparts' requirements. Nonetheless, findings reveal that this approach may result in a portfolio of materials that lacks an overall strategic focus, a clear narrative based around key messages and relevance to some important target audience. Coming to the content of communication materials, the evaluation found that a beneficiary angle and a focus on project outcomes were often absent. In particular, the lack of “human interest” content appears to be among the causes of limited coverage in the media. We concur with OIOS in recommending that strategic communications priorities be set, based on key messages focusing on the human dimension of the problems addressed by the TC Programme. In this regard, 2015 will offer a unique opportunity for a broad public campaign on the contribution of the TC Programme to the attainment of the MDGs.

9. In more general terms, we support OIOS in its efforts to constantly improve the internal evaluation capacity of the Agency and to further align its approach with relevant trends across the broader UN system. In this regard, we have found to be particularly noteworthy the “Evaluation of the Agency’s performance in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”. We appreciate that the findings confirmed that overall IAEA work in Pakistan has been well planned, carefully conducted and, above all, highly relevant to the national needs. According to the Report, the Agency has clearly contributed to several positive short and long-term outcomes within the country, even though some efficiency gaps were identified.

10. We take note that the evaluation in Pakistan was conducted as a case study for testing a new approach to performance assessment by OIOS, combining a comprehensive country-level evaluation and a closer collaboration between evaluation and audit functions. In this regard, OIOS is recommending that the Secretariat develops a proposal for undertaking such an independent country-level assessment on a routine basis. We look with interest at further application of this combined approach, as we concur that it may have a significant potential in terms of efficiency gains, effectiveness and comprehensiveness of OIOS activities.

11. Coming to the rate of implementation of OIOS recommendations, we positively note that recommendations issued before 2011 has been either implemented or closed. We also appreciate that 77.6% of OIOS recommendations issued in the last triennium (2011-13) were already implemented, while 11.8% are currently under implementation. This confirms the positive trend in the last evaluation cycles. Nonetheless, the EU and its Member States wish to reiterate their call for the full implementation of all OIOS recommendations. We are still concerned that more than 10% of OIOS recommendations have been rejected. In this regard, we thank OIOS for providing a “Summary of Rejected Recommendations”, as contained in Annex 6 to the Report before us, including also the responses of the Secretariat. In our opinion, it is a useful tool to further increase the transparency of the implementation process.

12. We remain convinced that all OIOS reports and other documents related to the evaluation of TC projects should be shared with Member States as a valuable learning instrument. We note that the estimated cost of TC evaluations was equivalent to 0.75% of the TCF for 2014. It represents a slight increase of 0.04% compared to that of last year. However, this allocation is still significantly lower than in other UN organisations. We reiterate our view that, the IAEA should expand the scope of evaluation efforts to enable continuous improvement of its TC Programme.

13. In taking note of the evaluation work plan for the 2015-2016 biennium, we would encourage closer coordination between OIOS and the Department of Technical Cooperation. We believe that such a coordination, along with a more intensive exchange of information with Member States on the results of all internal evaluations, will contribute to increasing the transparency and accountability of the TC Programme, with a view to enhance project assessment, according to the criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. The EU and its Member States support the Secretariat in its continued efforts to address the challenges of a comprehensive and in-depth evaluation of the TC Programme.

14. With these comments, the EU and its Member States take note of document GOV/2014/54.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 5d: Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 20-21 листопада 2014

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his update on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Mr Chairman,

3. The Board of Governors, in its resolution of 9 June 2011, reported Syria’s non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations and called upon Syria to remedy urgently this non-compliance.

4. This resolution, fully supported by the EU, was based on the conclusion of the Agency 'that the destroyed building at the Dair Alzour site was very likely a nuclear reactor and should have been declared by Syria pursuant to Articles 41 and 42 of its Safeguards Agreement and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements thereto'.

5. The EU deeply regrets that, despite this resolution, the Syrian pledge of May 2011 to the Director General to respond positively and without delay to the Agency's request to resolve all outstanding questions, and repeated calls by the Director General, Syria has yet to provide the necessary cooperation. The EU, once again, strongly urges Syria to comply fully with the Resolution.

6. The Syrian authorities remain responsible, as required by the Board's resolution, for urgently remedying their non-compliance with their Safeguards Agreement, and for cooperating urgently and transparently with the Agency to clarify matters with regard to Dair Alzour and the other relevant sites, and to conclude and bring into force an Additional Protocol as soon as possible.

7. Finally, Mr Chairman, the EU requests that the Director General keeps the Board of Governors informed about this issue and maintains this item on the agenda of its meetings until Syria fully cooperates with the Agency to resolve the international community's concerns.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Agenda Item 6: Any Other Business (INC), Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 20-21 листопада 2014

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

The European Union would like to respond to comments made by some Member States today. The EU regrets that the issue of Israeli Nuclear Capabilities has once again been brought before this Board. The EU remains convinced that a consensual approach is the only way to make progress towards implementing the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Agenda Item 6: Any other business - Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 20-21 листопада 2014

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

It remains a strategic priority of the EU to support peace and stability in the entire Middle East. The EU therefore reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East, as agreed by NPT states parties in a Resolution on the Middle East during the 1995 Review Conference and as mentioned in the 2010 NT outcome document.

The EU regrets that it has not been possible so far to convene a Conference, to be attended by all States of the region, on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in the Middle East.

The EU remains fully committed to the objective of establishing such a zone. In that regard, we commend Ambassador Laajava and his team for their tireless efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful Conference with the participation of all States of the region, including through recent and ongoing consultations to prepare for the Conference to be convened on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between the States of the region. We have constantly called on all parties concerned to continue to work and engage constructively with the Facilitator, the co-conveners and each other to this end.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

EU Statement at the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, Geneva, 13 листопада 2014

Mr President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Mr President,

Let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment as President of our Meeting and by pledging our full cooperation and support in your endeavours. It gives us great pleasure to see the representative of an EU Member State presiding over our proceedings.

We have always supported international efforts to address the considerable security, humanitarian and socio-economic impact of conventional weapons and to halt their indiscriminate use. Promoting effective international multilateralism is a key priority for us. With a view to supporting the implementation of International Humanitarian Law, we remain firmly committed to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and the Protocols thereto which provides a unique forum to gather diplomatic, legal and military expertise, as well as to address existing and emerging issues. We believe that these instruments also constitute effective means to respond in a flexible way to future developments in the field of weapons technology, and above all, to support the implementation of an essential part of International Humanitarian Law which contributes to both preventing and reducing the suffering of civilians and combatants.

For us, universalization of the CCW and its Protocols is an issue of high importance and we support the Accelerated Plan of Action on Universalization with the goal of achieving global adherence. We welcome the accession of Iraq to the Convention and its annexed Protocols. A lot has been done but further work is still needed. We urge all States that have not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the Convention and the Protocols in the near future, with a view to achieving the widest possible adherence at an early date and ultimately achieve the goal of universalisation. We welcome the continued efforts by the Secretary General and by past and present Presidents to that end.

We stress once again the importance of compliance with the provisions of the Convention and the annexed Protocols and, in particular, the transparency mechanism established with the annual compliance reports. We encourage States parties which have not yet done so to submit compliance reports as soon as possible.

We welcome the informal discussions held from 13 to 16 May 2014, which allowed us to have four days of substantive discussion on the issue of emerging technologies in the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons systems (LAWs). We thank France for leading this productive meeting. It has provided an important opportunity to exchange preliminary views and explore fundamental technical, legal, ethical and societal, operational and military aspects in this area and helped to lay the ground for a better common understanding of the issue. Important questions, though, still remain. We are looking forward to the discussion of this important issue this afternoon and we support the renewal of the mandate of another informal Meeting of Experts in 2015 in the framework of the CCW, in order to continue the debate and further enhance our common understandings.

With regard to Mines Other Than Anti-Personnel Mines (MOTAPM) and the protection of civilians, we would like to reiterate our concern on the humanitarian impact and the heavy consequences on social and economic development caused by the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of these weapons. At the same time, it is important to seek a balance between humanitarian concerns and military considerations acknowledging that MOTAPM can be used as legitimate weapons provided appropriate safeguards are present to ensure the protection of civilians in accordance with International Humanitarian Law. We therefore believe that further discussions on MOTAPM in the framework of the CCW could be valuable. We are looking forward to the presentation of the conclusions of the recently completed study on this issue undertaken by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining (GICHD).

We had constructive discussions on Protocol V and Amended Protocol II earlier this week. We are concerned at the world wide Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) threat and the growing political and humanitarian impact of IED use particularly on civilian populations.  We highly value the discussion and the substantive exchange of views on IED during the meeting of Experts held in April. This discussion contributed to increasing awareness of the IED threat.

We consider the contribution of civil society and NGOs as a valuable part of the work of the CCW and also an important support for the effective implementation and improvement of International Humanitarian Law. Their participation brings additional expertise and knowledge from the field and has a positive impact on our work. Therefore, we support the continued participation of civil society and NGOs in the CCW in accordance with its rules of procedure.

We are looking forward to a constructive and productive annual meeting to discuss further relevant topics on the use of conventional weapons and seek to develop effective options to advance our common objectives.

Thank you Mr President

Déclaration de l’Union européenne en réponse aux co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk, au Représentant personnel de la Présidence en exercice pour le conflit dont relève la Conférence de Minsk, ainsi qu’au chef du Groupe de Planification de Haut Niveau, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1025, 13 листопада 2014

L’Union européenne souhaite la bienvenue aux co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk, au Représentant personnel de la Présidence en exercice pour le conflit dont relève la Conférence de Minsk, ainsi qu’au chef du Groupe de Planification de Haut Niveau, et les remercie de leurs rapports circonstanciés.

L’Union européenne réitère à cette occasion son soutien au Groupe de Minsk et renouvelle son entière confiance aux co-présidents pour faire progresser la recherche d’un règlement politique, équitable et durable du conflit au Haut-Karabagh, qu’elle considère comme vital pour l’avenir de la région. Nous invitons les parties à privilégier la voie d’un dialogue constructif et les encourageons à tirer meilleur profit des efforts déployés par les coprésidents.

L’Union européenne réitère son attachement à un règlement pacifique du conflit, sur la base des principes fondamentaux de la Charte des Nations Unies et de l’Acte final d’Helsinki. L’Union européenne rappelle à cet égard l’engagement pris par les Présidents d’Arménie et d’Azerbaïdjan à l’occasion du Sommet de Sotchi du 23 janvier 2012 d’accélérer la conclusion d’un accord sur les Principes de base en vue d’un règlement du conflit du Haut-Karabagh et regrette l’absence de progrès sur ce point.

L’Union européenne salue le fait que les présidents arménien et azerbaïdjanais se soient rencontrés à 4 occasions au cours de l’année écoulée, à Vienne en novembre 2013, puis récemment à Sotchi en août, à Newport en septembre et à Paris le 27 octobre.  L’Union européenne appelle à ce que l’accord trouvé lors du Sommet de Paris sur l’échange de données sur les disparus du conflit, sous l’égide du CICR, soit mis en œuvre dans les meilleurs délais et puisse être suivi d’autres mesures de confiance. Elle regrette à cet égard qu’en dépit des efforts déployés par les co-Présidents pour la mise en place d’un mécanisme d’investigation des incidents le long de la ligne de front, cet engagement des parties, réitéré à Sotchi, n’ait pu encore être réalisé.

Dans le même temps, l’Union européenne soutient les déclarations des présidents de la République française, des Etats-Unis et de la Fédération de Russie reconnaissant le caractère insoutenable du statu quo et appelant à avancer vers la l’élaboration d’un traité de paix global.

L’Union européenne est disposée à fournir un soutien accru aux efforts de règlement du conflit dans le cadre de l’établissement de mesures de confiance, en appui et en pleine complémentarité du Groupe de Minsk, en vue de faciliter les prochaines étapes de mise en œuvre de la paix.

Monsieur le Président,

Nous souhaitons faire part de notre appréciation positive du travail réalisé, parfois dans des conditions de sécurité difficiles, par le Représentant personnel de la Présidence en exercice pour le conflit dont relève la Conférence de Minsk, l’Ambassadeur Kasprzyk, et son équipe. L’Union européenne attache la plus grande importance à la poursuite sans entrave de leurs activités de surveillance du cessez-le-feu sur la ligne de contact et le long de la frontière entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan. Ces activités contribuent incontestablement à réduire les tensions dans la région et constituent un instrument précieux pour mettre en œuvre des mesures de confiance sur le terrain.

L’Union européenne réitère à cet égard sa préoccupation face aux incidents de cette année, qui ont été les plus violents depuis plus de 20 ans. Nous sommes profondément préoccupés par l’incident d’hier concernant l’hélicoptère abattu le long de la ligne de contact et exprimons nos condoléances aux familles des victimes. Nous exprimons notre plus vif souhait que cet incident ne donne pas lieu à une escalade, ni ne porte atteinte à la poursuite des négociations.

De manière générale, nous restons vivement préoccupés par les rapports d’incidents armés récurrents le long de la ligne de contact ainsi qu’à la frontière internationale entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan et la persistance d’un nombre élevé de victimes. Nous condamnons tout usage de la force et appelons les parties concernées à éviter toute action de nature à alimenter les tensions. A cette fin, nous appelons les parties au strict respect du cessez-le-feu auquel elles se sont engagées, à mettre fin aux incursions de part et d’autre de la ligne de contact et à observer une retenue aussi bien sur le terrain que dans leurs déclarations publiques. L’Union européenne appelle les parties à des efforts et des mesures de confiance supplémentaires pour renforcer le cessez-le-feu.

L’Union européenne salue la participation des membres du Groupe de Minsk, ainsi que du Groupe de Planification de Haut Niveau à quelques-unes des missions de surveillance qui ont eu lieu cette année.

Monsieur le Président,

L’Union européenne réitère son soutien aux activités de planification pour le déploiement d’une mission de maintien de la paix de l’OSCE pour le conflit du Haut-Karabagh. Le déploiement d’une telle mission dépendra toutefois de la conclusion d’un accord global par les parties sur la base des principes identifiés pour un règlement pacifique du conflit, sous l’égide du Groupe de Minsk.

En conclusion, l’Union européenne renouvelle son plein soutien à la médiation conduite par les co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk, aux activités de l’ambassadeur Kasprzyk, ainsi qu’à la planification conduite par le Groupe de Planification de Haut Niveau. L’ensemble de ces processus, qui doivent être coordonnés, contribue à un règlement pacifique du conflit du Haut-Karabakh. L’Union européenne réitère également sa détermination à travailler étroitement avec les Parties à la promotion de la stabilité et de la prospérité, ainsi qu’à la consolidation de la démocratie et de l’état de droit dans la région, et à renforcer avec elles ses relations de coopération dans le cadre notamment du Partenariat oriental.

EU Statement on the Abduction by the Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1025, 13 листопада 2014

The European Union remains gravely concerned by the abduction of Estonian Police Officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September 2014 by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the Estonian-Russian border. We continue to underline that Mr. Kohver's abduction and continuing illegal detention constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

Despite repeated calls from Estonia, the European Union and others, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve this matter swiftly.

We are seriously concerned about the conduct of the proceedings in respect of Mr Kohver. Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive appropriate legal aid by the attorney appointed by the Russian authorities. We are particularly disturbed about the order of a psychiatric examination for Mr Kohver and despite continued requests, an Estonian doctor has not been allowed to visit him.

We call once again on the Russian Federation to respect international law, act according to its international obligations and release Mr Eston Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia.

EU Statement on Illegally Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1025, 13 листопада 2014

The European Union remains deeply concerned about the continuing illegal detention in Russia of a number of Ukrainian citizens, including Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko and film producer Oleh Sentsov. We repeat our call for their immediate release.

We note the recent court hearings in Moscow in the case of Nadiia Savchenko, including the hearing on 11 November concerning the decision to place Savchenko in the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry for a psychiatric examination. We find this decision particularly disturbing.

We deeply regret that the Russian Federation has deprived Oleh Sentsov from receiving consular assistance since his detention in May. In continuing to do so, the Russian Federation is in breach of the Article 36 para.1 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. 

We once again call on the Russian Federation to abide by its OSCE commitments and its legal obligations, including as a Member State of the Council of Europe and party to the European Convention on Human Rights. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1025, 13 листопада 2014

The EU is very concerned by the very serious deterioration of the situation in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The reports published by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) about convoys in separatist held areas with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, artillery, multiple-launch rocket systems, tanks and troops without insignia moving westwards represent a very worrying development. Such observations resemble those we were witnessing in Crimea before the illegal Russian annexation. These observations come in addition to reports of heavy outgoing shelling from the Donetsk area, including around the Donetsk airport, and reports over the last week of increased movements of troops and equipment. The Russian-supported separatists are continuing to destabilise the situation and trying to gain strategic advantages in grave violation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum.

It is imperative to avoid any further re-escalation of hostilities and worsening of the situation. All parties must now show utmost restraint, strictly abide by their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and reengage in view of finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We call in particular on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard, including by preventing any further movement of military, weapons and fighters from its territory into Ukraine, and withdrawing all troops, weapons and equipment under its control from Ukraine, as well as by exercising its influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk. We express our concern about the build-up of Russian troops next to the border with Ukraine.

We once again express our strong support for the SMM which continues to provide us with valuable and impartial information on developments on the ground under very difficult circumstances. We continue to rely on the SMM to report on the situation in the areas controlled by the armed separatists and on the implementation of all elements of the Minsk agreements.

The recent developments again underline the importance of establishing substantial OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border without delay. The safety and security of SMM monitors is of paramount importance and they must have safe and free access to fulfil their mandate throughout Ukraine. We welcome the concept paper circulated yesterday by the SMM on border monitoring and, while noting the constraints highlighted in the paper, not least in regard to security of the monitors, encourage the SMM to move swiftly to implementation of effective monitoring of the border, including by the use of UAVs. We also call on the Chairmanship to put forward options for a significant expansion of the Border Checkpoint Observation Mission as we consider a further renewal of its mandate. We again urge Russia to support expanded and effective OSCE monitoring of the border.

Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement in response to the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Mr Ilkka Kanerva, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1025, 13 листопада 2014

The European Union warmly welcomes the President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, H. E. Ilkka Kanerva to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his presentation. As this is Mr Kanerva’s first visit to the OSCE Permanent Council in this function, we would also like to congratulate him on his election and wish him every success.

The EU fully acknowledges the valuable contribution made by the PA to the Organisation and the important role of its members in spreading and implementing OSCE goals and principles. Mr Kanerva, your visit comes at a crucial time for the OSCE where one participating State, the Russian Federation, continues to violate the most basic principles and commitments on which the OSCE is founded and that lives are lost in parts of eastern Ukraine as a result of this. We urge Russia to turn away from the de-stabilising course it has set; to uphold the fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times by acts and public pronouncements. We recall our unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and call upon Russia to do likewise. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it. We welcome Mr Kanerva’s strong engagement in the crisis in and around Ukraine and note the PA’s recent resolutions and frank discussions in this regard as well as the launching of a series of special meetings on this crisis including Parliamentarians from Russia and from Ukraine.

We appreciate the PA’s engagement in promoting our common commitments notably in the area of democratic elections, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the protection of human rights defenders and the rule of law. In their role as members of their national Parliaments, members of the PA have a key role in making sure OSCE principles are implemented and respected in national legislation. Moreover, with their dialogue across borders, members of the PA can advance confidence-building and conflict resolution in the OSCE area. We also strongly support the OSCE PA’s longstanding commitment to the engagement of civil society in OSCE activities.

We have taken note of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s discussions and the resolutions and declarations adopted at its 23rd Annual Meeting in Baku including those adopted as possible inputs to the Ministerial Council in Basel.

We also take note and will study the PA’s announced contribution to the Helsinki+40 process.

We welcome the continued co-operation between the PA and ODIHR on election observation. This, as mandated by MC Decision 19/06 on strengthening the effectiveness of the OSCE, is one of the most important areas of cooperation between ODIHR and the OSCE PA. We believe that constructive cooperation strengthens the overall international election observation efforts and we look forward to seeing this co-operation continued in the future.

EU Statement at the 16th Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II To the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) Geneva, 12 листопада 2014

Madam President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

Alignment clause

At the outset, allow me to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as President of the 16th Conference of States parties to Amended Protocol II of the CCW. It is always a pleasure to see a representative of an EU Member State chairing our proceedings. We wish to assure you of our full cooperation and support in your endeavours.

The Meeting of Experts last April gave us the opportunity to continue constructive discussions on issues related to the implementation of Amended Protocol II. We thank the Coordinators for their excellent work and for their important contributions and recommendations.

We believe that the Amended Protocol II represents an important instrument of International Humanitarian Law in reducing the potential harm caused by mines, booby-traps, and other devices to civilians and we support its full implementation. Compliance with its prohibitions and restrictions helps both to limit the devastating effects of mines, booby-traps and other devices on civilian populations and to improve the security of military personnel in the field.

The universalization of Amended Protocol II remains a high priority objective for us. We support all efforts to that respect. We support the Accelerated Plan of Action on Universalization of the Convention and its annexed Protocols. We welcome the accession of Iraq to the Protocol this year. We are concerned that the rate of adherence remains relatively low in Africa, South East Asia and in the Middle East, and that more than half of the States, who not yet Party to Amended Protocol II are affected by landmines. We call on States that have not yet become parties to Amended Protocol II, to accede to it as soon as possible. We also strongly encourage those remaining states that are Parties to the Original Protocol II to accede to Amended Protocol II, thus facilitating a unified approach by CCW States-parties to the problems arising from the use of mines, booby-traps and other devices.

Amended Protocol II is also a complementary legal tool to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention and we strongly encourage non States parties to join this Convention towards its full universalisation.

Recording of data relating to types of mines and extent of minefields and mined areas, mine risk awareness seminars and educational campaigns facilitate humanitarian assistance, post-conflict reconstruction and the security of peace support operations. Amended Protocol II also allows affected countries to benefit from technical and material assistance.

We attach great importance to the submission of national annual reports for creating transparency, increasing co-operation and building confidence in the implementation of Amended Protocol II. We encourage States parties in submitting their national reports to use the Guide to Reporting to improve the quality of the Amended Protocol II national reports database.

We are concerned at the world wide Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) threat from the illegal and indiscriminate use of IEDs by criminals and terrorists, and their effects particularly on civilian populations.  We highly value the discussion and the substantive exchange of views on IEDs during the meeting of Experts held in April. This discussion contributed to increasing awareness of the IED threat. We took note of the national efforts to combat the spread and clearing of IEDs and the progress made in this field and we warmly thank the coordinators for their substantive non papers, as well as for the recommendations contained in their report. In particular we look forward to further discussions on the idea of a questionnaire to improving international cooperation in C-IED, as well as the idea of a database, portal or platform to enhance information exchange.

We welcome the Compilation of existing guidelines, best practices, and other recommendations available on the CCW Implementation support unit website. In this regard, we underline the importance of information sharing. We also agree that developing best practices aiming at addressing the diversion of materials that could be used for the manufacture of IEDs, as well as best practices aiming at countering the use of IEDs could be a significant contribution to counter-IED efforts. We finally recall the interest to continue discussions promoting victim assistance.

To respond to the IED threat and to restrict access to the explosive precursors that can be misused, the EU adopted in 2013 a Regulation on the Marketing and Use of Explosives Precursors. This Regulation establishes harmonised rules concerning the making available, introduction, possession and use of substances or mixtures that could be misused for the illicit manufacture of explosives, with a view to limiting their availability to the general public, and ensuring the appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain.

We would also like to mention as a practical counter-IED measure the EU Multinational Theatre Exploitation Laboratory which collects, records and analyses information related to IEDs. The Laboratory was first deployed in Afghanistan from 2011-2014 and has proved an effective tool in the fight against IEDs. Building on the experiences of Afghanistan a follow-up initiative, this Laboratory based in the Netherlands, will continue to support the counter-IED efforts.

We consider the contribution of civil society and NGOs as a valuable part of the work of the CCW and also an important support for the effective implementation and improvement of International Humanitarian Law. Their participation brings additional expertise and knowledge from the field and has a positive impact on our work.  It further enhances transparency of our work. Therefore, we support the continued participation of civil society and NGOs in the CCW in accordance with its rules of procedure.

We are looking forward to the outputs of this Conference and hope to have a productive discussion in order to find further effective ways to advance our common objectives.

Thank you

 

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 770, Vienna, EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities, 12 листопада 2014

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the sharp deterioration of the security situation in some parts of Eastern Ukraine resulting in high number of casualties, including the tragic incident on 5 November where two children were killed and four injured after shelling of a school stadium in Donetsk. We express our sincere condolences to the families of the victims and welcome Ukraine Foreign Minister's call for an immediate investigation of this incident.

The recent reports by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine about convoys in separatist held areas with substantial amounts of heavy weapons, tanks and troops without insignia moving westwards represent a very worrying development. It is imperative to avoid any re-escalation of hostilities. All parties must now show utmost restraint, strictly abide by their commitments under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, and reengage in view of finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We call on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard, including by preventing any further movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine, and withdrawing any troops, weapons and equipment under its control from Ukraine, as well as by exercising its influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk.

In this respect, we have noted the latest Ukrainian request for explanation of unusual military activities in the border areas under the Vienna Document with reference number CBM/UA/14/0108/F10/O as well as the answer provided by the Russian Federation with reference number CBM/RU/14/0154/F41/O. We would like to point out however that the latter answer does not contribute at all to dispelling security concerns such as those stemming from reports that the Russian Federation is again strengthening its military presence at the border with Ukraine. All politico-military instruments at hand, the Vienna Document in particular, should be used fully and in good faith in order to enhance military transparency and help promote a peaceful solution to the crisis. 

We strongly condemn any impediment to the SMM monitoring activities, including by means of UAVs, and urge all parties to provide all necessary conditions to allow the SMM to fulfil its tasks fully and without any restrictions in accordance with its mandate and the Minsk Agreements. In this regard, we are especially concerned about military grade jamming of SMM UAVs in the Donetsk region, as well as of the fact that another SMM UAV flight had to be cancelled following a flight risk assessment.

Moreover, the European Union calls on all parties to facilitate distribution of humanitarian aid to populations in need on the basis of non-discrimination, cooperation with established humanitarian actors and with the consent of Ukrainian authorities. We will continue our endeavours to provide humanitarian assistance to all those affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU following the execution of Ms. Reyhane Jabbari in Iran

The European Union is appalled by the execution of Ms Reyhane Jabbari and expresses its most heartfelt condolences to her family, especially her mother.

The European Union deeply regrets that the Iranian judicial system did not allow a retrial of the case, in spite of doubts over the fairness of the trial and Ms Jabbari's constant claims that she was merely defending herself against a sexual assault.

The European Union expresses its deep concern regarding the increasing number of executions in Iran and reiterates its strong opposition to the death penalty which is cruel and inhumane, as well as irreversible. The European Union calls on the Iranian authorities to stay all pending executions and consider establishing a moratorium on the use of death penalty.

Item 5: Closing the gender gaps through economic and social policies Position of the European Union and its Member States

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Insert alignment paragraph

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, we can all agree that we have made progress on gender equality in the EU. Social patterns are changing away from a male bread-winner model to double-income families. Young women remain in education or vocational training for longer. In fact, in the EU nowadays women constitute 60 % of new graduates in secondary education: therefore a gap positive for women, for once. Women have entered the labour market in great numbers and contribute to the European Union’s economic growth and competitiveness. Many of these changes came as a result of political and regulatory pressure.

However, gender gaps continue to exist in education, employment and entrepreneurship, due in particular to existing stereotypes.

Stereotypes persist in education and training systems and continue to influence the choices of girls and women as well as boys and men in regard to subjects of study, areas of training and levels of educational and training attainment. Girls are less likely to choose scientific or technological fields of study, despite similar performance levels compared to boys. Male graduates outnumber female graduates in science, mathematics and computing. In contrast, female graduates largely outnumber male graduates in social sciences, business, law, welfare and health. This affects the employment possibilities, career development, pay and lives of girls and women as well as of boys and men, often with negative repercussions for girls and women.

In the last decades in the EU, the gender gap in employment levels gradually shrank thanks to targeted policies, which have led women to increase their participation in the economy and their contribution to family finances, which in turn has contributed to gender equality and women’s rights. Despite this, women's employment rate in the EU stands at 63% - that of men at 74% and the gender pay gap is still 16% on average. Also most people employed with a part-time contract are women. Inequalities exist in pay and pensions and are cumulated in life conditions for elderly women who get approximately 40% lower pensions than their male peers.

The persistence of stereotypes based on traditional gender roles remains an obstacle to the equal sharing of family and domestic responsibilities between women and men and hinders the realisation of gender equality at the workplace, on the labour market and in society. In the EU, despite progress achieved, women continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of the burden of unpaid household work, raising children and taking care of the elderly and other dependants. This adversely impacts on their opportunities to engage in paid work and in particular in full time work.

We must increase women’s labour market participation, because it is a pre-condition for their empowerment and economic independence and it has a positive overall economic impact. We must raise awareness, tackle stereotypes and empower women to make non-traditional choices and to climb the decision-making ladder. Key for this is to support women and men in their efforts to reconcile work, family and private life. This is  high on the EU political agenda and an important part of our main economic strategy, the Europe 2020 Strategy and the achievement of one of its targets: 75% of employment rate in the EU by 2020. It is a fact that without more women in the labour market the EU will not achieve this target.

What is needed is an holistic approach and we would like to share with you our experience with the “reconciliation policy-mix” made by childcare services, parental leaves, and flexible working arrangements,  we’ve built in the EU:

  • The EU supports the creation of more affordable and higher quality childcare services through the European Investment and Structural Funds. Moreover, Member States’ childcare coverage is measured through a common indicator against an agreed EU target, the so-called Barcelona target.
  • The EU legislation guarantees minimum standards for maternity and for parental leaves. The EU legislation on Parental Leave gives each working parent the right to four months leave after the birth or adoption of a child. At least one of the four months cannot be transferred to the other parent – meaning that it will be lost if not taken – offering incentives to fathers to take the leave.
  • Moreover, flexible work arrangements for both women and men, and equal career opportunities are promoted.

Policies to reconcile work and private life have also often proved to be positive to counter-act the current demographic trends: in many countries with a more developed and comprehensive system higher fertility rates combine with higher female employment rates, while the opposite is true for many countries with less favourable systems.

The continuation of these policies and in particular the provision of services, is therefore crucial, especially in a time of crisis. We therefore need to prioritise investments in care and support services that benefit both women and men and allow for a more equal sharing of household, family and care responsibilities. Good quality in terms of services provided and working and pay conditions remain key issues if we want to avoid the perpetuation of gender labour market segregation.

Thank you Chair.

 

Question to panellists

How to engage men in equally sharing family and working responsibilities? How to support the increasing contribution of men to family life and overcome the stereotypes they still face inside their workplace and in society?

Item 6: Women's representation and leadership in policy and decision-making Position of the European Union and its Member States

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Insert alignment paragraph

Equal representation of women and men in political and economic decision-making is a matter of full enjoyment of human rights and of social justice and a necessary condition for the better functioning of a democratic society. It leads to more efficient policy making through the redefinition of political priorities and the placing of new issues on the political agenda.

This panel discussion provides us with an opportunity to discuss policies and measures to increase gender balanced representation in ECE region, to exchange good practices and learn from each other. Together, we should identify the best comprehensive strategies to make further and rapid progress. In this respect there are several relevant EU actions that can be mentioned:

  • "Equality in decision-making" is one of the six priority areas of action in the European Commission's Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015). Therefore, at EU level, awareness raising activities and exchanges of good practice have been supported and civil society organisations transnational actions have been financed. For example, 23 projects aiming at promoting gender balance in economic decision-making at all levels are currently being implemented with EU financial support. At EU level, a proposal for a Directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges is currently under discussion.
  • With the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020), the EU Member States also committed to prioritise the promotion of the equal participation of women in decision-making. Regulatory and non-regulatory measures have been used at national level to improve the situation.
  • Our efforts also address the monitoring of the situation by collecting data using common indicators developed at EU level (under the framework of the follow-up to the Beijing Platform for Action). In this context, we established in 2003 a EU database on women and men in high decision-making positions in various fields (politics, public administrations, judiciary, business, etc) accessible on-line. We report regularly on progress made through our annual Report on equality between women and men and through specific reports on the topic.

However, despite progress made in many EU Member States and numerous actions undertaken, women continue to be under-represented in politics and progress has been slow (and even stagnated) in some other EU countries. Data from July 2014 shows that the single/lower houses of EU national parliaments comprised, on average, 72% men and just 28% women. On average, women were represented in EU Member States governments at the same rate (28%). Even if some Member States perform much better than others, it is not acceptable that in the EU countries women have not yet the same opportunities as men to participate in the formulation of policies that impact on their lives.

Furthermore, the under-representation of women in leadership positions in the corporate sector is still more disappointing. In April 2014, women accounted only for 18.6% of board members of the largest publicly listed companies registered in the EU. This underutilization of the skills of women, in particular highly qualified women constitutes a loss of economic growth potential. Research from various sources suggests that gender equality in economic decision-making improves the quality and effectiveness of corporate governance and of corporate organisational and financial performance. Reinforcing equal gender representation in managerial positions can have a positive impact on companies' innovativeness and efficiency as well as their public image. By bringing the competences of both women and men into play, we can draw on all possible expertise and resources, promote diversity in the boardroom and also allow women to make their voices heard in economic decision-making. Equal opportunities for women and men is part of corporate social responsibility.

States should actively help increase the number of women in leadership positions. Possible measures include gender balance targets and quotas, incentives to attract women to management positions, transparent evaluation and promotion systems, and support to networking and mentoring programs, female role models and grass roots organisations. Achieving gender equality necessitates real cultural change that cannot be achieved by governments or legislation alone. A voluntary, business-led initiative may also be a powerful driver of change, where governments help the private sector to think about gender equality in their workforces, and take actions where inequalities are identified. These measures should not be isolated but be part of a strategic plan to achieve gender equality.

Thank you chair.

 

Question to the panellists:

  • Achieving gender balance in decision-making positions remains an important challenge for many countries and a comprehensive approach is necessary to tackle the existing barriers. Which measures, regulatory or non-regulatory or combinations of both, have proven to be most efficient to deliver progress? How can we make more rapid and effective progress?

Item 7: Preventing and eliminating violence against women and girls Position of the European Union and its Member States

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Insert alignment paragraph

Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights and is certainly the most brutal manifestation of discrimination. Neither custom, tradition, culture, privacy, religion nor so-called honour can be invoked to justify it or to avoid state obligations with respect to its prevention and elimination and the prosecution of perpetrators. Domestic violence is the most frequent form of violence affecting women and girls. Female genital mutilation is both a violation of human rights and a form of child abuse, and child early and forced marriage, is a violation of human rights that robs girls of their education, health and long term prospects. 

The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls was the focus of the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women: the EU reaffirms its commitment to fully implement the conclusions agreed in that session, and stands ready to assist in their implementation. There is no possibility of building a just and equal society, or to have sustainable development if women continue to be victims of violence just because they are women: this must be taken into account in the preparation of the post-2015 agenda. Violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights that has short and long-term adverse consequences on their health, including their sexual and reproductive health. We therefore commit ourselves to the roll-out of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Action Plan as agreed in WHA 67.15.

This panel discussion provides us with an opportunity to discuss a systematic, comprehensive, multi-sectoral and sustained approach to address all forms of violence against and trafficking of women and girls. It also provides us with the opportunity to exchange good practices and learn from each other.

In Europe, one in three women has experienced some form of physical and/or sexual assault at least once from the age of 15: this is one of the striking results of a recent EU-wide survey conducted by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. The fight against all forms of violence against women and girls is a top priority for the EU both at internal and external level. There are several activities which we would like to share:

At internal level:

  • “Dignity, integrity and the end of gender based violence” is one of the six priority areas of action in the European Commission's Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015), and the European Pact for Gender Equality (2011-2020) urges EU Member States to combat all forms of violence against women to ensure the full enjoyment by women of their human rights and to achieve gender equality.
  • the EU recently adopted new legislation to strengthen the rights and protection for all victims of crime, including women victims of violence, establishing minimum standards across all EU Member States, as well as European protection orders, which ensure that women who have suffered domestic violence are protected from the perpetrators if they travel or move anywhere in the EU.
  • We also finance awareness raising activities, exchanges of good practice and research, as well as the work of grass-roots organisations which play a crucial role in the daily fight against violence against women and girls.
  • Our efforts also address better monitoring of this phenomenon by using common indicators: the European Institute for Gender Equality publishes topical monitoring reports in the context of the EU-follow-up of the Beijing Platform for Action although comparability of data among the EU Member States still remains a concern. 

At external level:

  •  the fight against all forms of violence against women is one of the objectives in our Plan of Action for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in development cooperation and the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human rights and Democracy.
  • The EU Guidelines to end Violence and Discrimination against women and girls, adopted in 2008, guide the EU in its external action and development cooperation and in its defence of human rights. The guidelines focus on three interrelated aims: preventing violence, protecting and supporting victims and prosecuting perpetrators. In addition the EU has prioritised gender equality issues in 116 human rights country strategies, which identify the priority human rights issues on which the EU will take action in every country in which it is represented.

In conclusion all states must actively pursue comprehensive strategies and policies to prevent violence against women and girls, to protect and support the victims and to investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators. States must at all levels, use all appropriate means to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, and must prevent, protect, investigate, prosecute and punish the perpetrators of violence against women and girls and end impunity.  Neither custom, tradition, culture, privacy, religion nor so-called honour, can be invoked to justify it or to avoid state obligations with respect to its prevention and elimination and the prosecution of perpetrators. In addition, specific actions are required to combat trafficking of women and girls and domestic violence, including marital rape, and to protect the rights of the girl child: female genital mutilation is a violation of women’s and children's human rights and a form of child abuse and child early and forced marriage is a violation of human rights that robs girls of their education, health and long-term prospects.  We must also recognise that acts of gendered violence against women and girls increasingly occur online and through social media, and states should work together to combat these new methods of violence.  Furthermore, the involvement of men in eradicating violence against women and girls and support for grassroots organisations and awareness campaigns, are key to achieving changes in social attitudes, by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys or as having stereotyped roles that perpetuate practices involving violence or coercion.  Finally, the systematic collection of statistical and administrative data are needed to ensure monitoring and accountability. 

Thank you chair.

Question to the panellists:

The education of parents and of boys and girls in schools to encourage non-violent attitudes and caring masculinities are crucial in order to prevent violence against women: How to effectively improve these actions?

Item 8: Governance and gender justice Position of the European Union and its Member States, UNECE Beijing+20, EU Statement

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Insert alignment paragraph

We would like to focus on the importance of legislation as basis for actions to promote gender equality and to share with you the EU experience in that respect.

Legislation is a driving force of gender equality in the EU and has helped to anchor gender equality as a key element of policy making in the EU and in its Member States.

The principle of equal treatment between women and men has developed from an isolated provision on equal pay in the Treaty of Rome, to a very important and far reaching acquis in the area of gender equality– a feature that sets the European Union to the fore internationally.

Gender equality is an EU value enshrined in the EU Treaty and a fundamental principle recognised in Charter of fundamental rights of the European Union.

The EU gender equality acquis has greatly developed and covers employment and training, social security and pensions, access to goods and services, professional, private and family life. Compliance with the acquis is a condition for accession to the EU.

The existing legislation, the EU Directives, have laid the legal ground for radical changes in national legislation, attitudes and practices, while the Court by its case-law helped to clarify the concepts of equality.

So far the legislation has brought about new concepts in gender equality in the Member States with far reaching consequences, such as a prohibition of any direct discrimination, the introduction of the concept of indirect discrimination that considerably enlarges the number of potential cases of gender-based discrimination, the application of the equal pay principle to occupational social security schemes, the reversal of the burden of proof and clear provisions on the remedies applicable in cases of discrimination, the prohibition of discrimination in the provision of goods and services, the prohibition of harassment on the grounds of gender and of sexual harassment, to give only a few examples. EU legislation on maternity leave and parental leave has introduced common minimum standards across Europe in this important area.

National Equality Bodies have been set up in the EU Member States and provide concrete help to victims of discrimination, for instance information on available legal remedies and financial support for legal proceedings, advice and other assistance. The European Institute for Gender Equality, an independent EU agency established in Vilnius, aims at supporting the EU institutions and the EU member states in promoting gender equality and gender mainstreaming.

EU Member States are taking concrete actions to accelerate substantial gender equality, to use and further develop the indicators of effectiveness of institutional mechanisms and to regularly review progress in the critical areas identified in the Beijing Platform for Action.

Following the UN World conference on women in Beijing and the promotion of the dual principle of specific measures and gender mainstreaming, the EU Treaty has also been modernised to require that in all its activities, the EU shall promote equality and seek to eliminate gender inequalities. This is the basis for gender mainstreaming in the EU

Based on these strong Treaty provisions, the EU developed a specific gender equality policy mix made not only of legislation, but also of policy measures, funding and strong governance.

In conclusion, rights to gender equality and non-discrimination must be provided for in enforceable legislation, fully implemented and monitored by states, which have a responsibility to take action to prevent and condemn discrimination in all its forms. Victims of discrimination must have easy and effective access to legal remedies and to the justice system as well as to related support services. The effectiveness of the institutional mechanisms must be measurable by means of clear indicators. An important lesson learned since Beijing, 20 years ago, is that legislation is needed not only to eliminate gender inequality but also to promote gender equality in all aspects of life.

The EU experience shows that the concrete implementation of legislation can be a challenge, access to justice can be limited and citizens might be discouraged to assert their rights and to bring discrimination cases to court. In that respect, we have the following questions for the panel: how can we ensure full compliance with and monitoring of gender equality legislation, and are members of the public, employers, employees, social partners, NGOs and equality bodies sufficiently sensitized and equipped to assume their roles as promoters and defenders of gender equality?

Thank you Chair. 

Item 9: The way forward: gender equality for inclusive and sustainable societies Position of the European Union and its Member States, EU Statement

Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Insert alignment paragraph

2015 will be a key year in the definition of priorities at a global level. The definition of a post-2015 agenda, which will be universal, thus concerning also the UNECE region and the EU, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action.

The EU shares a common understanding that gender equality and women’s rights are key to addressing the MDGs “unfinished business” and to accelerating global development beyond 2015. There is no chance of making poverty history without significant and rapid improvements to the lives of women and girls in all countries. There is no chance to have sustained growth without the participation of women and girls on an equal footing with men in all aspects of life, in particular in economic activities. This is one lesson we can learn from the MDGs and the EU experience. 

Since the launch of the MDGs in 2000, the world has achieved parity in primary education between girls and boys and girls have benefited most. Furthermore, many countries facing the greatest challenges have made significant progress towards universal primary education, with parity progressing most in Western Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. When girls get access to schools they tend to outperform boys.

The existence of a specific Millennium Development Goal to “promote gender equality and empower women” has been a powerful stimulus for action by governments and donors, including in the EU and its Member States. This recognition also led to the integration of gender perspectives in other goals through targets and indicators.

Shall we then be happy of our achievements and decrease of level of attention and prioritisation of gender equality? The answer for the EU is of course no.

Gender equality is an “unfinished business” and needs to be prioritised in the post-2015 agenda. We still have some important challenges: for one, the global results in primary education may not reveal important regional disparities, secondly, the enrolment rate does not tell us how many students actually completed education and finally, girls still face greater barriers to access high schools and universities. Measured in terms of job opportunities, progress towards parity has been slow and non-existent in some countries. The same picture emerges for women’s political representation. Last but not least, progress on the reduction of maternal deaths has been disappointingly low;

No country in the world can be said to have achieved gender equality. Despite progress, in the EU, gender gaps are still present in all aspects of life.

Gender equality, women and girls’ rights and empowerment are therefore among the priorities that the EU will support in the post-2015 agenda, which will build on and complete the above-mentioned “unfinished business”, but will also go beyond it. The EU seeks to ensure that gender equality, the empowerment of women and human rights of women and girls are reflected as a stand-alone goal in the forthcoming UN post-2015 agenda and integrated into all goals through targets and indicators measured by sex-disaggregated data.

Building on previous commitments and past achievements, we will set out a common vision for a more prosperous, equal, peaceful and environmentally healthy planet. This agenda must be universal, transformative, sustainable and overarching. Some of the central issues that will make this framework transformative are gender equality, rule of law, peace, and good governance.

The way we deal with gender equality can determine how transformative the agenda can be and whether or not we can take development to another level. We ask for a strong focus on the empowerment and rights of women and girls. We want to promote and protect women’s and girl’s right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. (Language from AC 59 CSW. OP 34 B (nn)) And we ask for a strong focus on gender equality and on preventing and combating violence against women as essential preconditions for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, as well as important values and objectives in themselves.

We need to tackle the structural causes of gender inequality such as violence against women and girls, unpaid care work and the unequal share of family and care responsibility between women and men, the gender pay-gap, limited control over assets and property, and unequal participation in private and public decision-making. Men and boys need to be included in the process. Of course the fight and to eliminate sex-based discrimination remains also a priority.

In conclusion:

  • The Post 2015 Framework should ensure a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights. It should also address justice, equality and equity, good governance, democracy and the rule of law, with a strong focus on the empowerment and rights of women and girls and gender equality, and on preventing and combating violence against women as essential preconditions for equitable and inclusive sustainable development, as well as important values and objectives in themselves. We remain committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Achieving gender equality is not possible without the participation of men and boys who should become agents of change. We must educate and raise awareness of young men and boys on how to prevent gender stereotypes, discrimination and violence against women and girls. There are many men who want to play their part and we need to think about how best to engage with them to secure their involvement in the campaign for gender equality.
  • We should give continued support to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and all related resolutions on women, peace and security, and in particular end impunity for any acts of  sexual violence in conflict.

Thank you Chair.

 

Question to the panellists

The post-2015 agenda will have to be universal thus addressing and fully engaging all groups of countries and not only the developing ones. What are the main challenges and opportunities the UNECE region will face in promoting gender equality within this new context?

Eighth Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Protocol V on ERW to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons which may be deemed to be excessively injurious or to have indiscriminate effects (CCW) Geneva, 10 November 2014

Madam President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union.

Aligning clause.

The European Union wishes to congratulate you on your election as President of the Conference and assure you of our full cooperation and support in your work. It gives us a great pleasure to see the representative of an EU Member State presiding over this important Conference. We would also like to thank the Coordinators and the Friends of the Coordinators for their excellent work over the past year.

With a view to strengthening International Humanitarian Law the European Union continues to underline the importance of Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). The presence of unexploded and abandoned explosive ordnance has serious post-conflict consequences for civilians, their communities and their environment.

For the European Union the universalisation of Protocol V and its effective implementation are issues of high importance to minimise the danger and post-conflict impact caused by Explosive Remnants of War (ERW). We are pleased to note the accession of Greece to Protocol V. We also welcome Iraq's accession to the CCW and all its Protocols. Constant developments in the implementation of Protocol V encourage us to continue with our efforts towards universalisation and we welcome efforts to this end by past and present Presidencies.

Since the last Conference of High Contracting Parties we have continued to see steady progress in the implementation of Protocol V. The constructive discussions which took place during the Meeting of Experts last April, which are reflected in the reports of the Coordinators and the recommendations contained therein, provided the opportunity to assess this progress and identify further challenges related to the implementation of the Protocol, building upon the substantive discussions of previous years.

For the European Union victim assistance is a key component of its Mine Action Strategy in the wider sense. In the EU there is a clear commitment to provide concrete and sustainable assistance to victims, their families and communities. We support the Plan of Action on Victim Assistance established in 2008 and welcome recommendations on how to strengthen the implementation of Article 8 of the Protocol. We welcome the recommendation to cooperate and liaise with other relevant frameworks on victim assistance. In this regard, we wish to underline the strong linkage with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides a wider framework to comprehensively address the needs of survivors, the realisation of their political, social and economic rights, and to ensure respect for their inherent dignity. We also welcome the recommendation to extend the Protocol V Plan of Action on Victim Assistance to the CCW and all of its Protocols. These are practical proposals that will further enhance the work on victim assistance.

Clearance, removal and destruction of ERW remain core issues of Protocol V. We believe it is important to further explore appropriate practical methods to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in ERW clearance programmes and coordination between different actors working in the field and the development of synergies as applicable. We also wish to underline the importance of the effective implementation of the provisions of Article 4 of the Protocol on recording, retaining and transmission of information on the use or abandonment of explosive ordnance as it is closely linked with an effective clearance of ERW.

The European Union agrees that national reporting is of high importance for creating transparency and building confidence in the implementation of Protocol V. We therefore encourage States Parties to complete reports on time and ensure a higher rate of compliance with the reporting requirements.

With regard to Generic Preventive Measures, the European Union welcomes discussions on the management of munitions sites and supports continuation of these discussions in 2015, on the basis of the questions raised by the Coordinator. We would also encourage the High Contracting Parties to implement Part 3 of the Technical Annex to Protocol V and to report on such work in their Protocol V national annual reports and to implement, inter alia, the United Nations International Ammunition Technical Guidelines which are an effective tool to secure and manage safely stockpiles of ammunition.

We recognise that full implementation of the provisions of the Protocol can pose a challenge for some High Contracting Parties. The commitment of the European Union to Mine Action is longstanding and continuous. In providing assistance the European Union does not differentiate between the types of Explosive Remnants. We stand ready to provide, where possible, assistance to States in their efforts to comply with the Protocol. The financial and political support already provided by the European Union and its Member States individually on Mine Action in the wider sense in almost all affected countries and regions of the world has been more than 500 Million Euros over the five past years. We also welcome the initiative of the President to review implementation of Protocol V's obligations.

We are looking forward to a productive Conference of High Contracting Parties in support of the effective implementation of Protocol V and we remain committed to working with all partners to achieve this goal.

Thank you 

Report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, Agenda Item 51

Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

 

Mr. Chair,

Ending the Arab-Israeli conflict remains one of the main priorities of the European Union in its Common Foreign and Security Policy.

In this framework, the EU fully supported US-led peace efforts and we remain convinced that efforts in this regard must resume, in particular as the regional context and the current crisis make a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more necessary than ever.

It is also more urgent than ever to make progress, as developments on the ground, such as those I will refer to later in my statement, continue to make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly unattainable. It is clear to us, and we hope that it is also clear to the parties themselves, that a one state reality would not be compatible with the aspirations of the Palestinians for statehood and the aspirations of the Israelis to live in peace and security within recognized borders.

The EU therefore urges the parties to resume meaningful negotiations towards a final and comprehensive peaceful settlement of the conflict based on a two-state solution. But in doing so, the EU also reaffirms its belief that clear parameters defining the basis for negotiations and a defined time-frame are key and needed elements for a successful outcome. We have set out our position on parameters in several Council Conclusions, the last in July 2014, and we will continue to promote it. On this basis, the EU is willing to work with the parties and international partners, especially the US, on a way forward to re-launch the peace negotiations in an appropriate framework.

 

Mr. Chair,

The latest escalation of violence in Gaza that led to thousands of deaths and the rising number of violent incidents in the West Bank are reasons for concern and evidence enough that the status quo is not sustainable.

The European Union strongly deplores continuing Israeli plans and activities to expand settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. Recent announcements by the Israeli authorities of plans for further settlement expansion in Givat Hamatos, Silwan, Har Homa and Ramat Shlomo are extremely troubling, as they represent further highly detrimental steps that undermine prospects for a two-state solution and which, if pursued, will inevitably call into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians.

Let me reaffirm here the long-held position of the European Union that settlements are illegal under international law, constitute an obstacle to peace and threaten to make a two-State solution impossible. We urge the Government of Israel to reverse its decisions and to put an end to all settlement activity, including so-called "natural growth", in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem. All outposts erected since March 2001 must be dismantled.

The European Union condemns continuing settler violence and deliberate provocations against Palestinian civilians. We call on the Government of Israel to protect Palestinian civilians from violence, bring the perpetrators of any such acts to justice and to comply with its obligations under international law.

We are extremely concerned by the rising tension and increased number of violent episodes in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, and we condemn all acts of violence. Last June, the EU condemned in the strongest terms the abduction and brutal murder of teenagers from both sides and called for the perpetrators of those barbaric acts to be brought to justice. We similarly strongly condemn the two recent separate attacks in East Jerusalem that killed three persons, including a 3-month-old baby girl, and injured several others. We further condemn the attempted murder of an Israeli citizen, for which a Palestinian terrorist group has claimed responsibility. We are deeply concerned by the number of Palestinians, including children, killed recently in the occupied Palestinian Territory, in separate incidents involving the use of live fire by Israeli forces. It is important that any such incidents – which, when they involve unarmed civilians, raise serious allegations of a possible excessive use of force – are investigated thoroughly.

The cycle of violence must be stopped before it spirals out of control: these tragic events reinforce the need for Israelis and Palestinians to work together to fight all forms of terror and violence and to combat incitement wherever it comes from.

We are also extremely concerned about increasing tensions in East Jerusalem and about challenges to the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif, which have serious political and security implications. In view of recent incidents, we call on all parties to refrain from provocative actions and from unhelpful rhetoric and incitement, urging them in particular to refrain from stoking religious sensitivities. It is urgent that leaders from both sides send messages of calm and avail themselves of all opportunities to promote peace.

We also recall that the European Union has never recognised the annexation of East Jerusalem. We firmly believe that if there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states. We also call on the Israeli government to cease all discriminatory treatment of Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

The European Union also expresses its deep concern about the worsening living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, demolitions – including of EU funded projects -, and evictions and forced transfers, including of the Bedouin communities in Area C.

In particular, we have repeatedly expressed our concern, including in direct contacts with Israeli authorities, with regards to Israeli plans to "relocate" a number of Bedouin and herding communities from their current locations in the central West Bank, including in the strategic E1 area. We recall that the Secretary-General, in his statement before the Security Council on October 21, stated that "such an action, if implemented in a forcible manner, would be contrary to international human rights and humanitarian law".

With regards to Area C, we continue to note the need for the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes. We also call on Israel to work out improved mechanisms for access, administration and cooperation, including with regard to international donors. For our part, we will continue to support the economy and infrastructure development in the Palestinian Area C, as set out in the five-year Joint Action Plan adopted in the framework of the European Union's Neighbourhood Policy. 

We further express our concern at the continuing incursions by Israeli forces into Area A. Incursions by Israeli forces into Palestinian cities where the Palestinian Authority, under the Oslo Accords, assumes the powers and responsibilities for internal security and public order put in jeopardy the internationally recognized success of Palestinian institution building efforts.

 

Mr. Chair,

Turning to the situation in Gaza, the EU strongly condemned the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and militant groups in the Gaza Strip. These are criminal and unjustifiable acts. We also strongly condemned calls on the civilian population of Gaza to provide themselves as human shields.

The EU also condemned the loss of hundreds of civilian lives, among them many women and children. While recognizing Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against any attacks, we underlined that the Israeli military operation had to be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law. We also stressed the need for protection of civilians at all times. We were particularly appalled by the human cost of Israeli military operations, in particular in Shuja’iyya, Khuza'a and Rafah. During the conflict, we called on all parties to respect at all times the inviolability and integrity of UN premises. We condemned in this regard the shelling of UNRWA schools in Gaza. We also condemned the placing of rockets in UNRWA schools.

We reiterate that alleged violations of international humanitarian law by all sides must be investigated according to international standards. All victims or their families must have access to justice in view of ensuring full accountability. The EU calls on all parties to cooperate with the UN Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council in July, emphasising that this body covers all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by all sides, including those committed by Hamas and other militant groups. The EU stresses the need for the CoI to be able to get access to the ground and calls on Israeli authorities to grant access to Israel and to the occupied Palestinian territory.

The EU strongly welcomed the ceasefire which has been in place since 26 August and continues to call on all the parties concerned to agree on and abide by a durable ceasefire. The situation in the Gaza Strip has been unsustainable for many years and a return to the status quo which existed prior to the latest conflict is not an option. A fundamental and durable change to the Gaza Strip is necessary: the Palestinian Authority needs to assume its full governmental responsibilities in the Gaza Strip; the government of Israel must lift restrictions to socio-economic development, including an immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods, and persons to and from Gaza; and terrorist groups must disarm and be prevented from rearming.

Mr. Chair,

As regards the specific issue before us today - i.e. the protection of Human Rights - the EU and Israel engage in regular dialogue on these matters in the framework of our bilateral relationship. Let me focus here on three specific issues. 

The EU calls on Israel, as it does on all States, to fully cooperate with the Human Rights Council, including through issuing a standing invitation to all UN Special Procedures. Israel's cooperation is needed to allow access to occupied territory so that the Special Procedures, and notably the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Makarim Wibisono, can engage with all duty bearers. The European Union also calls on Israel to fully cooperate with Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the ground.

The EU remains concerned about the extensive recourse by Israel to administrative detention of excessive duration without charge, in particular in view of the sharp increase in numbers since last June. Under international law, detainees have the right to be informed about the reasons underlying any detention and to have the legality of their detention being determined without undue delay. The EU calls upon Israel to bring formal charges against these individuals, with such charges being determined through fair trials.

On the issue of children's rights, the EU remains concerned by the high number of Palestinian children held in detention by Israel and by continuing reports of ill treatment during the arrest, transfer and interrogation of child detainees in the West Bank. Last year, we welcomed during this debate Israel's commitment to cooperate with UNICEF on implementing the recommendations contained in the March 2013 UNICEF briefing paper "Children in Israeli Military Detention". Since then, important positive steps have been taken by Israel both on the operational and legislative level and we warmly welcome them. Still, reports show that there is a significant gap between policy and practice that needs to be bridged urgently. A clear top-down signal from the political leadership that the rights of children in Israeli military custody are to be upheld at all times is needed. We remain convinced that military courts are no place for children, that detention of children should be a measure of last resort, and that children must at all times at a minimum be afforded the safeguards to which they are legally entitled.

Mr. Chair,

In conclusion, let me stress once again that the EU will continue to do all it can to support the achievement of a lasting and just solution to the conflict. We reiterate our offer to both parties of a package of European political, economic and security support and of a Special Privileged Partnership with the EU in the event of a final peace agreement. In doing so, we reaffirm our commitment to place particular emphasis in all our efforts on the need for full respect for international humanitarian and human rights law.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

"Follow-up to the resolution concerning the second recurrent discussion on employment", ILO Governing Body, 322th session, 30 жовтня - 13 листопада 2014 року

Thank you, chairperson.

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

During the ILC, we underlined our common understanding of the current employment trends and challenges and their underlying causes, as well as of the different policies and actions to be undertaken by the Office and its members to promote employment.

Our key messages were that:

  • A sustainable recovery and development requires proactive employment centered inclusive growth strategies and coherent policy frameworks;
  • The new demographic context has challenging economic and social implications;
  • Focus is needed on youth and long term unemployment;
  • Gender inequality needs to be addressed.

We also highlighted the skills and labour market challenges related to the greening of our economies and structural changes at large.

Concerning actions to be taken by the Office, we are convinced that the Office has to play a key role in providing fact based evidence and expertise. We also praised the work undertaken by the Office in identifying the extent to which macro-economic frameworks help or hinder sustainable and productive employment.

Reading the follow-up strategy proposed, we welcome the fact that it provides an integrated narrative and actions on employment policy taking into account demand- and supply-side considerations, quantity and quality of employment, and interactions among different policy areas.

The ILC Conclusions include a number of areas of work. We are satisfied that we can find them in the follow-up strategy proposed by the Office in particular as regards:

  • Pro-employment macroeconomic policy
  • Sustainable enterprises
  • Skills policies and employability
  • Youth employment
  • Knowledge building on new and emerging issues, including self-employment.

The Office should however make efforts to address specifically the gender dimension in the follow-up strategy, as one of the guiding principles adopted by the ILC is “Realizing gender equality and enabling diversity”.

The low GDP growth, persistent high unemployment and low inflation in many countries is a major source for concern. Thus, we welcome the demand-driven support of the Office in assisting its Members in relation to structural reforms, sound public finances, as well as measures to boost jobs, growth and competitiveness.

We welcome the attention given to policy coherence throughout the document. As we have done before, we stress the importance of coherence between the actions undertaken under the strategic objective of employment and the eight areas of critical importance. This governing body is invited, later in this session, to comment on the proposed draft transitional strategic plan and the preliminary information concerning the Programme and Budget proposals for 2016–17. One of the proposed outcomes is: "More and better jobs for inclusive growth and improved youth employment prospects". We need to receive explanation about how the actions will be linked together and managed in a coherent way.

Having said this, we welcome the follow-up strategy proposed and we approve the draft decision point. 

"Matters arising out of the work of the 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference - Follow up to the adoption of the Protocol and the Recommendation on supplementary measures for the effective suppression of forced labour", ILO Governing Body, 322th session, 30 жовтня - 13 листопада 2014 року

Thank you chair.

At the 103rd Conference in May-June 2014, we have worked out and adopted the texts of a Protocol and a Recommendation to supplement the Forced Labour Convention no. 29 of 1930.  

The new standards are instrumental in addressing the existing implementation gaps and ensuring coherence in international law in order to effectively eradicate forced labour in all its forms. In particular, they provide the opportunity to advance prevention of forced labour and trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation as well as protection and compensation of victims of forced labour.

We welcome the proposed next steps: the strategy to follow-up on the adoption of the standards, based on a four-pronged approach.

First, on ratification and implementation, we concur with the objectives of the actions proposed under paragraphs 6 to 9. The provisions of the new standards echo the principles provided in our legislation and policies. All 28 European Union Member States have ratified Convention no. 29 which is also referred to in many of our laws and international agreements and instruments. For this reason, we are particularly attentive to actions relating to promoting widespread ratification of the Protocol and effective implementation of both new standards, as we have been to their formulation.

 Second, we welcome the proposal in paragraph 10 to support the development of gender-sensitive national policies and action plans, in particular with tools for assessing the impact of such plans. We consider that particular attention should also be given to a child-sensitive approach in view to eliminate the worst forms of child labour and child trafficking.

As regards prevention, we agree that a sectoral approach is needed and consider that construction and entertainment should be added to domestic work, agriculture and fishing as sectors deserving a high priority. We welcome the contribution that the EU funded project on migrant domestic workers can make for the priority sector of domestic work. We also support actions relating to fair recruitment, to be coordinated with the ones conducted by other international organizations, in particular the International Organization for Migrations. Awareness raising and visibility activities should be part of the prevention strategies to be adequately addressed to perpetrators and vulnerable persons.

Third, we concur with need to enhance efforts to collect reliable statistics, carry out research and share knowledge, as we have done in the European Union as regards trafficking in human beings.

Fourth, we consider the proposed approach to partnerships outlined in paragraphs 21 to 24 as appropriate to the needs.  We welcome in particular the proposal to enhance collaboration with regional organizations, including the European Union. 

In sum, with the proposed follow-up actions to the adoption of the new standards, we should all be better equipped in our action to end forced or compulsory labour.

We support the decision points proposed in paragraph 28.

Thank you, Chairperson.

EU Statement on the Occasion of the Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1024, 6 листопада 2014 року

Freedom of expression is a fundamental and universal human right, essential for human dignity, the rule of law and democracy. November 2, 2014 marked the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, as declared unanimously by the UN General Assembly in December last year. This day is an important reminder of the ongoing impunity, which some continue to enjoy, including in our region for crimes against journalists.

The EU is committed to promoting and protecting the freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. We are deeply concerned about an increasing level of intimidation and violence that journalists, media actors and other individuals face for exercising the right to freedom of opinion and expression, online or offline. These people are subjected to threats, harassment, violence, and even death, for bringing to us the information and news that we need to make informed choices about our lives and societies. All too often, crimes against them are not investigated properly, those responsible are not brought to justice, and instead, a climate of impunity persists.

We recall that freedom of expression, and its corollary media freedom, including safety of journalists, is at the heart of OSCE’s comprehensive security concept, and a key priority for the EU in the OSCE. Active steps must be taken to promote a safe environment for journalists and other media actors, enabling them to carry out their tasks independently, without undue interference and without fear of violence and persecution. In this context, we recall the resolution of the Human Rights Council of September this year on Safety of Journalists.

Mr Chairperson

Impunity is poisonous – it leads to self-censorship for fear of reprisal, depriving society of a free, open and informed public debate. The EU calls on participating States to take urgent and concrete measures to end impunity for crimes against journalists, including by making use of the expertise of the Representative on Freedom of the Media to fully implement their OSCE and other international commitments in this field.

EU Statement in Response to Lt. Col. Helmut Napiontek, OSCE Representative to the Latvian-Russian Joint Commission on Military Pensioners

The European Union welcomes the Representative to the Latvian-Russian Joint Commission on Military Pensioners, Lieutenant Colonel Napiontek, to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his latest annual report.

We note from the report that no new individual cases have been brought to the Commission’s attention since 2008.

We encourage the parties to continue to work constructively on outstanding issues relating to an accurate application of the 1994 Agreement, including formally reaching a common understanding as to which persons are eligible military pensioners under the scope of the Agreement, and on updating the sub-agreement on medical care expenses so that it is in conformity with the actual situation.

Finally, we would like to thank the Representative for his ongoing efforts to assist the parties.

EU Statement in Response to the Presentations by the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for Gender Issues, Ms. June Zeitlin, and the OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, Ambassador Miroslava Beham, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1024, 6 листопада 2014 року

The European Union strongly condemns the recent execution of Aliaksandr Hrunou, who was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Belarus in April 2014. This is the third execution to take place in Belarus this year.  

We are conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which Mr Hrunou was convicted. Nevertheless, the European Union opposes capital punishment as it cannot be justified under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

We urge Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition.

EU Statement in Response to the Presentations by the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for Gender Issues, Ms. June Zeitlin, and the OSCE Senior Adviser on Gender Issues, Ambassador Miroslava Beham, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1024, 6 листопада 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues, Ms. June Zeitlin and the OSCE Senior Advisor on Gender Issues, Ambassador Miroslava Beham to the Permanent Council. We thank both speakers for their interesting reports and we express our support for their important work.

The EU continues to strongly support efforts to promote gender equality within the OSCE. Equality between women and men is a major objective for us. It is one of the founding values of the EU and a fundamental right reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore, gender equality is highlighted in the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy.

The OSCE as a regional security organisation and with its comprehensive concept of security is in a unique position to advance gender equality. We concur with our speakers that the 10th anniversary of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality provides us with an excellent opportunity to further strengthen our work towards achieving gender equality. The EU fully supports having an addendum to the Action Plan on Gender Equality and we hope a robust document that re-enforces and builds upon existing OSCE commitments will be agreed at the Basel Ministerial Council.

We wish to thank Ms Zeitlin for consistently drawing our attention to issues where our efforts towards achieving gender equality need to be redoubled. We commend her for continuing to place focus on the importance of comprehensively preventing and combating violence against women within the OSCE area. Violence against women is the most wide-spread human rights violation of our time and we need to enhance our common efforts to eradicate it. We would like to thank Ms Zeitlin for her valuable support in these efforts. We have been in particular pleased to hear that she continues to actively promote the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention and to pay particular attention to vulnerable groups.

We thank Ambassador Beham for presenting the Gender Section’s work to the Permanent Council. We concur with the Ambassador that the first dimension should continue to be an important priority area in the gender equality work of the OSCE. We appreciate efforts in this respect, including activities on gender responsive mediation and supporting the participating States on the national implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Like Ambassador Beham, we are convinced that the UNSCR 1325 needs to be implemented in a holistic and comprehensive manner and the OSCE as a regional security organisation has an important role to play. We therefore support the adoption of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

Furthermore, we commend Ambassador Beham for actively highlighting the need to integrate a gender perspective within the OSCE work in Ukraine. We encourage further efforts such as the capacity building for gender mainstreaming in the Special Monitoring Mission.

Both Ms Zeitlin and Ms Beham discussed the need to further strengthen the OSCE efforts for gender equality. Ms Beham in particular elaborated on the ongoing measures to enhance gender mainstreaming within the organisation. The EU remains committed to actively engaging in the work to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated in the policy, planning and decision making processes as well as in the programmatic work of the OSCE from the beginning. In this respect, we support measures for a strong and sustainable institutionalisation of gender issues in the OSCE, including a gender equality network of the participating States, regular Gender Equality Review Conferences as well as all necessary measures to ensure that a gender perspective is integrated and mainstreamed in the policy and operational work of the OSCE, such as modernising the gender structure of the secretariat.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1024, 6 листопада 2014 року

The EU continues to follow developments in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts with deep concern. We deplore the latest tragic incident in Donetsk where two children were killed and four injured after shells hit a school stadium. We welcome that the Foreign Minister of Ukraine has called for an immediate investigation of this incident. In our previous statements, we have raised a number of issues in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine and our views are well-known. In this statement we will focus on two issues; the so-called “elections” on 2 November and the humanitarian situation of the civilian population in the Donbas region.

As we said on 3 October, these so-called “elections” are illegal and illegitimate and we will not recognise them. They, as well as the recognition by the Russian Federation of their results, are in breach of the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol. These actions have a disruptive effect on efforts to find a sustainable political solution to the crisis. At its meeting on 23/24 October, the European Council recalled previous EU decisions on restrictive measures and announced that it will remain seized with the situation in Ukraine in order to provide further direction as required.

The EU calls on all sides to work towards early local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk Protocol, as the only legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities in these parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Together with the recent national elections, such elections will facilitate a country-wide national dialogue aimed at consolidating Ukraine’s unity and internal cohesion. We welcome the intention of Ukraine to invite ODIHR to monitor these elections.

We urge all parties to fully implement the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum swiftly and without further delay and to actively resume the political process foreseen in President Poroshenko’s peace plan. We reiterate that a sustainable political solution to the crisis must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We would like to repeat our call on the Russian Federation to assume its responsibilities for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In particular, Russian authorities should prevent any movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine. In this context, we also express our concern about reports that Russia is again strengthening its military presence at the border with Ukraine.

The Russian Federation should also support effective OSCE monitoring and verification efforts including, without delay, along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We deeply regret the continuing attempts by armed pro-Russian separatists to interfere with the operation of the SMM’s UAVs. We continue to rely on the Special Monitoring Mission to report on the situation in the areas controlled by the armed separatists and on the implementation of all elements of the Minsk agreements.

Mr Chairman, we remain deeply concerned about the serious humanitarian situation in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. As we have said before, it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of this suffering. We note reports by SMM that shelling often hits residential areas, causing casualties amongst the civilian population, and hinders humanitarian aid efforts and repair work. There is lack of electricity, water and gas supplies in many places. With the winter approaching, the situation in these areas becomes even more critical. Many persons are still deprived of their liberty. Human rights continue to be violated. In sharp contrast, we also note the reports that the situation in the areas where Ukrainian forces have regained control is returning to normal.

The EU and its Member States will continue to provide humanitarian assistance and call on all parties to facilitate distribution of aid to populations in need, on the basis of non-discrimination, cooperation with established humanitarian actors and with the consent of competent national authorities. We deplore that the Russian Federation once again has decided to conduct so-called “humanitarian” convoys without adhering to these norms and principles. Accordingly, these convoys are in breach of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty and run counter to efforts aimed at de-escalation. They also raise serious questions about the content and purpose of these deliveries.

Mr Chairman, on a related issue, we were discussing earlier today the importance of gender issues. In this context we also welcome the efforts by the government of Ukraine and civil society on the implementation of UNSCR 1325, such as the preparation of a national action plan by Ukrainian NGOs, and we support the Special Monitoring Mission’s further work in this regard.

Mr Chairman, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement in Response to the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva International Discussions, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1024, 6 листопада 2014 року

The European Union warmly welcomes the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions, Ambassadors Anti Turunen, Angelo Gnaedinger, and Herbert Salber, and thanks them for their address. The EU reiterates its strong support for the Geneva International Discussions, the latest round of which took place on 8-9 October. The European Union continues to support the OSCE’s active participation in the meetings, and believes that its extensive cross-dimensional experience and its contribution on the ground can be useful. 

We welcome the fact that the 29th round of the Geneva International Discussions was held in a constructive atmosphere allowing for both Working Groups to have substantive discussions on relevant topics. In this context we note that all participants reconfirmed their commitment to the Geneva International Discussions, which remains the best forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia, with the participation of all stakeholders.

However, referring to discussions in Working Group I., the European Union notes with profound concern the potential implications of the possible closure of crossing points along the Abkhaz Administrative Boundary Line, as well as the impact of the revised crossing regime along the South Ossetian Administrative Boundary Line and the continued deployment of fences and other obstacles at different locations along and beyond the Administrative Boundary Lines. We call on the Russian Federation to remove the fences and other obstacles, and to reconsider the reduction of the number of crossing points in the two breakaway regions of Georgia.

In the context of discussions in Working Group II., the EU reiterates its deep concern about the potential impact of these actions by Russia on the freedom of movement and other basic rights of the local population. We reiterate our call on all stakeholders to engage constructively in order to avoid further impact on the daily lives of people living in the area.

We call on all participants to address these unacceptable developments, including within the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms, with the aim of finding appropriate solutions. In this context the EU reiterates the importance of resuming the effective functioning of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings without preconditions.

The Geneva International Discussions have at their core the non-use of force and international security arrangements. We welcome the efforts of the Co-Chairs to help unlock the stalled discussions on a joint statement of participants on non-use of force. The EU calls on all participants to continue to work together towards sustainable security arrangements. We continue to believe that a clear commitment by Russia on non-use of force is essential.

We welcome that participants also addressed the issue of missing persons. The EU reiterates its commitment to help improve the situation of Internally Displaced Persons and refugees from the conflicts and their unconditional right to a safe and dignified return.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU takes this opportunity to reiterate its concern at the Russian Federation’s proposal on a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration” with the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia. This would violate principles of international law, OSCE principles and commitments and Russia’s international commitments made in 2008, and would undermine the security and stability of the region. The Geneva International Discussions provide a forum where these issues can be addressed. The EU is closely monitoring the developments in this regard.

The EU reiterates its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders and reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing EUMM access to the breakaway regions. We also reiterate our call for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations.

The EU thanks the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva International Discussions for their comprehensive address which has once again demonstrated that there is an urgent need for re-establishing a meaningful cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia, in particular for the benefit of the civilian population, including robust monitoring capacity able to operate unhindered across the Administrative Boundary Lines. The EU looks forward to the next round of the Geneva International Discussions scheduled for 9-10 December 2014.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 769, 5 листопада 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the continued fighting in Eastern Ukraine over the past week and recall that the strict observation of the ceasefire by all parties is an indispensable prerequisite for the restoration of peace and stability.

We expect all parties to fully engage and swiftly implement all commitments under the Minsk documents. We underline the Russian Federation's responsibility with regard to the full implementation of the ceasefire, the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries as well as the securing of the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring under OSCE verification.

In this context, we note with concern the reports of the OSCE Observer Mission on the continued crossing of the Russian-Ukrainian border by persons in military-style clothing and reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to prevent any movement of weapons and fighters from its territory into Ukraine.

We welcome the SMM deployment of OSCE UAVs as a useful contribution to the SMM's monitoring work. We therefore note with concern the recent attacks on these UAVs by illegal armed groups with jamming equipment and the use of anti-aircraft weaponry. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of SMM UAVs in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including along the border with the Russian Federation. Any possible military UAV Support Mission to SMM must not restrict the use of the civilian SMM UAVs in any way.

The European Union will not recognise the so called presidential and parliamentary elections in Donetsk and Luhansk “People’s Republics” and consider them a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine. Early local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk Protocol, are the legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities in these parts of Ukraine.

We also note with concern that at least one unauthorised humanitarian convoy has been dispatched recently by the Russian Federation to Eastern Ukraine and are of the opinion that once again fundamental international humanitarian law principles have not been observed in this regard. This way of proceeding constitutes also a breach of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty. We underline once again the need to address the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, in full respect of international humanitarian law and principles and with the clear consent of the Ukrainian Government as a first responder.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on Article IV Agreement, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 769, 5 листопада 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States would like to warmly welcome Major General Michele Torres back to the FSC, in his capacity as Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for Article IV of Annex 1B of the Dayton Peace Accords and thank him for the presentation, in particular on the status, the role and the tasks of the OSCE Guest Observers who will participate in implementation of the inspection activities since the beginning of 2015.

We note with satisfaction that under General Torres's mandate the second phase of the ownership process has been successfully fulfilled, thus paving the way for the full transfer of ownership to the State Parties at the Basel Ministerial Council, as agreed during the last Dayton Article IV Review Conference in July this year. In this context, we support the idea to mark the completion of the Agreement's ownership process by a Ministerial Council Declaration as suggested by the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office.

As already stated earlier this year, we are of the opinion that this important achievement is the outcome of the consistent efforts and unwavering political will of the State Parties, ably assisted by the CIO Personal Representative, to re-build security in the aftermath of a terrible war. Upholding and building politico-military transparency and trust were, and are essential prerequisites for achieving long term peace and stability.

We continue to strongly believe that this important sub-regional arms control regime remains not only a cornerstone of the security in Southeast Europe but also a positive model to be emulated in other sub-regions in the Euro-Atlantic area. The need for military transparency and trust based on the full use of appropriate multilateral instruments is, unfortunately, once again exemplified by the on-going crisis in and around Ukraine.

We encourage the State Parties to continue making best use of the Article IV Agreement after the termination of the role and the functions of the Personal Representative with the support of the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, within available resources of the OSCE, as well as the advice, if requested, of the contact group countries.

In conclusion, we would like to express once again our sincere gratitude to General Torres and his team for their excellent work and tangible contribution to security and stability in Southeast Europe.

EU Statement on the 2014 OSCE Mediterranean Conference, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 769, 5 листопада 2014 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to thank Ambassador Gunaajav Batjargal, Permanent Representative of Mongolia to the OSCE, for sharing his views on the outcome of the 2014 OSCE Mediterranean Conference held in Neum on 27 – 28 October. We would also like to note with appreciation the excellent organisation and preparation of this event by the host country Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the Swiss Chairmanship, the Serbian Chair of the Contact Group for Mediterranean Partners and the Secretariat. Today's Security Dialogue is yet another demonstration of the commitment to enhancing cooperation with our Partners from the Mediterranean region the FSC Chairmanships have shown throughout the year.

We are pleased with the quality of the discussions at the conference on important topics such as "Illicit trafficking in SALW and Fight against terrorism in the Mediterranean region" and in particular their focus on the need for global approach and coordination, harmonisation of legislation and exchange of good practices.

It is important to reiterate on this occasion the EU's continued support for strengthened implementation of OSCE commitments in the area of SALW, Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) and conventional weapons, especially having in mind that the risks stemming from illicit trafficking of SALW and ammunition have reached a new dimension, particularly due to events such as these recently experienced in Northern Africa and the Middle East.

This is why the European Union continues allocating substantial resources, within its Strategy on SALW, to support concrete activities aimed at enhancing the SALW control in the OSCE area where we welcome and promote international cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and other main actors. Against this background, we see merit in further developing the cooperation with our Mediterranean partners to combat illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and conventional ammunition.

Furthermore, we reiterate that international terrorism poses a significant threat to peace and security, in particular by the terrorist organisation operating under the name ISIL. The European Union strongly condemns the brutal and abhorrent indiscriminate killings and human rights violations perpetrated by ISIL and other terrorist organisations which represent a threat to regional security as well as to the security of the OSCE region.

Therefore, the fight against international terrorism remains one of our highest priorities. We underline our continued support for the OSCE’s role in contributing to the global fight against terrorism and are of the opinion that with its crossdimensional approach the OSCE offers a unique capability to support not only participating States, but also Partners for Co-operation. It is the practical work, which enables us all to make progress in our efforts to tackle challenges arising from terrorism in all its forms.

In conclusion, we would like to remind that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening cooperation with our Mediterranean neighbours, including through the OSCE, wherever the Organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security.

EU Statement in Response to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, OSCE Special Permanent Council No 1023, 4 листопада 2014 року

The European Union warmly welcomes UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Permanent Council. We welcome you also as a close friend of the EU and highly value the close EU-UN cooperation. This cooperation is built on a fundamental convergence of views and the common belief that relations among states should be rules-based and founded on universal principles.

Unfortunately, Mr Secretary-General, this approach to world affairs has recently been fundamentally challenged in the OSCE space. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine have seriously violated basic UN and OSCE principles and commitments. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for the European security order and cooperation between states for many years. This is the larger issue we need to address even as we seek to ensure the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Events in Ukraine have highlighted the importance of the OSCE and UN's respective roles and of the two organisations working together. The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security relates well to the UN’s work. At the same time, we believe there is scope for further cooperation to improve strategic interaction. As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the OSCE has a key role to play in addressing local disputes in the OSCE space. Resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains an urgent task.

Mr Secretary-General, we commend the United Nations’ and your personal unwavering support for Ukraine in defence of the principles and spirit of the UN Charter. We join you in deploring the holding of the so-called ‘presidential’ and ‘parliamentary’ elections in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions on 2 November. These so-called ‘elections’ run counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and we will not recognise them. We count on your continued principled engagement on Ukraine. 

EU Statement on the so-called ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ in Eastern Ukraine, OSCE Special Permanent Council No 1022, 3 листопада 2014 року

1. The European Union would like to recall the statement by High Representative/ Vice-President Federica Mogherini on the so-called ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ in Eastern Ukraine.

2. "I consider today's ‘presidential and parliamentary elections’ in Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People's Republics’ a new obstacle on the path towards peace in Ukraine. The vote is illegal and illegitimate, and the European Union will not recognise it.

3. These ‘elections’ were held contrary to the letter and the spirit of the Minsk Protocol, signed by the representatives of the trilateral Contact Group, and obstruct efforts to find a sustainable political solution to the crisis. 

4. Early local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law, as foreseen in the Minsk Protocol, are the legal and legitimate means of renewing the democratic mandate of the local authorities in these parts of Ukraine. I call on all sides to work towards such elections. 

5. The aspiration for peace can't be only a political statement, it requires political will and good faith. I hope all parties will reaffirm their commitment to the Minsk Protocol, and will act coherently in order to implement it fully in all its parts.

6. The European Union is committed to supporting these efforts and will continue working towards the solution of the crisis in Ukraine. I call on all parties to act in full respect of the territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and unity of the country."

7. Finally Mr Chair, we note with concern reports of supposed international observation aimed to legitimise the so-called elections and underline that neither the OSCE nor other international organisations were involved. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, OSCE Special Permanent Council No 1022, 3 листопада 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, to this Special Permanent Council Meeting. We continue to strongly support the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), its leadership and its dedicated and professional staff. The SMM is playing a very significant and valuable role that has become even more vital after the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum. We commend its leadership for its ability to adapt to a fundamentally changing environment and its success in establishing a robust organisation that delivers impartial monitoring and reporting.

We note a number of recent SMM observations that provide an insight in the attempts to destabilize the situation in eastern parts of Ukraine as well as the influence of Russia on developments on the ground. For instance the observation that Luhansk and Donetsk experienced regular fighting with armed groups affiliated to the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” (“LPR”) and “Donetsk People’s Republic” (“DPR”) attempting to take a number of strategic points. And the observation that the head of one Russian contingent in the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC) instructed members of “LPR” and “DPR” to avoid breaches of the ceasefire during election-day.

Mr Chairman, we reiterate our full support for the urgent expansion of the SMM and we regret that lack of resources and equipment prevents the SMM from reaching its full potential. The comments by Ambassador Apakan that the SMM is facing a serious financial bottleneck and only has budget available till the end of this year are of major concern to us. We take this opportunity to urge all participating States to respond quickly and generously to the call for contributions. Rest assured that the EU and its Member States will continue to support the Mission by providing qualified staff, appropriate equipment and extra-budgetary contributions. We note that more than 2/3 of all SMM seconded staff are EU nationals.

Today, in addition to Member State contributions which will be announced separately, we are pleased to announce another EU contribution of 2 million euros from the Union’s budget to be disbursed as of January 2015. This contribution will increase the overall EU contribution from the Union’s budget to 7 million euros. The EU stands ready to consider further increasing its contribution. In addition, the EU will donate to the SMM four B6-type armoured vehicles on top of 40 soft-skin vehicles already delivered. While EU Member States bear the main responsibility for identifying SMM monitors, the EU stands ready to use its own civilian force generation capacities as well. The EU also stands ready to work on increased planning capacities in correlation with the needs of the mission.

Mr Chairman, we deeply regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian international border. Border and ceasefire monitoring remain closely interlinked and mutually dependent. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for continuous monitoring of the border by the OSCE. The SMM should develop and share its planning on how it can contribute to an effective and comprehensive continuous monitoring of the border. And it should immediately take steps to begin border monitoring, including by the use of UAVs, and not wait for the mission to reach its full capacity.

We trust that the UAVs will be used where they can add most value. We note with concern that efforts were made by illegal armed groups to shoot down the UAVs operated by the SMM. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of UAVs in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, including along the border. Any possible military UAV Support Mission to the SMM must not restrict the use of the civilian SMM UAVs.

We are deeply concerned about SMM reports that members of the JCCC are portraying the Centre as an “OSCE Mission to South-East Ukraine” by misuse of OSCE insignia and attempts to subordinate SMM monitors and equipment to the JCCC. This is completely unacceptable and jeopardizes the impartiality and independence of the SMM. We note that SMM is seeking to correct these misunderstandings. We will continue to follow this issue closely and expect the SMM to continue reporting on the activities of the JCCC. We would appreciate if Ambassador Apakan could share his views on SMM’s relationship with the JCCC.

We appreciate the SMM reports and welcome the recent improvements, in particular with regard to the weekly reports, which have become more focused. We continue to rely on the SMM to report on the situation in the areas controlled by the armed separatists and would appreciate more systematic and comprehensive reporting on the implementation of all elements of the Minsk agreements.

The safety and security of SMM monitors is of paramount importance and they must have safe and free access to fulfil their mandate. We regret that monitors continue to be denied access to certain areas controlled by armed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts in contravention of the Minsk Protocol. We also regret that the SMM has thus far had no access to Crimea. To deny access to SMM monitors is not acceptable and is in contradiction to its mandate.

We commend the SMM for its effort to facilitate access to the MH17 crash site over the past months. We repeat our call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the crash site as part of the ceasefire. There is an international imperative to complete repatriation of the human remains and allow resumption of the investigation on the ground.

We reiterate our strong support for the efforts of the Chairmanship, including within the Trilateral Contact Group, and the engagement of OSCE structures in Ukraine, including the Project Coordinator. Coordination and synergies between these structures continue to be essential.

Mr Chairman, we continue to rely on the SMM to reduce tensions and foster peace, stability and security; and to monitor and support the implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments in Ukraine. This is an extremely demanding and important task. We wish Ambassador Apakan and his staff success in their endeavours and once again express our strong support for their work. 

EU Statement on "Area of critical importance: Promoting decent work in the rural economy", ILO Governing Body 322th Session, Geneva, 3-13 листопада 2014 року

Thank you, Chair.

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

(alignment clause)

We welcome the opportunity to formulate guidance on “Promoting decent work in the rural economy” as one of the eight areas of critical importance and we thank the Office for the document.

Agriculture is the second largest source of employment worldwide after services and provides employment for the largest proportion of the rural workforce. It is one of the major rural economic sectors in many countries together with agri-food processing and supply chains, and non-farm businesses, which are often engines of economic growth, poverty reduction and social progress.

However, employment in the rural economy is affected by dramatic rates of working poverty and agriculture is also one of the most dangerous occupations in terms of work-related injuries and diseases. This is a consequence of the demanding nature of agriculture work, long working hours and other hazards such as the exposal to toxic chemicals, animal and plant diseases and inadequate and unsafe tools and equipment. Rural workers are frequently not fully covered by national labour law and, more broadly, their rights are often not recognised or enforced. This lack of decent work conditions in the rural economy often leads to negative impacts on the social, health and economic status of the rural workforce.

Conclusions on promoting rural employment for poverty reduction adopted in 2008 International Labour Conference fully recognised decent work challenges for rural economies and provided clear priority policy guidelines for the Office and Constituents. We feel that the main messages are still valid today.

The ILO’s approach to decent work in rural economy corresponds to the principles of the European Union’s development cooperation and occupational safety and health policy. The promotion of the rule of law and good governance, as well as of inclusive and sustainable growth, are two basic and mutually reinforcing pillars of our development policy. It focuses on poor and vulnerable groups, food security, diversification of livelihoods, social protection and social inclusion, and sustainable agriculture. At the same time, ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for all workers is one of the strategic priorities of the EU social policy.

We acknowledge the ILO’s rich experience in rural poverty reduction and addressing some of its root causes through objectives of the Decent Work Agenda. We support the expansion of expertise through the strategic focus on all three areas of ILO’s work as indicated in paragraph 5.

We consider that review of existing ILO tools and methodologies for employment impact assessment and two country case studies proposed in paragraph 14 would be a relevant input for discussion on decent work in global supply chains in 2016 International Labour Conference and would provide guidance for future ILO work on this topic.

We support the activities proposed in paragraphs 13 and 15 on analysing drivers of rural vulnerability as well of decent work challenges in the plantation sector. In this context, the development of a rapid assessment tool may prove crucial for those rural economies where efficient employment measures and strategies need to be quickly introduced. We strongly feel that the Recommendation on transition from informal to formal economy that is due to be adopted at the next year’s International Labour Conference would also facilitate the elimination of one of the main drivers for decent work deficit in rural economies.

However, we emphasise that when implementing these activities special attention should be paid to female workers, as women are particularly disadvantaged in rural areas in accessing land, finance, new technologies, including information and communication technologies, and basic services. Their job opportunities are strongly restricted. A special focus should also be given to child poverty and social exclusion. It is proven that in most countries, the risk of being affected by poverty and social exclusion is greater for children than for adults. Children are particularly exposed to forced labour, child trafficking and hazardous work in the rural economy and therefore they should be targeted with specifically designed measures.

Migration from rural areas should also be a consideration of any strategy to promote decent work. There should be more focus on the interaction of work opportunities across urban, rural and peri-urban spaces.

Expanding the knowledge base on the decent work dimension in rural economies is crucial. This is why we fully support the issuance of policy guidance notes as indicated in paragraph 11. We also encourage the development of statistical indicators and data on decent work in rural areas in order to improve policy analysis and provide input for the design of rural development strategies as further stated in paragraph 12.

We also welcome the development of knowledge-sharing and learning initiatives mentioned in paragraph 17.

We acknowledge that action under the area of critical importance on promoting decent work in the rural economy requires rich and inter-disciplinary expertise. Taking into account cross-cutting nature of this area of critical importance, we call for a close and sound cooperation within the Office and in its partnerships with other international and intergovernmental organisations. We also would like to know more about the provision of resources, both from regular and extra-budgetary resources.

In conclusion, we support the decision point provided that our guidance is taken into consideration.

Thank you, Chair.

EU Statement on " ‎Area of critical importance: Promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth", ILO Governing Body 322th Session, Geneva, 3-13 листопада 2014 року

EU Statement

Thank you chair,

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

[The following countries align themselves with this declaration…]

We would like to thank the Office for the document provided. We consider that "Promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth" is crucial and that it is important that the Governing Body is in a position to give guidance on the strategy and implementation of the related Area of Critical Importance.

The objectives of this Area of Critical Importance well match our own. Delivering growth that is smart, sustainable, and inclusive, with a strong emphasis on job creation, job quality and poverty reduction, is the aim of our strategy for the current decade. Growing economic and social divergences present important challenges in this regard. Unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, is still at unprecedented and unacceptable. Poverty and social exclusion remain major concerns. Our priorities are therefore to develop skills and unlock talents and life chances for all, guarantee fairness and ensure our societies have their safety nets in place to accompany change and reverse inequalities. We consider that the key factor for achieving inclusive growth objectives in this context is working toward policy coherence between the economic and social objectives.

The Conclusions of the recurrent discussion on employment at the 2014 Conference also put forward the need for an integrated approach taking into account the diversity of country situations and the wide range of employment challenges. The conclusions are further appropriate to guide the Office in the policies put forward under this Area of Critical Importance.

We particularly welcome the strengthening of ILO knowledge base on "what works" to foster inclusive growth and the work undertaken under this Area of Critical Importance on linkages between employment and productivity and on employment impact assessments, the latter partly in cooperation with EU institutions.

The Conclusions of the recurrent discussion at this year's Conference, state in paragraph 14 that "the activities of the Office in all cases must be specific, measurable and subject to strict review." In this regard, we welcome that internal consultations were carried out within the Office to develop the strategy and focus of this Area of Critical Importance in addition to the present guidance by the Governing Body. We are further interested in additional information regarding the planned final evaluation event and the joint monitoring through a so-called "intra-Office community of practice" both referred to in paragraph 18 of the report.

We welcome the inclusion of ACTRAV and ACTEMP in this Area of Critical Importance along with other departments of the Office. However, we stress that governments should also be consulted and be in a position to contribute to the actions under this Area of Critical Importance.

As for the Departments involved in this Area of Critical Importance, the absence of the Department of Standards is surprising, given the importance that Standards and their supervision have on decent work. The role of fundamental principles and rights at work, and the need for increased internal collaboration of the Office on these matters was already noted by the European Union in the Conference.

As far as financial implications are concerned, the document notes that it has none. However, paragraph 17 indicates that the application of this Area of Critical Importance has already started and resources were allocated for its first tranche under the Regular Budget Supplementary Account. Paragraph 18 states that additional resources are required to carry out the final evaluation. In related documents, in particular INS 4.1, the need to mobilize resources is noted. We would like to know the provision of resources that the Office plans to use, both from regular and from extra-budgetary resources.

In light of the foregoing, we agree with the proposed Decision Point contained in paragraph 31.

Thank you, chair

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of ODIHR, Mr Michael Georg Link, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States welcome Director Link back to the Permanent Council. We congratulate Director Link and his staff for the organization of this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), and we thank him for this report.

2. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is at the core of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, and is a matter of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States. Whilst the OSCE Human Dimension commitments have proven to be more relevant than ever, we observe with deep concern that the gap in their implementation is widening rather than closing. We reiterate our concern about growing pressure on civil society, journalists and human rights defenders, undue restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and political interference with the justice system in parts of the OSCE area.

3. HDIM is a unique peer review mechanism enabling participating States to hold each other to account and for participating States to be held to account by independent civil society. We note that this year’s HDIM saw the participation of a record number of NGOs and the holding of a record number of side events. We express our deep thanks to the representatives of independent civil society for their sometimes bold and brave testimonies which have highlighted the challenges, and in some cases serious shortcomings in the implementation of OSCE commitments in their respective states. We attach great importance to the existence of an independent and vibrant civil society as well as its participation in OSCE events. We value the views of civil society and our partners in the OSCE, and have listened carefully to the concerns and recommendations directed to us.

4. At the same time, we were deeply concerned to hear the message of many; one of harassment and attacks on human rights defenders and journalists and of mounting pressures on and shrinking space for civil society. We judge it important that OSCE participating States respond to these disturbing trends including by reaffirming and strengthening our common commitments to the enjoyment of the fundamental freedoms of expression, and of association and peaceful assembly at the Basel Ministerial Council. We also cannot disregard an apparent tendency, on the part of some delegations, to instrumentalise NGOs. We believe this does not contribute to building trust and confidence or creating common ground among participating States.

5. We are disappointed that Turkmenistan once again did not participate in the meeting thus missing an opportunity to engage in a frank and genuine dialogue with other participating States and civil society activists that raised concerns about the implementation of their commitments in their country.

6. We are troubled by reports of alleged threats against HDIM NGO participants following interventions made at the HDIM this year and regard this as totally unacceptable. We call on participating States to refrain from such intimidations, in accordance with the commitments they have subscribed to. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.

7. The crisis in Ukraine, particularly the human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and in Crimea, which followed the emergence of various pro-Russian groups in these regions, was rightly particularly in focus at the meeting. We reiterate our condemnation of the aggression of Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil and of the human rights violations which have taken place. In the face of such serious violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights, the independent, impartial and professional work of the OSCE’s institutions is as important as ever. We commend the engagement of ODIHR in Ukraine, including the two recent election observation missions successfully conducted this year, as well as the publication of a human rights assessment report together with the High Commissioner on National Minorities. We encourage the Government of Ukraine to invite ODIHR to observe the local elections on 7 December in those parts of eastern Ukraine subject to the Special Status law.

Mr Chairperson,

8. The European Union agrees with Director Link that participating States should take further steps to strengthen the HDIM. We would be interested to hear any further views he has in this regard. We welcome that this year, for the first time, HDIM was live-streamed on the internet and welcome plans to do so in the coming years.  HDIM should be as open and accessible as possible. We also support moving the holding of HDIM from September to May. We also believe that follow-up to the meeting should be improved to ensure that HDIM discussions better inform preparations for Ministerial Councils and the work programmes of subsequent Chairmanships. 

9. The European Union wishes to reiterate the utmost importance that we attach to this dimension of the OSCE’s work and underline our full support for the work of ODIHR in protecting and promoting human rights across our region. We once again reiterate our full support for the autonomy and mandate of ODIHR. This is also reflected in our support for ODIHR’s budget proposal for 2015. It is important that participating States draw on the expertise that is available from ODIHR and respond to the recommendations made.

10. We thank Director Link and his staff for their work and highly commend them for the professional and transparent manner in which ODIHR fulfils its mandate.

EU Statement in Response to the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, to the PC.

2. Mr. Coordinator, we have listened with interest to your report – only a week after our annual Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting devoted to the topic of good governance, transparency and fight against corruption. This is an area of your activities to which we attach particular importance.

3. The ever increasing urgency of good governance and fight against corruption in order to ensure economic growth, political stability and security in the OSCE area was a common theme during this meeting. The 2012 Dublin declaration was praised as the first comprehensive political statement of its kind agreed by the OSCE participating States. This provides your Office with many new avenues for supporting States in strengthening good governance in both the public and private sectors. It is at the same time an expression of political will of all participating States at the highest level.

4. We welcome the many good examples of how the Dublin declaration is being implemented by participating States, including through joint efforts with OSCE executive structures. However, much still needs to be done. In this context we encourage you, Mr. Coordinator, and your able staff, as well as all of us around this table to consider ways how to further strengthen the OSCE´s performance in this very important area. We are grateful for the concrete proposals made in this regard at the annual implementation meeting and we will reflect on them.

5. We thank the Swiss Chairmanship for drawing our attention to the important area of corruption prevention by tabling a Ministerial Council draft decision on this topic. However, we believe that a more ambitious approach, clearly adding value and further strengthening our existing commitments, is needed.

6. The environmental activities of your Office were dominated this year by deliberations on disaster risk reduction and management and translated into a draft decision proposed by the Chairmanship for adoption at the Basel Ministerial Council. We will continue to engage constructively in the ongoing negotiations and expect that the following elements will remain an integral part of such a decision: a clear link of disaster risk reduction to security, confidence building measures potential, linkages between disaster risk reduction and climate change, as well as the importance of good governance and transparency for achieving resilience.

7. We appreciate the Coordinator´s activities on water and security, especially in the context of transboundary and regional cooperation. We look forward to continuing this important work under the incoming Serbian Chairmanship. We hope that the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum will help us to identify further areas for the OSCE´s future engagement in sustainable transboundary water management. We also see this as a good opportunity to continue our work on disaster risk reduction including addressing cross disciplinary subjects, such as climate change.

8. We welcome that both economic and environmental activities of the Office of the Coordinator are conducted in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant OSCE executive structures, as well as with specialized international fora, such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe and through the Environment and Security Initiative. We encourage you to continue this approach.

9. In conclusion, we would like to thank you, Mr. Coordinator, and your dedicated staff for your hard work and wish you every success in your future endeavours.

EU Statement on the Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine on 26 October, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The EU welcomes the holding of parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October. We take good note of the preliminary assessment by the International Election Observation Mission involving OSCE/ODIHR, that the elections marked an important step in Ukraine's aspirations to consolidate democratic elections in line with its international commitments. The successful conduct of the elections despite the challenging political and security environment was a victory of the people of Ukraine and of democracy. The electoral mandate given by the Ukrainian people must now be implemented.

2. We look forward to the early formation of a new Government. On the basis of the outcome of the elections a broad national consensus should be sought in view of intensifying much needed political and economic reforms in Ukraine. A reinvigorated reform process, including the launching of a country-wide national dialogue, will be crucial in view of Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the EU and to consolidate Ukraine's unity and internal cohesion. In this context, we welcome the recent adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the laws on prosecution and anti-corruption. The EU looks forward to working closely together with the new Verkhovna Rada and the future new government to assist in these endeavours.

3. We regret that the elections could not be conducted in Crimea due to Russia’s illegal annexation or in more than half of the election districts in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to the actions of illegal pro-Russian armed groups.

4. We commend the International Election Observation Mission for its professionalism and dedication in observing these elections. ODIHR has once again shown that it can deliver “the gold standard” in the field of election observation, even in a very complex and challenging environment. We thank the OSCE PA and the other institutions that were part of the International Election Observation Mission for their joint efforts.

5. We look forward to receiving ODIHR’s final report in due course. We welcome the statement by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, in which he declared the readiness of the government to consider the recommendations of ODIHR on how to improve the electoral system.

EU Statement on the Russian Federations proposal on a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration”, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union expresses concern at the Russian Federation’s proposal on a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration” with the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia. We are closely following developments in this regards. Such steps violate Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and would contradict principles of international law, OSCE principles and commitments and Russia’s international commitments made in 2008.

2. Any actions that undermine the security and stability on the ground must be avoided. We encourage all participants to use the Geneva International Discussions constructively. It is the only forum in which to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia with the participation of all stakeholders.

3. The European Union’s position on the protracted conflict in Georgia is well-known: we support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and we reiterate our concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing EUMM access to the breakaway regions. The EUMM plays a leading role in the IPRMs within its stabilization, normalization and confidence-building mandate. We also reiterate our call for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations.

4. The European Union reserves the right to come back to the issue at the Permanent Council on 6 November in connection with the address by the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva International Discussions.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the continuing violations of the ceasefire agreed in Minsk. We note from reports by the Special Monitoring Mission that the serious fighting “appeared to be a continued effort on the part of separatist forces to take a number of strategic targets”. We call on them to fully comply with the ceasefire.

2. The Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum are steps towards a sustainable political solution to the crisis, which must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We expect the parties’ full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, in particular with regard to the full implementation of the ceasefire, the setting-up of comprehensive border control arrangements and the holding of early elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian law.

3. We consider that the holding of the so-called “presidential” and “parliamentary” elections, called by the self-appointed authorities, would run counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and disrupt progress towards finding a sustainable political solution in this framework. The EU will not recognise them. We deplore Minister Lavrov’s remarks about Russian’s forthcoming recognition of the elections. We urge Russia to use its influence to help pave the way towards local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law. This would be a highly welcome contribution to the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. We reiterate our call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site.

4. The EU expects the Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to contribute to the political stabilisation and economic recovery of Ukraine. The Russian Federation should assume its responsibilities for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In particular, Russian authorities should prevent any movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine. They should exercise their influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk. The Russian Federation should also support OSCE monitoring and verification efforts, including along the Ukrainian-Russian border.

5. The EU and its Member States remain fully engaged in support of a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, including through contributions to enhance the OSCE monitoring capacity, scaling up their humanitarian assistance, and encouraging and assisting Ukraine in its process of reforms, in particular on decentralisation and protection of rights of persons belonging to national minorities.

6. We note the decision by Russia to enter again a humanitarian consignment into Ukrainiain territory. We call on all parties to support and facilitate without delay the work of international humanitarian organisations, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles. Assistance should be delivered through the appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. The delivery of humanitarian aid can only be carried out with due respect for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

7. Mr Chairman, we once again deeply regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian – Russian state border in line with the Minsk Protocol. We reiterate our call on the Chairmanship to actively consult participating States to address relevant issues related to monitoring of the state border. In order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the international border a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission combined with monitoring of the Ukrainian side of the border by the Special Monitoring Mission is needed. The EU supports a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission beyond the two present Russian checkpoints to all relevant checkpoints as well as full access to monitor areas between checkpoints, and calls on the Russian Federation to do the same. The extension of the Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints until 23 November must be used for discussions on a significant expansion.

8. We are deeply concerned about SMM reports that members of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination (JCCC) are portraying the Centre as an “OSCE Mission to South-East Ukraine” by misuse of OSCE insignia and attempts to subordinate SMM monitors to the JCCC. This is completely unacceptable and jeopardizes the impartial SMM monitoring. We reiterate our interest in hearing more about the operations and mandate of the JCCC.

9. We welcome that the SMM has deployed UAVs as a useful contribution to the SMM’s monitoring work. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of UAVs in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts including along the border with Russia. Any possible military UAV Support Mission to SMM must not restrict the use of the civilian SMM UAVs in any way. We regret that SMM monitors continue to be denied access to certain areas controlled by the armed separatists.

10. The EU condemns the deterioration of the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula, in particular the persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatar community, including the cases of kidnapping, torturing and killing of young male Crimean Tatars, the eviction of the Mejlis from its premises in Simferopol and interrogations of its activists. Therefore we reiterate our call for full, free and unrestricted access for the missions of the OSCE, United Nations and the Council of Europe to the Crimean peninsula.

11. We remain deeply concerned about the continuing illegal detention in Russia of a number of Ukrainian citizens, including Nadiia Savchenko, and call for their immediate release. We are particularly concerned about reports that Nadiia Savchenko is being mistreated while being held at the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry. We regret that her pre-trial detention has been extended until 13 February 2015.

12. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Joint Declaration by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the European and World Day against the Death Penalty

Today, the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the European Union and the

Council of Europe reaffirm their strong and absolute opposition to capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and their commitment to its worldwide abolition. We are deeply concerned about setbacks in some countries, such as recent mass trials leading to a vast number of death sentences, the extension in domestic legislation of the scope of the death penalty's use, or the resumption of executions after a period of several years.

No execution has taken place in our Member States in the past 17 years. The European Union and the Council of Europe welcome the fact that all Member States of the European Union have now ratified both Protocols 6 and 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, and urge all other European States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify these instruments which aim at the abolition of the death penalty.

The European Union and the Council of Europe deeply regret the recent executions carried out by Belarus, the only European country that applies this form of punishment. They strongly urge

Belarus to commute the sentences of the two remaining persons sentenced to death in 2013, and to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

Both organisations welcome the recent steps taken by the African Union towards the adoption of an Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. They welcome that recent ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 15 December 1989, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, have brought the number of States Parties to eighty-one. They encourage all States which have not yet done so to ratify this protocol on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2014.

The European Union and Council of Europe call on all Members of the United Nations to support the Resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty which will be put to vote at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2014.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 768, 29 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the holding on 26 October 2014 of parliamentary elections in Ukraine. This was a victory of the people of Ukraine and democracy. We reiterate the importance that the upcoming early local elections in Donbas later this year will be held under Ukrainian law and will serve the same goal of de-escalation and focusing on reforms through an inclusive dialogue between the Ukrainian Government and democratically elected representatives.

We take good note of the reduction in violence, including on the elections day, as a result of the ceasefire but regret and condemn the continued fighting in Eastern Ukraine during the past week where, according to SMM reports, separatist armed groups have been unsuccessfully attempting to take a number of key strategic areas under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces. We recall that strict observation of the ceasefire is indispensable for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine.

Furthermore, we expect all parties' full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, which we see as a step towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We underline the Russian Federation's responsibility in this context, and call for the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, as well as for the securing of the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring under OSCE verification.

We are aware of the SMM concerns stemming from efforts by Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) members to portray the Centre as an OSCE mission and reiterate that we consider such attempts unacceptable. In this context, we call on all parties to allow SMM monitors to carry out their duties and to ensure free and safe access for them, including in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

We took due note of the report on bilateral Ukraine/Canada event to dispel concerns about unusual military activities and to provide clarity related to the regional security situation as well as of the information and remarks contained therein. 

More broadly, we remind that abiding fully and in good faith by all OSCE politico-military commitments is crucial in order to achieve tangible and lasting de-escalation of the situation, thus underpinning a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Military transparency and a cooperative spirit should be maximised in order to dispel legitimate concerns and avoid miscalculations. All those concerned, and in particular the Russian Federation, should contribute to this end by, inter alia, hosting voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document, exercising restraint in carrying out military activities and exercises in the bordering areas with Ukraine, as well as sharing information about on-going and planned military activities and exercises in these areas via the OSCE communication channels.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 768 Vienna, EU Statement on UNSCR 1540, 29 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) would like to thank today's key-note speaker Mr Sergey Federyakov, Head of Export Control Policy Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for the comprehensive and insightful presentation of his country's view on the role of the OSCE in facilitating the implementation of UNSCR 1540 at regional level.

We attach high importance to the full implementation of UNSCR 1540 and subsequent resolutions. We would like to reiterate our strong support for regional and national efforts towards the implementation of UNSCR 1540, including through information sharing, enhanced cooperation with the 1540 Committee and with United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), as well as provision of assistance to those States that require it.

In this connection, the EU Council has adopted two Joint Actions in support of the practical implementation of UNSCR 1540, respectively in 2006 and 2008, and one Decision in 2013, all of them implemented by UNODA. Decision 2013/391/CFSP provides, inter alia, for close cooperation with the OSCE and other relevant international organisations and agencies throughout the implementation process to ensure effective synergies and avoid duplication.

Furthermore, we welcome the combined efforts of the European Union and its Member States and the OSCE and believe that the cooperation should be reinforced and focused on developing practical activities. These include, inter alia, provision of assistance to participating States, at their request, for the development of national action plans, facilitating information sharing, promoting best practices and strengthening relevant multilateral information exchange networks related to UNSCR 1540 implementation.

In this context, we commend the activities and the consistent efforts of the OSCE executive structures devoted to assisting the OSCE participating States, at their request, in implementing UNSCR 1540 and are of the opinion that the OSCE's role and capacities in this field need to be enhanced further and put on a sustainable basis by inclusion in the Unified Budget.

Mr Chairman, we would like to once again thank you and today's key-note speaker for giving us this very timely opportunity to discuss an important topic on the FSC agenda and remain ready to further contribute to this debate, including in the context of the preparations for the Basel Ministerial Council.

Statement on the occasion of the 43rd Session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

2. Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr Chairman, on your election to the Chairmanship of the Preparatory Commission and by assuring you of the EU’s full cooperation. The EU also expresses its appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports.

Mr Chairman,

3. The CTBT plays a central role in underpinning the international non-proliferation regime and our efforts towards global disarmament. We are, therefore, strongly committed to the entry into force and universalisation of the CTBT, and welcome the latest ratification of the Treaty by Congo. We reaffirm the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT and urge all States which have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty, in particular the eight remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without further delay.

4. The EU welcomes the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT held in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September and thanks the organisers Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, and the Article XIV coordinators, Hungary and Indonesia, for their committed efforts to promote the entry-into-force of the Treaty in this way. The presence of 30 Ministers and other High-level Dignitaries, including the UN Secretary General, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy who delivered a statement on behalf of the EU, and some 100 countries, including all EU Member States, associating themselves with the Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT, prove once again the wide global support for the CTBT. In this context, we must ensure that the Treaty and its goals remain a priority for key high level decision makers.

Mr Chairman,

5. The prompt actions by the PTS and the Preparatory Commission following the nuclear tests by the DPRK clearly demonstrated the relevance of the Treaty and the growing effectiveness and performance of its verification regime. We call again on the DPRK to refrain from any further nuclear test or any other provocative action, and to join the declared moratorium on nuclear tests, as well as to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

6. We are looking forward to the upcoming Integrated Field Exercise in November–December 2014 in Jordan. We expect the exercise to be an important step towards the operational readiness of on-site inspections, which are the ultimate tool of the CTBT’s verification regime. We hope that the exercise will be completed successfully and this will help to promote further ratifications, in particular by Annex 2 States.

7. Building an OSI capability is a key but challenging task, and IFE14 will help towards that end. It is essential that the exercise be carefully evaluated, and that the results are translated into a format that will enable the CTBTO to implement and retain the lessons learned. In particular, the necessary financial and staff resources for logistical capacities will need to be found, while synergies through cross-Divisional collaborations should be pursued and technical, administrative and logistical support structures consolidated.

8. In order for the CTBTO verification regime to continue functioning in an effective manner, it is imperative that we gain a deeper understanding of background radio-xenon emissions. To this end, we look forward to further efforts dedicated to understanding and mitigating the effects of radio-xenon sources on the CTBTO verification regime. We are grateful for the work that the Executive Secretary, the PTS and WGB have put into this matter, including developing a step by step approach to working with medical isotope producers. This long running and established work, which has been partially funded by EU Council Decisions since 2007, has shown great promise already in understanding these issues.

9. The EU and its Member States welcome the recent efforts by the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat. Whilst bearing in mind that 2014 has been a challenging year in terms of staffing, we underline the need for an urgent satisfactory solution. In addressing this issue, priority should be given to those positions directly related to the strategic goals set out in the Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2017. We would welcome more details on how to speed up the recruitment process, which would help to monitor the effectiveness of the actions announced by the PTS.

10. The EU and its Member States are grateful to the Chairman of WGA, Ambassador Abdul Aziz, for his leadership in the informal consultations aimed at discussing important aspects of the 2015 Programme and Budget. We welcome that WGA has agreed to continue this useful practice in the future. We recognise the considerable efforts of the PTS to harmonise two important requirements regarding the next year's Programme and Budget: to ensure the resources needed for an effective CTBTO, while taking into consideration the climate of financial austerity. The Member States of the EU are supportive of the Budget in its current form. The EU and its Member States underline their continued support for a programme-driven budget which allows the Preparatory Commission to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate and which also takes into consideration the global economic and financial reality. We look forward to any further initiatives that would make the global cost management of the organisation increasingly efficient.

11. On the proposed biennial budgeting, we support the recommendation of WGA to the Commission to authorise the PTS to prepare a Biennial Budget for the activities of the Commission for 2016-2017. We are also looking forward to the view of the Advisory Group on the proposed amendments to the Financial Rules and Regulations. It is our view that Biennial Budgeting, should it be implemented, should favour efficiency while not reducing control of the State Signatories over the budget, and that it needs a careful annual administration of the financial resources.

12. The payment by States Signatories of their assessed contributions in full and on time is of central importance to the efficient functioning of the organisation. In this regard, while taking note with satisfaction of the higher reported collection rate for 2013 and 2014, the EU and its Member States would appreciate receiving information as to how early during the year payments are received and, should the situation so require, exploring the possibility of implementing an incentive scheme to encourage early payments of assessed contributions.

13. Data availability and station reliability continue to be essential. For this reason, further investments in key IMS and IDC areas will be a priority in the coming year, in order to preserve and protect the investments already made. This will not be an easy task given the recognised issues of maintaining an increasing number of stations within the current budgetary constraints. However, these continued efforts will be necessary to maintain the progress that we have seen in these fields in the course of 2013 and 2014. We believe that all approaches that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

14. We take note of the information papers CTBT/PTS/INF.1260 and CTBT/PTS/INF.1304 on the proposals on new procedures for the appointment of the officers of the subsidiary bodies of the Preparatory Commission. We believe that all the subsidiary bodies of the Commission, and WGB in particular, have worked efficiently and effectively, in the spirit of collaboration, since their inceptions. The current provisions regulating the subsidiary bodies are working very well to serve the collective interests of the Commission and should not therefore be the object of unnecessary revisions. We thank you, Mr Chairman, for conducting informal consultations that have clearly shown the need to carefully consider the many aspects raised such as its rationale, objectives and impact of current practices. Obviously, additional time will be needed to reflect on the rationale and the implications of those proposals.

Thank you, Mr Chairman

EU Statement – Opening Session, Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE Mediterranean Conference 2014 , 27-28 жовтня 2014 року

Mme/Mr Moderator, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and privilege to address this Session of the OSCE 2014 Mediterranean Conference in Neum on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Allow me to express our warmest gratitude to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for their kind hospitality, as well as the Swiss Chairmanship and the Serbian Chair of the Contact Group for Mediterranean Partners for the excellent organisation of this event.

The European Union would like to thank the panellists for their thought-provoking interventions. The topics addressed at this conference are highly relevant in the OSCE’s engagement with its Mediterranean Partners, fit very well into our recent discussions in Vienna and provide us with an excellent opportunity to discover ways in which we can work together to enhance our shared security.

We cannot ignore what is happening in our closest neighbourhood. Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and international terrorism continue to pose a highly significant threat to global peace and security, as well as there remains a pressing need for enhancing women's role in public, political and economic life in the OSCE region and the Mediterranean. The EU therefore welcomes the important exchange with our partners at this conference, in line with the OSCE's approach of comprehensive security.

Today the international community, including the European Union, is increasingly involved in combatting trafficking of illicit SALW, especially in the Mediterranean region. The proliferation risks of illicit SALW and ammunition worldwide have reached a new dimension, particularly due to events such as these recently experienced in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The urgent need for enhanced SALW control is striking.

We would like to stress our continued support for strengthened implementation of OSCE commitments in the area of SALW, Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) and conventional weapons.

The European Union is allocating substantial resources, within its Strategy on SALW, to support concrete activities in the field of SALW control in the OSCE area where we welcome and promote international cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and other main actors.

Against this background, we see merit in further developing the cooperation with our Mediterranean partners in the field of combatting illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and conventional ammunition.

We believe that the OSCE can play an important role, based on its comprehensive track record in SALW issues, in the promotion and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the fact that 53 States have ratified the ATT, thereby enabling its entry into force by the end of this year. Bearing in mind our ambitious programme outlined in EU Council Decision CO 2013/768/CFSP, to support the treaty's implementation by third countries, we encourage all OSCE participating States and the Mediterranean Partners, who have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the ATT at their earliest convenience. Once effectively and globally implemented, the ATT will serve its very purpose of bringing about more responsible and transparent international arms transfers. 

International terrorism poses a significant threat to peace and security. This is why the fight against international terrorism remains one of our highest priorities. We are convinced that an integrated approach, combining prevention, protection, pursuit of and the response to terrorists threats and attacks, is essential. We underline our continued support for the OSCE’s role in contributing to the global fight against terrorism.

Counter-terrorism (CT) issues, in particular Foreign Terrorist Fighters and countering violent extremism, were key priorities at the last UNGA which culminated in the adoption of UNSCR 2178 at a special Security Council session chaired by President Obama. The UN Global CT Strategy constitutes the most adequate instrument to serve as a global model for regional and national counter-terrorism strategies. In particular, its focus on the respect of human rights and the rule of law in countering and preventing terrorism represents the main guideline for engagement.

With its cross-dimensional approach, the OSCE offers a unique capability to support not only participating States, but also Partner States for Co-operation. It is the practical work, which enables us all to make progress in our efforts to tackle challenges arising from terrorism in all its forms. A good example of recent exchange was the informal meeting with representatives from the OSCE Mediterranean partners to update them on the results of the Regional Mediterranean Counterterrorism Workshop held in Malta. We further congratulate the OSCE and in particular the Action against Terrorism Unit, for the excellent preparation and conduct of the Workshop. It was delivered the right platform for discussions. The moderators, speakers, and discussants of the sessions were well chosen. Discussions in all working sessions were in our view fruitful. Participants agreed that the OSCE has an important role to play in countering terrorism. The workshop focused on Kidnapping for Ransom, which will be one important part of our work for the next weeks on our road to the Ministerial Council in Basel.

Regarding enhancing women’s role in public, political and economic life, the EU welcomes the follow up session to last year's Mediterranean Conference in Monaco. We strongly support the efforts to promote gender equality in the OSCE and beyond. Equality of women and men is a major objective for us and one of the founding values of the EU, reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

We call on the OSCE and its participating States to integrate the gender perspective into every stage of their policy processes. The increase of gender mainstreamed projects across the OSCE, especially in the work of field operations, is highly appreciated. We firmly believe that the OSCE is extremely well positioned to make a unique contribution in promoting gender equality.

We would like to take this opportunity to once again highlight the importance of implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and the related resolutions. These resolutions provide a focus to the beneficial role women can play in the resolution of conflicts as well as to the protection of women and children in conflict. As a regional security organisation the OSCE has a major part to play in implementing them in a holistic and comprehensive manner. We therefore support the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. 

Dear participants,

Our historical, cultural and commercial ties go back centuries. The Mediterranean Sea is a link between three continents and countless cultures. We would therefore like to assure you that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening cooperation with our Mediterranean neighbours, including through the OSCE, wherever the Organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 767, 22 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States take good note of the reduction in violence as a result of the ceasefire but regret and condemn the continued violations of it in a number of places in Eastern Ukraine that have led to civilian casualties during the past week. We recall that all provisions of the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented byall sides.

We recall as well that strict observation of the ceasefire is indispensable for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine. Human rights violations must also be prevented and fully investigated.

We expect the parties' full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, which we see as a step towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We underline the Russian Federation's responsibility in this context, and call for the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, as well as for the securing of the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring under OSCE verification. 

As stated earlier we attach great importance to the FSC instruments which could contribute to de-escalating tensions and dissipating concerns over military activities thus helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Weurge therefore all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to make full use of the OSCE politico-military toolbox.

In particular, we have noted Ukraine's request for notification and clarification of military activities in the border areas and their compliance with the Vienna Document 2011 as well as the answer provided by the Russian Federation. We are compelled to reiterate therefore that the announced return of more than 17.000 Russian troops from training areas in the Rostov region to their permanent bases is a welcomed step, only if fully implemented and verified under the Vienna Document.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting, 23-24 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union is pleased to take part in the 2014 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting and thanks the Swiss Chairmanship and the Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities for its preparation. We welcome the thematic focus of this year´s EEDIM on good governance in the OSCE two years after the adoption of the 2012 Ministerial Council Declaration. We thank the OCEEA for preparing the information note on the implementation of this Declaration.

2. We warmly welcome the keynote speakers, Ms. Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board of Transparency International, and Mr Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE, to our annual implementation meeting and thank them for their interesting and thought provoking interventions.

3. Good governance is strongest in states where government is transparent, democratic and accountable, where a free and pluralistic media is able to flourish and civil society actors are encouraged and enabled to participate in decision making. At the same time, efforts to effectively fight corruption rely upon independent and robust judicial systems, benefit from codes of ethical conduct for parliamentarians and other public officials, as well as active participation of civil society.

4. The participating States agreed in the 2003 OSCE Maastricht Strategy and reiterated in the 2012 Dublin declaration that good governance at all levels is fundamental to economic growth, political stability, and security. Thus, we are keen to hear in the upcoming two days how participating States as well as the OSCE executive structures, including through their joint efforts, implemented the commitments we have all signed up to. We are convinced that progress achieved in this regard will help us to ensure that our governments are more transparent, more accountable, effective and efficient and responsive to the present and future needs of our societies. It will also contribute to eradicating of negative phenomena like corruption, money laundering, organized crime and financing of terrorism which undermine economic development and expose states to greater security risks.

5. We will actively engage in the discussions ahead of us and present concrete steps and measures taken by the European Union as well as individual Member States to strengthen good governance, transparency and fight against corruption.

6. We welcome that parts of our annual implementation meeting will be devoted to environmental good governance with a special focus on the role of civil society. We commend the support the OCEEA provides to the Aarhus centres, in cooperation with the field presences. These aim at enhancing public participation in environmental decision making, access to information and access to justice in environmental matters, environmental awareness raising as well as providing a platform for mutual dialogue between civil society and governments and thus contribute to facilitation of political dialogue and building trust and confidence.

7. We appreciate also other efforts supporting civil society organisations in addressing environmental security challenges in cooperation with their governments, such as Civic Action for Security and Environment (CASE) Small Grants Programme.

8. Finally, we look forward to our deliberations on water cooperation – achievements and future prospects in the OSCE area. The importance of sustainable water management for economic growth, peace and security is increasing and was underlined by the European Union in its Council Conclusions on Water Diplomacy adopted in July 2013 as well as highlighted during the successful OSCE water security days event in July this year.

9. Regional cooperation is essential for addressing water challenges effectively and the UNECE Water Convention offers an ample opportunity to implement sustainable transboundary water management practices. In this context, we commend the incoming Serbian OSCE Chairmanship for choosing “water governance in the OSCE area” as a topic for the 2015 Economic and Environmental Forum. This topic serves as a perfect continuation of our work on disaster risk reduction under the Swiss Chairmanship and will allow us to continue addressing cross disciplinary subjects such as climate change. We hope that this year´s EEDIM will further provide the incoming Chairmanship with useful food for thought for our deliberations next year.

10. Thank you for your attention.

69th Session of the UN General Assembly Thematic discussion on Outer Space, EU Statement

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning clause

The EU and its MemberStates have a longstanding position in favour of the preservation of a safe and secure space environment and peaceful uses of outer space on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis. Strengthening the safety, security, and sustainability of outer space activities is of common interest. It contributes to the development and security of States. The prevention of an arms race in outer space and the need to prevent outer-space from becoming an area of conflict are essential conditions for the strengthening of strategic stability.

Space assets, operated by an increasing number of governmental and non-governmental entities, offer the world enormous benefits unimaginable just a few decades ago. Today these benefits are accompanied by significant challenges stemming from dangerous orbital debris and thus the potential of destructive collisions, the crowding of satellites, inter alia, in geo-stationary orbit, the growing saturation of the radio-frequency spectrum, as well as the threat of deliberate disruption or destruction of satellites These challenges call for the serious and timely involvement of states to ensure greater safety, security and sustainability in outer space.

Against this background, the European Union attaches great importance to the development and implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures as a means of strengthening security in the peaceful use of outer space.

The adoption in December 2013 by the General Assembly of Resolution 68/50 on Transparency and Confidence-Building measures in outer space activities without a vote, reflected a widespread support for the need to develop a regime encompassing such measures. The General Assembly welcomed the work of the group of governmental experts (GGE) and encouraged Member States to review and implement the proposed transparency and confidence-building measures contained in the group's report. The European Union was pleased to note that in the conclusions and recommendations of its study the GGE endorsed efforts to pursue political commitments, such as a multilateral code of conduct to encourage responsible actions in, and the peaceful use of, outer space.

Following UN General Assembly resolutions 61/75 and 62/43 on “Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs) in Outer Space Activities” and in response to the request by the UN Secretary General to UN members for "concrete proposals" on TCBMs, the EU introduced in September 2007 the proposal for a voluntary Code of Conduct aimed at promoting TCBMs in Outer Space Activities. On 5 June 2012, at a multilateral meeting in Vienna, the European Union presented a draft for an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. The EU has subsequently held three rounds of Open-ended consultations (OEC) on the draft in Kiev (May 2013), Bangkok (November 2013) and Luxembourg (May 2014), at which some 95 UN Member States participated.  The European Union informed the UN Secretary General of these developments on the Code.

Many participants suggested progressing from a consultative to a multilateral negotiating phase, in which the draft developed during the OEC process, to which many nations have contributed and which remains open to further changes, would serve as the basis. A number of participants noted the need for United Nations endorsement of the future Code of Conduct.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union, guided by the concern about the long-term safety, security and sustainability of outer space activities, as well as an eagerness to implement the consensus recommendations of the UN Group of Governmental Experts, is committed to contribute to the conclusion of the multilateral process on the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

We have received significant positive feed-back and broad interest on the initiative for an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, with several UN Member States requesting more time to study our proposal for a resolution calling for commencement of negotiations. Some have also pointed to the cross-cutting nature of the issues of long-term safety, security and sustainability of outer space.

We are ready to move the process from a consultation to a negotiating phase in an inclusive and transparent manner.We are currently consulting with UN Member States on how to  reach this phase.

Thank you.

EU Statement on the Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation and on the case of Human Rights NGO "Memorial Society", OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union is deeply concerned by the ongoing restrictions on Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation. Most recently we have seen the decision of the Russian Justice Ministry to request the liquidation of the prominent human rights NGO "Memorial Society", before the Supreme Court, reportedly on the issue of the conformity of its organisational structure with Russian law.

2. "Memorial Society" is the umbrella organisation that unites all regional and local "Memorial" organisations, whose representatives were awarded the 2009 Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament. "Memorial" is engaged in human rights, charitable, historical and educational work across Russia. The "Memorial Society" keeps the legacies of victims of Soviet-era repression alive. It is an invaluable source of inspiration for human rights defenders, in Russia and in the whole OSCE area.

3. This decision illustrates once again the determination of Russian authorities to use all possible provisions of the legislation on Non-Commercial organisations to further weaken or suppress independent NGOs, instead of empowering them.  Many organisations such as the St Petersburg-based "ADC Memorial" have been harassed and forced to scale down their activities or even to close completely, as a result of so-called law on "foreign agents".

4. We urge the Russian government to ensure that its legislation and its implementation conforms to international human rights standards including OSCE commitments.

UN General Assembly Third Committee, Item 68

(a) Implementation of human rights instruments

followed by introductory statements, interactive dialogue and general discussion of:

(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Madame Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.  

[Alignment formula]

The EU is fully committed to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and lends its full support to the multilateral human rights system with the United Nations at its core.

At the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture and the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the EU reaffirms its unwavering support for the ratification and implementation of international human rights treaties. We are heartened by the increasing number of ratifications and call on all to consider further ratifications. All countries stand to gain from their adhesion to international human rights instruments and their Optional Protocols which often cover important additional substance or provide for individual complaints or visiting procedures.

Madame Chair,

The human rights treaty bodies play a vital role in our joint efforts to promote and protect human rights. Their work is fundamental in the translation of universal human rights norms into practical measures for the realisation of human rights for all. The sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of the treaty bodies are key to all efforts to promote and protect human rights.

Against this background, the EU welcomed the adoption of the General Assembly resolution 68/268 on strengthening the UN human rights treaty bodies and the concrete contribution it could make to enhance the human rights treaty body system. We emphasise the paramount importance of its implementation by all stakeholders. It is our strong belief that the adoption of the GA resolution will promote steps by all stakeholders – treaty bodies, states parties, the Office of the High Commissioner as well as national human rights institutions and civil society – towards a stronger, more efficient and effective treaty body system. We will continue to pay close attention to the impact of this resolution as it is implemented in the coming years, with the expectation that resolution 68/268 will make a real and positive contribution to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

Madame Chair,

In addition, technical assistance and institution building can foster the effective implementation of human rights obligations. The EU is strongly committed to the sharing of good practice and often supplements its dialogues with partner countries by the offer of concrete assistance. We would also like to underline the crucial role that independent National Human Rights Institutions play in this regard as they provide human rights education and expert advice to the authorities tasked with the implementation of human rights norms. The EU also applauds the technical assistance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More generally, the EU expresses strong appreciation for the work of the OHCHR aimed at advancing the practical realisation of all human rights for all. In addition to the expanded field presence and technical assistance activities, the thematic and country work as well as the support to the ever expanding work of the Human Rights Council and the Special Procedures mandate holders, important steps have been taken in the past year to mainstream human rights throughout the UN system and to react to acute, severe crisis with a view to fact finding and preparing the ground for ensuring accountability, ending impunity. In this regard the EU is particularly appreciative of the work of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine AND STRESSES THE NEED FOR ITS CONTINUATION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE OBJECTIVE AND TIMELY REPORTING OF THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND. Moreover, in order to secure this important work, we will continue to champion the Office's independence, impartiality and non-selectivity, and we also note that it is also incumbent upon all of us to maintain the resources of this important institution.

Madame Chair,

The EU has warmly welcomed the new High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and looks forward to the first inter-active dialogue with him at this Committee. We appreciate that the new High Commissioner has pledged to continue and to build on the important work of his predecessor. We welcome the attention paid to the situation of human rights defenders and the need for accountability.  We also appreciate his engagement in issues regarding the rights of the child, one of our own priorities. As we very much share the High Commissioner's concern about recent acts of violence against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. We envisage to give increased emphasis to their vulnerable situation in our resolution on Freedom of Religion or Relief before this Committee.

Madame Chair,

Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Platform of Action's which remains a key reference document for the advancement of human rights worldwide. At the Vienna Conference, civil society, for the first time, gained recognition as indispensable partners in the quest for human rights. Sadly, in many countries, civil society representatives and organisations continue to experience increasing restrictions on their work, ACCESS TO FUNDING and face intimidation, harassment, and even violent attacks. The EU is fully committed to the defense of civil society space and supports a safe and enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders. We call on all governments to respect the individuals' right to exercise their freedom of expression, opinion, association and assembly.

The EU also strongly supports the right of individuals and members of organisations to unhindered access to and communication with international human rights bodies. The UN and MemberStates stand to gain from the knowledge and experience of civil society actors and human rights defenders in discharging their mandates and responsibilities effectively. The Human Rights Council must remain a safe space for NGOs and civil society to express concerns and raise issues – the EU will vigorously oppose all efforts to limit the debate. The EU will also continue to speak out should human rights defenders be prevented from participating in the debate or suffer reprisals after their cooperation with the UN human rights system.

Madame Chair,

In closing, the EU wishes to highlight the importance of mainstreaming human rights throughout all areas of work of the United Nations. Human rights are not something separate or technical, to be relegated to special mechanisms and experts – rather, they provide a crucial reference point and basic guidance for all areas of work. The EU CALLS UPON the international community, represented by the General Assembly, TO be united in the resolve to place human rights at the centre of its work, including and in particular in the post-2015 agenda which is currently being developed.

Thank you Madame Chair. 

Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 21 жовтня 2014 року

Thank you Mme President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

(alignment)

Mme President,

The EU welcomes the successful outcome of the "Cairo conference on Palestine - Reconstructing Gaza" held on 12 October 2014 and commends Egypt and Norway for hosting the conference, as well as the considerable efforts and commitment of Egypt to broker the current ceasefire agreement and earlier deals.

The conference sent a strong message on the necessity to bring a fundamental and durable change to the Gaza Strip, as a return to the status quo which existed prior to the latest conflict is not an option. It is now essential that the Palestinian Authority assumes its full governmental responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and that the government of Israel lifts restrictions to socio-economic development, particularly in the field of movement and access. It is also essential that the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza as demonstrated by rocket attacks and tunnel construction is brought to an end. All terrorist groups must disarm and be prevented from rearming.

The understanding reached on 25 September by the Palestinian parties and the meeting of the Palestinian consensus government in Gaza on 9 October 2014 are positive steps going in the right direction which should be pursued further. The EU welcomes the temporary monitoring mechanism negotiated by the United Nations, Israel and the PA, as a first step towards the necessary opening of all crossing points, as well as initial measures announced by Israel on movement and access which should be implemented and expanded. 

We remain ready to develop further our efforts to build the capacities of the Palestinian Authority, particularly with a view to its swift deployment at the border crossings, and to support an effective and secure lifting of the closure through an EU presence at Gaza crossing points. Furthermore, the EU is ready to explore ways to support the creation of a land link which would consolidate the political and economic links between the West Bank and Gaza, and to analyse the feasibility of a maritime link between Cyprus and Gaza which could open Gaza to Europe and allow the people of Gaza to unlock its socio-economic potential.

In Cairo, the EU and its member states pledged an overall contribution of 468 million Euro for the reconstruction in Gaza. We call on participants to the Cairo conference to ensure the effective and timely disbursement of the generous pledges they made in support of the PA efforts to reconstruct Gaza, which will be an integral part of the future State of Palestine.

Mme President,

At the Cairo conference, the international community expressed its clear commitment to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to resume a diplomatic process and the conviction that a fundamental change in Gaza can ultimately be achieved only through a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution.

The EU fully shares with the international community a sense of urgency in making tangible progress towards a two-state solution. In urging the parties to resume meaningful negotiations, we remain convinced that clear parameters defining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful outcome. The EU will continue to actively promote its position with regard to parameters as set out in Council Conclusions of December 2009, December 2010, and July 2014 and in the UN Security Council on 21 April 2011. The EU is willing to work with the US and other partners on an initiative to re-launch the peace negotiations, based on the following principles:

- An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on 4 June 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties. The EU will recognize changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, only when agreed by the parties.

-  Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with security threats, including with new and vital threats in the region.

- A just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question.

- Fulfilment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

We urge all parties to refrain from actions which could undermine a resumption of negotiations and the prospects of peace. We also reiterate our call upon the Palestinian leadership to use constructively its UN status.

Mme President,

The developments on the ground make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly unattainable and a one-state reality would not be compatible with the aspirations of both parties.

In this regard, we strongly deplore the recent Israeli decisions to approve a plan for new settlement activity in Givat Hamatos and to allow for further settlement expansion in the neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. We reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law. The parties' commitment to a negotiated solution will only be credible if they refrain from unilateral actions that change the situation on the ground and threaten the viability of the two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to urgently reverse its decisions and put an end to its settlement policy in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem; to put an end to settler violence, to the worsening of living conditions for Palestinians in Area C, to demolitions - including of EU funded projects -, evictions and forced transfers, including of the Bedouin communities in Area C, and to increasing tensions and challenges to the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.

On its part, the EU will continue to do all it can to support the achievement of a lasting and just solution to the conflict. We reiterate our offer to both parties of a package of European political, economic and security support and of a Special Privileged Partnership with the EU in the event of a final peace agreement. 

Mme President,

The EU is seriously concerned about the humanitarian and security situation in Syria and Iraq and condemns unreservedly the attacks, atrocities, killings and abuses of human rights perpetrated by ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups in both countries as well as by the Assad regime in Syria. The EU is determined to contribute to the international endeavour to defeat those terrorist groups. A Syrian led political transition and inclusive political governance in Iraq are crucial to sustainable peace and stability in the region.

The situation in Ayn al Arab / Kobani and in other areas under siege and experiencing fierce fighting against ISIL / Da'esh is a matter of serious concern. We appreciate efforts by Turkey to shelter refugees from Kobani and calls on Turkey to open its border for any supply for the people of Kobani.

The EU is committed to tackling in a comprehensive and coordinated manner the regional threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism and addressing the underlying instability and violence which has given ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups a foothold. We support efforts by more than sixty States to tackle the threat from ISIL / Da'esh, including military action in accordance with international law. We note that military action in this context is necessary but not sufficient to defeat ISIL / Da'esh and it is part of a wider effort comprising measures in the political/diplomatic, counter-terrorism and terrorism funding, humanitarian and communication field. The EU calls on all partners to enforce relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, including 2170 and 2178 and to step up efforts at national level to deny ISIL / Da'esh the benefits of illicit oil sales and other goods. Non-inclusive policies in Iraq, and instability in Syria caused by the Assad regime's brutal war against its own people, massive human rights violations and systematic obstruction against democratic reforms, have allowed ISIL / Da'esh to flourish. As a consequence of its policies and actions, the Assad regime cannot be a partner in the fight against ISIL / Da'esh.

Yesterday, the EU approved further sanctions against the Assad regime, designating individuals and entities linked to the regime to be subject to restrictive measures. The Council of the European Union also agreed to impose an export ban on jet fuel and relevant additives being exported to Syria as they are being used by the Assad regime's air force, which undertakes indiscriminate air attacks against civilians. The EU will continue its policy of imposing additional measures targeting the regime, as long as repression continues.

We reiterate our firm commitment to counter the serious problem of foreign fighters who have joined the ranks of ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups. The Council of the European Union endorsed the EU counter terrorism / foreign fighters strategy, which is an integral part of the response to the August 2014 European Council Conclusions and to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2178. The Council called for its well-coordinated implementation as a matter of highest priority. The EU is determined to take immediate and long term action to deny ISIL / Da'esh the benefits of its sources of funding and supply, and to enhance its counter terrorism and security cooperation with countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq in line with the EU counter terrorism / foreign fighters strategy. We support the work undertaken by the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator in this regard.

Mme President,

International efforts to achieve a Syrian-led transition remain a priority in order to maintain the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity while preserving its multi-ethnic and multi-religious character. The EU will continue to provide political and practical support to the moderate opposition. There cannot be lasting peace in Syria if the legitimate grievances of all ordinary Syrians, including those belonging to ethnic and religious groups, are not addressed. The EU is determined to support all efforts for a political solution by mutual consent based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and in line with relevant UNSC Resolutions. The EU calls on all parties to engage constructively in negotiations and it expresses its full support to the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura and his ongoing efforts.

We recognise that the active engagement of regional and international actors will be required to deliver a viable transition and call on them to play a constructive role in this regard.

The EU is appalled by and firmly condemns the indiscriminate killings, human rights abuses, including systematic sexual and gender based violence, perpetrated in Syria and Iraq by ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist organisations, in particular against Christian and other religious and ethnic groups, women and children.

The EU reiterates also its condemnation of the gross, widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Assad regime. The EU is seriously concerned about the human rights abuses and sectarian violence that are being committed in Iraq.

The EU welcomes the 8th report of the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the SyrianArabRepublic published on 27 August 2014. The EU strongly condemns the actions of ISIL / Da'esh amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes. We recall that all responsible for abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law must be held accountable and that there can be no impunity for them. We reiterate our call to the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and our call on Iraq to accede to the Rome Statute. We welcome efforts by actors working on the ground to ensure that human rights abuses and violations are being documented and evidence preserved.

The EU welcomes the formation of a new Iraqi government on 8 September and its commitment to address current challenges by pursuing inclusive policies which meet the needs and aspirations of all components of Iraqi society. Failure to do so may compromise efforts to combat ISIL/Da'esh, hamper the government's efforts to promote Iraq's national reconciliation, and further intensify sectarian tensions. We welcome the appointment to the key posts of defence and interior ministers, as well as the other ministerial appointments and the fact that the Kurdish ministers have taken up their posts in the government. We call on the

Iraqi government and the government of the Kurdistan Region to find a lasting solution to their differences.

The EU reiterates its firm commitment to Iraq's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome the coalition's efforts, including the decision by individual Member States to provide military material and expertise to Iraq, to reduce ISIL/Da'esh's capacity to attack civilian populations, which come in response to an explicit request for support by the Iraqi government. Ultimately, however, the solution to the crisis can only be political. We call on the government to reach out to all components of Iraq society and to pursue, without delay, a process of national reconciliation. We urge all components of Iraqi society to unite in the fight against ISIL/Daesh and to support a process of national reconciliation.

The EU expresses its readiness to closely cooperate with the Government of Iraq in addressing its challenges, and to support it in pursuing the necessary reforms across a broad spectrum of sectors, including the security sector and the judicial system which need to be reinforced along non-sectarian lines, in cooperation with UNAMI and in compliance with Iraq’s international obligations, in order to enhance good governance and rule of law.

We welcome the various and complementary initiatives taken on Iraq, in particular the conclusions of the Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq held in Paris on 15 September, as well as the UNSC meeting on Iraq held on 19 September. We call on countries in the region and the international community to work together to help Iraq tackle its sectarian tensions and restore peace and stability.

The EU is deeply concerned, particularly in view of the approach of winter, by the humanitarian predicament of the millions of Syrians and Iraqis who have been forcibly displaced both internally and to neighbouring countries. The EU and its MemberStates are leading the international response to the crisis. To date, around €2.9 billion has been mobilised for relief and recovery assistance to those in need in Syria and Iraq as well as to refugees and their host communities. We will continue to support the humanitarian relief efforts, including for people in areas that are difficult to reach, provide assistance to support the resilience of refugees and host communities in countries affected by the crisis and we call on the international community to do the same. We will also continue to insist on the importance of abiding by humanitarian principles and international human rights law.

Regarding Syria, the EU condemns the Assad regime's continued intransigence on humanitarian access and the use of administrative procedures to hinder the rapid and sustained delivery of aid. We reiterate our call on all parties, in particular the Assad regime to implement in full the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 and 2165. The EU will continue to implement those Resolutions to deliver cross-border and cross line assistance. The EU is also deeply concerned that ISIL has significantly affected the presence and operation of humanitarian agencies and actors in northern Syria, thus compromising their humanitarian function.

Regarding Iraq, the EU calls on the government of Iraq to do more to contribute to the humanitarian relief effort across the country and deliver on its duty of care and protection vis-à-vis all Iraqis.

In all the neighbouring countries hosting Iraqi and Syrian refugees, the EU will continue to provide assistance to refugees and vulnerable host communities in close coordination with national authorities and development actors, whose efforts contribute to reducing tensions with host communities and to the stabilization of these countries in line with their national plans.

We are fully aware of the immense social and security challenges that the current developments in Syria and Iraq pose in particular to Lebanon and Jordan. The EU is determined to seek ways to further enhance its support to both countries to meet those security challenges. The EU is looking forward to the Berlin Conference on the Syrian Refugee Situation of 28 October 2014.

Mme President,

The EU understands the extraordinary security, humanitarian, social, economic and political challenges that Lebanon is facing. We strongly condemn the repeated attacks of violent extremist groups on Lebanon's territory and commend the Lebanese security agencies for their joint efforts in responding to the numerous security threats.

We stress the importance of strong institutions in preserving the stability and internal unity of Lebanon. In this regard the EU encourages Lebanon's leaders to open the way for the election of a new President without further delay. We appreciate the generosity of the Lebanese people in giving support to the unprecedented number of people fleeing violence in Syria and the region. We recall our pledge of an additional EUR 215 million to address consequences of the Syria conflict that was announced at the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting of 26 of September.

Item 81: Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, UN General Assembly, Sixth Committee, 20 жовтня 2014 року

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

(alignment clause)

We welcome the report of the Secretary General (A/69/185) on the consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.

Violent, including deadly, incidents and attacks involving diplomatic and consular personnel and premises continue to occur. Such failure to respect the inviolability of diplomatic and consular missions and their representatives is a matter of great concern for us all.

We urge States to strictly observe, implement and enforce the provisions of international law governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the EU Member States fully apply. Respect for these principles is essential. Close cooperation in security matters is needed, not only at the international level, but also nationally between the missions and the competent local authorities.

We strongly condemn the recent attacks against the Indian consulate in the western Afghan province of Herat and against the Turkish Consulate in Mosul as well as other serious attacks against diplomatic and consular missions. We reiterate also that abductions, such as the abduction of a member of the staff of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yemen in July 2013 and others mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, or any kind of violent act against diplomatic and consular missions or their staff can never be justified, wherever they occur. In this regard, we recall that the physical safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, which is a prerequisite for their smooth functioning, is in our common interest and must be secured. We call on all States concerned to bring perpetrators to justice.

Receiving States are also under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the diplomatic missions and consular premises under the two Vienna Conventions. In that context, particular attention must be paid to the threats posed by terrorists and other armed groups, which sometimes force States to shut down their embassies or consulates, as it is happening in Libya and Yemen.

The European Union and its MemberStates are prepared to participate in all efforts aimed at ensuring and strengthening the right of diplomatic and consular staff to protection and safety.

 

Mr. Chairman,

The numerous and significant  breaches of international law relating to diplomatic and consular relations illustrated in the Secretary General's report show that our efforts in this domain should continue, if not intensify. Everyone is aware of the eminent contribution made by diplomatic relations to the establishment of trust among nations and concord among people. Any acceptance of lessened protection would amount to endangering those objectives.

While commending the States that have become parties to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations since the last report of the Secretary General in July 2012 (A/67/126), we call again upon all States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to these instruments, as well as to all other relevant instruments.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation NR 766, 15 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our concern that, despite the ceasefire agreed last month, violence is continuing in a number of places in Eastern Ukraine. We recall that all provisions of the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented by all sides.

Strict observation of the ceasefire is a necessary step for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine including with a view of preventing human rights violations and for the investigation of those that have occurred so far. Furthermore, effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral part of a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

In this context, we took note of the launch of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination (JCCC) with the participation of military personnel from Ukraine and the Russian Federation as well as of the initial comments provided in this regard during the FSC meeting last week. Nevertheless, we would be interested in hearing more from the parties about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre and its relationship with the OSCE SMM.

We also took note of the notification circulated by Canada to inform Ukraine about its intention to conduct a multilateral inspection under the Vienna Document 2011 as well as of the positive reply of Ukraine. We are looking forward to discussing in the FSC the report of the mission upon completion.

We believe that such cooperation underpins our position, expressed several times in this Forum, that the FSC and its instruments have an important and proper role in helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. 

Mindful of this, we reiterate our call on all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to maximise restraint and transparency while carrying out military activities and exercises in areas adjacent to the border with Ukraine. In this respect, we believe that the announced return of more than 17.000 Russian troops from training areas in the Rostov region to their permanent bases is a welcomed step if verified and fully implemented.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on the Vienna Document, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation NR 766, 15 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to thank the Chairmanship as well as the key-note speakers, for this useful opportunity to discuss the Vienna Document during a period when trust and confidence in the OSCE area are damaged by the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and by the security crisis in and around Ukraine.

We note with interest the Slovenian Study´s conclusion on the Vienna Document having partially become a hostage of great power relations in other areas and the problematic situation in relation to the CFE Treaty, and we agree with the conclusion that participating States need to understand that having a stronger Vienna Document is in their long- and mid-term strategic interest.

We view the Vienna Document as one of the main components of the OSCE politicomilitary dimension. We would like to underline that the raison d’etre of the Vienna Document is to build regional confidence and security by giving effect to commitments all OSCE participating States have made to refrain from the threat or use of force, including in relation to the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of States.

Against this background, we would all be well served by bearing in mind the reason the Vienna Document was conceived, and, in that spirit, consider what is further needed to prevent conflicts and de-escalate tensions, including by maximising restraint, holding constructive consultations with all relevant parties and by facilitating verifiable transparency relating to military activities of concern to any participating State.

We believe that in such circumstances fully respecting, both in letter and in spirit, and modernising the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area remains a task to be pursued in a priority manner. We should do so with the further aim of improving substantially the overall level of implementation of the Vienna Document and other Confidence and Security-Building Measures taking stoke of the experience and lessons learnt during the Ukrainian crisis, in particular regarding the risk reduction mechanism.

The proven transparency record of the Vienna Document with its information exchange and notifications is one of the core elements of the document. The FSC should have high ambitions in this respect by striving to identify and agree upon concrete results that achieve tangible transparency benefits, in areas such as lowering the thresholds for notification, exploring ways to include selected noncombat units in the annual exchange of military information, increasing opportunities for verification activities while managing costs in connection with these activities, expanding the range of military activities subject to notification, modernising and updating the exchange of military information, strengthening our risk reduction mechanisms, as well as considering possibilities to enlarge the scope of CSBMs.

We will therefore actively contribute to enhancing military stability, predictability and transparency by structured and result-oriented negotiations to ensure the Vienna Document 2011 and its CSBMs are adjusted to the evolving security environment.

Mr. Chairman, we would like once again thank the speakers for their valuable contribution to today’s dialogue. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the Forum and wish the speakers every success in their future endeavours.

Déclaration de l’UE en réponse à S.E. l’Ambassadeur Michael SCANLAN, chef de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie et le chef de la Mission européenne d’Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, Monsieur Francesco Bastagli , OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. L’Union européenne félicite l’Ambassadeur Scanlan pour sa nomination à la tête de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie. Nous vous souhaitons la plus chaleureuse bienvenue, à l’occasion de votre premier rapport d’activités au Conseil permanent. Nous saluons également chaleureusement le chef de la Mission européenne d'Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, Monsieur Francesco Bastagli. Nous vous remercions pour vos rapports ce matin.

2. Ambassadeur Scanlan, la contribution au règlement pacifique du conflit transnistrien est au cœur du mandat de la Mission que vous dirigez. Nous sommes convaincus que les projets de la mission dans les trois dimensions contribuent à la création des conditions nécessaires à un règlement pacifique du conflit transnistrien, respectueux de la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie. Nous apprécierions que, de votre regard neuf, vous nous citiez la contribution qui vous a  le plus marqué dans l’activité de la Mission.

3. Votre Mission peut compter sur notre soutien, basé sur les engagements pris au sein de l’OSCE par ses Etats membres, notamment dans le domaine de la sécurité. Nous encourageons la Mission à mettre activement en œuvre son mandat, et à continuer à suivre et à rendre compte des développements dans ce domaine.

4. Les tentatives croissantes de la part de Tiraspol de restreindre l’accès des membres de votre mission à la région de Transnistrie et de vous empêcher de continuer à impliquer les représentants des deux rives à la réalisation de ces projets sont inquiétantes. Nous appelons une fois de plus tous les participants aux négociations dans le format 5+2 à user de leur influence pour convaincre Tiraspol qu’il est dans son intérêt de mettre fin à ces restrictions et aider la Mission à réaliser son mandat. Pour ce faire, les membres de votre mission doivent avoir un accès complet et sans entraves à tout le territoire de la République de Moldavie, y compris à la région de Transnistrie, ainsi qu’au dépôt d’armes russes à Colbasna.

5. Vous savez également à quel point nous sommes attachés à la poursuite et à l’aboutissement des discussions au format 5+2, le seul qui garantisse la transparence et la légitimité d’une solution durable. Une résolution du conflit serait une avancée majeure pour la stabilité et la sécurité de la région et apporterait des avantages concrets à la République de Moldavie, y compris à la région de Transnistrie. L’Union européenne est prête à soutenir sa mise en œuvre, y compris financièrement. Nous avons regretté le report de la réunion pour la troisième fois cette année et demeurons convaincus de l’utilité de fixer une nouvelle date pour celle-ci, dès que possible et sans préconditions. Nous comptons sur le Représentant spécial de la Présidence suisse, l’Ambassadeur Bogojevic pour prendre les initiatives qui s’imposent.

6. Nous sommes rassurés d’apprendre que les écoles dispensant un enseignement en alphabet latin dans la région de Transnistrie ont pu ouvrir leurs portes au début de l’année scolaire. Ce sujet devrait être suivi de près afin de mieux accompagner les efforts visant à assurer le fonctionnement normal et durable de ces huit écoles.

7. D’autres questions, comme la liberté de circulation, l’ouverture des ponts et la facilitation des contacts entre les populations des deux rives, nécessitent un dialogue actif, dans un esprit de coopération. Il en est de même si l’on veut remédier aux incidents dans la zone de sécurité, dont plus rien ne justifie la militarisation, ou encore à propos du retrait des forces de l’armée russe stationnant en République de Moldavie. Bref, nous considérons qu’il est très important d’assurer la continuité  des négociations dans le format 5+2 et  nous attendons des progrès tangibles sur les trois corbeilles, en particulier sur les aspects politiques, institutionnels et de sécurité de la troisième corbeille, en respectant la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie.

8. Les succès de la République de Moldavie dans son rapprochement avec l’Union européenne sont remarquables. Nous saluons la participation très active de ce pays au Partenariat oriental. Nous nous réjouissons de la signature, le 27 juin 2014, de l’Accord d’association entre l’UE et la République de Moldavie, qui prévoit aussi l'établissement d’une zone de libre- échange approfondi et complet. Nous félicitons la République de Moldavie pour l’application dudit Accord depuis le 1er septembre 2014 et espérons finaliser le processus de ratification par les Etats membres et le Parlament Européen dans les meilleurs délais possible. Nous espérons que tous les décideurs politiques et économiques de toutes les régions du pays, en particulier ceux de la région de Transnistrie, sauront reconnaître les opportunités qui s’offrent à eux et qu’ils auront à cœur de poursuivre résolument les réformes. 

9. Nous espérons que les élections parlementaires du 30 novembre seront conformes aux normes du BIDDH et remercions ce dernier d’y envoyer des observateurs.

Monsieur le Président,

10. En ce qui concerne les travaux de la Mission européenne d'Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, nous mettons en évidence que le travail de la Mission de promouvoir des mesures de confiance susceptibles de faciliter un règlement du conflit transnistrien, a pris une nouvelle importance dans le contexte de la crise dans et autour de l'Ukraine.

11. Nous nous félicitons des efforts de la Mission d’Assistance de renforcer sa présence sur le segment transnistrien de la frontière entre la République de Moldavie et l’Ukraine au cours des derniers mois. Nous relevons que les reseignements fournis par la Mission montrent une circulation des échanges commerciaux et des personnes sans entraves à travers le segment transnistrien de ladite frontière.

12. Nous accueillons davantage la coopération entre la Mission d’Assistance et la Mission de l'OSCE en République de Moldavie, ainsi que l'équipe de SMM à Odessa que nous comprenons, est située à côté de l'EUBAM.

13. En conclusion, nous vous renouvelons nos vœux de plein succès dans l’accomplissement de vos fonctions. 

EU Statement on in response to the reports by the Chairpersons of the three Committees, OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Chair of the Security Committee, H.E. Ambassador Dominic Schroeder, the Chair of the Economic and Environmental Committee, H.E. Ambassador Ol’ga Algayerova, and the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee, H.E. Ambassador Robert Kvile, for their presentations. We thank the chairs for their able stewardship of the committees and we are pleased to have had the opportunity today to hear their plans for the period ahead. The committees make our consultations more participatory, interactive and transparent, and we welcome the active participation of representatives from the OSCE institutions, OSCE field missions, and civil society. We encourage the continuation of this approach also in the future.

2. Regarding the Security Committee, the thematic meetings organised this year have been very informative and pertinent. We appreciate the increased focus on cross-dimensional and collaborative working and are particularly pleased that OSCE actors were given the opportunity to demonstrate their practical contribution to the OSCE’s work on transnational threats. We are looking forward to the coming meetings and discussions on deliverables for the Ministerial Council under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Schroeder.

3. Our priority continues to be implementation of the OSCE’s transnational threats (TNTs) related decisions, including the 2005 Borders Concept. When implementing these decisions, we underline that, where appropriate, work has to be done in close cooperation with other international stakeholders active in the fight against TNTs, such as UNODC. There is also a continued need to ensure a cross-dimensional approach in TNTs with full respect for the implementation of human dimension commitments. The Security Committee has an important role in overseeing the OSCE’s activities on TNTs, and in particular the implementation of the decisions taken in this field.

4. We need to continue to give special attention and support to the cyber Informal Working Group. We are pleased that implementation of the first set of CBMs is well under way and we are of the opinion that it will be useful for discussions on the second set. We reiterate that, for the second set, we support setting the focus on a few cooperative CBMs on which consensus would be easier to reach.

Mr Chairman,

5. Regarding the Second Dimension, we appreciate the continued practice of organising thematic meetings. We value especially implementation of commitments, and contributing to ensuring continuity in our endeavours, such as the most recent Committee meeting on the implementation of the two Kyiv decisions as well as the meeting on fight against corruption earlier this year. The Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting should provide us with further opportunity to take stock of the progress made by OSCE participating States as well as the Secretariat on the implementation of the commitments in the area of good governance, transparency and fight against corruption made in Dublin in 2012.

6. We are grateful for organising the recent meeting on sharing best practices on sustainable water management. This was an interesting follow-up to the Security Days event on water security. That highlighted the potential of water as a source of tension and conflict and thus underlined its clear link to security and its pertinence for the OSCE. We believe that the adoption of the topic for the 2015 Economic and Environmental Forum “Water governance in the OSCE area – increasing security and stability through cooperation” provides a good opportunity to further strengthen the OSCE´s portfolio in the area of water and security as well as water diplomacy.

7. Finally, Mr Chairman, concerning the Human Dimension Committee, there have been many useful and important discussions already this year, and we wish to thank the Chairperson of the Committee and his team for assembling such high calibre speakers to address the Committee. We expressed already our appreciation for the participation of representatives from OSCE institutions, field operations, and civil society and would welcome even more involvement for civil society in the Committee. We also appreciate the invitations to attend Committee meetings that the Chairperson has regularly extended to the Council of Europe and UNHCR representatives in Vienna, as well as to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

8. The EU would also like to reiterate its appreciation and support for the continued practice by the Chairperson of a standing agenda, including the item on voluntary reporting. We believe such practices enrich the discussions in the Committee. We agree with the Chairperson that the voluntary reporting item provides a useful opportunity for states to outline their feedback and planned follow-up to recommendations made by the OSCE, including Election Observation Missions. The EU would like to assure the Permanent Council that we will continue our practice of making voluntary reports to the Committee on our efforts to fully implement OSCE human dimension commitments, and we encourage other participating States to do likewise.

9. We look forward to the Committee’s work in the coming months on the Chairmanship’s draft Ministerial decision on torture prevention. We expect that the committee will also have the opportunity to focus on drafts in other areas including in relation to the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.

10. The EU wishes the three chairs every success in the year ahead.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned that shooting and shelling has continued in parts of eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire agreed in Minsk. We note with concern the SMM reports of ceasefire violations against areas of strategic importance mainly controlled by the Ukrainian army. We condemn the recent GRAD missile attack near Mariupol that caused a number of civilian casualties. We express our deep concern about the escalation on the ground by pro-Russian armed groups as reported by the SMM. We call on all parties to fully comply with the ceasefire.

2. We reiterate that a lasting ceasefire remains the key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan and based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory are integral to implementation of the Minsk Protocol and should be acted on swiftly.  We continue to strongly urge all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unrestricted access for international investigators to the MH17 crash sites.

3. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for continuous monitoring by the OSCE of the Russian-Ukrainian international border as well as of the ceasefire. While important efforts are ongoing within the Trilateral Contact Group and bilaterally aimed at implementing and monitoring the ceasefire, we deeply regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border. We urge Russia not to delay steps to address border monitoring, while making progress on other elements in parallel. The Minsk Protocol should be implemented in its entirety. Border monitoring and ceasefire monitoring are closely interlinked and mutually dependent and we urge the parties to agree a coherent overall approach.

4. In order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the international border a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission, combined with monitoring of the Ukrainian side of the border by the SMM, is needed. The ultimate goal of these efforts must be to assist Ukraine to regain control of its own border.

5. We welcome the Chairmanship’s draft addendum to the mandate of the Observer Mission as a good basis for further discussions and note that all the delegations that have made their voices heard, with the exception of Russia, have called for an expansion. In order to demonstrate a genuine resolve to fulfil the commitments it made under the Minsk Protocol of which continuous border monitoring is an integral part, Russia should agree to an expansion of this mission. Given the short time-frame until the current mandate expires, we trust that the discussions on a possible expansion will be further taken forward with priority. We stand ready to contribute additional staff and resources for the implementation of this expansion. We furthermore note with concern that the mission has not been provided with proper protection and immunities, and we call on the Russian Federation to provide this as soon as possible. We reiterate our call on the full implementation of the Berlin Declaration including by the participation of Ukrainian border guards in border control at the respective Russian checkpoints.

6. We reiterate our strong support for the efforts of the Chairmanship and the OSCE in Ukraine, including the SMM, the Project Coordinator and the current ODIHR election mission. Last week’s visit to Ukraine by a group of OSCE ambassador’s was an opportunity to get a first-hand insight in the work of OSCE structures in Ukraine and their professional and very dedicated staff.

7. The visit was a further reminder of the need to ensure the OSCE SMM has the resources necessary to fulfil its mandate fully and safely. We take this opportunity to urge all participating States to respond quickly and generously to the call for contributions to expand the SMM, including financing, essential equipment, and qualified monitors and operational staff. For our part, the EU and its Member States will continue to strongly support the mission, including by providing qualified staff and appropriate equipment.

8. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We rely on the SMM to report on the situation in the areas controlled by the armed separatists and on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and memorandum. We reiterate our interest in hearing more about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination and its relationship with the OSCE SMM. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of UAVs, as a useful contribution to the OSCE’s work in monitoring the ceasefire and border, including in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and along the border with Russia.

9. Mr. Chairman, we welcome ODIHR’s Interim Report on the Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine on 26 October. While we welcome that preparations for the elections are well underway, we also share the concerns raised, that despite that freedom of assembly has been largely respected, cases of physical assaults on candidates and election commissioners were reported. We regret that there will be no elections conducted in Crimea due to Russia’s illegal annexation, and that elections are unlikely to be held in more than half of the election districts in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to the actions of illegal pro-Russian armed groups. However, we welcome that the Ukrainian authorities have put in place arrangements for citizens from these areas to vote in other parts of the country under simplified procedures.

10. The EU underlines the importance of holding early local elections in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the Ukrainian legislative framework. We recall that the EU does not recognise the holding of so-called “parliamentary elections” in the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” in November.

11. We remain deeply concerned about the reports of enforced disappearances and un-investigated deaths of Crimean Tatars in Crimea that seem to be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation. We note that another recently disappeared Crimean Tatar has reportedly been found dead this week.

12. We note the announcement on October 12 that President Putin has ordered troops deployed at the Ukrainian border to return to their bases. If verified and fully implemented, this would be a welcome step in the right direction. At the same time we hope that this is not simply part of a force rotation.

13. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on Illegally Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned about the continuing illegal detention in Russia of a number of Ukrainian citizens, including Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko and film producer Oleh Sentsov. We repeat our call for their immediate release.

2. Reports that Nadiia Savchenko, without the knowledge of her lawyers, has been transferred to the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow for a psychological examination are particularly disturbing.  We note that the Serbsky Centre has a long history of providing controversial assessments in cases of concern.

3. We once again call on the Russian Federation to abide by its OSCE commitments and its obligations, including as a Member State of the Council of Europe and party to the European Convention on Human Rights. 

EU Statement, 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, Thematic discussion on Disarmament Machinery

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning paragraph

Mr President,

We are a strong supporter of the United Nations and effective multilateralism.

The role and contribution of the UN disarmament machinery - the components of which are mutually reinforcing - remain crucial and irreplaceable. Deliberative and negotiating bodies set up under the auspices of the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-I) need to improve their performance and reach results in line with their agreed mandates. Recent positive developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, such as the success of the Arms Trade Treaty and the signing of the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty demonstrate that deliberations and negotiations in these fields can produce results.

We believe that the UNGA First Committee should serve as a forum for open and relevant exchange, able to deal with current challenges to our collective security and develop concrete measures to this end. It should concentrate its efforts on the most pertinent and topical issues, rather than maintaining the practice of proceeding in a formalistic manner and simply updating previously adopted resolutions. In order to alleviate its heavy agenda and make it more relevant, we believe that the possibility of bi- or triennialising more resolutions, in a balanced manner, should be contemplated. We welcome the initiative of the Chair to convene an informal meeting to discuss possible further improvements regarding the panel discussions as a positive step in this direction. We support further increase of the efficiency, utility and interactivity of the panels and we presented concrete suggestions in this respect.

The Conference on Disarmament, in accordance with its mandate, has the crucial role to negotiate multilateral disarmament treaties. We are disappointed that it did not succeed in commencing its substantive work, including negotiations. This year however, we have noted some encouraging developments. The re-establishment of the Informal Working Group to assist in developing a Programme of Work and the structured discussions under the Schedule of Activities allowed for constructive and open debate. We hope these exercises can be built upon further.

We would also like to reiterate our longstanding commitment to the enlargement of the Conference. We underline the importance of continuing consultations on the expansion of its membership and strongly support the appointment of a special coordinator in this respect.

Consistent with our engagement with civil society, we would welcome enhanced interaction between civil society and the Conference, thus allowing a broadened contribution of NGOs and research institutions, in an inclusive manner, to the work of the Conference.

For the European Union, the immediate commencement and early conclusion of the negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament of a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, on the basis of document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, remains a clear priority. National security concerns, while legitimate, can and should be addressed as part of the negotiation process rather than as a prerequisite. We appeal to delegations to show flexibility. We call on all CD member states to start negotiations on such a Treaty without delay and to begin work on the other issues on the agenda in line with the adopted Programme of Work CD/1864. We call on all states possessing nuclear weapons that have not done so to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

We welcome the constructive discussions at the two meetings in 2014 of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. The fact that the experts of a number of EU Member States participate in the GGE reflects our keen interest and commitment on this issue. We are looking forward to the report of the Chair of the GGE and the meetings in 2015 to further substantively advance the issue.

We also share the frustration that since 1999 the United Nations Disarmament Commission was not able to fulfil its mandate properly and failed to agree on any recommendations. For the EU and its MemberStates it is important to take a sincere look at the way the existing working methods of the UNDC have been utilized, in particular regarding its current agenda which is over-politicized. We welcome and strongly support the initiative of the UNDC Chairman to invite Member States to submit proposals on how to revitalize the work of the Commission, including the possibilities regarding modification of the substantive agenda. We also believe that the Chair's Concept Paper on possible ways forward for the next three-year cycle is an excellent basis for further discussion. In that regard, we expressed our views at the informal meeting of 8 September and we support the UNDC Resolution proposed by the Chair as tangible means of increasing chances of success in the next three-year cycle. We are looking forward to engaging constructively in the discussions.

UNIDIR is a trusted element of the disarmament machinery, invested with a unique mandate to conduct independent research and analysis on issues relating to disarmament and security which requires a high degree of expertise. The EU and its MemberStates highly value UNIDIR’s activities in conducting independent research in disarmament and security. We have financially supported the important work done by the Institute on numerous occasions.

Thank you.

69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee Thematic discussion on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning paragraph

1. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery continues to be a growing threat to international peace and security. Recent cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria reinforce the calls for a resolute and global approach to that threat.

2. The European Union stands united in condemning, in the strongest terms, all use of chemical weapons in Syria, which constitutes a violation of international law, a war crime, and a crime against humanity. There can be no impunity and perpetrators of the attacks must be held accountable.

3.The international community over the last year cooperated effectively and acted promptly in carrying out the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and the decisions by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council. The removal and subsequent destruction of the declared Syrian chemicals constitute a significant step towards the necessary complete and irreversible dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. The EU contributed 17 million euro for the joint UN/OPCW Plan for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. In addition, several EU Member States made important financial and other contributions to support the plan and accepted the destruction of materials on their territories.

4. However, there is still work to be done. In particular the European Union is gravely concerned about the systematic and repeated use of a toxic chemical as weapon since last April as confirmed in the second report of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) set up to establish the facts around these allegations. New similar allegations are continuing to be made. The EU shares the view that the evidence presented by the FFM is substantial. This included reports of the use of helicopters, a capability that only the Syrian regime possesses. We support the Director-General's decision that the FFM continue its work and we remain determined to sanction those responsible for these horrific acts. Syria must also ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled, including the remaining production facilities.

5. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a key component of the non-proliferation and disarmament framework. Its integrity and strict application must be fully guaranteed. The EU and its MemberStates are the largest contributor to the OPCW and will continue to substantially support its activities financially and in kind. Achieving the goals of time bound destruction and universality remains principal challenges and we encourage those countries that have not yet adhered to or ratified the Convention to do so without delay. We call upon possessor states to expedite destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles. Chemical weapons destruction operations should continue to be conducted in a sincere and transparent fashion, and within the framework of the existing verification regime. We underline also the importance of full national implementation of the Convention.

6. The EU is engaged in supporting improvements in bio-safety and bio-security. New EU-financed projects are currently under implementation with the support of the World Health Organisation. The recent Ebola outbreak illustrates the potential impacts of biological pathogens in a globalised world. In this context we welcome the Global Health Security Agenda Initiative and the Security Council Resolution 2177 (2014) which determined that the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

7. The European Union attaches high priority to further strengthening of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), its full implementation and universalisation, making specific efforts to convince States which have not adhered to or ratified the Convention to do so without delay. Several EU projects since 2006 ensure consistent support and financial contribution for the promotion of the Convention's objectives.  In this context, the role of civil society should also be reinforced. The EU remains convinced of the need to enhance compliance with the BTWC and calls upon all States Parties to meet the requirements set by successive Review Conferences that returns on Confidence Building Measures are to be submitted annually. Effective national implementation is also fundamental for the integrity on the Convention. The current inter-sessional process, in the run-up to the 2016 Review Conference, offers an opportunity to identify innovative approaches, such as the proposed peer-review mechanism. The EU looks forward to discussing it further at the next meeting of States parties.  The cross-regional interest in the biennial item on how to strengthen the implementation of Article VII earlier this year showed that there is room for a substantive discussion and for the identification of concrete avenues for work.

8. The EU has continued to make progress with the implementation of its Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, which aims at reinforcing the institutional capacity of partner countries to prevent, detect and fight against the CBRN risk and strengthen the overall security architecture. This project is the largest initiative contributing to non-proliferation ever undertaken by the European Union. Around 100 million euro is dedicated to its implementation.

9. The risk that non-state actors acquire weapons of mass destruction adds a further critical dimension. It is vitally important to enhance international cooperation, both in the framework of the United Nations and amongst all Member States, in order to address these challenges. This year, marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UNSCR 1540. Since the beginning, the European Union has been a staunch supporter of the robust and effective implementation of the resolution with the objective of strengthening global efforts in this regard. New projects have been adopted with a view to continue promoting the full implementation of the resolution and to provide assistance to third countries in complying with their obligations under UNSCR 1540.

10. The EU will continue to promote international efforts to prevent the acquisition and the use by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction and to strengthen the international framework, as well as national capabilities. To that purpose, the EU will actively support among other initiatives the adoption of the biennial resolution 'Preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive sources', presented by France and Germany.

11. The EU strongly believes that the proliferation of missiles, especially those capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, continues to be a serious concern to us all and a threat to international peace and security, as reaffirmed in UN Security Council Resolutions 1540, 1887 and 1977. A number of tests of short and medium range missiles conducted over the last years outside all existing transparency and pre-notification schemes and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, especially by the DPRK and Iran, deepen our concern. The use of hundreds of ballistic missiles by the Syrian government also raises deep concerns as it represents an immediate threat to its civilian population and is destabilising peace and security in the region.

12. The Hague Code of Conduct is the only multilateral transparency and confidence building instrument concerning the spread of ballistic missiles. The EU strongly supports the Code and believes that this important instrument, to which all EU Member States are subscribing States, should become universal. Despite the increasing recognition of the Code and the support of the UN General Assembly, a number of key States with important activities in the area of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles have not yet joined it. The EU will promote the universalisation of the Code and, where possible and appropriate, a closer relationship between the Code and the UN system, through our unanimous support to the biennial resolution of the UN General Assembly and similarly to previous years, our outreach event to be held in the margins of the First Committee. We call on all States that have not yet done so to adhere to it as soon as possible.

13. Export controls are also essential to prevent missile proliferation. We consider that the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) plays a key role and we continue to promote EU Member States' membership in export control regimes. We are also in favour of examining further multilateral steps to prevent the threat of missile proliferation and to promote disarmament efforts in the missile field.

14. We continue to support other international mechanisms designed to prevent the proliferation of WMDs, such as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction which has become an important platform of coordination and cooperation. The EU Centres of Excellence continue to contribute within the Global Partnership. Export controls, particularly those based on the Australia Group lists, are also very important tools to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

UNGA69 Third Committee, Item 27 : Advancement of Women

Madam Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

[Alignment paragraph]

As we speak today about the progress we have made in promoting the rights of women and girls and in empowering them, discrimination and violence against women and girls continues around the world, in all regions. Girls are prevented from going to school or forced to marry. Women are subjected to violence, even in their own homes. In any given society women get fewer opportunities than men to grow socially and professionally. Sexual violence remains a deplorable and widely used tactic of war. Women human rights defenders are threatened and attacked for doing their work.

In the past decades we have come a long way completing the international and national legal frameworks on gender equality and on the empowerment of women. We have raised awareness about women's issues. Yet, there is still a lot to be done. And we must be vigilant to secure the progress that we have already achieved.

2015 will be a year when we can and must make a difference. In 2015 we will celebrate 20 years from the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, and 15 years from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the contribution of Women to Peace and Security. We will review the progress that we have made in implementing these important instruments and will reflect on further action. Let me stress: we have made clear commitments and we have identified the solutions to the existing challenges; we now need to focus on implementing these commitments, in order to achieve the goals that we have set.

In 2015 we will also seek to agree a new agenda for development for the coming years. We must seize this opportunity to weave a forceful gender silver thread into the future agenda for poverty eradication and sustainable development. We are convinced that gender equality and women’s empowerment are a precondition for poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as objectives in themselves. Therefore we support gender equality as both a stand-alone goal and its mainstreaming in the post-2015 framework for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women made a meaningful contribution to this end last March, when its agreed conclusions delivered a message in favour of a strong gender dimension for the post-2015 agenda. Next year's session, which will coincide with the different anniversaries I mentioned, will enable us to make major progress on gender equality in this year of anniversaries. It will also provide us with the opportunity to review the Commission's working methods, aligning them to the recent strengthening of the ECOSOC.

Madam Chair,

We remain committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights, and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences, and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action committed States to women’s full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power. With a view to the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, the European Union is monitoring progress since Beijing+15 in all areas covered by the Beijing Platform for Action. The European Institute for Gender Equality is preparing an independent monitoring report "Beijing+20", which should be available at the end of October. On the basis of this report, the Council of the European Union will adopt conclusions with policy recommendations and orientation for future action on gender equality. In the framework of the events in preparation of Beijing+20, the Italian Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission will organise in Rome at the end of October a conference on the future of gender equality.

No country has fully achieved gender equality, but each one has useful experiences to share. Therefore we welcome the initiatives to reinforce regional and cross-regional dialogue on gender issues, such as the EU-CELAC Dialogue on Gender launched in November 2013 and the Third Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society held in September 2013.

We welcome the key role that UN Women has been playing in empowering women and eliminating violence against women and girls through its programmes, technical assistance, advocacy and normative work, and also through its leadership and coordination of efforts across the UN. The European Union and UN Women have intensified cooperation through implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding aiming to foster policy dialogue and co-operation in several fields, including combating sexual and gender-based violence.

Madam Chair,

Women's economic empowerment and their full participation in economic life are crucial for development and for improving the general quality of life globally, for both women and men. We are well aware of the simple fact that gender equality is smart economics: it can enhance economic efficiency and improve other development outcomes, as well as make institutions more representative.

The EU "Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development 2010-2015" has helped guide the European Union’s external action in this domain and is part of the European Union's strategy to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It also seeks to attain the goals set by the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Cairo Programme of Action. The plan establishes a basis for the systematic inclusion of gender equality in the European Union’s political dialogues with partner countries and for the involvement of civil society, particularly women’s organisations. A new Plan is being drafted for the 2016-2020 period.

As we mark this year the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, the European Union has reconfirmed its commitment to intensify and improve political and material support to human rights defenders, with special focus to vulnerable and marginalised groups, and to countries affected by conflict; and pledged to step up efforts against all forms of reprisals.

Madam Chair,

We are fully committed to the effective implementation of one of the most ratified human rights conventions, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and we urge all countries that have not yet done so to sign, ratify and fully implement the Convention. We highly value the work of the CEDAW Committee to advance and ensure the implementation of the Convention. We welcome the result of the General Assembly process on treaty body strengthening and we hope that it will lead to enhanced reporting on and the implementation of the Convention by the State Parties, as well as the capacity and the effectiveness of the working methods of the Committee.

We strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls as violations of their full enjoyment of human rights. Neither custom, tradition, culture, religion, nor so-called honour can be invoked to justify violence in any of its forms, or to diminish, limit or otherwise reduce the obligations of States with respect to the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls, and the effective prosecution of perpetrators.

In line with its Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls and Combating All Forms of Discrimination Against Them, the European Union supports the fight against all harmful practices affecting girls and women, men and boys, including Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, both in the European Union and globally.

At the Girl Summit in London in July the European Union stressed the importance of putting into practice measures against Female Genital Mutilation, and Child, Early and Forced Marriage; and pledged more than 100 million euro for the next seven years to gender equality and children wellbeing under our Global Public Goods and Challenges programme. Examples of forthcoming actions within the European Union include the support to the EU Member States' awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women, as well as projects led by grassroots organisations aimed at combating Female Genital Mutilation and other harmful practices.

Madam Chair,

We are committed to promoting the role of women in peace and security, including through the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its follow-up resolutions. 17 European Union Member States have adopted national action plans with the aim of strengthening their action on UNSCR 1325. We continue to implement a systematic plan: the Comprehensive Approach to the Implementation of these resolutions. The Second report on its implementation from February 2014 also sets the following priority areas for the next reporting period (2013- 2015): transitional justice, women's political participation and economic empowerment, women's involvement in peace processes and preventing sexual violence in conflicts.

The European Union is committed to ending sexual violence in conflict. Protecting women and ending impunity remain our utmost priorities. We support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, and all work aimed at an integrated approach to prevent and punish acts of sexual violence, as well as to bring justice, services and reparation to its victims.

The European Union is working to establish by next year a policy on Transitional Justice, aimed at providing a framework for the Union's support to transitional justice mechanisms and processes, and enhancing its ability to play a more active international role in this area. The policy is expected to integrate a strong gender dimension into the Union's approach to transitional justice.

The European Union has recently strengthened its gender-sensitive approach in response to humanitarian crises around the globe. Since the beginning of 2014 a Gender-Age Marker applies to all humanitarian projects funded by the European Commission, in order to assess and improve the quality of gender- and age-sensitive programming. Women and girls – including refugee and internally displaced women and girls, who constitute a significant part of displaced or refugee populations – are exposed to specific risks and increased vulnerability in conflict situations or natural disasters. They also have specific capacities to cope with crises, contribute to peacebuilding and promote resilience. The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid highlights the importance of integrating gender considerations, incorporating protection strategies and promoting the participation of women.

We also welcome the upcoming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty on 24 December. The recognition by the Treaty of the specific potential impacts of international arms transfers on women and their rights; and the inclusion, for the first time in a legally binding international instrument regulating the international trade in conventional arms, of a binding criterion on gender-based violence, are a big step forward and a major innovation.

Madam Chair,

Let me end by noting that the new European Commission will include a Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. It is the first time that gender is explicitly acknowledged in a European Commissioner's title and, as the actions described above, it further reflects our continued commitment to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Thank you.

Joint Declaration of October 10, 2014

As we mark the 12th World Day against the Death Penalty, we jointly call for a world which respects human dignity. The death penalty, one of the most complex and divisive issues of our time, continues to question the fundamental values of our societies and to challenge our understanding of criminal justice.

We respect the views of those who still support the use of the death penalty, and we believe that everyone has a right to be protected from violent crime. However, we consider that state executions should not be taking place in the 21st century. Modern justice systems must aspire to more than retribution.

The main objections to the death penalty are well known. Despite popular belief, there is no evidence supporting the claim that executions deter or prevent crime. No justice system can ever be guaranteed free from error, meaning that death sentences may cause the innocent to be put to death. Often, capital sentences are disproportionately imposed on poor, vulnerable and marginalised persons, aggravating discrimination against the weakest in society. Finally, the capital sentence provides victims of crime and their families neither with commensurate compensation nor with spiritual relief. On the contrary, state killing results in more hatred and violence - the exact opposite of what modern justice systems should be trying to achieve.

This joint call, which we address to the world at large, is the first ever launched by Foreign Ministers of both abolitionist and non-abolitionist States. We recognize that exchange and cooperation are needed to move together towards more effective and more humane justice systems. Together, our countries have the experience and the drive to turn the death penalty into a sentence of the past. A vast majority of countries already supports worldwide death penalty abolition; we hope that all countries will soon join this trend.

EU Statement on the Inauguration of H.E. Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union welcomes the political agreement to form a government of national unity. We would like to congratulate the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the inauguration of His Excellency Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on 29 September. The first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history is a landmark achievement for the people of Afghanistan and the President’s appointment of His Excellency Dr Abdullah Abdullah as Chief Executive Officer of the new government. We wish them every success in the continuing transformation of Afghanistan.

2. There are important economic and security challenges ahead, and it will be essential for all parties to continue to work together to build a stronger Afghanistan. The signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States and the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO, are positive developments, which will provide a basis for continued international assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces.

3. As one of the largest donors of development and humanitarian aid, the EU remains committed to working closely with Afghanistan to implement urgently needed political and economic reforms, strengthen the rule of law and foster full respect for human rights. We value the activities of the OSCE with Afghanistan such as the Border Management and Staff College in Dushanbe. We remain committed to supporting the OSCE’s continuing engagement with Afghanistan. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre, H.E. Ambassador Adam Kobieracki, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union and its Member States would like to thank H.E. Ambassador Adam Kobieracki for his very interesting and candid report on the activities of the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC). Strengthening the OSCE capabilities in addressing the conflict cycle should be given continued attention, in particular the implementation of MC decision 3/11 and has been further highlighted by the crisis in and around Ukraine. We highly appreciate the significant contributions of the CPC in organising and supporting the OSCE’s engagement in Ukraine in an impartial, flexible and professional manner. We commend Ambassador Kobieracki and his professional and dedicated staff for their sustained efforts and commitment over many months.

2. In particular, we commend the CPC’s role in acting swiftly to set up and support the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), and join the Director in expressing appreciation to those other parts of the OSCE who supported this by releasing staff as first responders. After the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, we are convinced the SMM has an even more important role to play. We are well aware of the practical and financial challenges in working for the rapid expansion of the SMM and will continue to strongly support the mission, including by providing qualified staff and appropriate equipment. We also command the CPC for the support of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

3. We continue to believe that we should use the full potential of the OSCE in the current situation, including through the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU) and the OSCE autonomous institutions that are all playing a vital role in their respective areas. We would encourage the CPC to do all it can to continue to contribute to effective cooperation, exchange of information, and synergies between the different OSCE structures working in Ukraine, as well as between OSCE and other international actors active in Ukraine.

4. The crisis in and around Ukraine has also demonstrated the constraints on the OSCE, including on legal, financial and operational issues. We believe it is important for participating States and the Executive Structures to draw lessons from the OSCE’s engagement. We appreciate that Ambassador Kobieracki in his report acknowledges that some issues could have been handled better.

5. We share Ambassador Kobieracki’s view that field operations’ mandates, including in Ukraine, allow them to contribute to the OSCE early warning mechanisms. We recall our proposal to elaborate a compendium on OSCE’s involvement in peace processes. We stand ready to consider ideas, including those presented by Ambassador Kobieracki today, for further optimizing and operationalising OSCE capacities in the field of early warning, mediation support and in dealing with high risk security situations, while bearing in mind the current financial context.

6. The full implementation of MC Decision 3/11 is a prerequisite for strengthening the role of the Organisation in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the CPC in the field and hope that efforts made to enhance internal cooperation, produce internal guidelines and identify synergies will bear fruit in the coming years.

7. The resolution of the protracted conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in the existing formats remains a top priority for the EU. We regard this as a core task of the OSCE and support the contribution of the CPC. We encourage them and the relevant field missions to continue the promotion of confidence building measures and projects which contribute to fostering understanding between all sides. This should include increased co-operation with civil society organisations in the conflict regions in order to identify potential ways for promoting understanding and rebuilding trust and confidence. Intensified efforts to resolve existing protracted conflicts are needed.

8. Field missions have a central role to play throughout the conflict cycle. We are therefore pleased that a network of early warning focal points has been established. We welcome efforts to train field mission staff in mediation skills and dialogue facilitation. We further welcome the increasing attention that is being paid to Central Asia. The support and guidance provided by the CPC in co-operation with the TNT department in areas such as border management and policing is highly appreciated. Also, we appreciate engagement with Afghanistan and look forward to concrete proposals on how to deepen our cooperation with Mongolia, in accordance with the country’s requests and needs.

9. Finally, we continue to attach great importance to the full implementation and the enhancement of existing OSCE politico-military commitments, including the Vienna Document and appreciate the assistance provided by the FSC Support Section in that regard. We are ready to strengthen, in line with our consistent position, OSCE instruments and capacities in curbing the illicit spread and destabilising accumulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, taking into account the forthcoming entry into force of ATT. Furthermore, we remain convinced that the OSCE's role and capacities devoted to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and UNSC Resolution 1540 on Non-Proliferation should be further enhanced on a sustainable basis.

10. Mr. Chairman, we would like to once again thank the CPC and its Director for their valuable work. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the CPC and wish Ambassador Kobieracki and his dedicated staff every success in their future endeavours.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Acting Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Acting Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, Mr Paul Picard, to the Permanent Council. We thank him for his interesting and concise report and commend him and his staff for their dedication and professionalism in implementing the Mission’s mandate, sometimes under difficult circumstances.

2. We believe the Mission has provided valuable and objective reporting on the state of affairs at the Russian Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints. Despite  the unfortunately very limited mandate and small size, the Mission has made some important observations related to the crisis in and around Ukraine. We note in particular the regular reports of a high number of young people crossing the border wearing military-style clothes and comments in conversations that they are not allowed to cross with weapons from Russia. Instead they receive weapons, ammunition and equipment on the Ukrainian side before being dispatched to assigned areas. Near the Gukovo checkpoint there is even a shooting range where they can calibrate their newly received weapons. These observations and testimonies confirm what we already know; that  fighters coming from Russia are heavily involved on the ground in this crisis. 

3. Besides the valuable reporting, we would like to highlight the Mission’s crucial role in facilitating a safe passage through the Gukovo checkpoint for 437 Ukrainian servicemen in the beginning of August. The Mission’s presence and facilitation efforts potentially saved many lives. 

4. We welcome the Mission’s outreach to the media through publication of its reports and press briefings. In this context, we regret that the Mission’s reports have been misused by Russian media to suggest that no troops, ammunition or weapons crossed the border into Ukraine. We know that this is not true.

5. Mr Chairman, we would like to reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border should be an integral part of a sustainable political solution, which fully upholds OSCE principles, and  re-establishes Ukrainian control over its sovereign territory, including the border. We recall that the Minsk-protocol called for a permanent monitoring by the OSCE of the Russian-Ukrainian state border as well as monitoring and verification of a ceasefire. Border monitoring and ceasefire monitoring are closely interlinked and mutually dependent. Therefore, a coherent overall approach is needed. 

6. We regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We would like to recall that when the decision was taken to deploy this Observer Mission at two checkpoints we said that this was a limited first step. Since then large-scale attacks have forced the Ukrainian authorities to give up control of additional checkpoints. We believe that a significant expansion of the Observer Mission, combined with effective monitoring on the Ukrainian side of the border by the Special Monitoring Mission, is needed to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the border, pending return of control of all border checkpoints to the Ukrainian authorities. 

7. The Observer Mission should be expanded to a number of other checkpoints along the Russian border with Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts of Ukraine. The Observer Mission should also operate freely along the “green” border between these checkpoints to ensure comprehensive border monitoring; and should be able to conduct unannounced inspections. Furthermore, and taking into account the high workload already placed on the Mission as it stands, this expansion will demand a significant increase in the number of observers. We encourage the Chairmanship to develop options for such a meaningful expansion. We would be grateful if the acting Chief Observer could share his views in this regard. We also note with concern that the Mission has not been provided with proper protection and immunities, and call on the Russian Federation to provide this as soon as possible. 

8. We recall that an important confidence building element of the Berlin Declaration was to provide access for Ukrainian border guards to participate in the control of the specified Russian checkpoints. We note that a group of Ukrainian border guards have been present at the Donetsk border checkpoint since mid-August. With a ceasefire now in place, we urge Russia to allow Ukrainian border guards and customs officials to participate in border control in line with Russia’s Berlin commitments.

9. We once again thank Mr Picard and his staff for their excellent work. We are looking forward to an expansion of this Observer Mission. We wish Mr Picard every success in his future endeavours. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union is deeply concerned that, notwithstanding the ceasefire agreed last month, shooting and shelling has continued in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the death of civilians, including a Swiss ICRC staff member. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased and we recall the imperative of full implementation of the Minsk protocol and the Minsk memorandum.

2. We note the SMM’s reports of ceasefire violations at or around areas of strategic significance, including Donetsk Airport and the transport hub of Debaltseve . We also note the SMM’s assessment that the violations seem to reflect attempts to gain strategic advantage either before the Minsk memorandum is implemented in full or winter sets in, with the pro-Russian separatists for instance attempting to take the power plant in Shchastya north of Luhansk city We call on all parties to comply fully with the ceasefire agreement.

3. A lasting ceasefire remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution, in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should also be integral parts of such a solution. Moreover, we strongly urge all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unrestricted access for international investigators to the MH17 crash sites.

4. We welcome the ongoing efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group and note the launch the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination with the participation of representatives of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. We would be interested to hear more from the parties about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre and its relationship with the OSCE SMM.

5. We note with concern that the SMM has observed that Russian and Ukrainian military personnel participating in the Joint Centre had badges with OSCE Logos, which they prepared to wear. We condemn any unauthorised use of OSCE insignia. We call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, and express our concern about recent incidents where access was prevented.

6. The European Union strongly supports the holding of early parliamentary elections throughout Ukraine on 26 October in line with international standards and calls on all parties to ensure the elections can take place without external interference. We welcome the deployment of a substantial OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission for the elections. We expect that the Ukrainian authorities will draw on ODIHR’s recommendations after the Presidential elections in May. We commend the Ukrainian government for its efforts to facilitate the participation of internally displaced persons and citizens from Crimea in the elections. We regret that the elections will not be conducted in Crimea, but welcome that citizens from this area of Ukraine can vote in other parts of the country. We call for their right to participate in the election process to be fully respected and facilitated and for the freedom of movement of voters.

7. The EU underlines the importance of holding early local elections in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the Ukrainian legislative framework. Regarding the announcement of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’ that they intend to hold so-called ‘parliamentary elections’ in November we recall that the European Union does not recognise these so-called ‘elections’. 

8. We welcome the third meeting of representatives of Ukrainian and Russian journalists’ unions organised on 26 September in Vienna by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. We join the participants in condemning the killing, beating and detention of journalists in eastern Ukraine. We share the Representative’s concerns about hostile behavior against the media in Crimea including intimidation by the de-facto authorities in Crimea of the newspaper of the Mejlis.

9. We are deeply concerned about reports of enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars in Crimea that seem to be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation. We note that at least one of the recently disappeared persons, 25-year-old Edem Asanov, has reportedly been found dead. We also remain deeply concerned about the continuing detention of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, Ukrainian film producer Oleh Sentsov and all other persons who have been abducted from Ukrainian territory and are illegally detained in Russia. Reports from Nadiia Savchenko's defence lawyer that her detention conditions in Moscow have deteriorated are particularly disturbing. We call for the immediate release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.

10. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne en réponse à la présentation par le Secrétaire général du budget unifié 2015, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne remercient le Secrétaire général pour sa présentation du projet de budget unifié 2015. Ils remercient le Secrétariat et l’ensemble des gestionnaires de fonds pour leur contribution à ses travaux de toute première importance. Nous saisissons également cette occasion pour formuler tous nos vœux de réussite à Mme Marina Milanovic-Ilic qui conduira les travaux budgétaires au sein de l’ACMF. 

2. Comme tous les ans, les Etats membres de l’Union européenne s’engageront pleinement dans un dialogue et une négociation constructifs afin de veiller à doter notre organisation des moyens humains et financiers adaptés à la mise en œuvre de ses mandats. La crise en et autour de l’Ukraine ajoute un défi de sécurité avec des conséquences financières nouvelles pour l’OSCE. Nous demeurons convaincus qu’une politique budgétaire doit être efficace, économe et stratégique. C’est une condition essentielle pour que l’objectif qui nous est commun soit atteint : la consolidation de la sécurité collective dans l’espace OSCE, basé sur le respect et la pleine mise en œuvre de nos engagements et de nos principes partagés.

3. Nous étudierons ce budget en ayant à l’esprit les nécessaires mesures de rigueur auxquelles toutes les organisations internationales ne peuvent échapper et qui doivent constituer leur ligne directrice.  Par ailleurs, dans notre réflexion, il aussi importera de prendre en compte le considérable effort financier et humain que nous pourrons être amenés à fournir, par ailleurs, dans le traitement de la crise en Ukraine en 2015 ; nous ne pouvons ignorer le surcoût très important qu’il pourrait représenter pour les Etats participants et qui devra être anticipé.

4. A hauteur de 70% de contributions au budget unifié, nous restons, de loin, les premiers contributeurs financiers de l’OSCE, alors que la plupart des pays membres de l’Union européenne font l’objet de réformes structurelles de leur budget national. Aussi, nous continuerons de plaider pour un maximum d’efficacité budgétaire et pour des mesures d’optimisation. Cela signifie qu’il convient  d’allouer  les ressources humaines et financières là où une plus-value est démontrée.  Ainsi, il importe de doter l’organisation d’indicateurs de performance transparents et fiables afin d’aider les Etats participants à orienter les décisions budgétaires qu’ils doivent prendre. La culture de l’évaluation doit aussi s’appliquer à l’OSCE, comme à toutes les organisations internationales.

5. Monsieur le Président,

Comme l’ont montré les récents développements en Ukraine, les enjeux de sécurité dans l’espace OSCE, dans toutes les dimensions, sont préoccupants en particulier dans le domaine de la dimension humaine mais aussi en ce qui concerne le non-règlement des conflits prolongés. Aussi cette année nous plaiderons avec la plus grande détermination pour un renforcement des moyens humains et financiers indispensables pour que les institutions autonomes accomplissent l’intégralité de leur mandat, notamment en ce qui concerne l’observation électorale. Nous demanderons également que les programmes relatifs à la prévention des conflits et à leur résolution soient dotés de fonds appropriés.  Les faits nous donnent raison et nous constatons un peu plus  tous les ans à quel point ces fonds sont sous-dotés pour répondre aux besoins qui ne cessent de croitre.

6. En termes de répartition géographique, nous continuerons d’appuyer la continuation des efforts de rationalisation des activités des missions de terrain dans les Balkans et le transfert graduel des activités vers les autorités nationales et locales en fonction des progrès achevés. Nous notons également que les propositions d’augmentation des fonds relatifs aux missions de terrain en Asie centrale sont modestes alors que les enjeux de sécurité dans cette région augmentent dans toutes les dimensions. Nous regrettons le fait que l’École des cadres pour la gestion des frontières de Dushanbe ne soit pas inclus dans le projet de budget. Nous réitérons notre demande que le financement de l’École soit placé sur budget unifié.

7. Monsieur le Président,

Nous restons en outre préoccupés par certains éléments qu’il est important de résoudre :

- Les coûts de personnels, malgré l’adoption de quelques mesures en 2014, continuent de croitre alors que le nombre total d’emplois est en réduction. Nous reviendrons sur cette importante question dans le courant de la négociation ; cette tendance ne peut que nous contraindre à examiner avec la plus grande prudence tout proposition de création de postes ou de conversions de postes de secondés vers des postes de contractés ;

La négociation budgétaire a montré cette année la nécessité de trouver une solution sur le fonds du renforcement dans le cadre du cycle budgétaire 2015 respectant le règlement financier et les engagements pris par les Etats participants sur leur niveau de contribution. Nous demandons au Secrétariat de formuler rapidement des propositions pour transférer l’ensemble des postes au budget du Secrétariat, en incluant différents modèles de partage de charges.

8. Une meilleure répartition de la charge entre Etats participants est nécessaire. Nous appuyons les travaux relatifs à la réforme des barèmes de quotes-parts de contribution et espérons qu’ils débouchent en 2015 à leur révision, conformément au mandat du groupe de travail créé à cette fin. 

 

9. Monsieur le Président,

Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne ne ménageront aucun effort dans cette négociation qui passe par un dialogue soigné, précis et constructif. Nous espérons que tous y participent dans le même esprit.. Ce dernier doit être mené pour prendre en compte les besoins de ceux qui utiliseront ces ressources mais également les contingences auxquelles ceux qui les allouent doivent faire face. Nous pensons qu’il est possible d’atteindre un  consensus de qualité.

10. Nous sommes aussi convaincus qu’il est nécessaire cette année  d’adopter un budget dans les temps. A cet égard, nous continuerons de plaider pour une réforme du cycle du budget et pour sa bi annualisation. 

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 765, Vienna, 8 October 2014, EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union and its Member States express concern about the intensification, in spite of the ceasefire in place, of fighting in some areas of Eastern Ukraine, which led last week to the tragic death of several civilians near a school in Donetsk as well as a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Many Ukrainian servicemen have also died in fighting over the past weeks, notably as a result of the continued shelling and assaults by separatist forces of the Donetsk airport.

We express our condolences to the families of the deceased, and recall that all elements of the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum must be fully implemented by all sides. Strict observation of the ceasefire is a necessary step for the much needed restoration of law and order in the East of Ukraine, both in view of preventing human rights violations and for the investigation of those that have occurred so far.

Furthermore, we recall that a lasting ceasefire remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral part of such a solution. The European Union stands ready to support any efforts relating to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, in particular through the OSCE.

In this context, we took note with concern of the SMM report 156/2014 of 3 October about a military officer from the Russian Federation wearing an OSCE patch without the authority of the OSCE on his uniform as well as carrying an ID card with the OSCE logo.

We strongly condemn any unauthorised use of OSCE insignia.

The FSC and its instruments have an important and proper role in helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. We keep encouraging therefore all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to show maximum level of transparency, political will and restraint with regard to military activities. Trust and confidence must be restored by open and constructive dialogue and consultations within the FSC and other relevant politico-military mechanisms, as well as by offering voluntary verification measures and additional information concerning military activities in the bordering areas via the OSCE channels.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 765, Vienna, 8 October 2014, EU Statement on SALW and New Technology

The European Union would like to thank today's speakers for their enlightening presentations and the FSC Chairmanship for having brought to our attention the topical issue of the impact of new technologies on SALW and SCA control.

Ever since the adoption of the OSCE Document on SALW in 2000 and the UN Programme of Action on SALW in 2001, the European Union has been actively promoting the effective and full implementation of these documents by political and financial means, notably by the EU Strategy on SALW adopted in 2005, the implementation of which is regularly reviewed.

In this context, we share the opinion that the implications of new developments in weapons manufacturing and design technology – such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, polymer frames and modularity – pose increasing challenges for SALW and deserve our collective attention.

The recently released UN Secretary General's report on the matter, which was discussed at the 5th Biennial Meeting of States last June, provides useful initial guidance in this respect. Among others, the report points to the risk of 3D printing technology becoming available for criminal and terrorist activities. The challenges that the development of modular weapon systems may pose for effective marking of SALW is another case in point.

At the same time, new technologies may also offer new opportunities for SALW control. These are for instance related to laser control for marking weapons, automatic identification and data collection technology applications for recordkeeping, and use of GPS in weapon shipments tracking.

This is why we look forward to taking this issue further at the 2015 UN open-ended Meeting on Governmental Experts, which will focus on the implications of recent developments in SALW manufacturing, technology and design for effective marking, record-keeping and tracing.

In conclusion, we would like to once again express our appreciation for today's opportunity to discuss the possibilities and the limitations of new technology with a view to considering a harmonised approach to this important matter.

Statement/Elements for intervention on the occasion of session of the Implementation Review Group of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (Vienna, 13-15 October 2014)

Mr. Chairman,

1. Over ten years after the signature of the UNCAC, the fight against corruption remains a top priority within the EU. Corruption undermines the trust of citizens in democratic institutions and processes. Political will is the key element of any successful anti-corruption policy and we are committed to continue our efforts in this field and to promote effective measures against corruption.

2. We see the merits of the on-going Review Process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, but we are also aware of the challenges in implementing the review mechanism, in particular with regard to delay and cost efficiency. Now that the first cycle of the review is coming to its end, we will have to reflect upon the follow-up action required and on how to address the problems that have been identified in the implementation of the convention. We take note of the lessons learnt through the process and ask the Secretariat to implement them as timely as possible, at the latest at the next cycle of the implementation review. 

3. We regret that the Conference of the States Parties at its last session was not able to take any decision on possible ways of improving the review mechanism and eliminating its shortcomings in view of the second cycle.

4. Our position related to transparency of the review mechanism is well known and has not changed. We have always advocated a transparent review mechanism, where States Parties make optimal use of all the relevant information available, including from non-governmental organisations. We are pleased to see the willingness expressed by many non-governmental organisations to participate in the review process as well as in the conference discussions devoted to the implementation of the Convention.

5. We would like to express our deep concerns about the damaging practices observed at the last sessions of the Working Groups. Certain delegations did not allow for the proper reflection of the discussion and interventions of other Parties in the report. We hope that we will be able to reaffirm our common respect for transparency of our work and for all relevant UN rules, which are so close to our hearts and so deeply rooted in the UN spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

6. We regret that the expertise of non-governmental organizations in the various anti-corruption issues can be used by the UNCAC WGs' experts only to a very limited extent. We would like to recall that participation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations is fully consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the UNCAC COP. The participation of the organizations referred to, should be ensured in all work of the Conference and its WG. We strongly believe that a constructive dialogue between States Parties and civil society would substantially contribute to improving the impact and implementation rate of the provisions of the convention. We believe that it is time now to take further steps to include the experience offered by the civil society.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (6-10 October 2014)

Check against delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,

Executive Director, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

[Alignment paragraph]

 

2. The European Union would like to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election, and to thank the Secretariat for the preparations for this session of the Conference.

 

3. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols is the broadest framework to support criminal justice responses aimed at preventing and addressing the illicit activities of criminal groups, and depriving them of their illicit gains. It allows for effective cooperation among Member States to address both existing and emerging forms of transnational organized crime. We would like to encourage all Member States to make widest possible use of all measures set forth by these legal instruments. The European Union notes with satisfaction the high level of political support for the Convention and the three Protocols thereto, and the substantial number of ratifications.

 

4. We take note of progress made by all the current Working Groups established by the Conference of the Parties, in particular of many human-centred recommendations adopted by the Working Groups on the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and Smuggling of Migrants Protocol.

 

5. The EU elaborated in 2013 a strategic and operational approach aimed at enhancing law enforcement cooperation internally and with third countries and relevant partners in the framework of the EU policy cycle for organised and serious transnational crime for the three coming years. This approach focuses on nine priorities; drug and firearms trafficking, irregular migration, cybercrime, property crime, counterfeit and sub-standard goods which are potentially dangerous to health and safety.

 

6. Trafficking in Human Beings is a gross violation of human rights and a heinous crime. We underline the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation at all levels in addressing trafficking in human beings, an approach reflected in EU law and policy. In June 2012 the European Union adopted a new Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016. The Strategy sets out priorities for combating this serious crime in an integrated and multidisciplinary way, including measures that are victim-centred, gender-sensitive, in the best interests of the child and follows a human rights approach. This approach is based on EU legislation, as reflected in the Anti-Trafficking Directive, the guiding legal instrument in this respect. In the coming weeks, the European Commission will release the first mid-term report of implementation of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings, along with the second working paper on human trafficking statistics at EU level.

 

7. The EU has been engaged in the fight against the smuggling of migrants, both from the perspective of its internal policies, but also through its external cooperation action, and is fully committed in addressing irregular migration and in the fight against networks of smugglers who take advantage of migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection have access to appropriate procedures and assistance.

 

8. The control of firearms trafficking is crucial in the fight against insecurity and criminality. The EU supports the full implementation of the Firearms Protocol through several actions: the EU is assessing its current legislation on firearms aiming to tackle firearms trafficking and to reduce the risk of illegal circulation and diversion of legal weapons; it is enhancing a mechanism for information gathering and statistics and try to ensure complementarity with mirror UN actions; and it is implementing an Operational Action Plan related to the EU firearms crime priority as approved by the European Council. This plan includes a coordinated collection of information on firearms crime; police control operations to tackle the principal sources and routes of illegal firearms, and a programme of joint police customs operations which involves neighbouring countries. EU Member States ratified or are in the process of ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty, adopted on 2 April 2013. We encourage Member States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and fully implement it.

 

9. The European Union, a party to the Convention and the protocols against trafficking and smuggling already for many years, ratified the Firearms Protocol in March 2014 after all the provisions of the Protocol that fall under the Union's competence had been fully transposed into EU legislation. Taking advantage of this opportunity we once again call upon all States which have not yet signed, ratified or implemented the Convention and the Protocols thereto, to do so.

 

10. The EU takes note of the progress made since the last session of the COP in the definition of the guidelines against trafficking in cultural property.

Mr. Chairman,

 

 

11. The Conference of the Parties was unable to adopt a review mechanism at its last session. Agreement was not reached on the financing of the mechanism and the discussion on the participation of non-governmental organisations also remained inconclusive.

 

12. We believe that a transparent, inclusive, efficient, cost-effective and impartial review process that is not unduly burdensome may assist the Parties in identifying gaps in their implementation on the Convention and its Protocols, highlighting good practices and identifying needs for technical assistance, thus enabling more efficient international cooperation among the Parties. Furthermore, it should enable the Parties to strengthen their response to criminal activities, including through engagement with non-governmental organisations and other representatives of civil society.

 

13. The EU would like to commend Italy and other Member States involved for their efforts in facilitating the elaboration of an implementation review proposal for the consideration of the Conference. We thank the Secretariat for preparing an estimate of some of the financial requirements and we look forward to the discussions to better understand the financial implications. We stand ready to engage with other Member States to discuss a possible review mechanism as proposed in the resolutions submitted by Austria, France, Italy and Mexico.

 

14. We are confident that we can continue to work together to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, including through a comprehensive and coherent framework of technical assistance. We would like to stress the need to work collectively on capacity building aimed at facilitating the full implementation of the Convention and we encourage UNODC to continue its technical assistance programme in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

15. At this stage we feel compelled to express our deep concerns about the damaging practices observed at the last sessions of the Working Groups. Certain delegations did not allow for the proper reflection of the discussion and interventions of other Parties in the report. We hope that as the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention we will reaffirm our common respect for transparency of our work and all relevant UN rules, which are so close to our hearts and so deeply rooted in the UN spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

 

16. We regret that the expertise of non-governmental organizations in the various issues involved in fight against organized crime can be used by the UNTOC WGs' experts only to a very limited extent. We would like to recall that participation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations is fully consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the UNTOC COP. The participation of the organizations referred to, should be ensured in all work of the Conference and its WG, including in the future implementation review mechanism. We strongly believe that a constructive dialogue between States Parties and civil society would substantially contribute to improving the impact and implementation rate of the provisions of the convention. We believe that it is time now to take further steps to include the experience offered by the civil society. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

European Union Statement on the occasion of the Forty-Sixth Session of Working Group A, CTBTO Preparatory Commission (6-8 October 2014)

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland‡, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.]

2. Let me begin by assuring you, Mr Chairman, of the EU’s full support and cooperation. We thank you and the PTS for preparing this meeting, and the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports. 

Mr Chairman,

3. The Member States of the EU would like to commend the PTS for preparing the final draft of the 2015 Programme and Budget Proposals as presented in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1280/Rev.1. We believe that the draft has greatly benefitted from the intensified dialogue between the PTS and State Signatories. In this regard, we are grateful for your leadership, Mr Chairman, in the informal consultations aimed at discussing important aspects of this document, and we would encourage the continuation of this useful practice in the future. We are also grateful to the Advisory Group for reporting and putting forward recommendations to the Preparatory Commission and Working Group A on the possible measures to enhance the effectiveness and functioning of the organisation as contained in document CTBT/AG-43/1. We support the Advisory Group's suggestion that in the future a cover note containing a summary of major variations across the PTS might usefully be added at the beginning of the final draft Programme and Budget Proposals.

4. We underline our continued support for a programme-driven budget which allows the Preparatory Commission to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate, with particular emphasis on the protection and sustainment of key IMS and IDC areas of the CTBTO.

5. We recognise the considerable efforts of the PTS to harmonise two important requirements regarding the 2015 Programme and Budget: to ensure the resources needed for an effective CTBTO, while taking into consideration the climate of financial austerity. However, we would welcome any further initiatives that make the global management costs of the organisation increasingly efficient. In this context we would also welcome additional information on the intended placement of a CTBTO representative officer in New York in a budget neutral way.

6. The EU and its Member States are supporting measures that would lead to a more effective and efficient Organisation. In this context, we take note of the Information Papers CTBT/PTS/INF.1293, its Corrigendum, as well as the recently issued CTBT/PTS/INF.1302 provided by the PTS on the implications and proposed changes of biennial budgeting. We further take note of CTBT/PTS/INF.1298 on the proposed multiyear funding modality. We are giving due consideration to these documents and look forward to discussing them during this Working Group.

7. The EU and its Member States welcome recent efforts of the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat and the employment terms for temporary staff members. However, the high number of positions currently unfilled and the lengthy recruitment process are still challenging the ability of the PTS to fulfil its mandated tasks. In this regard, we note the recommendation of the Advisory Group to the Executive Secretary that he consider providing as soon as possible a report to State Signatories on progress in improving the recruitment processes in the PTS. In saying this, we express our satisfaction that recruitment activities have been prioritised to speed up the recruitment process, in compliance with the approved Staff Rules. 

8. Furthermore, the OSI-operability is of great importance, in particular in the post-IFE14 period. It is essential that the exercise be carefully evaluated, and that the results are translated into a format that will enable the CTBTO to implement and retain the lessons learned. In particular, the necessary financial and staff resources for logistical capacities will need to be found while pursuing synergies through cross-Divisional collaborations and consolidation of administrative and logistical support structures.

Mr Chairman,

9. The EU and its Member States note the explanation provided by the PTS on yearly variations of costs in Post Certification Activities (PCA) as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1294. We are aware that PCA related costs are increasing with the growing number and age of certified facilities. In this regard, we take note of the report of the Advisory Group which refers to the conclusion of the recently conducted internal audit on PCA that the negotiation of procurement contracts had ensured the best possible protection of the interests of the Commission and had achieved substantial price reductions. We commend the PTS for this welcome news, and encourage the Secretariat to continue with this practice.

10. We welcome the reported higher collection rates of assessed contributions for 2013 and 2014. Nevertheless, the EU notes that some State Signatories have failed to pay their assessed contributions for a number of years. We encourage all States to pay their assessed contributions to the Commission in full and on time. In this regard, we would favourably welcome any additional information on how timely payments are made. It is also important that the PTS avoids incurring costs due to customs and taxes being levied on it, and therefore we call on States that have not yet done so to conclude facility agreements with the PTS. 

11. The EU and its Member States commend the Executive Secretary and the PTS for providing us with updated information on the implementation of the IPSAS-compliant ERP system. On the basis of this positive practice, we encourage them to continue to inform State Signatories about experiences with the new system and its benefits to improve efficient and cost effective budgeting.

Thank you, Mr Chairman

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014, EU Closing Statement

Mr Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

The European Union wishes to thank the Swiss Chairmanship and ODIHR for their excellent organisation of this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. As ever, it has been an important opportunity to take stock of the human rights situation in our region. Human Dimension commitments are a matter of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and are a cornerstone of our OSCE comprehensive security concept. These commitments have proven to be more relevant than ever.

We remain vigilant regarding the situation in and around eastern Ukraine and Crimea. We are appalled by the killing of ten persons in a school during shelling yesterday in Donetsk, and by the violent death of a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation yesterday. We remain concerned at the negative consequences for human rights. During this meeting we have heard further alarming reports about the precarious position of the Crimean Tatar community and the human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and in Crimea. These issues have also been highlighted by the UN and OSCE in different reports, which clearly indicate that the human rights violations did not precede but rather accompanied and followed the emergence of various pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The EU has condemned the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil and called upon the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine. We support all efforts to find a sustainable political solution to the crisis, respectful of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine. The ongoing monitoring and engagement by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and OSCE Institutions are of crucial importance and we continue to support their work. We look forward to the OSCE/ODIHR observation of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections on the 26th October.

We also want to express our deep thanks to the representatives of independent civil society for their bold and brave testimonies which have highlighted the challenges, and in some cases serious shortcomings, in implementing OSCE commitments in their respective states. We attach great importance to the existence of independent and vibrant civil society as well as its participation in OSCE events. The EU remains deeply concerned at mounting pressure on civil society in several OSCE participating States, particularly in the Russian Federation, but also Azerbaijan. Civil society are an important partner for the implementation of human dimension commitments. Their work and independence should neither be restricted nor instrumentalised. We are troubled by reports of alleged threats against HDIM NGO participants following interventions made at this meeting and regard this as totally unacceptable. We call on participating States to refrain from such intimidations, in accordance with the commitments they have subscribed to. We will continue to monitor this situation carefully. 

Whilst we have heard many positive examples of how the OSCE is engaging with participating States to improve the human rights of their citizens, a negative trend is unfortunately all too clear.  Gaps in the implementation of commitments appear to be widening rather than closing. Fundamental freedoms continue to be unduly restricted. The shrinking space for discourse and dissent, restrictions on media freedom and media pluralism, and the scope and scale of attacks on journalists and human rights activists, is unacceptable. So too is impunity from prosecution that the attackers often enjoy. Moreover, appalling accounts of torture and inhumane treatment in some states continue to emerge. We wish to reiterate that torture is an abhorrent violation of human rights, human integrity and human dignity. The practice of enforced disappearances and the treatment of political prisoners are also deeply concerning. We strongly encourage the governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to engage with the legitimate questions that have been posed to them over the course of this meeting regarding such practices. In this context, we express our regret that the delegation of Turkmenistan decided not to participate in the meeting, thus missing a valuable opportunity for an open and frank dialogue on this and other issues with participating States and civil society.

We also recognise that there are human rights challenges in the EU and have listened carefully to the concerns and recommendations directed at us. Gender based violence remains a problem in many of our societies. More also needs to be done to better integrate Roma and Sinti communities and to protect the rights of other marginalised groups, including from hate crimes. We are committed to addressing these and other issues and to engaging in a genuine dialogue with our OSCE partners and with civil society. 

We greatly appreciate the expert assistance the OSCE provides to participating States to support them in implementing our common commitments. We reiterate our support for the mandates and activities of the OSCE autonomous institutions. We will continue to draw on this expertise within the EU, as well as to support OSCE engagement in other parts of the region.

We also underline that human rights and fundamental freedoms must be realised for all, without discrimination, and observe that more needs to be done to ensure that this principle is affirmed by all participating States. We call once more on all participating States to abide by their commitments, to cooperate fully with the OSCE, including its autonomous institutions, and make full use of the assistance it offers. We also hope that the Helsinki plus 40 process will provide us with further opportunities to strengthen the implementation of our human dimension commitments. 

We look forward to discussing further in Vienna the recommendations emerging from this meeting. The EU encourages the Swiss Chairmanship to involve representatives of civil society in that discussion in order to make the exchange as participatory as possible. We hope that at the Basel Ministerial Council participating States will agree on a robust response to address the violations of OSCE principles and commitments and threats to human rights we are witnessing in our region, in particular related to the Ukraine crisis. We also look forward to listening to the recommendations from civil society at the Ministerial Council. We thank the Chairmanship for the draft decision they have already proposed, which we are reflecting on. The EU stands ready to work constructively and in earnest in the coming weeks with delegations in preparing substantive decisions on pertinent human rights issues, and we look forward to further proposals from the Swiss Chairmanship in this regard.

Finally, the EU wishes to thank the Government of Poland for its hospitality, and reiterate our appreciation to ODIHR, the Swiss Chairmanship and all those who contributed to the effective conduct of the meeting, including the moderators, keynote speakers, rapporteurs, note-takers, and interpreters. 

Statement on behalf of the European Union, delivered by H.E. Francesco Azzarello
Permanent Representative of Italy to the OPCW at the Seventy-Seventh session of the Executive Council 
(The Hague, 7 October 2014)

Mr Chairperson,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union - EU.

The candidate countries ………. align themselves with this statement.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive statement, which provides useful guidance for our work. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

Mr Chairperson,

during the recent 45th meeting of the Executive Council, a great number of State Parties, including the EU Member States, have voiced grave concerns over the findings of the Fact Finding Mission - FFM set up by the OPCW Director-General to establish the facts around allegations on the use of chlorine on the civilian population in Syria. Indeed, in its second report the FFM stated that “it has found information constituting ‘compelling confirmation’ that a toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly” “as a weapon”, while it refers to testimonies that these chemicals have been dropped from helicopters, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses. The report also refers to new allegations that chlorine was used during the month of August.

The EU reiterates its fundamental position that the use of chlorine constitutes a breach of the CWC and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and that those responsible for these horrific acts must be held accountable. In this respect, the EU fully supports the decision of the Director-General to have the FFM continue its work. The EU considers it of utmost importance that the Technical Secretariat retains the samples of Syrian Chemical Weapons in order to fulfill its obligations under the Convention, facilitating the actions by the Secretariat in the joint efforts to eliminate the chemical weapons programme of the SyrianArabRepublic.

Mr Chairperson,

the EU notes that significant progress has been achieved regarding the destruction of the chemicals declared by Syria and looks forward to the completion of the relevant processes at the earliest possible date. Once again, we express appreciation to all the State Parties that have contributed to this operation financially or in kind.

However, much remains to be done. We call on the SyrianArabRepublic to take the necessary action to ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly eliminated. This includes the destruction of the remaining production facilities and the provision of clarification on questions arising from the discrepancies in their declarations. The SyrianArabRepublic must provide conclusive evidence to support the assurances that it has fully abandoned its chemical weapons programme and ensure sufficient confidence. In this regard, we commend the Declaration Assessment Team of the Technical Secretariat for its work on this important issue and we look forward to its briefing.

The Syrian Arab Republic, as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, is responsible for meeting the costs arising in connection with the destruction of its chemicals weapons programme and the verification thereof. The Syrian Arab Republic must fulfil its obligations.

In this respect, I would like to reiterate our statement at the 75th session,  when we drew the attention to the decision of the Council of the European Union, dated 10 February 2014 which introduced a derogation to the restrictive  measures against the Syrian Arab Republic, so that, if the Syrian Arab Republic chooses, frozen assets belonging to the Syrian Central Bank or to Syrian public entities can be paid on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the OPCW for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and for activities connected to the verification mission of the OPCW.

Mr Chairperson,

turning to the other points of the agenda, we underline that achieving the goal of universality remains one of our principal challenges. The European Union calls upon the few States not Party to the Convention to ratify or accede without delay. The threat of the possible use of chemical weapons persists as long as even one State remains outside its obligations. We encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts towards achieving universality in a targeted and tailor-made manner. The EU will continue its active support for reaching this common objective with concrete actions.

Despite the substantial progress made since the Convention entered into force, destruction of declared stockpiles and verification thereof must remain a key priority for the Organisation until all declared Chemical Weapons have been destroyed. The Decision of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties on the final extended deadlines provides us with guidance on this issue.  We urge the possessor States to continue with their efforts to complete destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the provisions of this Decision.

At the same time, we take note with interest of the report of the 21st meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board and the recommendations contained therein.  If the OPCW is to remain effective, it will need to adapt to the changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology. The report of the SAB provides valuable guidance for the path to follow.

The close cooperation between the UN and the OPCW in the Syrian operation has clearly demonstrated the importance of the OPCW’s cooperation with other relevant international organisations. The EU considers it essential to identify and implement lessons learned from the OPCW’s work in the SyrianArabRepublic as soon as practicable. The EU also acknowledges that the added value of regular engagement and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the chemical industry and civil society, ought to be further and fully utilized.

The European Union underlines the importance of full national implementation of the Convention and urges all States Parties to put in place and enforce all the necessary legislative and administrative measures in accordance with Article VII.

The European Union reiterates its concern that although the Convention entered into force in April 1997 – seventeen years ago - a relatively high number of States Parties have yet to implement and enforce its provisions as required by Article VII. We welcome the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to explore new ways of achieving progress in this area including education and outreach. The EU supports such a needs-based approach and continues to contribute to further progress through extensive outreach. In recognition of the often very serious challenges and competing priorities some States Parties face, the European Union stands ready to continue assistance in this area, not only through voluntary financial contributions, but also through further concrete action.

Moreover, in our efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons, all provisions of the Convention are important, including in particular those on challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use as. These are key tools available to States Parties, and we urge the secretariat to undertake all efforts in ensuring that these tools are sharpened and ready for use, in particular in light of recent events.

In this context the EU underlines the importance that the organisation continues to have staff with the necessary skills and expertise to meet its operational requirements.

Likewise, verification under Article VI is of great importance. We need to ensure that the Article VI verification regime is as effective as possible by directing Article VI inspections to the sites that are most relevant to the object and purpose of the Convention. In addition other means of enhancing the capabilities of the OPCW in this area should be considered. 

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X and stands ready to discuss concrete proposals put forward under Article XI, in accordance with the relevant Decision taken by the Third Review Conference in April 2013. We also recognize that the implementation of all articles of the Convention constitute a tangible contribution to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the hands non-state actors such as terrorists. Considering recent developments in different parts of the world, relevant action regarding promotion of chemical safety and security has acquired even more importance. 

The EU actively supports the OPCW activities regarding assistance, protection and international cooperation directed to States Parties from all regional groups with particular emphasis placed on support to the OPCW’s Programme for Africa. We encourage States Parties to take advantage of the assistance provided through the funded activities, by participating in them according to their own needs.

Finally, the Member States of the European Union express appreciation to all participants having contributed constructively to the consultations on the draft Programme and Budget for 2015, enabling a consensual adoption at the upcoming Conference of State Parties. 

In closing, I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this session of the Council and be published on the OPCW website and extranet.

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 764, EU Statement on the Forthcoming Entry into Force of the Arms, Trade Treaty

The European Union welcomes the fact that 53 States have ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), thereby enabling its entry into force by the end of this year. We look forward to the first conference of States Parties to the ATT which will take place in 2015.

The European Union is convinced that, when effectively and widely implemented, the Arms Trade Treaty will make trade in conventional arms more responsible and transparent, aiming, inter alia, at curtailing the illicit trafficking of such weapons and consequentially reduce human suffering thus contributing to international peace, securityand stability. This is why, further to its entry into force, it is very important to ensure thatthe Treaty is effectively implemented, while every effort is made for its universalisation.

In this spirit, the European Union adopted in December 2013 under Council Decision 2013/768/CFSP an ambitious and tangible programme to support the Treaty's implementation by third countries. This programme will assist States, upon their request,in strengthening their arms transfer systems in line with the requirements of the Treaty. Itwill also enable a consistent effort to reach out to countries not yet parties to the Treaty.

The threshold for entry into force has been passed with a significant contribution from EUMember States and OSCE participating states. Indeed, to date, 43 OSCE participatingStates, out of which all 28 EU Member States, have signed the Treaty, while 29 OSCEparticipating States, out of which 23 EU Member States, have already deposited theirinstruments of ratification. Against this background, we encourage OSCE participatingStates, who have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the ATT at their earliest convenience.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 764, EU Statement on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict

The European Union and its Member States would like to extend our gratitude to Ms Rosy Cave, from the Stabilisation Unit, United Kingdom, for her insightful presentation on the UK's Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative. We would also like to thank the FSC Chairmanship for having scheduled for discussion an important topic which is of particular relevance to the OSCE cross-dimensional and comprehensive concept of security. 

The use of rape and sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and of the Rome Statute. These crimes feed on areas of instability and must be prosecuted and punished under national and international law. We welcome the steps taken by the international community towards a consolidated approach to conflict-related sexual violence and, more generally, women, peace and security, reflected in UNSCR 1325 and follow-up resolutions, including the most recent UNSC Resolutions 2106 and 2122(2013).

At the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict held in June 2014 in London the European Union has committed to take more steps to protect those who are at risk, to assist those who have been targeted and to end impunity of those who commit these crimes. We are currently identifying areas of practical actions to be undertaken ranging from strengthening our assistance to human rights defenders to EU's wider crisis response activities.

Hence, the European Union continues to implement its dedicated policy on women, peace and security, adopted in 2008, including through close cooperation with international and regional organisations. In this context, we support the systematic inclusion of the prevention of sexual violence and the protection of and assistance to victims and survivors in every UN mandate and continue funding activities to support victims and survivors and to prevent further crimes at national, regional and international level. We welcome therefore the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict initiated by the UK in September 2013 and endorsed to date by 155 UN member states, including 50 OSCE participating States out of which all EU Member States.

We pay particular attention to the full implementation of the provisions of the UNSCRs on this matter, in particular to the need to address the acute issue of sexual violence in conflict by, inter alia, ensuring women's active involvement in all of the phases of the conflict cycle, namely mediation, peace-keeping, crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation and formal peace processes.

As already stated on numerous occasions, we strongly believe that the OSCE and especially the FSC has an important role to play with regard to women, peace and security. Conflict-related sexual violence should be dealt with in this context by considering ways for the comprehensive implementation at OSCE level of all relevant UNSC Resolutions on women, peace and security, children and armed conflict, and protection of civilians in armed conflict, as well as the Arms Trade Treaty, which contains clear provisions on gender based violence against women and children.

Furthermore, we reiterate our support for the adoption of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security which we consider as an important step towards the OSCE stepping up and streamlining its activities, as a regional security organisation, in this important area.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 764, EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union and its Member States welcome the agreement reached in Minsk on 19 September 2014 on the modalities of the implementation of the ceasefire in Ukraine.

We take good note of the fact that the recent Minsk agreements have so far resulted in asignificant decrease in the level of violence, the ongoing release of hostages, and the adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of laws on amnesty and interim self-governance status for certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

At the same time, all elements of the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum must now be fully implemented by all sides. A lasting ceasefire remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine'sunity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. Effective and comprehensivemonitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groupsand Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral part ofsuch a solution. The European Union stands ready to support any efforts relating to theimplementation of the Minsk agreements, in particular through the OSCE.

The FSC and its instruments have an important and proper role to play to this end. We again encourage all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to maximise the level of political will, transparency, good faith and constructiveness when implementing OSCE politico-military commitments. The full implementation of these instruments could help facilitate the achievement of a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine.

In this context, we took due note of the answer provided by the Russian Federation to therequest for explanations of unusual military activities, in particular the concentration ofRussian troops in the vicinity of the administrative line between the Autonomous Republicof Crimea and the Kherson district, put forward by Ukraine in accordance with the ViennaDocument 2011.

We recall on this occasion that the European Union strongly condemns the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. Consequently, we do not accept the position expressed by the Russian Federation in its reply to the aforementioned request for explanations as well as its unilateral decision to extend its zone of application of CSBMs to the Ukrainian region of Crimea and the cityof Sevastopol.

The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independenceand territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon theRussian Federation to do likewise.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP amending Decision 2014/512/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine

On 8 September 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/659/CFSP.

The Council Decision strengthens restrictions on Russia's access to EU capital markets. EU nationals and companies may no longer provide loans with a maturity exceeding 30 days to five major Russian state-owned banks. At the same time, trade in new bonds, equity or similar financial instruments with a maturity exceeding 30 days, issued by the same banks, is prohibited. The same prohibitions have been extended to three major Russian defence companies and three major energy companies.

In addition, the scope of the prohibition on the supply of sensitive technologies has been broadened to include prohibiting the provision of certain services necessary for deep water and Arctic oil exploration and production, and shale oil projects in Russia. Furthermore, the ban on the export of dual-use goods and technology has been extended to prohibit the supply of certain dual-use items to specific Russian military/civilian end-users.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

Published on 12.9.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 271, p. 54.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/658/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 8 September 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/658/CFSP. This Decision amends the listing criteria to allow for the listing of legal persons, entities or bodies conducting transactions with the separatist groups in the Donbass region of Ukraine.

The Decision also amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP, adding 24 persons to the list.

………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 12.9.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 271, p. 47.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/381/CFSP amending Decision 2010/573/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against the leadership of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova 

On 23 June 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/381/CFSP amending Decision 2010/573/CFSP.

The Council Decision extends the existing measures until 31 October 2014.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 24.6.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 183, p. 56.

UNHCR Executive Committee 65th Session (29 September – 3 October 2014) Statement on behalf of the EU and its Member States

Thank you Mr. Chairperson,

I am speaking on behalf of the EU and its Member States,

Aligning paragraph

1. We wish to thank the High Commissioner for his opening remarks, as just like every year Mr. Guterres reminds us of the plight of the millions of persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes.

2. Since our Executive Committee session last year, we have seen again a substantive increase in the number of forcibly displaced persons. By the end of 2013, 51.2 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide. Out of this number, an estimated 10.7 million were newly displaced.

3. These alarming figures underline that we live in an increasingly fragile world and the corresponding challenges for the safety and security of those who try to assist populations in distress. Our meeting today is an opportunity to remind us of displaced people's courage, resilience and faith in the face of extraordinary hardships. It is also an opportunity to express our gratitude to host countries and populations – many of whom experience difficult situations themselves – for the solidarity with refugee populations, in many cases over a long period of time. We also want to express our strong appreciation for UNHCR's leading role in international protection and assistance towards refugees and other displaced persons.

4. In light of growing humanitarian needs, it is key to ensure effective use of the (limited) resources that are at our disposal. We commend UNHCR for their continued constructive engagement in the IASC Transformative Agenda and also: for improving the global cluster governance; for furthering the protection agenda and for including the voice of the affected population into response. We also appreciate the commitment by UNHCR to strengthen humanitarian leadership and encourage the organisation to continue nominating strong candidates for the Humanitarian Coordinator and Level 3 pools.

5. We further welcome the UNHCR-OCHA general agreement on coordination in mixed settings as an important step towards a more coherent UN response, providing a solid basis for more effective humanitarian delivery. We appreciate the tailor-made approach that acknowledges the specificities of a given context in addressing coordination roles and challenges. We also need to ensure that the new model delivers tangible results through effective implementation in the field. We invite UNHCR to step up its engagement and ensure consistency, complementarity and efficient use of resources.

6. We welcome and support UNHCR's increased efforts to work with partners in order to ensure better protection of persons of concern and we welcome the adoption by the IASC of the statement on the Centrality of protection in humanitarian settings. In this context, we welcome UNHCR's work on education and support the 2012-2016 education strategy aiming at strengthening the protection of children of concern, as a step towards achieving durable solutions. A longer-term perspective is required, going beyond humanitarian assistance. Hence, we encourage a stronger role of and coordination with development actors, notably national governments, in increasing and upholding access to education.

Mr. Chair,

7. The EU welcomes UNHCR's reconfirmed commitment to work towards solutions for situations of protracted displacement, as shown by the increased re-engagement with governments and partners at local and global level following the Copenhagen roundtable.

8. Durable solutions for refugees, other displaced persons and returnees must receive attention under development strategies, building on and complementing humanitarian programmes. In a context of limited resources and an increasing number of crises, humanitarian, protection and development actors need to work more and better together, and this from the outset of an emergency.

9. It is important to recognise that while refugees and other displaced persons present significant challenges for host countries, they can also make an important contribution to host communities and the local and national economies. In recognition of this, the EU has embedded into policy and programming, the developmental and integration needs of forcibly displaced persons and returnees as well as of host communities. We encourage UNHCR to continue its advocacy towards the same goals.

10. We also want to commend UNHCR's role in helping the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia take a historic step forward towards the closure of the refugee chapter from the 1990s in the Western Balkans as well as in assisting them in the implementation of their jointly agreed commitments. The EU and its Member States, as well as other international partners, continue to extensively support the Governments in the region, notably throughout the Regional Housing Programme.

Mr. Chair,

11. In solidarity with the people and countries affected by humanitarian crises, the EU and its Member States, as a donor and policy partner, have continued to providing substantive support in assisting refugee and IDP populations worldwide –  but also in hosting refugees in Europe.

12. In this context, we are concerned by the increasingly dramatic situation at the EU’s external borders, where persons who are fleeing conflicts in the Middle East and Africa seek protection by embarking on dangerous and irregular routes via the Mediterranean, as well as by the significant increase in the number of asylum applicants in the EU – the overall number represented around 40% of the world's asylum applicants in 2013.  

13. In order to address these challenges and to avoid further loss of lives, the EU with its Member States have identified several initiatives where we would be interested to cooperate more closely. We appreciate a recent offer made by the High Commissioner to this end and we also invite third countries to consider engagement:

(1) The EU and its Member States have made substantive efforts, through contingency planning and intra-EU solidarity measures, so that the fundamental right to asylum and the high protection standards of the Common European Asylum System remain guaranteed across the EU, in an equally effective and fair way for each individual seeking protection.

(2) In 2013/2014, the EU, through Regional Development and Protection Programmes, has expanded its assistance to countries hosting refugees and to transit countries, with a view to enhancing protection capacity, in line with international standards. Actions aim at improving protection in the host country, building local and national capacity for those working with refugees and supporting local communities hosting refugees. The EU has started to implement a new programme in the Middle East in that regard – namely Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. In addition, we are working on an enhanced Regional Development and Protection Programme in North Africa and another one in the Horn of Africa.

(3) With the establishment of the new Union Resettlement Programme for 2014 and beyond, the EU provides an increased financial incentive for its member States so as to enhance resettlement perspectives to the EU. It allows EU-level resettlement priorities to be set at regular intervals so as to respond to global challenges, taking into account as well the objectives defined in the UNHCR framework. In addition, as of 2014, the EU also provides other financial incentives for other forms of admission. In 2013/2014, EU Member States pledged to admit an unprecedented number of persons in need of protection from abroad, contributing for instance to UNHCR’s call for the resettlement of Syrian refugees. The aim is to uphold and increase these efforts.

Mr. Chair,

14. Globally, as the numbers of forcibly displaced populations are rising more than ever, we must all work together. The EU and its Member States are ready to do their part.

Thank you

High Level Segment of the 65th Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's programme on Enhancing International Cooperation, Solidarity, Local Capacities and Humanitarian Action for Refugees in Africa

Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf the behalf the EU and its Member States.

Let us first express our sincere appreciation to the High Commissioner for organising the debate and to all the key-note speakers for their insightful and pertinent remarks. The African continent has been struck by several serious and complex displacement situations for many years. The outbreak of violence in South Sudan, violent inter-community clashes in the Central African Republic, ongoing conflicts in DRC, Mali, Sudan and Somalia continue to force thousands of persons to flee their homes in search of safety, either within their own countries or across borders. Altogether more than 13 million of persons were displaced in Africa by the end 2013, including 3.4 million refugees. In most situations, refugees have been living in exile for many years, some for decades. As we remember the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the right of the child, we have to also acknowledge the fact that sadly, more than half of the refugee population are children.

Primary responsibility to address humanitarian situations on their territory lies with the governments. We would therefore commend African countries for their generosity, hospitality and the spirit of solidarity to continue hosting a large number refugees, in particular neighbouring countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Chad and Uganda. We particularly acknowledge the respect of the principle of non-refoulement, despite often difficult economic situations.

We commend the entry into force of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (so called Kampala Convention), the first ever legally binding instrument on protection of internally displaced populations. We encourage more states to sign and ratify this important legal instrument and encourage those states that have ratified to incorporate it into domestic law.

Furthermore, we would like to express our appreciation to UNHCR for assisting countries of asylum, including by providing support to vulnerable local host communities, and to respond to the protection and assistance needs of refugees, returnees and displaced persons, in Africa.

Mr. Chair,

Despite those positive developments, humanitarian access still continues to be obstructed and life-saving assistance denied to thousands of people, a majority of them being women and children. The EU calls on all parties to allow rapid, full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all populations in need, in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Furthermore, and despite often well-established legal frameworks, displaced populations are too often faced with severe protection challenges. Sexual and gender based violence, human trafficking and smuggling in the context of mixed refugee and migratory movements as well as forced recruitment in refugee camps are amongst the most severe examples.

In this regard, we would like to commend the countries of the Horn of Africa and Eastern Africa for their commitment to take part in the new Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative – also called the Khartoum Process – proposed by the EU. The initiative, which will be anchored to the EU-AU declaration on Migration and Development, is expected to be launched at a ministerial meeting in November.

With regards to forced displacements, we are particularly concerned by a number of situations that require strong and robust role of UNHCR.

In South Sudan, the situation of extreme food insecurity is further compounded by an acute and severe protection crisis, amid persistent violence. We encourage UNHCR to strengthen its protection activities in accordance with the IASC- agreed centrality of protection approach, notably in and around the protection of Civilian areas around UNMISS bases and also among camps and settlements in neighbouring countries now hosting over 450,000 South Sudanese refugees. Possible relocations and returns should be done based on thorough protection risk analysis and with the consent of IDPs.   

We also express concern about the continued humanitarian and protection crisis in Central African Republic, including the situation of women and children exposed to violence and abuses, the thousands children associated with armed groups, and the impending food security crisis. Also in this crisis, appropriate protection and development strategies both in refugee and IDP camps but also in informal refugee settings where risks of tensions with host populations are high, are of crucial importance.

The protracted situation in the Horn of Africa remains of great concern. The Dadaab refugee camps are not only some of the largest in the world but also some of the oldest. While we support the tripartite agreement signed between Kenya, Somalia and UNHCR on repatriation of refugees from Kenya, we would like to stress the importance of preserving asylum space for Somali refugees as conditions in Somalia are not yet conducive for sustainable large-scale returns.

Mr. Chair,

As the EU, we would like to express and renew our commitment to people in distress on the African continent. By the end 2013, the EU and its member states had collectively contributed more than 1.4 billion euros to address the complex emergency situations in Africa, including to address the needs of forcibly displaced persons. Beyond humanitarian assistance and advocacy, the EU has provided capacity building for local and national authorities, invested in host communities, and supported civil society who are often the first responders. Last but not least, we strive to address some root causes, including through the resilience agenda, with examples of the AGIR initiative in Sahel or SHARE in the Horn of Africa.  

Mr. Chair,

We cannot stress enough the importance of seeking sustainable and innovative solutions for the displaced people and we commend UNHCR for its renewed commitment towards this goal. Indeed, in many contexts, due to ongoing insecurity or lack of political solution, voluntary returns or relocations are still very problematic. We encourage UNHCR to strengthen its partnerships with development stakeholders and increase its advocacy efforts with governments to allow for and work towards stronger self-reliance and sustainable livelihood opportunities of displaced populations, including through cash-based assistance,  access to education, vocational training, and job markets as well as through socio-economic development of host countries.

In order to support better prospects for the refugees, the EU has developed Regional Protection Programmes, designed to enhance the protection and asylum capacity of African countries and to contribute to better interaction between refugees and the hosting communities. To date, countries in the Horn (Kenya, Djibouti), in the Great Lakes and in North Africa (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt) have benefited from the programmes. The EU is now considering further support to such programmes, with renewed emphasis on development and efforts to allow for more protection space and support to durable solutions through resettlement efforts.

Mr. Chair,

There is no humanitarian solution to a humanitarian crisis. Tackling the root causes of instability, fragility and conflict in order to prevent its recurrence and working together with development partners is a precondition to achieve sustainable peaceful societies and break the cycle of forced displacement.

Solidarity with the persons in distress is one of the fundamental values and building blocks of the European Union. Let me assure you that we will continue to contribute to assist, protect the vulnerable population, recognise their developmental needs and work with African states on the peaceful resolution of conflicts also in the future.

Thank you.

EUROPEAN UNION Assessment Implementation Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition Vienna, 23-24 September 2014 EU Statement at the Opening Session

The European Union wishes to express its appreciation for the FSC Decision No. 5/14 to hold an Implementation Assessment Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) with the aim to reaffirm the broad range of OSCE commitments in this area and to strengthen efforts in view of their full implementation. We look forward to an interesting and inspiring discussion and thank all of the speakers for their contributions.

Illicit trafficking in firearms represents a growing threat to the security of the citizens and a lucrative business for organised gangs. In addition, the illicit spread of SALW is feeding conflicts which blur the distinction between military and criminal activity and often result in serious civilian casualties or abuse of human rights, in particular of women and children.

The crisis in and around Ukraine is yet another unfortunate reminder of how imperative it is to strengthen the OSCE politico-military commitments, and in particular these in the field of control of SALW, SCA and conventional weapons.

Thus, the crisis has once again clearly demonstrated the multifaceted risks stemming from the illicit spread of SALW and conventional weapons, in particular from their illegal supply to the separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine from Russia and its tragic impact on the safety and the security of the civilian population.

We are of the firm opinion that de-escalating severe crises such as this in and around Ukraine as well as preventing them from arising need strong commitment to the full implementation of the OSCE multilateral politico-military instruments, especially in the field of SALW and SCA. In this respect, we believe that the OSCE Documents on ьSALW and SCA remain a valid normative basis not only for combating the illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and SCA but also for strengthening the OSCE capabilities to deal with the conflict cycle in all its phases.

We are therefore ready to make all efforts to strengthen relevant norms and activities through improved implementation and increased coherence with the UN framework. In particular, we stress the need to continue discussing ways to uphold and update, ьwhere appropriate, the OSCE SALW-commitments in the light, inter alia, of important UN documents such as the UN Programme of Action on SALW and the outcome document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States, the ATT, UNSCR 2117 on SALW, as well as UNSCR 2106 and 2122 on women, peace and security. We believe this meeting will bring a tangible contribution to this end.

Although our position and steadfast commitment to the ATT is well-known, we would like to reiterate at this forum our readiness to explore the possible role of the OSCE in promoting the ATT in order to secure its early entry into force and to maximise its effectiveness. In this vein, we encourage all OSCE participating States to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

Having in mind the strong emphasis the FSC Chairmanships have put on the issue of SALW and SCA throughout the year as well as the impressive work done in this ьrespect by the OSCE Secretariat and the participating States, we consider it appropriate to take this issue further during the discussions and the negotiations ahead of the Ministerial Council in Basel. The expected entry into force of the ATT in the immediate future as well as strengthening the export control of SALW transported by sea, in particular in the Mediterranean region, appear in our opinion among the natural avenues to such a common effort.

Finally, the European Union would like to recall its continuous commitment to support practical project activities on SALW and SCA in the OSCE area, as demonstrated by the ongoing financial support to SALW control programmes in South East Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

In conclusion, we hope that this implementation assessment meeting will be resultoriented and are ready to further contribute to the discussions.

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 18:  Discussion on human dimension activities

Before I begin my statement, I would like to make the following recommendations on behalf of the EU:

  • Participating States should take full advantage of the range of services offered by the OSCE in enhancing the implementation of commitments.
  • Participating States should take account of and follow up on recommendations made by the OSCE Institutions and field operations.
  • Executive Structures should continue to enhance cooperation and coordination to maximise the impact of their activities.  As part of this, field operations should redouble their efforts to work closely with other field missions in their region.
  • Executive Structures should continue to work closely with other relevant international and regional organisations, such as the Council of Europe and the UN, in order to learn from each other’s experiences, bolster their impact and ultimately, help improve the implementation of our commitments.
  • When designing projects and activities, Executive Structures should foster close collaboration with civil society.  Participating States should ensure that civil society is given the necessary space to make their contribution.

Mr/Madam Chairperson,

The EU continues to attach the highest importance to the work of the OSCE in the Human Dimension.  There is a clear and unquestionable link between the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms and the attainment and maintenance of true, long-lasting security.  This is the very core of the comprehensive approach to security which is the hallmark of our organisation.  We remain extremely concerned that the implementation of human dimension commitments in some parts of our region is getting worse and we have raised many issues of specific concern in the course of this implementation meeting.  It is vital that participating States redouble their efforts to implement the commitments that each of us has voluntarily signed up to.  The Helsinki plus 40 process provides us with an opportunity to do this.

The OSCE has established unique autonomous institutions, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), the Representative on Freedom of the Media and the High Commissioner on National Minorities, to assist participating States to uphold their OSCE commitments.  We strongly support their mandates and work, day in and day out, to provide support to the participating States, often with the valuable cooperation of the OSCE’s field operations. 

The institutions carry out a wide range of valuable activities and projects across the full breadth of human dimension activities.  It would be impossible to mention them all now, but we would like to particularly welcome their crucial contribution to the OSCE’s response to the Ukrainian crisis, including the human rights assessment mission and the initiative to bring together representatives of the journalists’ unions of Russia and Ukraine to improve the situation of journalists in and around Ukraine. 

In addition, we underline our support for ODIHR’s work in the areas of elections and supporting human rights defenders. ODIHR’s election observation is rightly called the international gold standard in this area and we reiterate our unwavering support for its methodology.  We also congratulate ODIHR on the publication of the human rights defenders guidelines earlier this year, and welcome in particular the fact that they were developed in close collaboration with civil society. It is important that these guidelines are now operationalised throughout the OSCE.

In the last 12 months, the Representative on Freedom of the Media has had to highlight all too frequently examples where participating States have failed to meet their commitments. In particular, her many press statements underline the urgent need for participating to States strengthen the safety of journalists and others who defend the rights to freedom of expression, both online and offline, including on social media.

We greatly value the work of the High Commissioner on National Minorities in helping to identify and address short-term triggers of inter-ethnic tension as well as long-term structural concerns.  While much of the High Commissioner on National Minorities’ work must by necessity take place using quiet diplomacy, this does not mean that it is any less important or relevant. 

We also fully support the work of the OSCE field operations, which play an important role in assisting participating States to implement commitments and undertake reforms which benefit the host countries and their people. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the speakers from the institutions and field operations that come to Vienna to address us at the Human Dimension Committee.  These remain valuable opportunities for the participating States to get a sense of the projects and activities that are being carried out on our behalf.

I would like to close with a question, Mr/Madam Chairperson.  At this session last year, the first speaker said that the organisation will increasingly emphasise the cross-dimensional nature of human dimension projects.  We would be grateful for information on how this issue has been tackled and whether there are any lessons that can be shared at this stage.

Thank you for your attention

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 17:  Refugees and Displaced Persons

Mister/Madame Chairperson,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and report on the situation of refugees and displaced persons within the OSCE Area, to which the European Union remains fully committed.

The European Union has paid increased attention to international protection and it is in the frontline for its commitment to assist people potentially entitled to international protection status under the 1951 convention (F proposal), in a spirit of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility among Member States in compliance with article 80 of the Treaty on Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and its effective implementation.  Following the tragedy off the coasts of Lampedusa last October 2013, the EU has put in place relevant efforts to avoid the loss of human lives in the Mediterranean and to improve its capacity to assist asylum-seekers and refugees. The European Council set up the “Task Force for the Mediterranean” responsible for the identification of targeted actions in response to the humanitarian tragedy in the Mediterranean. Said Task Force has identified a number of priorities which have now become the centerpieces of the EU action in the area.

In particular, the European Council conclusions of 26-27 June 2014 focused on the enhancement of Frontex, as an instrument of European solidarity in the area of border management, reinforcing its operational assistance, “to support Member States facing strong pressure at the external borders, and increase its reactivity towards rapid evolutions in migration flows, making full use of the new European Border Surveillance System EUROSUR”.

The full implementation of the Common European Asylum System is a paramount challenge the EU is currently confronted with, for the purpose of its uniform application of the acquis across Europe, also through a reinforced role for the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). There is also a growing consensus among EU Members States to renew efforts to foster Regional Protection Programs and increase contributions to global resettlement, in close collaboration with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, in order to support third Countries most exposed to massive inflows of displaced persons, refugees and asylum seekers.

Dialogue with countries of origin and transit of the migratory flows is the key. The EU is developing such dialogue through the instruments provided for within the Global Approach to migration and Mobility: Mobility partnerships, Regional Processes and Dialogues, Regional Protection Programs. Issues such as the management of migration flows and the fight against trafficking in human beings should have a priority. In this regard, the European Union and the African Union are exploring a possible mechanism aimed at strengthening relations with the Horn of Africa and Mediterranean transit countries in the field of migration. In particular, European Union and African Union presented an EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative (EU-HoAMRI), with the participation of all relevant countries - including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Sudan, Egypt - plus the International Organization for Migration and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, aimed at establishing a long-standing dialogue on migration and mobility in order to enhance the current cooperation and identify and implement concrete projects. In this first phase activities should concentrate on addressing trafficking of human beings.

In this regard, we remain fully committed in implementing the relevant Decisions adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Council held in Ljubljana ad Athens. Bearing in mind the different approaches to migration issues by the OSCE participating States, and drawing from their experiences and best practices, we encourage all the Participating States and Partners to foster cooperation to manage migration in order to promote the respect of international humanitarian law and of the rights of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers as well as of all the citizens of the OSCE region.

Thank you for your attention

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 16:  Migrant Workers and Integration of Legal Migrants

Mister/Madame Chairperson,

I have the honor to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and report on the situation of migrant workers, refugees and displaced persons within the OSCE Area, to which the European Union remains fully committed.

The European Union has paid increased attention to a well-managed legal migration, taking into account the Member States’ competence for their respective labour markets, capitalizing on the integration of migrant workers and legal migrants as a growth opportunity both for the Countries of origin and for the Countries of destination of migratory flows.

A deepened dialogue and cooperation with third Countries of transit and origin of migratory flows is essential to support the integration of migrant workers and legal migrants in the Countries of destination. The overall strategic framework of the EU external action in the migratory field is the “Global Approach to Migration and Mobility”, which, inter alia, calls for special attention to be given to the protection and empowerment of vulnerable migrants, such as unaccompanied minors, asylum-seekers, stateless persons and victims of trafficking. Moreover, the EU is committed to the conclusion and the effective implementation of Mobility Partnerships (MP) with strategic third Countries: the recent signing of MPs with Morocco and Tunisia, the imminent conclusion of a MP with Jordan are illustrative examples of the EU’s commitment. The EU plans to launch as soon as possible negotiations with Egypt, Lebanon and – when political conditions will allow it – with Libya. The EU is also actively involved in the Regional Processes, which have been conceived to create a stable platform of dialogue with Countries of origin and transit of migratory flows, while also seeking to prevent irregular migration.

In the field of labor migration, the EU emphasizes the importance of valuing the socio-economic contribution of migrants, based on the idea that immigration can be a driver for economic development. Therefore, the EU will promote and take part to a Senior Official Meeting in the EUROMED framework, to be held in Rome next December 19th. Specific attention will be paid to the issue of better information about the ways of legal migration, also considering “circular migration”, of the labor-matching between departure and destination Countries of migratory flows and of the link between migration and development, with a special focus on the role of diaspora as an enabling factor for growth. Furthermore, a peculiar attention should be paid to strengthen the access to the labor market of young women and men with a migrant background, in particular in the moment of transition from education to job placement.

In the field of integration of legal migrants, the EU reaffirms the principles stated in the “European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals” and, in particular, the centrality of promoting the active participation of migrants in the labour market to the socio-cultural life and the decision making process, through a genuine “bottom-up” approach and by reinforcing inter-institutional cooperation among different levels of governance. Importantly, the European Agenda also stresses the importance of practically implementing the principle of equal treatment and of preventing institutional as well as every-day discrimination against migrants. Furthermore, empowerment of migrants is guaranteed by their effective access to all relevant information.

Thank you for your attention

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 15:  Fundamental Freedoms II (Specifically Selected Topic: Freedom of Movement)

Madam/Mister Moderator,

I am honoured to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

We consider freedom of movement and increased cross-border human contacts as enablers for the promotion and protection of human rights. These in turn are integral to the EU's core values, as an organisation committed to upholding fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law. 

All OSCE participating States have committed themselves to respect the internationally recognized human rights to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State, as well as to leave any country, including one’s own.   In the 1990 Copenhagen Document, the States also affirmed that “freer contacts among their citizens are important in the context of the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” As such, together with other international standards, they oblige the OSCE participating States to guarantee these rights. It must be noted, however, that a reciprocal right to enter the territory of another participating State is not guaranteed.

This session of the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting seeks to address how the existing right to freedom of movement can be advanced and protected and how further progress could be achieved in facilitating cross-border human contacts. It may help to identify the challenges the OSCE participating States currently face and possible ways of addressing them, in order to ensure the full enjoyment of freedom of movement in the OSCE region

Madam/Mister Moderator,

Today we are still in a situation where some participating States continue to enforce unjustified restrictions on internationally accepted rights of freedom of movement. We are convinced that practices, such as systems of residency registration must not be imposed in a way that restricts the rights of all citizens to freedom of movement. It is also important to point out that an essential element of freedom of movement is that States cannot bar their citizens from leaving their country for travel or emigration, or restrict their right to return, except in rare cases where restrictions are proportional and in response to a specific public need. There may be exceptional reasons for limiting these rights, for instance for those seeking to cross borders to conduct terrorist activities.

Special attention should be given to the fact, that many people - businessmen, students, journalists, NGO activists, members of the same family - have been barred from entering their home land by the Russian armed forces which executed illegal annexation of Crimea. Victims of this policy, which breaches Helsinki Final Act, include also Crimean Tatar leaders Mustafa Dzhemiliev and Refat Chubarov who have been barred from entering Crimea. In this context, we call on the Russian Federation to take into account the concerns about freedom of movement, including those which refer to the restrictions on Ukrainian citizens crossing from Ukraine mainland to Crimea and vice versa, contained in the report of UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine of 15 July 2014.

Freedom of movement and freer cross-border human contacts can be seen as a prerequisite for a full promotion and protection of human rights. This is particularly true for human rights defenders. Where freedom of movement is restricted, access to other human rights is limited as well, and that relevant legislation should therefore be brought in line with relevant OSCE commitments and international standards.

Madam/Mister Moderator,

We would therefore like to make the following recommendations:

  • The EU continues to firmly believe that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of their own country.
  • The systems of residency registration should be abolished. In the instances where residency registration and declaration procedures are used they should be applied fully respecting freedom of movement.
  • The EU believes that such practices as imposing exit visa regimes should be abolished to ensure that the rights of all citizens to freedom of movement are respected.
  • OSCE participating States should enable residents of conflict zones, refugees and IDPs to exercise their right to freedom of movement, in particular, to access health-care as well as for other humanitarian purposes, including reunification of families.
  • Freedom of movement of human rights defenders must be respected to ensure they can perform their tasks without any restrictions regarding their movement.    

Contingency lines:          

Since some participating States continuously try to convert and narrow down discussions on the implementation of commitments in the area of freedom of movement to the subject of technical discussions on simplification of visa procedures, the EU would like to remind once again that there is no commitment by participating States to admit citizens of other countries, thus the freedom of movement is not about the unconditioned right of a person to enter one State from another. The OSCE is not the proper forum for discussing visa issues. The topics that arise in such discussions are beyond the competence and expertise of our organization.

As to the core of the OSCE commitments on freedom of movement, the EU continues to firmly believe that everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of their own country and that everyone has the right to leave any country, including their own, and return to his or her country. With regards to our OSCE commitments in the area of visas, OSCE commitments are both specific and limited. They deal with three facets: (1) ensuring that visa application procedures are not more complicated than is necessary; (2) endeavoring to reduce the costs of visas to the extent possible; and (3) encouraging co-operation between authorities in order to create conditions that could foster the liberalization of visas. In the EU, these commitments are implemented in good faith, and all bilateral agreements with third countries take into account these three major aspects of the OSCE commitments.

Finally, we should also keep in mind that matters related to external borders are no longer the exclusive responsibility of the EU Member States, but are subject to common EU policy albeit to special arrangements applying to certain Member States. Therefore, any visa facilitation issues in respect of Member States taking part in the common visa policy are dealt with on strictly bilateral bases, between the EU and our respective partner countries.  

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 14: Fundamental Freedoms II (Specifically Selected Topic: Freedom of Religion and Belief)

Mr. / Madame Moderator,

The EU attaches the greatest importance to the promotion and protection of freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief as a fundamental human right and has made it one of its priorities under its human rights foreign policy. The EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted specific Guidelines in June 2013 that contain clearly defined priorities and tools for the promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief worldwide, including within the EU.

Freedom of religion or belief is a universal human right that needs to be protected everywhere for everyone. The EU is of the opinion that freedom of religion or belief is an individual right which can be exercised in community with others. It applies equally to all persons. It is a fundamental freedom that includes all religions or beliefs, including those that have not been traditionally practised in a particular country, the beliefs of persons belonging to religious minorities, as well as non-theistic and atheistic beliefs and also includes the right to change one’s religion or belief. It is also an essential pillar of safe and prosperous societies. Its absence breeds distrust and uncertainty, undermines political stability and endangers security.

We express our deep concern that serious instances of discrimination and persecution on the grounds of religion or belief, including acts of violence, intimidation and coercion, continue to occur in parts of the OSCE area. Women and girls in particular often face complex human rights violations based on both their religion or belief and their gender. The EU believes that there is an urgent need for vigilance and action in this regard. The promotion and protection of rights of persons belonging to religious minorities deserve specific attention and need to be addressed in the most efficient and comprehensive manner. We emphasise that the freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to limitations necessary in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, or for the protection of the rights and the freedoms of others.

The EU stresses that inter-religious dialogue, education and cooperation are key to fostering a climate of mutual respect, understanding and inclusiveness across our societies. We stress the active role civil society, independent national human rights institutions and a free media can play in this respect. We call on all States, in all circumstances, to put in place conditions for the safeguarding of freedom of religion or belief.

It is our firm conviction that freedom of religion or belief is intrinsically linked to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of association and assembly as well as to other human rights and fundamental freedoms - all of which contribute towards the building of pluralist, inclusive, and democratic societies. In addition, the international community should consolidate its collective response to those who want to use religion as an instrument of division and to fuel extremism and violence.

We express our full support for the work of the ODIHR and its Advisory Panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief in assisting participating States in implementing relevant OSCE commitments, including the decision adopted last year at Kyiv Ministerial Council Meeting on freedom of religion or belief. We also welcome the existing cooperation between the OSCE and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. The EU stands ready to continue to further promote constructive cooperation and coordination with these bodies and is committed to maintaining the right to freedom of religion or belief at the core of its human rights agenda.

In conclusion, the EU would like to offer the following recommendations:

-- In promoting freedom of religion or belief, the indivisibility, interdependence and interrelation of human rights and the OSCE human dimension commitments should be kept in mind. The implementation of commitments in this area goes hand in hand with respect for other fundamental freedoms and human rights, especially freedom of expression and equality and non-discrimination for all without distinction. If one of them is lacking, the other one cannot be fully achieved and vice versa.

-- Participating States should safeguard the rights of all persons independent of their religion or belief, or the absence thereof, by following a rights-based approach. This goes beyond promoting tolerance and urges positive measures to create an inclusive pluralistic society. States should protect all persons - not religions or beliefs in themselves - and also protect the right to express opinions on any or all religions and beliefs. We welcome ODIHR's decision to create two posts related to Freedom of Religion or Belief in its Human Rights Department.

-- Participating States should create an environment that enables citizens and groups to challenge prejudices and discrimination against any persons or communities, whether it be in the minority or the majority, on grounds of their religious or non-religious beliefs.

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 13:  Tolerance and non-discrimination II 

1) La lutte contre les discriminations et toutes les formes d’intol?rance figurent parmi les priorit?s de l’UE tant au titre de sa politique interne que de sa politique ?trang?re et de coop?ration internationale, y compris ? l’OSCE.

Nos principales recommandations sont les suivantes :

(1)    pour les Etats participants

-          Veiller ? ce que chaque individu  puisse jouir, sans distinction, des droits de l’Homme et des libert?s fondamentales et dispose de moyens de recours effectif en cas de discrimination ou autre violation de ces droits et libert?s ;

-          favoriser l’apprentissage de la diversit?, du dialogue et de la tol?rance et d?construire les pr?jug?s en promouvant les droits de l’Homme ;

-          ?uvrer ? la compr?hension et ? la tol?rance entre communaut?s ;

-          Condamner de fa?on syst?matique les appels ? la haine quels qu’en soient les auteurs, les motifs et les individus ou les communaut?s vis?es ;

-          Coop?rer activement avec le BIDDH pour pr?venir et combattre toutes les formes d’intol?rance

(1)    pour le BIDDH :

-          Poursuivre la r?flexion sur l’articulation des travaux des repr?sentants personnels de la pr?sidence avec le BIDDH pour une meilleure coh?rence et efficacit? des activit?s au sein de la dimension humaine de l’OSCE ;

-          Mieux prendre en compte les formes multiples de discrimination dans la promotion des droits de l’Homme et la lutte contre l’intol?rance.

2) La mise en ?uvre des engagements de l’OSCE en mati?re de lutte contre toutes les formes d’intol?rance et de discrimination, y compris pour des motifs religieux, suscite une mobilisation renforc?e de l’UE alors m?me que la crise ?conomique et sociale et le contexte international favorisent la mont?e des actes de haine qu’il s’agisse de l’antis?mitisme, de la stigmatisation des musulmans, de l’exclusion des populations roms, du d?nigrement des chr?tiens, des discriminations contre les femmes ou bien encore des personnes LGBTI.

Pour y faire face, l’UE s’appuie sur un dispositif juridique solide. Trois directives visent ? combattre les discriminations dans diverses situations. Le racisme et la x?nophobie, tout comme l’incitation publique ? la violence et ? la haine contre les personnes pour les motifs mentionn?s dans ces directives, sont passibles de sanctions p?nales effectives, proportionn?es et dissuasives. La pleine mise en ?uvre de la libert? de religion ou de conviction est un pr?alable pour combattre l’intol?rance religieuse, tout comme le respect des libert?s fondamentales de tout un chacun constitue la base de la lutte contre les discriminations. L’Union europ?enne soutient ?galement les droits de l’Homme des personnes LGBTI dans le monde entier et a adopt?, en juin 2013, des lignes directrices ? cet ?gard.

L’UE dispose, par ailleurs, d’un outil de diagnostic efficace au travers de l’Agence des droits fondamentaux. A titre d’exemple, les derniers rapports de l’Agence publi?s sur l’?volution de l’antis?mitisme dans l’UE et sur les recommandations pour former les officiers de police ? la lutte contre les discriminations apportent un ?clairage pr?cieux pour adapter au mieux la r?ponse publique aux sp?cificit?s des discriminations rencontr?es sur le terrain.

3) Dans l’espace OSCE, l’UE est particuli?rement pr?occup?e par le manque de moyens consacr?s ? ce fl?au, ainsi que par l’instrumentalisation politique de certains appels ? la haine. L’ann?e ?coul?e, nous avons eu l’occasion de d?plorer plusieurs fois le manque d’implication des autorit?s publiques de certains Etats participants dans la lutte contre les actes d’intol?rance que ce soit pour des motifs sociaux, ethniques, raciaux, d’orientation sexuelle ou d’identit? de genre ; leur silence, voire l’adoption de mesures ouvertement discriminatoires ou stigmatisantes, encourageant ces comportements. Les lois pr?sent?es comme visant ? r?primer « la propagande homosexuelle » r?cemment adopt?es en Russie et en cours d’examen dans d’autres pays de l’espace OSCE constituent un exemple concret des mesures encourageant la discrimination ? l'encontre des personnes LGBTI, en violation des libert?s fondamentales de ces derni?res.

L’ensemble de ces pratiques, contraires aux droits de l’Homme et aux engagements OSCE, peuvent rapidement d?g?n?rer en violences physiques lorsqu’elles ne sont pas d?ment sanctionn?es. Diviser la soci?t? en stigmatisant certains individus  jug?s bl?mables en raison de leur diff?rence ou de leur affiliation, pratique contraire aux droits de l'Homme et aux engagements de l’OSCE, dessert la dignit? humaine ainsi que la stabilit? des Etats. Par notre histoire, nous, Etats de l’OSCE, avons le devoir de faire en sorte que la diversit? ethnique, culturelle, religieuse, politique, sociale, g?ographique et autre, qui constitue notre espace, demeure une richesse, et non une cause et un instrument de conflit. Dans le contexte international actuel, ce devoir passe en particulier par une lutte active de nos autorit?s publiques contre toutes les formes d’intol?rance, y compris en combattant les pr?jug?s et leur instrumentalisation ? des fins politiques. Les ressources du BIDDH doivent ?tre utilis?es ? plein escient en ce sens.

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement for Working Session 12: Tolerance and Non-discrimination II

Mr./Ms Chairperson,

I have the honor to take the floor on behalf of the European Union and refer to the implementation of the OSCE Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area which the European Union remains fully committed to.

Roma and Sinti issues remain high on the agenda of the EU.  A solid policy, legal and financial framework has been put in place at both EU and national levels. Many Member States have developed their own National Roma Integration Strategies, while others are taking the issues through wider social inclusion policies. The European Commission publishes an annual assessment of progress in each MemberState. The EU has managed to strengthen EU financial support for Roma inclusion not only in 28 EU Member States but also in enlargement countries. We also recall the Decision adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Council in 2013 on Enhancing OSCE efforts to implement the Action Plan, with a particular focus on Roma and Sinti women, youth and children. 

Social integration of Roma requires political commitment at national and local level. This is why the Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures, adopted unanimously by all 28 EU Member States in December 2013, was an important step. It is also the first ever EU legal instrument for Roma inclusion which aims to assist member states in integrating their Roma citizens, including reducing social and economic inequalities between Roma and the rest of the population.

Furthermore, the EU has set up a permanent dialogue between Member States through 28 National Roma Contact Points. This network represents an important opportunity for Member States to exchange good practice on Roma integration which may assist them in taking forward their Roma Integration Strategies or sets of policy measures. Finally, projects in four key areas – education, employment, healthcare and housing - are being carried out in all 28 EU Member States.

However, as stated in the European Commission's 2014 progress report, in order to see a real improvement in the lives of Roma people, much remains to be done, including by our Member States also at local level. The EU will help local and regional authorities strengthen their administrative capacities to access and use EU funds more effectively. The EU will continue to work with the Member States, to assess progress and support them in their efforts.

Many challenges still remain in the EU and throughout the OSCE area with regard to, inter-alia: combating discrimination and intolerance against Roma and Sinti; improving the status of Roma women as well as combating discrimination on multiple grounds; increasing participation of Roma and Sinti in social, economic and political life, including in the design, implementation and evaluation of policies that affect them; improving living conditions; ensuring equal access to healthcare and education. We continue to be worried by the disturbing number of hate crimes against Roma and Sinti, in some member states, as well as intensified extremist anti-Roma rhetoric in the public sphere. The EU condemns all manifestations of racism and xenophobia and calls systematically on public authorities to distance themselves from all stigmatizing discourses.

The OSCE participating States have undertaken commitments in all of the aforementioned fields. We should address these challenges through systematic, coordinated and efficient strategies, policies and concrete measures at the state, regional and local levels with the involvement of NGOs and Roma and Sinti. Strong condemnation of acts of discrimination from officials, political leaders and civil society is also a must. The European Union commends the work of OSCE institutions, notably the ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues and the High Commissioner on National Minorities, for their dedicated efforts in advancing the implementation of the OSCE commitments and assisting participating States to this end.

Cooperation among international organizations acting in this field needs to be strengthened and, in this regard, we welcome the increased dialogue and cooperation between ODIHR and the European Union. Additionally, we are committed to strengthening the cooperation with the Council of Europe including its “Ad hoc Committee of Experts on Roma Issues (CAHROM), on which almost all EU member states are represented.

The full implementation of all OSCE commitments continues to be the EU’s guiding principles. We take this opportunity to reiterate our calls for full implementation of all OSCE commitments regarding Roma and Sinti and our firm determination in this respect.

Recommendations:

  • Enhance efforts to implement all OSCE commitments, in particular the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area, as well as continue the regular review of its implementation; in this context, participating States should respond promptly and comprehensively to ODIHR’s requests for information.
  • Enhance the complementarity of the OSCE Action Plan on Improving the situation of Roma and Sinti and the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies.
  • Enhance implementing of the OSCE commitments with regard to Roma and Sinti by local authorities.
  • Enhance data collection with regard to the situation of Roma and Sinti in all fields of the Action Plan, as far as this is in compliance with the legal framework and overall policy of a MemberState.
  • Include, where appropriate, a monitoring and assessment component in strategies, policies, measures and programmes related to Roma and Sinti, as well as review mechanisms taking into account the respective results of monitoring and assessment, as far as this is necessary by taking into account any existing monitoring mechanisms especially in the framework of the European Union.
  • Enhance efforts to increase enrolment for Roma and Sinti children and youth at all levels in State-provided education and reduce school dropout rate; enhance efforts to eliminate segregation of Roma and Sinti at all levels in education
  • Enhancing, where appropriate, the participation of Roma and Sinti in the elaboration, implementation and evaluation of the policies that affect them ;
  • Prevent further marginalization and exclusion of Roma and Sinti and address the rise of discrimination and violent manifestations of intolerance against Roma and Sinti, including against Roma and Sinti migrants;
  • Enhance efforts to strengthen the rights of Roma women and girls and to eliminate discrimination on multiple grounds;
  • Enhance cooperation among international organizations with regard to improving the situation of Roma and Sinti.
  • Continue activities of the OSCE field operations with regard to improving the situation of Roma and Sinti.
I also have the honour to also address on the issues regarding prevention and responses to hate crimes in the OSCE area, protection against discrimination of any grounds by law, preventing aggressive nationalism, 
racism and chauvinism, including the rise of political
parties, movements and groups advocating violence and hatred on ethnic, racial and religious and other grounds.
The EU supports ODIHR's work in the field of tolerance and non-discrimination and believes that our shared values and principles are integral to the OSCE's objective of building more stable, pluralistic and democratic societies.
We regret that discrimination is still widespread in the OSCE area, including in EU Member States. We therefore call on OSCE participating States actively to cooperate with ODIHR in implementing our shared commitments 
to promote mutual respect and understanding.
In times of economic difficulties, the danger of rising racism and intolerance manifestations, fuelled by increasing economic insecurity,
+are very real. In these challenging times, our efforts to fulfil the commitments must be relentless.
We highly value the work carried out by ODIHR in preventing hate crime across the OSCE region. We are aware of the importance of reliable data on hate crimes in the fight against intolerance and non-discrimination 
and fully support ODIHR’s activities in this field.

The EU has a solid legal framework to combat discrimination on grounds of sex, racial or ethnic origin, disability, age, religions of belief and sexual orientation. We would like to reiterate our steadfast commitment to the global fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance. The EU remains convinced that the fight against all manifestations of extremist, racist and discrimination-based ideologies must be a common and consensual priority for all of us.

Recommendations:

  • The implementation of commitments against all forms of intolerance.
  • Strengthen the capacity of ODIHR to deal with TND issues and ensure better synergy between the CiO Personal Representatives and ODIHR structures.
  • Publicly speak out against hate crime, whatever the motivation.

Contingency remarks:

The expressions of all racist and discrimination-based ideologies, in particular neo-Nazism and neo-Fascism, must be tackled within the framework of the comprehensive efforts aimed at eliminating all forms of racism by taking effective measures at national, regional and international levels. No country in the world is, in fact, immune to challenges posed by extremist political parties, extremist ideological movements and groups, that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and use violence against people of a different race, ethnic or religious origin. It is a responsibility of each individual State to adopt a comprehensive approach, in line with international human rights standards, to address those manifestations in an inclusive and effective manner and to ensure that those who have instigated racial or ethnic hatred and committed racially motivated crimes are brought to justice.

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014 EU Statement on Freedom of Expression,  Working Session 2

The EU would like to thank the Representative on Freedom of the Media (RFoM) for her presentation and call on her to keep up her excellent work.

Freedom of expression remains a top priority for the EU in OSCE. In May this year, the EU foreign ministers adopted the EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. These guidelines underline the EU’s conviction that freedom of expression and opinion and freedom of the media are necessary for an active, engaged and informed citizenry, and that they constitute the essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace and stability. They also confirm that freedom of expression applies online as well as offline. It is, therefore, deeply troubling that there are still countries in the OSCE where freedom of expression is being restricted.

As OSCE participating States (pS), we have all agreed to fully implement, in good faith, a strong body of commitments to ensure that every individual’s right to freedom of expression and opinion are respected in the entire OSCE area. This right is also enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A year ago during the discussion of freedom of expression in this setting, we pointed out that implementation gaps were widening rather than closing. Sadly, as we review the implementation of our OSCE commitments at this HDIM, we see that the trend is one of dramatic deterioration in parts of our region.

This is not something that happens by chance, but is the result of deliberate actions on the part of authorities in several OSCE pS to restrict, and in some cases silence, critical voices. This trend can, and must, be reversed and the EU urges pS to take immediate actions to fully implement our OSCE commitments.

The recommendations to participating States, based on our shared commitments in this area are:

1.         Ensure respect for the right of every individual to seek, receive and impart views and information.

2.         Ensure media freedom and media pluralism so that individuals can freely choose their sources of information.

3.         Ensure that the internet remains an open and public forum for freedom of opinion and expression.

4.         Draw on the expertise of the RFoM and her dedicated team and make full use of her reports and recommendations.

Events in the last few months have clearly demonstrated the continued relevance of our OSCE freedom of expression commitments, as an integral component of the OSCE comprehensive security concept. The actions of the Russian Federation and of Russia-backed armed groups in Ukraine include attacks on broadcasting stations and other media outlets, illegal replacement of Ukrainian TV channels with Russian ones, as well as violence, abductions and intimidation against journalists and others who make use of their right to freedom of expression and opinion. Together these and other actions severely endanger media freedom and contribute to an ongoing information war, which serves to escalate the ongoing crisis. The EU strongly urges the Russian Federation to immediately put an end to these actions, which are in clear violation of both the letter and the spirit of our freedom of expression and media freedom commitments.

In the ongoing crisis, several journalists have lost their lives. The European Union unequivocally condemns these killings, and calls for all those responsible to be brought to justice.

The EU also calls on Ukraine to do its outmost to uphold its media freedom commitments. At the same time, we join the RFoM in welcoming the positive steps that have been taken by Ukraine in the last few months, notably regarding access to information and public service broadcasting.

We have seen worrying trends in several parts of the OSCE region during the last year. In, for example, Azerbaijan and Turkey, speaking out as a journalist, or as an advocate of free expression, is fraught with danger of attack, harassment, legal action, detention or imprisonment. We have seen far too many examples of this in recent months. We have also seen how media outlets, not least those operating online, are under pressure in several countries. Regrettably, this is the case both in Kazakhstan, a previous OSCE Chair, and in Serbia, the incoming OSCE Chair. In this context, the EU welcomes the stated intention of the Serbian government to lead by example, and call for closer cooperation with the RFoM. We note with deep concern the trend towards a shrinking space for dissenting views within the Russian Federation, and mounting pressure on those who openly disagree with government policies as well as further repressive policies that unduly restrict freedom of expression and the activities of independent media outlets, including those operating online. Excessive regulation of the internet, amendments to the Information Law targeting bloggers, the use of anti-extremism and anti-separatism legislation are some examples. As the RFoM, the EU calls for a rigorous investigation of the death of journalist Timur Kushaev.

Arbitrary blocking of social media sites as well as other internet services is a growing problem in our region. Regrettably, it has occurred in Turkey, as well as in other pS. This clearly goes against our commitment to facilitate “freer and wider dissemination of information of all kinds”.

One should underline that the EU and its member states do not have spotless track records either. As all pS, we have our shortcomings. The EU is committed to improving and believes that a free and open public debate is of crucial importance as we work to enhance our laws and practices. We stand ready to consider recommendations and engage on issues, and expect others to do the same.

Before concluding, the EU wishes to once again underline the great importance it places on the participation and input of non-governmental organizations in the work of the OSCE. This openness is one of the added values of our organization. Civil society actors can play an important role as a watchdog and partner in our efforts to ensure full implementation of human dimension commitments. In order to preserve this added value, it is of fundamental importance that participating States don’t try to limit the independence of these civil society actors or instrumentalize them for political aims.

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 27th session 24 September 2014 EU Statement General Debate (items 2 + 10) SG/HC country reports

Mr. President, Madam Deputy High Commissioner,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

[Aligning paragraph]

The European Union strongly values the work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at country level and appreciates the reports presented by the Secretary General and the High Commissioner to this Council. 

The EU is extremely dismayed by the situation in Iraq and strongly condemns the indiscriminate killings and human rights violations perpetrated by particularly ISIL and other terrorist organisations, including specific targeting of persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities.

We look forward to the urgent dispatching of the OHCHR mission to investigate these violations and abuses which is an important step towards accountability. We commend the strong efforts of the Office this regard.

The EU regrets the stated position by the government of Sri Lanka that it will not cooperate with the investigation by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights into alleged violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes committed during Sri Lanka's civil war. We urge the government to reconsider its decision and to cooperate fully with the investigation.

We are extremely concerned at recent efforts to restrict legitimate public activities of civil society and NGO's in Sri Lanka, including prospective witnesses to the international investigation. We call on the government of Sri Lanka to respect individual's right to exercise their freedom of expression, opinion, association and assembly, including by ensuring that individuals can freely engage with the UN mechanisms, and to ensure full accountability for acts of harassment and intimidation against them.

We deplore the serious episodes of violence against religious minority groups including Muslims, Christians and Hindus. We call on the relevant authorities of Sri Lanka to ensure that cases of intimidation or violence are investigated fully and perpetrators are brought to justice.

The EU is concerned about the recent deterioration of the security situation in Yemen which jeopardizes any gains in the field of human rights. We call on all parties to refrain from violence and focus on the implementation of the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference. This will enable urgent reforms to improve women’s rights and participation, in particular the introduction of an efficient legislative framework on violence against women and the increase of the minimum legal age for marriage. The active co-operation of the Government of Yemen with the OHCHR in the country testifies to the good intentions of the Government. At the same time progress is needed in a number of areas to improve human rights, including ensuring accountability.

Finally, while recognizing the efforts of the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to improve the situation of Human Rights in the country, the EU continues to be concerned with the remaining challenges, such as the high number of victims of sexual violence and the prevalence of impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations. 

We strongly encourage the Government of the DRC to ensure that the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are respected and to create the necessary conditions for a safe and conducive environment for free and fair elections. 

Thank you.

Assessment Implementation Meeting on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition Vienna, 23-24 September 2014 EU Statement at the Closing Session

The European Union wishes to express once again its appreciation to all of the speakers, organisers and the participating States for their active contribution to this Assessment Implementation Meeting on SALW and SCA. It clearly demonstrated the continued need to uphold and improve the rich track record of the OSCE in combating the broad range of SALW and SCA-related security risks.

There is no doubt that our debate during the last two days constitutes a step forward in the process of regular review of the OSCE commitments in the area of SALW and SCA as laid down in the OSCE Document on SALW and MC Decision 8/13.

In this connexion, we see this meeting as a further impetus to the full implementation and strengthening of the OSCE SALW and SCA toolbox in all its aspects to which we reiterate our continued commitment and support.

As stated at the Opening session, the European Union reiterates its readiness to take this issue further, including in the preparations for the Ministerial Council in Basel, and calls upon all participating States to contribute to this common endeavour.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the Monegasque FSC Chairmanship for its closing remarks and its active involvement in the success of this meeting.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania, Ambassador Florian Raunig 

The European Union and its MemberStates warmly welcome the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania and thank him for his comprehensive report.

The EU appreciates the work of the Presence in assisting Albania to meet its OSCE commitments and welcomes its focus on promoting democratisation, the rule of law and human rights, and consolidation of democratic institutions. These are areas where we also focus our assistance and monitoring efforts as they are key for Albania's process of integration in the EU.

This year the Council of the European Union decided to grant Albania the status of a candidate country to EU accession, acknowledging progress made by the country in the rule of law area, particularly in the fight against organised crime and corruption.

 As also acknowledged by the Head of the OSCE Presence in Albania's report, considerable further efforts are still needed to undertake sustained efforts in a number of key reform areas, notably the reform of the public administration and of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and organised crime, and the protection of fundamental rights, including anti-discrimination policies.

 The European Union shares the assessment of the Head of the OSCE Presence that a sustainable political dialogue and compromise-based and constructive work in parliament remain important elements for a successful reform process. In this respect, the EU urges all parties to focus their energies on this process and resume political dialogue in a spirit of transparency and moderation and in a compromise-based approach. It is crucial that a consolidated political dialogue between the government and the opposition accompanies the reform process.

Efforts need to continue to strengthen the de-politicisation, accountability and professional standards of public administration. Regarding prevention and fight against corruption, the government has strengthened the institutional and legislative framework and policy coordination and monitoring have improved. However, corruption is prevalent in many areas including the judiciary, and remains a particularly serious problem. Albania should intensify its efforts and implement its anti-corruption strategy and action plan.

 The fight against organised crime shows a positive trend in a number of areas, with an intensification of law enforcement activities including on drug seizures and drug-related crimes, economic crime, including money laundering, and trafficking of human beings. The fight against organised crime and corruption, including among high level officials, needs to remain a top priority. The EU welcomes the assistance of the OSCE Presence to the Albanian authorities in these areas and encourages its continuation.

A thorough reform of the judiciary remains essential. We note that Albania took further steps towards the reform of the judiciary and that reforms need to be coherent, inclusive and result-oriented with the aim of strengthening the independence, accountability and professionalism of the judicial system. Greater effort will be needed in order to build an independent judiciary, which is able to effectively implement and uphold the rule of law.

In the field of human rights, the EU notes that while the overall legal framework is in place, its implementation still remains a challenge and some revisions are needed, including related to anti-discrimination and as regards persons with disabilities and gender provisions.

 Adoption of legislation in order to provide equal and non-discriminatory treatment of all persons belonging to minorities is crucial. Adopting comprehensive legislation would help to address legal gaps that have been identified and clarify state policies towards minorities. This would help to ensure equal access in practice to rights for people from all minorities. The EU recalls the assessment of the HCNM made on the occasion of her visit to Tirana on the need for a common legal definition for all minorities and a legal and normative framework regarding the protection of persons belonging to minorities. Albania will need to undertake further efforts to improve the inclusion of Roma and Egyptians and to take concrete steps to strengthen legal certainty of property rights and resolve claims for the compensation or restitution of property.

We emphasize the value of regional co-operation, in particular between Albania and its neighbours, and strongly support Albania’s constructive role in this regard.

The EU continues to attach high value to the activities of the Presence aimed at supporting the Albanian authorities in the promotion of good governance, in building administrative capacities and meeting international standards in elections, media freedom and anti-discrimination. We also commend the Presence for its work on gender mainstreaming.

The EU calls on the Presence to continue using fully the capacities of the OSCE institutions and closely co-ordinate its work with the relevant international partners, in particular the EU, in order to avoid duplications and optimize results, in line with Albania’s EU integration aspirations.

We underline that for the Presence in Albania, and for all field operations, effective evaluation based on benchmarking and performance indicators is essential to ensure efficient use of resources and aids the development of best practices and the process of lesson learning. We welcome the account of activities undertaken in this reporting period. We would also be grateful if Ambassador Raunig could highlight what he would see as the key outcomes the mission has delivered.

As for all field operations, it is important that the Presence continues to review its programmes, resources, and operating model to identify and implement further streamlining, and to ensure it can continue to play an effective role in the years ahead. We would be grateful to hear from Ambassador Raunig what progress has been made on this during the reporting period

In concluding, we would like to thank Ambassador Raunig and his staff for their high-quality work and our excellent political and operational cooperation and wish them every success in their activity.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union welcomes once again the Minsk protocol and the ongoing efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group to support its swift implementation. We call on all sides to respect and fully implement the Minsk protocol. We remain hopeful that this will be a first step towards a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity. Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral parts of such a solution. We note with concern the incidents of shooting and shelling despite the ceasefire as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and other sources. Moreover, we strongly urge all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site.

We have repeatedly condemned the aggressive acts by Russian armed forces on sovereign Ukrainian territory, and called on Russia to stop the supply of armour, weapons, and fighters across the border and to remove all personnel and equipment from Ukraine. We recall that strengthened EU sanctions against Russia entered into force on 12 September as a result of Russia’s actions destabilising eastern Ukraine. At the same time, we have stressed the reversibility and scalability of our restrictive measures if the situation on the ground so warrants. The EU also strongly condemns incidents in which the Consulates General of the CzechRepublic and Poland in Donetsk were broken into. 

We are deeply concerned that a second Russian convoy of trucks recently entered Ukrainian territory, without the consent of or inspection by the Ukrainian authorities and without fundamental international humanitarian law principles being observed. Accordingly, this way of proceeding was, in breach of Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty. It runs counter to efforts aimed at de-escalation.The EU calls on all contributors, including the Russian Federation, to support the international relief effort led by the United Nations, in full recognition of the Ukrainian Government’s role as a first responder. 

Six months have passed since Russia's illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol on 18 March. In view of reports about so called local elections having taken place in Crimea and Sevastopol, we recall that the European Union does not recognise the legal framework within which these so called elections have taken place. We remain deeply concerned about the persistent reports coming out of Crimea of serious human rights violations, including killings, enforced disappearances, severe physical ill-treatment and arbitrary detention. These violations have most recently been highlighted by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Mui?nieks following his visit to Crimea. We fully share the Commissioner's view that it is essential to create a sense of security not only for the Crimean Tatars, but also for ethnic Ukrainians and those who have expressed critical views of recent political developments. We express our concern about reports that Russian security forces have raided the assembly of the Crimean Tartars as well as the home of one of its members.

 The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement on the Abduction of the Estonian Police Officer

The European Union is gravely concerned by the abduction of Estonian Police Officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the Estonian-Russian border. Despite repeated calls from Estonia, the European Union and others, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve this matter swiftly.  

The illegal crossing onto Estonian territory, the abduction and arbitrary detention of an Estonian citizen by the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation cannot be justified. These actions constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation, including the principle of sovereignty, inviolability of frontiers, and the norms and principles of international law that affirm the individual’s right to liberty and security of the person.

We call once again on the Russian Federation to respect international law, act according to its principles and release Mr Eston Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement on Illegally Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia

The European Union stresses its deep concern about the continuing detention of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, Ukrainian film producer Oleh Sentsov and all other persons who have been abducted from Ukrainian territory and are illegally detained in Russia. We call for their immediate release. We regret reports that Ms Savchenko’s unlawful detention has been extended until 30 October.

We call on the Russian Federation to abide by its OSCE commitments, its obligations, including as a MemberState of the Council of Europe and party to the European Convention on Human Rights.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan

The European Union and its MemberStates warmly welcome the Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, back to the Permanent Council. We have stressed our strong support for the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) on numerous occasions in the past and we continue to lend our continual support. After the Minsk protocol and with a ceasefire now in place, the OSCE and the SMM have an even more vital role to play. And there is an urgent need to act now to ensure that SMM monitoring becomes an effective part of a legitimate, credible and durable ceasefire and border management regime that will contribute to a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is what the international community expects.

We are deeply worried about the increasing number of ceasefire violations, and call on all parties to abide by the Minsk protocol. We also call on Russia to withdraw its remaining troops and weapons from Ukrainian soil, and cease its support for the separatists. In this context, we express our deep concern about security incidents involving the SMM, including mortar shells exploding in the immediate vicinity of SMM monitors and SMM vehicles being hit by artillery fragments. We join the Chief Monitor in urging all sides to abide by the ceasefire and allow monitors to carry out their duties and verification of the ceasefire. The safety of SMM security is of paramount importance and the staff must have safe and free access to fulfil their mandate. We encourage the SMM to report regularly on its security provisions.

We welcome the SMM’s redeployment of monitors and deployment of first responders to eastern and southern parts of Ukraine shortly after the adoption of the Minsk protocol and the steps being taken to urgently deploy additional monitors up to the mandated maximum of 500.

We appreciate the efforts made so far to monitor the ceasefire, including the setting up of a clearing house mechanism. We support the ongoing efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group to support implementation of the Minsk protocol  and welcome that the SMM is now invited to attend its meetings. We encourage the Chairmanship, the Trilateral Contact Group, the Secretariat, and the SMM to do their utmost to ensure effective coordination and exchange of information.

The EU attaches high priority to border monitoring as an integral part of a sustainable political solution, which fully upholds OSCE principles. We call on the SMM to develop and share their planning on how they can contribute to an effective and comprehensive permanent monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border without delay. We reiterate our call for extension of the OSCE Observer Mission currently covering two Russian checkpoints to other checkpoints along the border with Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts of Ukraine; and for it to have an expanded mandate to permit it to operate outside the territory of the checkpoints in order to contribute to effective and comprehensive border monitoring. We encourage the Chairmanship to develop possible options in this regard.

Mr Chairman, we are well aware that the tasks of monitoring and verification of the ceasefire and border monitoring are extremely demanding. We therefore fully support the urgent expansion of the SMM to the full potential of its mandate. We are also ready to consider further expanding the SMM and its mandate if the monitoring tasks so demand. Rest assured that the EU and its MemberStates will continue to strongly support the Mission, including by providing qualified staff and appropriate equipment.

We call on the Chairmanship, the Secretariat, the SMM, and the Ukrainian authorities to ensure that UAVs will be in operation in eastern and southern parts of Ukraine without delay.

We commend the SMM for its effort to facilitate access to the MH17 crash site over the past months. We repeat our call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the crash site as part of the ceasefire.

We highly appreciate the impartial and valuable SMM reports. Reporting in regard to ceasefire violations is of major importance. With the expansion in the number of monitors and the use of UAVs we expect the reports to become more comprehensive and the SMM to be better able to verify facts.

Mr Chairman, the SMM was launched to contribute to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability and security and to monitoring and supporting the implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments throughout Ukraine. We trust that the Chief Monitor will continue to do his utmost to fulfil these objectives in the months to come. He can count on our support to this end.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement in Response to the Address by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, H.E. Miroslav Lajčák 

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Minister Lajčák to the OSCE Permanent Council. We very much appreciate that the Minister found time to address us this morning.

We thank the Minister for sharing his views on the crisis in and around Ukraine and the role of the OSCE. We will discuss this topic later this morning. The minister is of course well familiar with the EU’s OSCE policy, including the value we attach to the organisation’s comprehensive concept of security and body of commitments.

We would however like to take this opportunity to recognise that the OSCE plays an important role in Security Sector Governance and Reform, including in its field missions, and express our appreciation for Slovakia’s engagement on this issue. Security Sector Governance and Reform is an essential part of conflict prevention and crisis management and a truly cross-dimensional topic. Building synergies, focusing on different actors’ added value and avoiding duplication with other relevant actors would be advisable. As you know, the EU itself is very active in the field of Security Sector Governance and Reform, the main objectives of which are in line with our core values: promotion and respect of rule of law, human rights, and democracy.

We believe that the OSCE has an important role to play in European security. However, the OSCE is facing many challenges, and the crisis in and around Ukraine reminds us that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Having said that, we need to continue to improve it and its method of work. We also have to remain flexible to cope with the challenges of the day. We thank Minister Lajčák for his views and we wish him all the best for the future.

Mr President,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino].

2. First of all, let me congratulate you, Mr President, on your election as President of this 58th General Conference. I wish to thank the outgoing President, H.E. Ambassador Xolisa Mfundiso Mabhongo from South Africa, who guided us so ably through the General Conference last year. The EU would also like to thank the IAEA Director General and the Secretariat for their professional and impartial work, and to assure them of the EU's unfailing support. The EU furthermore welcomes the applications for membership by the Union of the Comoros, the Republic of Djibouti, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Vanuatu.

Nuclear non-proliferation

Mr President,

3. The EU is committed to effective multilateral action against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and attaches the utmost importance to universalizing the NPT. We call on States that have not yet done so to join the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon states. The EU is actively contributing to global efforts to seek a safer world for all, and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons in accordance with the goals of the NPT, in a way that promotes international stability and based on the principle of undiminished security for all. We underline the vital importance of non-proliferation for achieving these goals.

4. The EU would like to reiterate its commitment to the establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction, as agreed by NPT states parties in a Resolution on the Middle

East during the 1995 Review Conference. We therefore regret that the Conference on the establishment of such a zone, due to take place in 2012, was postponed. The EU fully supports the on-going preparations for a successful Conference and in particular the tireless efforts of its Facilitator, Ambassador Laajava of Finland. The progress achieved during the informal gatherings in Switzerland has given some grounds for hope. The EU calls on all States in the region to urgently and proactively engage with the Facilitator and the Co-Conveners with the aim of convening the Conference as soon as possible, on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at by the States of the region.

Safeguards and Nuclear Verification

Mr. President,

5. The 2010 NPT Review Conference reaffirmed the role of the IAEA in verifying and assuring the compliance by States with their safeguards obligations, and stressed the importance of resolving all cases of non-compliance and of States parties responding resolutely and effectively in such cases.

6. The EU is deeply concerned by the protracted and serious present challenges to the non-proliferation regime. The EU would like to stress again that the United Nations Security Council, that has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, has the mandate to take appropriate action in the event of non-compliance with safeguards agreements where they pose a threat to peace and security.

Iran

7. The EU fully supports the ongoing diplomatic efforts led by the High Representative, together with China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue. The EU welcomes the Joint Plan of Action between Iran and the E3/EU+3, and the Framework for Cooperation between Iran and the Agency and that Iran continues to implement the measures under the JPA. 4

8. It is essential and urgent that Iran cooperates fully with the Agency regarding Possible Military Dimensions. The EU underlines that resolving all outstanding issues will be essential to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated long-term settlement, which is the EU’s objective. It is vital that Iran engages fully with the IAEA to resolve all outstanding issues in order to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme.

The EU is deeply concerned that the Agency is unable to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore is not able to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

DPRK

9. The EU has condemned, in the strongest possible terms, the DPRK's nuclear test of February 2013, as well as the DPRK's threat of another nuclear test and has urged the DPRK to refrain from further provocative actions. The February 2013 nuclear test was another blatant challenge to the global non-proliferation regime and an outright violation of the DPRK's international obligations, in particular under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087.The EU will continue to work with key partners and the wider international community to demonstrate to the DPRK, including through the full implementation of UN sanctions, that there are consequences for its continued violations of UNSC Resolutions. We once again urge the DPRK to abandon its nuclear weapons programme, including its uranium enrichment programme, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. The EU continues to attach high importance to maintaining an essential role for the IAEA in verifying the DPRK’s nuclear programme.

Syria

Mr President,

10. The EU fully supported the adoption of the resolution of the Board of Governors of 9 June 2011, which reported Syria's non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly. The EU deeply regrets that Syria has still to remedy its non-compliance by cooperating as a matter of priority and transparently with 5

the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues, and by signing, bringing into force and implementing in full an Additional Protocol as soon as possible.

Mr. President,

11. The Agency’s system of safeguards is a fundamental component of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and plays an indispensable role in the implementation of the NPT. The measures contained in the Model Additional Protocol form an integral part of the IAEA Safeguards system and, in the EU’s view Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements together with Additional Protocols constitute the current IAEA verification standard. The EU calls for their universalisation without delay. In this respect, the EU welcomes the fact that Bosnia and Herzegovina has brought an Additional Protocol into force, and that Kuwait has amended its Small Quantities Protocol.

The EU has firmly supported the continued evolution of safeguards as exemplified by the development of the State-level concept (SLC). The Supplementary Document to GOV/2013/38 based on various technical meetings over the course of this year, and providing clarifications and additional information, is much appreciated. The EU is convinced that consistent and universal implementation of the SLC will further strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the IAEA Safeguards System and will thus contribute to global non-proliferation efforts.

12. For the EU, the close cooperation between EURATOM and the IAEA allows effective and efficient safeguards. The EU is actively supporting the Agency's safeguards system through the EC Safeguards Support Programme and through the Support Programmes of some of its Member States. The EU recognizes the need to strengthen the Agency's ability to provide credible and timely analysis of safeguards samples. The European Union and some of its Member States have contributed more than € 18.5 million to the modernisation of the IAEA Safeguards Analytical Laboratory, which was inaugurated by the DG during last year's General Conference.

Cooperation IAEA and EU

13. The EU is pleased with its present cooperation with the IAEA. The most recent EU-IAEA Senior Officials Meeting took place in Vienna in February 6

2014. It followed a visit by DG Amano to Brussels, where he met the President of the European Commission and other EU Senior Officials, and to Munich, where he met the EU High Representative. Practical examples of the fruitful cooperation between the EU and the IAEA can be seen at the EU stand in the corridor next to the Rotunda of the VIC.

Nuclear Safety

Mr. President,

14. Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding on Nuclear Safety signed last year by DG Amano, and EU Commissioner for Energy, G?nther Oettinger, a Senior Officials Liaison Committee was established and met earlier this year to identify areas of potential future cooperation, such as Emergency Preparedness and Response, and Building Competence through education and training, as well as through knowledge networks.

15. The EU attaches importance to the worldwide implementation and continuous improvement of the highest standards of nuclear safety promoted internationally. The Council of the European Union adopted on 8 July 2014 a renewed Directive to strengthen the safety framework for nuclear installations. This Directive sets the objective of preventing accidents and, should they occur, mitigating the consequences and avoiding early and large radioactive releases. This objective will apply to all new nuclear installations and will be used as a reference for the implementation of safety improvements to existing nuclear installations. We look forward to the Diplomatic Conference next year, where a similar enhancement to the Convention on Nuclear Safety will be discussed.

Nuclear Security

Mr President,

16. In the framework of its strategy against the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, the EU is actively supporting UNSCR 1540 and UNSCR 1887 as well as other international initiatives, such as the Global Partnership, the Proliferation Security Initiative, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Nuclear Security Summits (NSS) which contribute to strengthening nuclear security. Out of €260 million dedicated to Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) risk mitigation worldwide, more than € 7

100 million in the period 2014-2020 has been allocated to the EU’s regional CBRN Centres of Excellence initiative. The EU strongly supports IAEA activities in the areas of nuclear security and is, together with its Member States, among the main contributors to the Nuclear Security Fund, having provided around € 40 million to date, to the benefit of around 100 countries. We intend to continue to support the IAEA’s work.

The EU looks forward to the next high-level IAEA International Conference on Nuclear Security to take place in December 2016.

17. Effective Physical Protection is of the utmost importance to prevent nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists and proliferators, and to protect nuclear facilities against malicious acts. The EU therefore urges all States that have not yet done so, to become party to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and to adhere to its 2005 amendment, so that it enters into force as soon as possible. We fully support and welcome the DG's concerted efforts in this regard.

IAEA LEU Bank

18. The European Union remains firmly convinced of the benefits of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. We had hoped to see the IAEA LEU Bank already completed, but welcome the efforts of the Secretariat to intensify the process and expect the early conclusion of the Host State Agreement with Kazakhstan. The EU has contributed € 20 million and pledged up to € 5 million to this project.

Nuclear Power

19. The EU notes that projections for global installed nuclear power capacity still indicate an increase by 2030, with different regional developments. Although these projections have been lowered every year since 2010, we note that nuclear power remains, according to the Agency, an important option for several countries.

The EU welcomes the decision of the Director General to devote this year’s Scientific Forum to the challenges of radioactive waste management and to the scientific and technological options available to safely address them. 8

Technical Cooperation and EU support for peaceful uses

Mr. President,

20. The European Union attaches the utmost importance to the Agency’s Technical Cooperation Programme and the role of the Agency in the responsible development of the peaceful applications of nuclear energy. The EU supports both the IAEA, and cooperation with third countries, in this area, with a total amount of some € 150 million per year.

21. As further support to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the EU has allocated € 225 million over the period 2014 – 2020 for the promotion of nuclear safety, radiation protection and the application of efficient and effective safeguards of nuclear material in third countries.

Finally Mr President,

The EU would like to assure you of its continuing strong support for the essential activities of the Agency.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1017 Vienna, 18 September 2014 EU Statement on Freedom of Expression in the OSCE Area

Freedom of expression, online and offline, is a key priority for the European Union in the OSCE. Respect for this fundamental right is indispensable for individual dignity and fulfilment, and is an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace and stability. It is, therefore, with deep concern that we witness events and actions in our region that run counter to the commitment we have all made, to each other and to our peoples, to respect, promote and protect this fundamental freedom. We could mention a number of cases, but we would like to highlight a few illustrative ones now.

In the Russian Federation, the space for free expression continues to shrink, stifling a genuine public debate on issues of great consequence for the population, including Russian actions abroad. The blocking of websites frequently without a court order is a practice that clearly violates our OSCE commitments. In recent weeks, we have also seen several violent attacks against journalists who question government policies and actions. We call on the Russian authorities to do everything to ensure that both perpetrators and those ultimately responsible are brought to justice.  

Amongst other cases in the Central Asian region, we would like to mention the new amendments to the “law on informatisation” in Uzbekistan introduced on 5 September, which further restrict the enjoyment of the fundamental right to freedom of expression in the country, by imposing restrictions on bloggers that go far beyond the admissible limits of free expression. We join the Representative on Freedom of the Media in decrying these steps by the authorities that will only take the country away from democratic principles.

We once again join the Representative on Freedom of the Media in condemning and calling for an end to attacks on journalists, including killings and abductions of journalists covering the crisis in eastern Ukraine. We also share the Representative on Freedom of the Media's concern about the ongoing practice and attempts by the de-facto authorities in Crimea to silence critical voices. A recent example is the detention and interrogation of Yelizaveta Bohutskaya, a blogger and contributor to various media outlets. Like the Representative, we call on the de-facto authorities in Crimea to refrain from any activities hindering members of the media in doing their work.

At the same time, we also note the Representative’s concern over the recent raid by Ukrainian law enforcement officers on the editorial office of the Vesti newspaper and her call on the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from any measures which could intimidate members of the media.

We welcome the recent visit of the RFoM to Belarus, and encourage Belarus to continue this dialogue in order to overcome the serious challenges that media continue to face in this country.

The European Union will continue to follow these developments, and to place great emphasis on the right to freedom of expression, as well as other fundamental freedoms, in the OSCE. We recognise that few if any participating States including in the European Union have a perfect record when it comes to media freedom. All participating States should look to cooperate with the OSCE RFoM as a means of addressing the serious concerns she raises. We also take this opportunity to invite you all to our HDIM side event on freedom of expression and the internet on Monday at lunchtime, where we will present the EU guidelines on freedom of expression online and offline, and discuss developments in our region.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 27th session (8 – 26 September 2014) EU Statement General Debate Item 5: Human Rights Bodies and mechanisms

The EU remains a resolute supporter of the OHCHR and commends the leading role of the Office in both mainstreaming human rights across the UN system and advancing the human rights agenda globally. We share the assessment recently put forward by the former High Commissioner that the Office’s “authoritative voice on human rights is attributable to its integrity and its insistence on freedom from political influence”.

Mr. President,

The EU expresses its serious concern about new and reliable reports on intimidation, harassment, arrests, lengthy prison sentences and death of individuals cooperating with the UN system and its human rights mechanisms. Such behavior is unacceptable and must be stopped. We concur with the conclusions and recommendations of the last Secretary-General’s Report on cooperation with the United Nations, and still believe that the UN should prevent and address cases of reprisals through a more effective and coordinated approach.

The Treaty Bodies provide for concrete guidance to all countries on the implementation of their international human rights obligations and send early warnings on human rights problems in specific states. Today, it is crucial to join efforts to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of the Treaty Bodies Strengthening resolution recently adopted by the General Assembly and, in particular, that the Treaty Bodies system is reducing its backlog while enhancing its ability to protect individuals on the ground. To this end, the independence of treaty bodies remains an indispensable feature of the system.

The EU is firmly convinced that the special procedures play a key role in rendering international human rights law operative. We reiterate our appeal to States to issue a standing invitation to mandate holders and respond promptly to special procedures’ communications. 

The EU and its MemberStates deem that fact-finding missions and commissions of inquiry are, in some circumstances, indispensable tools to set the basis for accountability of those responsible for violations and suggest ways of moving forward. In some cases, those bodies have produced notable outcomes, even when not allowed access to the country concerned. We however believe that access, together with cooperation and adequate protection for victims and witnesses, are important requisites for the success of these mechanisms.

The EU is fully committed to the UPR, the only universal mechanism reviewing all States for their human rights record, which is designed to complement other mechanisms, not replacing or duplicating them. We note the Office’s suggestion that States can better implement the UPR recommendations if integrated with Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies’ recommendations, for instance in a national action plan.

I thank you, Mr. President.

Draft EU statement – item 6 – UPR rev 1

The European Union is convinced that the UPR mechanism has the potential to make a difference on the ground. The UPR is a truly universal mechanism, as its principles are applicable to all member States without discrimination.

In our view the preparation for the UPR reviews through the implementation of accepted recommendations has proved its mobilizing effect on both governments and civil society.  The EU is pleased to note that a growing number of States have decided to present a mid-term report on a voluntary basis. This practice will contribute to a more transparent process and a continuous, regular and meaningful dialogue. At the same time, we underline the importance of the State under review to work continuously on the implementation of the recommendations.

We recognise the importance of providing technical assistance in order to help States implementing UPR recommendations. While noting that implementation plans are done on a voluntary basis, we believe that such plans are useful tools for the dialogue and cooperation between States providing and States receiving technical assistance related to the implementation of the accepted UPR recommendations.

Taking into account the important role of the national human rights institutions we are very pleased that those institutions which are in full compliance with the Paris Principles are in the position to intervene right after the State under review. We are encouraged that the national human rights institutions make use of this opportunity to express their views.

Independent NGOs are contributing in a significant way by speaking out and documenting human rights violations on the ground. We would like to commend the active involvement of civil society in the UPR process, which has given a further impetus to this important mechanism. However, we are concerned by reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and reprisals towards civil society representatives and their organisations, and continue to defend NGOs? legitimate participation.

We would finally like to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for its valuable contribution to the UPR in the areas of capacity-building and assistance. We highly value and will continue to count on the commitment and professionalism of the Office's staff.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors 15 - 19 September 2014, Vienna. Agenda item 7b: The conceptualization and development of safeguards implementation at the State level

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The EU welcomes the Supplementary Document to the Director General’s report on the conceptualization and development of safeguards implementation at the State level. We consider the document, GOV/2014/41, to be highly informative and comprehensive, providing the clarifications and assurances that have been requested by a number of Member States.

3. We would like to commend DDG Varjoranta and the staff of the Secretariat for the intense consultation process undertaken over the past year, the tremendous amount of work put into this and the transparency shown. We believe that the series of Technical Meetings and the Supplementary Document have facilitated understanding on the State Level Concept (SLC) and on safeguards implementation in general. We also commend and support the Secretariat's plans to keep the Board informed on this matter.

Mr Chairman

4. The EU strongly supports the Agency's efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of its safeguards system. Safeguards implementation must take into account past experiences, and adapt to new challenges. The Agency must continue to draw independent and soundly based safeguards conclusions, thus providing credible assurances that States are abiding by their safeguards obligations.

5. At the same time the Agency has finite resources. The development and implementation of the SLC will provide the Agency with the required flexibility in identifying, within each state, the most cost-effective combination of safeguards measures, focusing on key activities necessary to implement effective safeguards.

Mr Chairman,

6. The Implementation of safeguards has always been governed by the relevant legal instruments, i.e., Safeguards Agreements and Additional Protocols where applicable. The EU notes that the SLC is an approach that serves effective and efficient safeguard implementation, and as such, does not entail any additional rights or obligations, or a re-interpretation of existing rights and obligations under these legal instruments. As noted in the Director General’s Supplementary Document, the SLC is not a substitute for an Additional Protocol. The EU continues to call for the universality of the Additional Protocol, which, together with a Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA), represent the current verification standard.

7. The EU notes that SLC does not introduce new safeguards measures beyond those that can be implemented under the Safeguards Agreement and, where applicable, the Additional Protocol, or new categories of safeguards relevant information to be used by the Agency. 'State as a whole’ considerations as well as the use of State-specific factors in safeguards implementation are long-standing practices in safeguards implementation. The EU considers that the SLC will allow for better defined procedures thereby contributing to a continued non-discriminatory implementation of safeguards.

Mr Chairman,

8. The EU has been supporting the development and implementation of integrated safeguards approaches that allow safeguards measures to be applied in a less prescriptive and more customised manner, thus reducing the inspection burden and increasing both effectiveness and efficiency. The EU welcomes the fact that such tailor-made State-level safeguards approaches are currently implemented in 53 States, all of them having a comprehensive safeguards agreement and an Additional Protocol as well as the broader safeguards conclusion. The EU recognises that the potential for both effectiveness and efficiency gains is highest in these States.

9. The EU supports the view that the SLC is applicable to all States with safeguards agreements in force. The EU also supports the Secretariat's plans for the development of SLAs for other States in the future. We note in this regard that SLAs will be developed and

implemented in consultation with the State and/or regional authorities concerned.

10. The Euratom system of Safeguards, as the common regional system of accountancy and control of nuclear material of all 28 Member States of the EU, is an important factor in the efficient and effective implementation of State-level approaches for EU States. We look forward to the continued good cooperation with the Agency in this respect.

Mr Chairman,

11. With these comments, the EU takes note of the clarifications and additional information provided in the Supplementary Document to the Director General’s report on the conceptualization and development of safeguards implementation at the State level (GOV/2013/38), contained in document GOV/2014/41.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 - 19 September 2014. Agenda Item 9 Any Other Business (INC)

Mr Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

The European Union would like to respond to comments made by some Member States today. The EU regrets that the issue of Israeli Nuclear Capabilities has once again been brought before this Board. The EU remains convinced that a consensual approach is the only way to make progress towards implementing the outcome of the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014

EU Statement on the Case of Alexander Sodiqov

Final Draft (119 words)

  1. The European Union recalls its statement at the Permanent Council on 24 July on the case of Mr Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto and researcher participating in a legitimate academic research project for the University of Exeter. At that time we welcomed his release on 22 July, after he had been detained without charge since 16 June.
  2. We remain deeply concerned that his release remains conditional and restrictions are still in place on his movement. We encourage the Government of Tajikistan to finalise its administrative formalities to reach a formal conclusion of the case. We hope that Mr Sodiqov will be allowed to resume his studies in Canada as soon as possible.
  3.  [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014, EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

Final Draft (839 words)

  1. The European Union condemns the increasing inflows of fighters and weapons from the territory of the Russian Federation into eastern Ukraine as well as the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil, as stated by the European Council on 30 August 2014. The Council expressed its extreme concern by the ongoing and increasingly intense fighting in Ukraine and continued to strongly condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea. It called upon the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine. It reiterated the urgent need for a sustainable political solution based on the respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence.
  2. The EU underlines the importance of implementing President Poroshenko’s peace plan without delay. The first step should consist of a mutually agreed and viable ceasefire, the re-establishment of Ukrainian control over its border, and an immediate halt to the flow of arms, material and military personnel from the Russian Federation into Ukraine. There should also be an urgent release of all hostages held by the illegally armed groups as well as of the prisoners detained in the Russian Federation. Moreover, the EU reiterates its call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site as part of a cease-fire.
  3. We call on all parties to support and facilitate without delay the work of international humanitarian organisations, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles. The humanitarian impact of the conflict on the civilian population should not be exploited for political or military ends. The EU calls on all contributors, including the Russian Federation, to support the international relief effort led by the United Nations, in full recognition of the Ukrainian Government’s role as a first responder. We also recall that any unilateral military actions on the part of the Russian Federation in Ukraine under any pretext, including humanitarian, is considered by the EU as a blatant violation of international law.
  4. We reiterate that it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.
  5. Mr Chairman, on 30 August, the European Council expressed its readiness to take significant further restrictive measures, in light of the evolution of the situation of the ground. It requested the Commission to urgently undertake preparatory work, jointly with the EEAS, and present proposals for consideration within a week. It requested the Commission to include in its proposal a provision on the basis of which every person and institution dealing with the separatist groups in the Donbass will be listed.
  6. The EU once again expresses its support for the valuable efforts of the OSCE and its Chairmanship. We continue to support the OSCE-facilitated Trilateral Contact Group and its efforts to create conditions for a mutually-agreed and viable ceasefire, in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan. We encourage the parties to urgently make tangible progress, including at its next planned meeting on 5 September, and express our hope that the recent conversation between President Poroshenko and President Putin will contribute to this
  7. We reiterate our support for the use of the full potential of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), including an effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We underline the importance of ensuring safety and access for SMM staff. We welcome the use of UAVs, and we expect them to add value to the SMM’s reporting. We encourage the Chairmanship, OSCE Secretariat and SMM to ensure that UAVs will be in operation as soon as possible in eastern and southern Ukraine. We also call for expansion of the OSCE Border Checkpoint Observation Mission in order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the Russian-Ukrainian border.
  8. We welcome that ODIHR has begun preparations for a comprehensive monitoring of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 26 October in anticipation of an official invitation. We welcome the arrival of the new Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Vaidotas Verba, and continue to appreciate the important efforts of his office, including in regard to elections and working with civil society, and the activities of the OSCE’s autonomous institutions in regard to Ukraine.
  9. We express our continuing support for the Representative on Freedom of the Media in expressing concern for the safety of journalists covering the crisis in and around Ukraine. We are appalled by the death of the Russian photographer Andrei Stenin in eastern Ukraine and call for all killings and attacks on journalists to be investigated.
  10. Mr Chairperson, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.
  11. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014, EU Statement on the Events in Ferguson

Final Draft (146 words)

  1. The European Union thanks the United States Mission to the OSCE for sharing information in today’s Permanent Council on the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and its Government’s response to these events.
  2. We appreciate when OSCE participating States voluntarily address national issues and we would welcome wider application of this practice in the relevant Committees and the Permanent Council. This helps us hold each other to account, as our shared commitments are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States.
  3. We welcome the swift action to clarify the circumstances of the shooting and killing of Michael Brown and to address the response of the local police to the demonstrations which occurred following the death of Mr. Brown. We acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the US authorities at different levels to address issues related to the use of police force and race relations.
  4. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1013, Vienna, 14 August 2014, EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and

Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union would like to thank the Swiss Chairmanship for convening this meeting of the Permanent Council during the summer recess which was necessary to discuss the latest developments with regards to the crisis in and around Ukraine as well as the OSCE's role in pursuing a peaceful solution.

We remain concerned about the continued deterioration of the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine, and along the borders with the Russian Federation. We urge Russia to stop the increased flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border and to withdraw its additional troops from the border area. We are disturbed by reports of intensified cross-border shelling and violations of the Ukrainian airspace by the Russian Federation. All of these run counter to efforts aimed at de-escalating the crisis in and around Ukraine. We reiterate that it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. We warn against any Russian military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian.

In this context, the European Union expresses its increasing concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine and especially the civilian casualties. We call for respect of international humanitarian law and for humanitarian organisations to be supported and facilitated in their present efforts to deliver the assistance to the population in need. We appeal to all sides to the conflict to ensure a safe passage for civilians to leave the areas of conflict and appeal to the Russian Federation to use its influence with illegal armed groups to this effect.

While acknowledging that the OSCE is not a humanitaristrongan organisation, we believe the SMM could play a facilitating role in a multinational humanitarian effort endorsed by the Government of Ukraine, together with international humanitarian organisations, in particular the ICRC. In this context, we underline the need for all sides to ensure safety and security of all personnel engaged in delivering humanitarian assistance.

We underline once again the need to address the humanitarian situation in Ukraine,

in full respect of international humanitarian law and principles and with the clear consent of Ukrainian authorities. In this respect, we reiterate the EU's readiness to increase its support to the Ukrainian government-led humanitarian response efforts as well as to humanitarian partners. On 11 August the President of the European Commission welcomed the willingness of the President of Ukraine to seek international humanitarian assistance. In this vein, president Barroso announced that the European Commission would take this week an emergency decision on additional humanitarian support as a contribution to the UN-led international response plan.

We recall that on 31 July the European Union adopted a package of significant restrictive measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with the Russian Federation in accordance with the European Council Conclusions from 16 July. It is meant as a strong warning: the illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st century Europe. The European Union remains ready to reverse its decisions when Russia starts contributing actively and without ambiguity to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis, including based on its own commitments undertaken in the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April and the Berlin Declaration of 2 July.

Ms Chairperson, we would like to take this occasion to reiterate the EU's support for the peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine, the need to implement President Poroshenko's peace plan without further delay and the urgent need to agree on a genuine and sustainable ceasefire by all parties on the basis of the Berlin Declaration of 2 July with the aim of restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity.

To this end, we recall the continued EU support to the efforts by the OSCE through the Special Monitoring Mission, Border Checkpoint Observation Mission, and the OSCE facilitated Trilateral Contact Group in their efforts at creating conditions for a ceasefire. We also reiterate the importance of effective border control, including through OSCE observers, and the swift release of all hostages.

We welcome the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as a limited first step towards implementation of the 2 July Berlin Declaration. We call for the implementation of all its elements, including access to Ukrainian border guards to participate in monitoring activities at these two checkpoints.

We restate our support for the OSCE SMM work and highly appreciate its efforts in the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in Donetsk. We reiterate our call for all OSCE monitors to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate.

Ms Chairperson, the EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

 [Alignment Paragraph]

Conseil Permanent de lOSCE N 1013, Vienne, 14 ao?t 2014, Dеclaration de l'UE sur le Haut-Karabagh

 L’Unioneurop?enneappuiepleinementlad?clarationconjointedu 2 ao?tdu

Pr?sident en exercice de l’OSCE et des co-Pr?sidents du Groupe de Minsk.

Nous rappelons la d?claration faite le 3 ao?t ? ce sujet par le porte-parole de

la Haute Repr?sentante, Madame Catherine Ashton :

[D?but de citation] « Nous sommes tr?s pr?occup?s par les incidents arm?s

les plus r?cents qui ont fait des victimes le long de la ligne de contact et de la

fronti?re d’Etat entre l’Arm?nie et l’Azerba?djan ces derniers jours. Nous

appelons les deux parties au respect imm?diat du cessez-le-feu, ? s’abstenir

de l’usage ou de toute menace d’usage de la force et ? poursuivre les efforts

visant au r?glement pacifique du conflit du Haut-Karabagh.

L’UE rappelle qu’elle est pr?te ? s’engager dans des efforts renouvel?s en vue

d’un r?glement politique du conflit du Haut-Karabagh et pour contribuer plus

avant aux efforts de construction de la paix, en pleine compl?mentarit? avec le

Groupe de Minsk.

Nous r?it?rons notre plein soutien aux efforts du Groupe de Minsk et au

travail des trois co-pr?sidents, en particulier s’agissant de la n?cessit? de

poursuivre les n?gociations au plus haut niveau, tel que cela a ?t? agr?? lors

de la rencontre entre les Pr?sidents Sarkissian et Aliev ? Vienne le 19

novembre 2013 ». [Fin de citation]

Dans ce contexte, nous appr?cions le rappel par les Pr?sidents d’Arm?nie et

d’Azerba?djan, r?unis par le Pr?sident russe ? Sotchi le 9 ao?t, de leur souhait

de poursuivre le dialogue et de r?soudre ce conflit par des voies

exclusivement pacifiques.

[Paragraphe de ralliement]

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of GovernorsVienna, 15-19 September 2014Agenda item 4: Report by the Co-Chairs of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities (WGFAA), including to examine the ways and means torender resources for the Technical Cooperation Fundsufficient, assured and predictable

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. At the outset, let me express our sincere gratitude to the Co-Chairs, the Ambassador of France, H.E. Ms. Marion Paradas, and the Ambassador of Kenya, H.E. Mr. Michael Oyugi, for their excellent work in chairing the Working Group on "Financing the Agency's Activities, including ways and means to render resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund sufficient, assured and predictable" and in preparing the report presented for our consideration today.

3. We believe that the process we went through in the last eight months proved to be useful. We had the opportunity for valuable in-depth discussions on several aspects within the framework of the Working Groups sessions. We thank also the Secretariat for its technical support.

4. We acknowledge that there are different views among Member States on certain issues and we welcome the fact that nevertheless consensus could be reached on the report of the Working Group. This is a clear sign of the importance that the entire membership of the IAEA attaches to having an effective, efficient and sustainable Technical Cooperation Programme, in line with the MDGs, the upcoming post-2015 development agenda, GC resolutions and relevant decisions by the Board. It also constitutes once again the continuing commitment of the EU and its MemberStates towards the TCP as one of the important pillars in the Agency's work.

Mr Chairman,

5. With these comments, the European Union and its Member States take note of the “Report of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities (WGFAA), including to examine the ways and means to render resources for the Technical Cooperation Fund sufficient, assured and predictable”, as contained in Document GOV/2014/49.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 - 18 September 2014, Agenda item 5: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The EU would like to thank the Secretariat for the 3 September technical briefing covering the reports on Measures to Strengthen International Cooperation in Nuclear, Radiation, Transport and Waste Safety, and Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety.

3. The EU and its MemberStates acknowledge the central role of the Agency in strengthening the global nuclear safety framework and we appreciate the Agency’s focus on creating a ‘safety culture’ as well as the Agency’s holistic approach towards achieving this. We fully support the DG in encouraging all Member States to become Contracting Parties to the relevant Safety Conventions. In particular countries operating a NPP or are embarking on a nuclear programme are urged to become Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention without delay. The EU and its MemberStates also encourage Contracting Parties to the relevant Safety Conventions and the IAEA Secretariat to promote full participation in the review processes of these Conventions.

4. We welcome the amendments to the procedures of the Convention on Nuclear Safety which were agreed at the 6th Review Meeting, as well as the recommendations for action. The Council of the European Union, acting under the legal basis of the Euratom Treaty, has adopted on 8 July 2014 a new Directive to strengthen the safety framework for nuclear installations including NPP's, research reactors, fuel cycle facilities as well as on-site storage facilities. This Directive, which will be transposed into the legislation of all EU Member States at the latest in 2017, sets the objectives of preventing accidents and, should they occur, mitigating the consequences and avoiding early and large radioactive releases. These objectives will apply to all new nuclear installations and will be used as a reference for the implementation of safety improvements to existing nuclear installations. We look forward to the discussions on the Swiss proposal to amend the Article 18 of the Convention on Nuclear Safety at the Diplomatic Conference next year to reflect the same objectives in the Convention.

5. As previously stated, we consider it vital that the development and use of nuclear energy take place under the most rigorous safety conditions. The IAEA’s Comprehensive Report on the Fukushima accident, due for completion this year, will also be important to further strengthen nuclear safety and the EU and its Member States have continued to provide both in-kind and financial support to this important work.

6. We welcome the five new Safety Standards issued by the Agency and urge all Member States to make full use of the Agency's Safety Standards, to undertake self-assessment and to request targeted training, as appropriate. The importance of the timely training of the right people is also necessary for the successful application of the Safety Standards. We also welcome the international experts’ meetings held in the reporting period. These have served to promote information sharing and we would encourage this to continue.

7. The EU and its MemberStates make intensive use of the Agency’s Safety Peer Review Missions and we encourage all IAEA Member States to also request IAEA Safety Peer Review Missions. The EU and its MemberStates look forward to the Secretariat's comprehensive report on the evaluation of the results of IRRS missions from 2006 to 2013.

8. Managing the safety aspects of ageing research reactors is an increasing challenge, as half of the world's operational research reactors are over 40 years old. Some reactors, approaching the end of their lifespan, are important for the production of medical radio-isotopes. It is of utmost importance that periodic safety reviews are carried out on ageing research reactors. We welcome in that regard the Agency's recent publication on ‘Safety Reassessments for Research Reactors in the Light of the Fukushima Accident’ as well as the development of a peer review service for the long-term operation of research reactors.

9. Site and External Event Design Missions were conducted in three EU Member States in the reporting period. We welcome the Agency’s focus and hard work on seismic hazards in the site evaluation for nuclear installations.

10. The EU and its MemberStates attach great importance to Emergency Preparedness and Response. However, we are concerned that many States, party to the Assistance Convention, have still not identified and notified their assistance capabilities and that this may prove critical in the case of a future emergency. We therefore support the Agency's efforts to continue requesting the timely registration of assistance capabilities through RANET by all relevant States.

11. We would like to recall that the European Nuclear Safety Regulators’ Group, ENSREG, is also a regional network within the IAEA Global Nuclear Safety and Security Network, GNSSN.

Mr. Chairman,

12. The EU thanks the Secretariat for its international coordination for uranium legacy sites. We support the Coordination Group with 8 million Euro and will continue to provide support for it in the future.

13. The EU and its MemberStates welcome the DG's decision to discuss: "Safe and sustainable management of radioactive waste" at this year’s Scientific Forum. The topical meeting on Comprehensive Approaches to the Back End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle and the first inter-sessional meeting of the Joint Convention proved to be excellent opportunities to improve the implementation of the Joint Convention and the safe management of nuclear waste.

14. The EU and its MemberStates look forward to additional guidance on the long-term management of disused sealed sources, on improved reporting guidelines and we call on the IAEA to continue its work to harmonise the approach to trans-border issues concerning scrap metal containing radioactive material.

IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety

15. The EU would like to thank the Secretariat for its third report on Progress in the Implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety and its supplementary information. Since its inception in 2011 the EU and its MemberStates have made full use of the tools contained in the Action Plan and we appreciate the Secretariat’s continued commitment to implement the Plan. At the next CNS Review Meeting we will continue reporting on lessons learned and other actions that have been taken. The concepts of Defence in Depth and Safety Culture are already enshrined in the new Euratom Directive on Nuclear Safety.

16. We very much welcome the update on the activities implemented under the Action Plan on Nuclear Safety. We continue to look forward to an evaluation by the Secretariat on how effective these activities have been in improving nuclear safety. We further invite the Secretariat to share its strategy for integrating the outcomes and future activities resulting from the Action Plan into the Agency's regular programme, after the conclusion of the Plan.

Thank You, Mr. Chairman

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 - 18 September 2014, Agenda item 7: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The EU would like to thank the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the two draft reports submitted to the Board.

3. The EU appreciates the activities carried out over the past 50 years through the partnership between the IAEA and the FAO. Both signed revised Arrangements last year in June, regarding the work of the joint Division that promotes, with some financial support by the European Commission, nuclear science and technology, and increases the contribution of their applications to health, food, agriculture and economic development, so as to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

4. The EU commends the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture for pursuing the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) programme, in cooperation with international organisations, to combat inter alia Tsetse flies and Trypanosomosis which constitute one of the greatest constraints of Africa’s socio-economic development. The SIT programme, together with the associated technical cooperation projects that develop genetic and environmentally friendly methods for the vector control of malaria and other diseases, receives contributions from EU Member States.

5. The EU and its MemberStates reaffirm their gratitude to the Secretariat for developing the "Strategy for the Renovation of the Agency's Nuclear Applications Laboratories at Seibersdorf". We appreciate the Secretariat's efforts to address the financial challenges of the ReNuAL project and to mobilize extra-budgetary resources by engaging with non-traditional donors such as foundations and private companies. We reiterate our call to the ReNuAL project board to strive for more synergies and efficiencies and to keep the necessary transparency enabling the Member States to make their own independent assessment of its options.

Mr. Chairman,

6. As regards nuclear energy, while acknowledging that any country has its sovereign right to decide on its own energy mix, the EU notes that the Agency’s low and high projections for global installed nuclear power capacity still indicate an increase by 2030, with different regional developments. Although these projections have been lowered every year since 2010, because of various influential factors, nuclear power remains, according to the DG’s report, an important option for countries giving priority to energy security and environment protection at affordable and stable generating costs.

7. The EU takes note of the Agency’s activities in nuclear energy, such as the joint publication with the OECD/NEA of the 2014 edition of the “Red Book on uranium resources, production and demand”; the assistance given to newcomer countries to develop their national nuclear infrastructures through the various guides issued and services provided by the newly upgraded Nuclear Infrastructure Development Section (NIDS); and the conversion from high to low enriched uranium fuel of research reactors.

8. The EU acknowledges that the International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, INPRO, whose Group became a Section last January, provides a forum for technology users and technology holders. INPRO project, which now comprises 40 Members, including the EC and eleven EU Member States, highlights the role of innovations and international cooperation when transitioning to 4th generation nuclear energy systems, such as fast reactors.

9. The EU welcomes the efforts made by the Agency in building capacities and strengthening nuclear knowledge management through education and training, human resource development, knowledge management and networking activities, to proactively manage the risks of knowledge loss and address concerns about shortage of personnel in nuclear fields and the possible erosion of nuclear knowledge base, worldwide, as pointed out during the International Conference on Human Resource Development for Nuclear Power Programmes, held in Vienna last May.

10. With these comments, the EU takes note of the two documents GOV/INF/2014/13 and GOV/2014/46 submitted to the Board.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

European Union

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 – 19 September 2014, Agenda item 8 (c): Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report to the Board on verification and monitoring in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as contained in document GOV/2014/42. The nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes of the DPRK and its decision to cease all cooperation with the IAEA remain a matter of grave concern to the European Union.

3. The EU has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms the third nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 12 February 2013, which is an outright violation of its international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. This nuclear test represents a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

4. The EU further condemns the continuation of the DPRK’s proliferation activities and recalls that all UN Member States are obliged to comply with the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

5. The EU deplores the DPRK's decision to pursue the ill-advised path of provocation and isolation, in defiance of the international community's united condemnation of the DPRK’s use of ballistic missile technology. The EU deplores DPRK's continuous provocative launches of Short Range Ballistic Missiles, as well as the test-firing of two medium range ballistic missiles on 26 March this year. The pursuit by the DPRK of its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes as well as its willingness to trade related technologies constitutes a grave challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to peace and stability in the region.

6. In line with UN Security Council Resolution 2087, and as a further step in defence of the international non-proliferation regime, the EU adopted additional autonomous restrictive measures. These measures include prohibitions on the export and import of goods and technology which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missile-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes. Additional measures – including in the trade, transport and financial sectors - have also been taken by both, the UN and autonomously by the EU. The EU last expanded its measures on 22 April 2013 to give effect to UN Security Council Resolution 2094 (2013).

Mr Chairman,

7. The EU is deeply concerned about reports that the DPRK may be preparing another nuclear test and would like to recall its serious concerns about the DPRK's uranium enrichment programme as well as the construction of a Light Water Reactor at the Yongbyon site. We remain equally concerned that the DPRK is increasing its ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads.

8. The Director General’s (DG) report noted that since his report of September 2013, the Agency has observed, through satellite imagery, ongoing renovation and new construction activities at various locations within the Yongbyon site. Furthermore, the DG reported that the Agency has observed, mainly through satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water at the 5 MW(e) reactor, signatures which are consistent with the reactor's operation. All these activities appear to be broadly consistent with the DPRK's statements that it is further developing nuclear capabilities. This can only deepen our concerns.

9. The EU continues to believe that the IAEA has an essential role to play in verifying the application of safeguards in the DPRK, and again urges the DPRK to allow an early return of IAEA inspectors and to provide the IAEA with the requested access to individuals, documentation, sites, equipment and facilities.

10. The EU stresses, once again, that the DPRK is bound by its international obligations, as set out in UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094, and by its IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement under the NPT, and urges the DPRK to comply with them fully, unconditionally and without delay. The EU demands that the DPRK abandons all its existing nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment programme, in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner, and refrains from any further provocative actions and statements.

11. Additionally, the DPRK should commit itself to the September 2005 Joint Statement and to the ultimate objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. In this context, the EU calls upon the DPRK to take meaningful steps towards denuclearisation and engage in credible multilateral talks, in order to work towards lasting peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and in order to secure a more prosperous and stable future for the DPRK. The EU also calls on the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

12. Finally, Mr Chairman, the EU would like to recall that the IAEA General Conference, in its Resolution (GC (57)/RES/14) on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement between the Agency and the DPRK, decided that the IAEA should remain seized of the matter. The EU requests the Director General to keep the Board of Governors informed of this issue. The EU also requests to maintain this item on the agenda of Board of Governors’ meetings.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 – 19 September 2014, Agenda item 8 (e): Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the SyrianArabRepublic as contained in document GOV/2014/44.

Mr Chairman,

3. The Board of Governors, in its resolution of 9 June 2011, reported Syria’s non-compliance with its Safeguards Agreement to the Security Council and General Assembly of the United Nations and called upon Syria to remedy urgently this non-compliance.

4. This resolution, fully supported by the EU, was based on the conclusion of the Agency 'that the destroyed building at the Dair Alzour site was very likely a nuclear reactor and should have been declared by Syria pursuant to Articles 41 and 42 of its Safeguards Agreement and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements thereto'.

5. The EU deeply regrets that, despite this resolution, the Syrian pledge of May 2011 to the Director General to respond positively and without delay to the Agency's request to resolve all outstanding questions and in addition renewed calls by the Director General, Syria, has yet to provide the necessary cooperation. The EU, once again, strongly urges Syria to fully comply with the Resolution.

6. The EU notes that, as reported in the DG's report, the 2013 physical inventory verification at the Miniature Neutron Source Reactor (MNSR) had to be postponed until the security conditions has sufficiently improved. We look forward to receiving further information in due course on developments on this matter.

7. The Syrian authorities remain responsible, as required by the Board's resolution, for urgently remedying their non-compliance with their Safeguards Agreement, and for cooperating urgently and transparently with the Agency to clarify matters with regard to Dair Alzour and the other relevant sites, and to conclude and bring into force an Additional Protocol as soon as possible.

8. Finally, Mr Chairman, the EU requests that the Director General keeps the Board of Governors informed about this issue and maintains this item on the agenda of its meetings until Syria fully cooperates with the Agency to resolve the international community's concerns.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors Vienna, 15 - 19 September 2014, Agenda Item 9: Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino.]

The EU would like to thank the DG for his report GOV/2014/45 on the Applications of Safeguards in the Middle East.

It remains a strategic priority of the EU to support peace and stability in the entire Middle East. The EU therefore reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East, an objective supported ever since the Barcelona Declaration of 1995. The EU regrets that it has not been possible so far to convene a Conference, to be attended by all States of the region, on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery in the Middle East.

The EU remains fully committed to the objective of establishing such a zone. In that regard, we commend Ambassador Laajava and his team for their tireless efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful Conference with the participation of all States of the region, including through recent and ongoing consultations to prepare for the Conference to be convened on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between the States of the region. We have constantly called on all parties concerned to continue to work and engage constructively with the Facilitator, the co-conveners and each other to this end.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors 15 - 19 September 2014, Vienna, Agenda item 6: Nuclear Security Report 2014 and Implementation of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: The following countries align themselves with this statement: [Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and San Marino]

2. The EU would first like to welcome the Director-General’s Nuclear Security Report 2014 as an important tool for reviewing the Agency’s activities under the Nuclear Security Plan for 2014-2017, as well as the report on the implementation of the Nuclear Security Plan for 2010-2013.

Mr. Chairman

3. The EU reaffirms that the responsibility for nuclear security rests with each individual State. All States have the responsibility to establish appropriate systems and to take necessary measures to deter, detect, delay and respond to unauthorized access to nuclear and other radioactive material. The EU reaffirms the central role of the IAEA in strengthening the international nuclear security framework.

4. The EU commends the Secretariat for its work in implementing the Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013, reflected in the report presented to the Board of Governors. The EU reaffirms its full support to the Agency in its tireless efforts to strengthen international cooperation and to improve nuclear security worldwide.

5. The EU also commends the Agency for its activities to promote adherence to, and implementation of, the international legal instruments relevant to nuclear security, and in particular to facilitate the entry into force as soon as possible of the 2005 Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material. Adherence by an additional 21 States is still required for the Amendment to enter into force. We urge all Contracting Parties to the Convention, which have not yet done so, to adhere to the 2005 Amendment.

6. The EU supports the Agency's efforts to strengthen the interaction with and between other international organisations, processes and initiatives, such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the 1540 Committee, the UN Counter Terrorism Task Force and the Nuclear Security Summits.

7. The EU has enhanced its support to the IAEA as a key donor to the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund. Between 2002 and 2013, contributions of the EU and its Member States, represented 42% of the 182 million EUR committed in total to this Fund. Through these contributions, assistance activities were carried out by the IAEA in more than 100 of its Member States.

8. The EU Council of Ministers decided in October 2013 on an additional contribution of more than 8 million EUR to support the activities of the IAEA in the areas of nuclear security and in the framework of the implementation of the EU Strategy against Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Mr. Chairman

9. The EU welcomes the activities of the Nuclear Security Guidance Committee (NSGC), which contributes to increase transparency, consensus, quality, coherence and consistency by engaging more Member States in the development of IAEA publications for nuclear security. We encourage all IAEA Member States to actively participate in the committee through the nomination of high level experts. We further take note of the plan for publications in the IAEA Nuclear Security Series agreed in June 2014 by the NSGC and the Secretariat.

10. The EU underlines the importance of the IAEA’s Integrated Nuclear Security Support Plans for assisting States to establish comprehensive programmes of nuclear security improvements. We encourage Member States to make further use of this structured and holistic approach to nuclear security capacity building.

11. The IAEA’s Nuclear Security Peer Reviews are essential tools to assist Member States in evaluating their nuclear security regimes. In this regard, the EU welcomes the increased recognition of IPPAS and INSServ missions by Member States and encourages all IAEA Member States to make further use of these missions.

12. The EU welcomes the activity of the IAEA in raising awareness of computer-based attacks impacting nuclear safety and security, including by further addressing this topic in IAEA Nuclear Security Series documents. The EU is looking forward in that regard, to the “International Conference on Computer Security in a Nuclear World: Experts Discussion and Exchange" to be organised in Vienna in early June 2015.

13. The EU contributes expertise in nuclear detection and response mechanisms, including nuclear forensics. The European Commission co-chairs the Nuclear Forensics International Technical Working Group (ITWG). Since 1992, the European Joint Research Centre has also been involved in activities related to nuclear forensic analysis, providing support to national competent authorities, including the examination of seized nuclear material in more than 45 cases so far. The EU would like to commend the Secretariat for the successful “International Conference on Advances in Nuclear Forensics”, which was held in Vienna in July 2014.

14. The EU welcomes and supports the Agency's activities in the areas of capacity building, training and education. With the EU contribution, the Agency has been able to organise 120 training courses with 2,500 participants and, establish 6 Nuclear Security Supports Centres. The EU is working closely with the Agency to avoid duplication of activities relating to the radiological and nuclear components of the EU regional centres of excellence for the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear areas.

Mr. Chairman

15. With these comments, the EU takes note of the Nuclear Security Report 2014 in GOV/2014/36 and supports its recommended actions. The EU further takes note of the report on the implementation of the IAEA Nuclear Security Plan 2010-2013 GOV/2014/17.

Thank you Mr Chairman

UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 27th session, EU Statement General Debate Item 2 & 3, HC/SG Thematic Reports

Mr. President, Mr. High Commissioner,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union.

The following countries align themselves with this declaration:

First of all, Mr. President, allow me to reiterate the EU’s support for the High Commissioner and his staff, and to express our appreciation to the High Commissioner and his Office, as well as the Secretary General, for the presentation of the thematic reports under items 2 and 3.

The EU welcomes both the Secretary General’s report on the question of the death penalty and the summary of the related high level panel discussion at the 25th session. The EU is strongly committed to the international campaign against the death penalty, and our common resolve is strengthened by the encouraging  trend toward the universal abolition of the death penalty, confirmed in the report. We will continue to raise our voice in favor of a moratorium and to seek a wide support for the UNGA resolution on the issue.

The EU puts the protection of the human rights of women and children at the core of its human rights agenda and welcomes the reports that focus on these issues. We agree on the need to involve victims of gender-based and sexual violence in transitional justice processes, as their  voices can be a powerful tool to raise awareness on the magnitude of the challenge, and to mobilize institutions and public opinions in order to prevent such heinous violence and re-establish justice and trust. Both Child Early and Forced Marriages and Female Genital Mutilations are human rights violations disproportionally affecting women and girls. We are deeply involved in initiatives aiming at eradicating these harmful practices, and are firmly convinced of the need for them to be addressed within the post-2015 development agenda.

The EU thanks the Office of the High Commissioner for the Summaries of the panel discussions on the importance of the promotion and protection of civil society space and on the safety of journalists. We believe that civil society has a crucial role in promoting the protection and respect of human rights, and that civil society actors must be put in the condition of working independently and without fear. The independence of their work is deeply linked to the respect of the right to freedom of opinion and expression that is, in our opinion, at the core of every democratic and open society. Along the same line, we believe that journalists must be allowed to work freely and independently, and that their safety must be respected and protected. We are appalled by the recent executions of journalists perpetrated by ISIL and we express our support to all journalists currently working in areas of conflict worldwide. 

The EU welcomes the Plan of Action for the third phase of the World Program for Human Rights Education. Targeted education and training is indeed a fundamental enabler to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to build democratic societies based upon tolerance, non-discrimination and the rule of law.

Thank you.

EUROPEAN UNION OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 762 Vienna, 10 September 2014, EU Statement on the Assumption of the Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation by the Principality of Monaco

The European Union (EU) and its MemberStates welcome H.E. Jos? Badia, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Principality of Monaco, and express our gratitude for having outlined the FSC Chairmanship's programme and his country's views on the current security situation in the OSCE area.

We would also like to congratulate the outgoing Moldovan FSC Chairmanship for successfully fulfilling its task to advance the FSC work, in particular through a balanced and comprehensive Security Dialogues' agenda. We commend the Moldovan Chairmanship for its high professionalism and dedication shown in adverse circumstances dominated by the crisis in and around Ukraine. We wish Mongolia every success as a new member of the FSC Troika and thank Malta, which is leaving the Troika, for their efforts and commitment over the past year.

Unfortunately, the violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence by the Russian Federation has become the main focus of the OSCE, including in the FSC.

We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. Numerous attempts to use the FSC mandate and the existing politico-military toolbox to the full extent were undercut as the situation on the ground has been further escalating, threatening not only Ukraine and its people but also the whole European security architecture.

We welcome the agreement on a ceasefire reached in Minsk on 5 September 2014 which must be respected and fully implemented by all sides. We hope that this will be a first step towards a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

We stress that permanent monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces operating on Ukrainian territory, as well as comprehensive observation of the implementation of the ceasefire, must be integral parts of such a solution.

The European Union stands ready to support any efforts related to the implementation of the ceasefire, including through the OSCE. We note with concern in this respect that the ceasefire was violated a number of times as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. We call once again on all sides to respect and fully implement the ceasefire agreement.

It is our firm opinion that upholding OSCE politico-military commitments and making full use of them, both in letter and in spirit, to decisively de-escalate the situation on the ground remains the top FSC priority under the current circumstances.

Your Excellency,

We highly appreciate the efforts the FSC Chairmanship has already undertaken to develop, in consultation with the Swiss Chairmanship-in-Office, a clear vision of the FSC work related to the preparations of the Ministerial Council in Basel as well as the FSC contribution to the Helsinki+40 process.

In this context, we reiterate our longstanding position in favour of the full implementation, modernisation and updating of the OSCE politico-military toolbox in line with the evolving security environment and, where appropriate, the latest UN developments. The OSCE strategic objectives regarding Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures as set out in the Astana Summit Declaration and other relevant OSCE documents remain valid and should frame the FSC work and negotiations in the run up to the Basel Ministerial Council.

In the same vein, we should take stock of the crisis in and around Ukraine and its impact on the implementation of OSCE politico-military commitments, in particular relating to the Vienna Document. We should explore ways to turn the current situation into a forward-looking reflection on CSBMs. Furthermore, we are ready to strengthen, in line with our consistent position, the OSCE instruments and its role in curbing the illicit spread and destabilising accumulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, including taking into account the expected entry into force of ATT. In this regard, the FSC could also explore ways to take further the issue of strengthening the export control over SALW transported by sea.

Positive consideration could also be given to the Swiss CIO proposal to mark the 20th anniversary of the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, as well as the successful completion of the Dayton Article IV Agreement transfer of ownership process. Last but not least, we remain convinced that the OSCE's role and capacities devoted to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and UNSC Resolution 1540 on Non-Proliferation should be further enhanced on a sustainable basis.

OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1016 Vienna, 8 September 2014. EU Statement on the Threat to the Security of the OSCE Region by ISIL

The European Union, recalling the conclusions by its Heads of State and Government of 30 August 2014, strongly condemns the brutal and abhorrent indiscriminate killings and human rights violations perpetrated by ISIL and other terrorist organisations which represent a threat to regional security as well as to the security of the OSCE region: They are an affront to universally recognized values and rights.

We are very concerned about the use by ISIL, Al-Nusra Front, and other terrorist organisations of foreign fighters from the OSCE region and elsewhere, and the risks that these foreign fighters may pose upon return to their home countries. The European Union strongly believes that determined action is required to stem the flow of foreign fighters, in particular to: prevent radicalisation and extremism; share information more effectively; dissuade, detect and disrupt suspicious travel; and investigate and prosecute foreign fighters. The EU is committed to ensuring the swift and full implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2170, calling on Member States to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, and UNSCR 2133 which calls on Member States to prevent terrorists from benefitting directly or indirectly from ransom payments. We welcome the excellent work being developed by the OSCE’s Transnational Threats Department this year and highlight in particular the forthcoming Mediterranean Counter-Terrorism Expert Workshop on Kidnapping for Ransom, to be held in Malta this month.

In June the Council adopted the revised EU strategy for combating radicalisation and recruitment to terrorism. The main objective of this strategy is to prevent a new generation of terrorists from emerging. We underline the importance of coordinated action by countries from the region to counter these threats. We support the efforts of the Chairmanship for a ministerial decision on the topic of foreign fighters in Basel, which should contribute to a more coordinated approach by participating States in combating the risks posed by foreign fighters.

More generally, the fight against ISIL will need to be set in the context of wider measures addressing the political, security and socio-economic dimensions of this phenomenon that are closely interlinked. The EU is determined to develop a regional strategy along those lines and implement it alongside its partners and allies.

We remain deeply concerned by the political situation in the OSCE’s southern neighbourhood and in particular by the deterioration of the security situation in Syria and Libya which are vulnerable targets to the threat of terrorism. In this respect, the European Union reiterates the need for stronger engagement with the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation to combat and prevent the spill over of terrorist threats, ISIL and other terrorist organisations to the OSCE region.

OSCE Special Permanent Council No. 1016 Vienna, 8 September 2014. EU Statement in Response to UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan ?imonović

Mr Under-Secretary-General, Mr Assistant Secretary-General, on behalf of the European Union it is a great pleasure to welcome you to the Permanent Council today. We are grateful for your presentations and highly appreciate this opportunity to exchange views on international security challenges and avenues for further cooperation in addressing them. We welcome you personally and the United Nations also as a close friend and partner to the European Union.

The UN and the OSCE have a long record of successful cooperation. At the same time, we believe there is scope for further cooperation, not only to avoid duplication and competition on the ground, but also to improve strategic interaction, particularly in the area of conflict resolution and prevention. As a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Chapter, the OSCE has a key role to play in addressing local disputes in the OSCE space, an area that unfortunately remains home to several unresolved conflicts. Achieving tangible progress in the resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is an urgent task requiring our constant attention.

The crisis in and around Ukraine has tremendous consequences for the entire OSCE region and beyond. In this context, we welcome the agreement on a ceasefire reached in Minsk on 5 September. We hope that this will be a first step towards a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We note with concern that the ceasefire was violated a number of times over the weekend as reported by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and other sources. We call on all sides to respect and fully implement the ceasefire.

Before the beginning of the ceasefire we were witness to increasing flows of fighters and heavy weapons from the territory of the Russian Federation into eastern Ukraine as well as the aggressive acts by Russian armed forces on sovereign Ukrainian territory in clear breach of international law, OSCE commitments and the UN charter. We have condemned these acts and call again on Russia to stop the supply of armour, weapons, and fighters across the border and to remove its personnel and equipment from Ukraine. Likewise, we continue to strongly condemn the illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it. We recall our unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and call upon Russia to do likewise. We also recall the decision by the European Council on 30 August to enhance the EU’s restrictive measures in view of Russia’s actions destabilising eastern Ukraine and the preparatory work undertaken to this end.

Permanent monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral parts of a sustainable political solution. The EU stands ready to support any efforts related to the implementation of the ceasefire, including through the OSCE. We welcome the announcement by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office that the Special Monitoring Mission will now significantly expand, adapt to changing needs and recruit more specialists.

Events in Ukraine have highlighted the importance of the OSCE and the UN and of the two organisations working together with the common aim of supporting Ukraine. We highly valued Assistant Secretary-General ?imonović's joint presentation with the Heads of the OSCE autonomous institutions on the human rights and minority situation in Ukraine on 19 May. In the field, cooperation is ongoing between the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission and with the UNHCR. The joint statements by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other international freedom rapporteurs, most recently on the importance of ensuring safety of journalists in crisis areas, constitute another good example of practical cooperation. Here in the Permanent Council we had the pleasure of having former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay, as our guest on 3 July where we, among other issues, had a thorough discussion on Ukraine.

We appreciate the independent and objective reporting about facts on the ground in Ukraine that UN and OSCE structures are providing to the international community. These reports are of great importance. We note that they are consistent in their description of events. For instance, we note from these reports that the human rights violations did not precede but rather accompanied and followed the emergence of various armed pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. We also note that it is the activities of these groups that are the root cause of the serious human suffering and human rights violations experienced by the civilian population as highlighted in today’s statement by Mr ?imonović.

We commend both the OSCE and the UN for their response to the crisis and encourage them to continue supporting the Ukrainian government. We welcome in particular the continued engagement of the UN Secretary General on Ukraine in defence of the principles and spirit of the UN Charter. However, we also note that the past few months have made it abundantly clear that the OSCE as well as the UN can only deliver if there is sufficient political will on all sides to fully use their tools and structures.

Mr Under-Secretary-General, Mr Assistant Secretary-General, your appearance here at the Permanent Council evidently comes at an important moment. The aggressive acts by Russian armed forces on sovereign Ukrainian territory have seriously challenged the fundamental principles and commitments that underpin both the UN and the OSCE. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for the European security order and cooperation between states. This is the larger issue we also need to address as we move forward.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict United Nations New York 8 September 2014

Madame President, I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the EU and its Member States.

First, let me thank today?s briefers for their presentations. In particular, I wish to recognise the Special Representative of Secretary-General, Leila Zerrougui and reaffirm our strong support for her mandate.

Madame President,

The report presented to the Council today underlines yet again the direct impact that ongoing armed conflicts around the world have on children. We share the concern of the Secretary-General about the disproportionate effect armed conflicts have on children and the grave violations outlined in the report, including with regard to parties listed in the annexes of the present report.

We urge all parties to immediately stop the violations as described in the report and to take action to prevent these from occurring in the future. We also call on all states to become a party to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which has been ratified by all Member States of the EU.

Madame President,

Both the protection and the promotion of children's rights and the issue of children and armed conflict are central to the EU human rights policy and funding instruments. This includes the right to education and wellbeing of children affected by conflict, addressed through, among other actions, the EU?s Children of Peace initiative. This initiative is especially designed to provide education to children in emergencies. Between 2012 and 2014, 108.000 children have encountered the benefits of this programme.

The EU is determined to carry on its support to activities aiming at preventing child recruitment and at demobilizing and reintegrating former child soldiers into their communities. We emphasise the inclusion of child protection in the training of peacekeepers, the mandates of crisis management operations, standard operating procedures and the rules of engagement. In 2013, the EU mainstreamed the promotion of human rights, child protection and international humanitarian law in the mandate of the EU Training Mission in Mali. The EU also incorporated child protection in the planning documents of the EU operation in the Central African Republic.

The EU is proud to support the "Children, Not Soldiers" campaign aiming to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children by government armed forces in conflict by 2016. The EU has contributed, through its efforts to rallying support for the campaign.

Fighting impunity for these serious crimes of international concern should be part of our actions – we continue to see the essential role of the ICC in this regard.

The EU has invested in strengthening its capacity on child protection both in the Headquarters and in its operations. In cooperation with UNICEF and several NGOs, the EU organized the first regular training for its staff on children and armed conflict. In 2014, we finalised a toolkit aiming at integrating child rights in development cooperation, not only for the use of the EU staff, but also of all other donors and civil society organizations. The EU is currently finalising its pre-deployment child protection training module for civilian and military personnel.

We underline the importance of further cooperation between regional and sub-regional organisations, in view of their important role in the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. Last year, the EU co-organized a workshop with the African Union, World Bank and the UN on CAAC in Addis Ababa. It provided an opportunity for discussions on the normative aspects of child protection, demobilization, disarmament and re-integration measures, as well as child protection in the context of peace-keeping. Children and armed conflict was also an important part of the Europe-Africa summit of this year. We hope to further develop partnerships with other organisations.

Madame President,

The EU is concerned about the surge of recruitment and use of children in the Central African Republic during 2013, described in the Secretary-General's report. The EU, with help from UNICEF, is currently implementing an educational program in the Central African Republic with a component for temporary care and training of 1,000 children who were connected to armed groups.

We also note the Secretary-General's information on the deterioration of the situation of children due to the most recent conflict in South Sudan. The EU, under the Children of Peace initiative, is funding a project in South Sudan, with a focus on children who have not had access to education due to conflict and displacement.

The EU shares the Secretary-General's concern about the targeting of schools, and the abduction and recruitment of children by Boko Haram, most prominently evidenced by the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in April this year. In the context of its cooperation with Nigeria, the EU provides assistance in the field of counter-terrorism and protection services for children in the Northern state of Borno.

We share the Secretary-General's concern that attacks on schools and hospitals have become a common feature in the majority of armed conflicts and situations covered in his report, thus endangering the safety of children and impeding their access to education and health services. We urge all parties to stop attacks on schools and hospitals and to deter the military use of schools in accordance with international law. In this regard, we welcome the Council's decision, as per resolution 2143, to request enhanced monitoring of the military use of schools.

Let me also underline that the EU deplores the grave violations and abuses against children committed by all parties to the conflict in Iraq, as highlighted by the SRSG Zerrougui at the recent Special Session of the Human Rights Council on Iraq. The EU is particularly concerned by ISIL's brutal killings of civilians, including children, not only in Iraq, but also in Syria.

Children continue to be the most affected by the armed conflict in Syria: well over 10.000 children have been killed so far and many more injured. The EU expresses its profound indignation at the scale, scope and gravity of the violations and abuses committed against children.In conclusion, we wish to reaffirm our strong belief the issue of children and armed conflict must remain in the focus of this Council as well as of our efforts at the national and regional levels.

Thank you.

Item 2 – General Debate – Draft EU statement (version 05.09.2014)

Mr President, Mr High Commissioner

Alignment paragraph

The EU would like to warmly welcome you, Mr High Commissioner, and thank for your first update to the Human Rights Council. We reiterate our full support and pledge our continued cooperation with the High Commissioner, the Council and its mechanisms. The EU has always emphasized and supported the independence, impartiality and non-selectivity of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. We wish to reiterate these principles which are indispensable for the legitimacy of the UN human rights architecture vis-?-vis States as well as people on the ground.

We welcome the focus of the Office to advance equality and non-discrimination on all grounds. Much more needs to be done to eradicate discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, ethnic or social group, nationality, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or other convictions, disability, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. We are share your concern and are alarmed by recent acts of violence against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities and express deep concern about their vulnerable situation.

We take note of your concern on the issue of the human rights of migrants in our region and particularly along the Mediterranean rim. We have taken important steps in recent years towards ensuring full respect for human rights in our migration and border policies, and the protection of human rights of migrants continues to be a cross-cutting priority in the EU?s external migration policy.

Mr High Commissioner,

We commend the effective and timely action by the Office regarding ongoing human rights crises across the world. The EU is extremely concerned with the crisis in Iraq, and strongly condemns all violations and abuses of human rights.  The EU is appalled by and firmly condemns the indiscriminate killings and human rights violations in Iraq perpetrated by ISIL and other terrorist organisations, in particular against Christian and other religious and ethnic minorities who should be part of a new, democratic Iraq and the most vulnerable groups.  We look forward to the urgent dispatching of an OHCHR mission to Iraq to investigate these violations and abuses which is an important step towards ensuring accountability. We commend the strong efforts of your Office in this regard.

The EU remains equally concerned by the human rights consequences of the ongoing and increasingly intense fighting in Eastern Ukraine and continues to strongly condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea. We condemn the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil in clear contravention of international law and reiterate the urgent need for a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence. In this regard, we welcome the extension of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine and timely reporting of the Office, and call on all sides to heed the recommendations contained in these reports.

Mr High Commissioner,

We strongly support the investigation by the High Commissioner into the violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes during Sri Lanka's civil war. The investigation is an important step towards reconciliation and accountability.

As a strong advocate for an open and safe space for civil society representatives and human rights defenders, the EU is preoccupied with the continuous wave of reprisals - including against those who engaged or sought to engage with UN mechanisms in several countries around the world. We call on  all Governments to respect the individuals' right to exercise their freedom of expression, opinion, association and assembly, including by ensuring that individuals can freely engage with UN mechanisms, and to ensure that they are protected from any kind of harassment or intimidation and to provide  full accountability for such acts.

We welcome the commitments that the Government of Libya made in the Human Rights Council Resolution adopted in March this year, however the current political instability and continued violence has further increased our concern of human rights violations taking place, as highlighted in UNSMIL/OHCHR report of 4 September. We are deeply concerned about the current situation in Libya. We urge all parties to agree an immediate ceasefire and engage in political dialogue.

To conclude, Mr High Commissioner, we wish you every success in your new capacity, and express our gratitude for the remarkable efforts of your staff to promote and protect human rights for all.

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014 EU Statement on the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association in the Russian Federation

  1. The European Union remains concerned about ongoing restrictions on the enjoyment of the Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association in the Russian Federation.
  2. The conviction on 24 July and 18 August 2014 by Moscow Courts of activists involved in the Bolotnaya Square events of 6 May 2012 is disproportionate in light of the nature of the events and the offences these activists were accused of.
  3. Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation continues to be undermined. We have continuously expressed our concern about legislation requiring non-governmental organisations receiving foreign funding and allegedly engaged in -unclearly defined- “political activities” to register as “foreign agents”. Subsequent legislation giving power to the Ministry of Justice to designate NGOs as such enabled the Ministry to add – against their will – 12 NGOs on its “foreign agents” list since June. Most recently the Freedom of Information Foundation and the St Petersburg branch of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers were included.
  4. These developments further restrict and weaken the voices of independent civil society and contribute to a chilling effect on the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms. We urge the Russian government to ensure that legislation and its implementation conforms to international human rights standards including OSCE commitments.
  5. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014 EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Personal Representative of the OSCE CiO for Article IV of Annex 1B of the Dayton Peace Accords, Major General M. Torres 

Final Draft (438 words)

  1. The European Union and its MemberStates would like to warmly welcome Major General Michele Torres back to the Permanent Council, in his capacity as Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for Article IV of Annex 1B of the Dayton Peace Accords. We thank him for his presentation which comes at a historic moment for the Agreement.
  2. Indeed, under General Torres's mandate the second phase of the ownership process has been successfully fulfilled, thus paving the way for the full transfer of ownership to the State Parties at the Basel Ministerial Council, as agreed during the last Dayton Article IV Review Conference in July this year. In this context, we would be ready to consider positively a possible Ministerial Council draft declaration on the completion of the Agreement's ownership process, as suggested by the Swiss OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. 
  3. This important achievement is the outcome of the consistent efforts and unwavering political will of the State Parties, ably assisted by the CIO Personal Representative, to re-build security in the aftermath of a terrible war. Upholding and building politico-military transparency and trust were, and are essential prerequisites for achieving long term peace and stability.
  4. In practical terms, this meant setting up and operating an efficient and robust verifiable  sub-regional arms control regime, which built upon the impressive reduction of more than ten thousand pieces of heavy armaments, including four thousand of which were processed on a voluntary basis after the completion of the formal reduction process in 1997.
  5. We continue to strongly believe that this important arms control regime remains not only a cornerstone of the security in Southeast Europe but also a positive model to be emulated in other sub-regions in the Euro-Atlantic area. The need for military transparency and trust based on the full use of appropriate multilateral instruments is, unfortunately, once again exemplified by the on-going crisis in and around Ukraine.
  6. In this respect, we agree with General Torres that in the longer term, engaging in structured regional politico-military cooperation is fundamental to both upholding OSCE commitments and furthering Euro-Atlantic and European integration agendas of the Article IV Agreement State Parties. 
  7. We encourage the State Parties to continue making best use of the Article IV Agreement after the termination of the role and the functions of the Personal Representative with the support, when appropriate, of the OSCE Secretariat.
  8. Let us conclude, Mr Chairman, by expressing once again our sincere gratitude to General Torres and his team for their excellent work and tangible contribution to security and stability in Southeast Europe and the implementation of an exemplary sub-regional conventional arms control regime.
  9.  [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014 EU Statement on the Case of Alexander Sodiqov

Final Draft (119 words)

  1. The European Union recalls its statement at the Permanent Council on 24 July on the case of Mr Alexander Sodiqov, a PhD student at the University of Toronto and researcher participating in a legitimate academic research project for the University of Exeter. At that time we welcomed his release on 22 July, after he had been detained without charge since 16 June.
  2. We remain deeply concerned that his release remains conditional and restrictions are still in place on his movement. We encourage the Government of Tajikistan to finalise its administrative formalities to reach a formal conclusion of the case. We hope that Mr Sodiqov will be allowed to resume his studies in Canada as soon as possible.
  3.  [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014 EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine 

Final Draft (839 words)

  1. The European Union condemns the increasing inflows of fighters and weapons from the territory of the Russian Federation into eastern Ukraine as well as the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil, as stated by the European Council on 30 August 2014. The Council expressed its extreme concern by the ongoing and increasingly intense fighting in Ukraine and continued to strongly condemn the illegal annexation of Crimea. It called upon the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine. It reiterated the urgent need for a sustainable political solution based on the respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence.
  2. The EU underlines the importance of implementing President Poroshenko’s peace plan without delay. The first step should consist of a mutually agreed and viable ceasefire, the re-establishment of Ukrainian control over its border, and an immediate halt to the flow of arms, material and military personnel from the Russian Federation into Ukraine. There should also be an urgent release of all hostages held by the illegally armed groups as well as of the prisoners detained in the Russian Federation. Moreover, the EU reiterates its call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site as part of a cease-fire.
  3. We call on all parties to support and facilitate without delay the work of international humanitarian organisations, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles. The humanitarian impact of the conflict on the civilian population should not be exploited for political or military ends. The EU calls on all contributors, including the Russian Federation, to support the international relief effort led by the United Nations, in full recognition of the Ukrainian Government’s role as a first responder. We also recall that any unilateral military actions on the part of the Russian Federation in Ukraine under any pretext, including humanitarian, is considered by the EU as a blatant violation of international law.
  4. We reiterate that it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts.
  5. Mr Chairman, on 30 August, the European Council expressed its readiness to take significant further restrictive measures, in light of the evolution of the situation of the ground. It requested the Commission to urgently undertake preparatory work, jointly with the EEAS, and present proposals for consideration within a week. It requested the Commission to include in its proposal a provision on the basis of which every person and institution dealing with the separatist groups in the Donbass will be listed.
  6. The EU once again expresses its support for the valuable efforts of the OSCE and its Chairmanship. We continue to support the OSCE-facilitated Trilateral Contact Group and its efforts to create conditions for a mutually-agreed and viable ceasefire, in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan. We encourage the parties to urgently make tangible progress, including at its next planned meeting on 5 September, and express our hope that the recent conversation between President Poroshenko and President Putin will contribute to this
  7. We reiterate our support for the use of the full potential of the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), including an effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We underline the importance of ensuring safety and access for SMM staff. We welcome the use of UAVs, and we expect them to add value to the SMM’s reporting. We encourage the Chairmanship, OSCE Secretariat and SMM to ensure that UAVs will be in operation as soon as possible in eastern and southern Ukraine. We also call for expansion of the OSCE Border Checkpoint Observation Mission in order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the Russian-Ukrainian border.
  8. We welcome that ODIHR has begun preparations for a comprehensive monitoring of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 26 October in anticipation of an official invitation. We welcome the arrival of the new Project Coordinator in Ukraine, Vaidotas Verba, and continue to appreciate the important efforts of his office, including in regard to elections and working with civil society, and the activities of the OSCE’s autonomous institutions in regard to Ukraine.
  9. We express our continuing support for the Representative on Freedom of the Media in expressing concern for the safety of journalists covering the crisis in and around Ukraine. We are appalled by the death of the Russian photographer Andrei Stenin in eastern Ukraine and call for all killings and attacks on journalists to be investigated.
  10. Mr Chairperson, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.
  11. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1015 Vienna, 4 September 2014 EU Statement on the Events in Ferguson 

Final Draft (146 words)

  1. The European Union thanks the United States Mission to the OSCE for sharing information in today’s Permanent Council on the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and its Government’s response to these events.
  2. We appreciate when OSCE participating States voluntarily address national issues and we would welcome wider application of this practice in the relevant Committees and the Permanent Council. This helps us hold each other to account, as our shared commitments are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States.
  3. We welcome the swift action to clarify the circumstances of the shooting and killing of Michael Brown and to address the response of the local police to the demonstrations which occurred following the death of Mr. Brown. We acknowledge the ongoing efforts of the US authorities at different levels to address issues related to the use of police force and race relations.
  4. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1014 Vienna, 28 August 2014 EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

Final Draft (1140 words)

  1. The European Union would like to thank the Swiss Chairmanship for convening a special Permanent Council which was necessary to discuss the latest developments with regards to the crisis in and around Ukraine as well as the OSCE's role in pursuing a peaceful solution.
  2. We are increasingly concerned about the continued deterioration of the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine, and along the Ukrainian-Russian border. We urge Russia not to take further provocative actions, to stop the increased flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border and to withdraw this support as well as its additional troops from the border area. We are deeply concerned by the recent reports of Russian soldiers and military vehicles on Ukrainian territory; of continuing and intensified crossborder shelling; and of violations of Ukrainian airspace by the Russian Federation. All of these run counter to efforts aimed at de-escalating the crisis in and around Ukraine. Any unilateral military actions on the part of the Russian Federation in Ukraine under any pretext, including humanitarian, is considered by the European Union as a blatant violation of international law. In this regard, we deeply regret that a Russian convoy of 227 vehicles entered Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in violation of previous understandings and the involvement of the ICRC. We are very concerned about the announcement by the Russian Federation of its intention to send more convoys of this kind.
  3. The need to find a political, sustainable solution to this crisis has become a matter of urgency. The European Union underlines the importance of the implementation of President Poroshenko's peace plan and the urgent need to agree on a genuine and sustainable ceasefire by all parties on the basis of the Berlin Declaration of 2 July with the aim of restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity. The European Union welcomes the meeting between President Poroshenko and President Putin in the margins of a meeting between the Presidents of Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia, and EU High Representative Ashton and European Commissioners De Gucht and Oettinger.  We hope it will result in progress on a set of concrete issues: the release of persons illegally detained by illegal armed groups; consultations of Ukrainian and Russian border guards and military staff to discuss modalities of control of the border; and a roadmap to be elaborated on the basis of President Poroshenko’s peace plan, in order to achieve a mutually agreed ceasefire through the trilateral contact group and to be monitored by the OSCE SMM.
  4. The European Union expresses its increasing concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going crisis in parts of eastern Ukraine and especially the civilian casualties. We reiterate that it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. We call for respect of international humanitarian law and for humanitarian organisations to be supported and facilitated in their present efforts to deliver the assistance to the population in need. Assistance should be delivered through the appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. The delivery of humanitarian aid can only be carried out with due respect for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence. We appeal to all sides to the crisis to ensure a safe passage for civilians to leave the areas of crisis and appeal to the Russian Federation to use its influence with illegal armed groups to this effect.
  5. We condemn  the ‘parade’ organised by separatists in Donetsk on 24 August, where around 80 detained Ukrainian servicemen were marched through the streets at gunpoint. We denounce this abuse of their human dignity and this humiliating treatment. Likewise, we condemn shooting with mortars and Grad rockets by pro-Russian separatists at a refugee convoy, on a road east of Luhansk on 18 August.  
  6. We are appalled and saddened by the kidnapping and brutal murder of Mykola Zelenec, Lithuania’s Honorary Consul, by illegal armed groups in Luhansk. We strongly condemn this appalling crime and convey our sincere condolences to his family and loved ones. Those responsible for this crime must be held accountable and brought to justice.
  7. While acknowledging that the OSCE is not a humanitarian organisation, we believe the SMM could play a facilitating role in a multinational humanitarian effort endorsed by the Government of Ukraine, together with international humanitarian organisations, in particular the ICRC. In this context, we underline the need for all sides to ensure the safety and security of all personnel engaged in delivering humanitarian assistance.
  8. We recall the continued EU support to the OSCE through the Special Monitoring Mission, Border Checkpoint Observation Mission, and the OSCE facilitated Trilateral Contact Group in their efforts at creating conditions for a ceasefire. We also reiterate the importance of effective border control as an essential element in ensuring security and stability, including through OSCE observers and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
  9. We welcome the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as a limited first step towards implementation of the 2 July Berlin Declaration. We call for the implementation of all its elements, including access to Ukrainian border guards to participate in monitoring activities at these two checkpoints. We also call for the expansion of this OSCE Observer Mission in order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We call for regular and expeditious exchange of information between the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the OSCE.
  10. We restate our support for the OSCE SMM's work and highly appreciate its efforts in the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Donetsk. We reiterate our call for all OSCE monitors to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate.
  11. We express our continuing support for the Representative on Freedom of the Media in expressing concern for the safety of journalists covering the crisis in and around Ukraine. We note her most recent statement on 27 August 2014, condemning several recent attacks on journalists in the Pskov region in Western Russia, while reporting on issues allegedly related to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. We call for these acts to be swiftly and thoroughly investigated and those responsible to be brought to justice.
  12. Mr Chairperson, the EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.
  13. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1014 Vienna, 28 August 2014 EU Statement on the "Presidential Elections" in the Breakaway Region of Abkhazia in Georgia

Final Draft (98 words)

  1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement by the spokesperson of the EU High Representative on the 24 August 2014 concerning the “presidential elections” in the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia:
  2. "The European Union supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognised by international law.
  3. In view of reports about 'presidential elections' in the Georgian breakaway region of Abkhazia on 24 August, we recall that the European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place."
  4. [Alignment Paragraph]

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1013 Vienna, 14 August 2014 EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union would like to thank the Swiss Chairmanship for convening this meeting of the Permanent Council during the summer recess which was necessary to discuss the latest developments with regards to the crisis in and around Ukraine as well as the OSCE's role in pursuing a peaceful solution.

We remain concerned about the continued deterioration of the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine, and along the borders with the Russian Federation. We urge Russia to stop the increased flow of weapons, equipment and militants across the border and to withdraw its additional troops from the border area. We are disturbed by reports of intensified cross-border shelling and violations of the Ukrainian airspace by the Russian Federation. All of these run counter to efforts aimed at de-escalating the crisis in and around Ukraine. We reiterate that it is the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists that are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts. We warn against any Russian military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian.

In this context, the European Union expresses its increasing concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going conflict in parts of eastern Ukraine and especially the civilian casualties. We call for respect of international humanitarian law and for humanitarian organisations to be supported and facilitated in their present efforts to deliver the assistance to the population in need. We appeal to all sides to the conflict to ensure a safe passage for civilians to leave the areas of conflict and appeal to the Russian Federation to use its influence with illegal armed groups to this effect.

While acknowledging that the OSCE is not a humanitarian organisation, we believe the SMM could play a facilitating role in a multinational humanitarian effort endorsed by the Government of Ukraine, together with international humanitarian organisations, in particular the ICRC. In this context, we underline the need for all sides to ensure safety and security of all personnel engaged in delivering humanitarian assistance.

We underline once again the need to address the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, in full respect of international humanitarian law and principles and with the clear consent of Ukrainian authorities. In this respect, we reiterate the EU's readiness to increase its support to the Ukrainian government-led humanitarian response efforts as well as to humanitarian partners. On 11 August the President of the European Commission welcomed the willingness of the President of Ukraine to seek international humanitarian assistance. In this vein, president Barroso announced that the European Commission would take this week an emergency decision on additional humanitarian support as a contribution to the UN-led international response plan.

We recall that on 31 July the European Union adopted a package of significant restrictive measures targeting sectoral cooperation and exchanges with the Russian Federation in accordance with the European Council Conclusions from 16 July. It is meant as a strong warning: the illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country cannot be accepted in 21st century Europe. The European Union remains ready to reverse its decisions when Russia starts contributing actively and without ambiguity to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis, including based on its own commitments undertaken in the Geneva Joint Statement of 17 April and the Berlin Declaration of 2 July.

Ms Chairperson, we would like to take this occasion to reiterate the EU's support for the peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine, the need to implement President Poroshenko's peace plan without further delay and the urgent need to agree on a genuine and sustainable ceasefire by all parties on the basis of the Berlin Declaration of 2 July with the aim of restoring Ukraine's territorial integrity.

To this end, we recall the continued EU support to the efforts by the OSCE through the Special Monitoring Mission, Border Checkpoint Observation Mission, and the OSCE facilitated Trilateral Contact Group in their efforts at creating conditions for a ceasefire. We also reiterate the importance of effective border control, including through OSCE observers, and the swift release of all hostages.

We welcome the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, as a limited first step towards implementation of the 2 July Berlin Declaration. We call for the implementation of all its elements, including access to Ukrainian border guards to participate in monitoring activities at these two checkpoints.

We restate our support for the OSCE SMM work and highly appreciate its efforts in the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in Donetsk. We reiterate our call for all OSCE monitors to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate.

Ms Chairperson, the EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

[Alignment Paragraph]

Conseil Permanent de l’OSCE N 1013 Vienne, 14 ao?t 2014 Dеclaration de l'UE sur le Haut-Karabagh

L’Union europ?enne appuie pleinement la d?claration conjointe du 2 ao?t du Pr?sident en exercice de l’OSCE et des co-Pr?sidents du Groupe de Minsk. Nous rappelons la d?claration faite le 3 ao?t ? ce sujet par le porte-parole de la Haute Repr?sentante, Madame Catherine Ashton :

 [D?but de citation] « Nous sommes tr?s pr?occup?s par les incidents arm?s les plus r?cents qui ont fait des victimes le long de la ligne de contact et de la

fronti?re d’Etat entre l’Arm?nie et l’Azerba?djan ces derniers jours. Nous appelons les deux parties au respect imm?diat du cessez-le-feu, ? s’abstenir de l’usage ou de toute menace d’usage de la force et ? poursuivre les efforts visant au r?glement pacifique du conflit du Haut-Karabagh.

L’UE rappelle qu’elle est pr?te ? s’engager dans des efforts renouvel?s en vue d’un r?glement politique du conflit du Haut-Karabagh et pour contribuer plus avant aux efforts de construction de la paix, en pleine compl?mentarit? avec le Groupe de Minsk.

Nous r?it?rons notre plein soutien aux efforts du Groupe de Minsk et au travail des trois co-pr?sidents, en particulier s’agissant de la n?cessit? de poursuivre les n?gociations au plus haut niveau, tel que cela a ?t? agr?? lors de la rencontre entre les Pr?sidents Sarkissian et Aliev ? Vienne le 19 novembre 2013 ». [Fin de citation]

Dans ce contexte, nous appr?cions le rappel par les Pr?sidents d’Arm?nie et d’Azerba?djan, r?unis par le Pr?sident russe ? Sotchi le 9 ao?t, de leur souhait de poursuivre le dialogue et de r?soudre ce conflit par des voies exclusivement pacifiques.

[Paragraphe de ralliement]

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP concerning restrictions on goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and Council Decision 2014/507/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP, EU, 13 серпня 2014 року

On 23 June 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP.

The Council Decision prohibits import of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol into the European Union and provision of financial and insurance services related to the import of such goods. However, goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol, which have been granted a certificate of origin by the Ukrainian authorities, may still be imported into the EU.

On 30 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/507/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP.

Council Decision 2015/507/CFSP provides for a ban on new investments related to infrastructure in the sectors of transport, telecommunications and energy. New investment in regard to projects for the exploitation of natural resources in Crimea and Sevastopol is also prohibited. Furthermore, key equipment and technology related to those sectors may not be exported to Crimea and Sevastopol.

In addition, the amending Decision 2014/507/CFSP has changed the title of this sanctions regime to now read: "Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol".

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

European Union, CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Statement on occasion of the 43rd Session of Working Group B, 13 серпня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland‡, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.]

2. Let me begin by thanking you, Mr Chair, for your introductory remarks, the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports, and to commend the PTS and you for preparing this meeting. I also wish to express the European Union's gratitude to the PTS for taking the time to provide briefings in advance of Working Group B.

Mr Chairman,

3. The EU places special emphasis on the preparations, conduct and evaluation of the upcoming Integrated Field Exercise in November– December 2014 in Jordan. We expect the exercise to be an important step towards the operational readiness of on-site inspections, which are the ultimate tool of the CTBT’s verification regime. We furthermore hope that a successful IFE14 will convince States who have not yet ratified the treaty, in particular Annex 2 States, of the effectiveness of the CTBT and promote further ratifications.

4. The EU notes with satisfaction that the preparations for the IFE14 are on track, and that substantive progress has been made on the Exercise. We encourage the PTS and the Preparatory Commission to take all necessary measures for the conduct of the Exerise in due course and on time, and thus to secure the success of this important event. We look forward to receiving further updates about the preparation of the IFE 14 at the current session of Working Group B.

5. The successful conduct of the IFE14 and its evaluation are of high importance. It is crucial that the experience gained and lessons learned during the Exercise be carefully evaluated and translated into further actions for the PTS to contribute to the development of OSI capabilities. In this regard, we recall the recommendations and guidance agreed by States Signatories at the last session of the Preparatory Commission in June concerning the future work of WGB, in particular, in 2015. The Midterm Strategy 2014-2017 should also serve as an essential resource to the preparation of the programme of work of the Working Group for the upcoming year.

Mr Chairman,

6. Data availability and station reliability continue to be essential. We welcome the achievements in these fields and the work being carried out to improve facilities, associated monitoring technologies and calibration. The EU believes that all tools that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

7. It is of the utmost importance to protect and sustain the investments already made in the CTBTO verification regime, to complete the installations under way and to certify the stations built. We welcome further progress on improving the International Monitoring System and, in particular, China's cooperation, shown by switching on their stations and delivering data to the CTBTO. It is now harder than ever for any State to conduct a clandestine nuclear explosive test without getting detected by the International Monitoring System. Based on this positive example, we call on all States Signatories to provide data to the CTBTO from all stations that they host, and support efforts that lead to an increased data availability.

8. The EU looks forward to the appointment of the new Director of the International Monitoring System Division and hopes that the Director's

work with PTS colleagues will result in an additional impetus to work on the IMS station network capability. We encourage the PTS to continue making further efforts to increase the number of certified noble gas sensors. We also encourage the PTS to work more closely with States Signatories and other International Organisations, in particular the IAEA, in efforts to mitigate the effect of Xenon emissions from medical isotope production on measurements taken by the IMS.

9. In parallel with the above steps, States Signatories and the PTS should continue to discuss how the establishment, upgrade, renewal and maintenance of stations can be handled technically in the future, based on the work already conducted in both WGB and WGA.

10. Regarding the International Data Centre, the EU wishes to thank the PTS for providing, through the supporting material to this WGB, the recommendations of the Technical Working Group on Phase 2 of the IDC waveform software re-engineering, which met in June. We look forward to discussing this important topic under the Task Leader for Technology Refreshment.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

11. I would like to confirm that the EU will continue to strive towards strengthening the verification regime of the CTBTO, to build support for the universalisation of the CTBT and to further enhance the prospects for its entry into force.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

Заява від імені ЄС в рамках неформального засідання ГА ООН, скликаного Головою ГА ООН на прохання держав Арабської групи, 6 серпня 2014 року

Mr President,

Thank you for convening this session.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [alignment clause]

The European Union warmly welcomes yesterday's announcement of a 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and strongly calls on all parties to respect its terms.  There must be an immediate end to the loss of civilian lives.  All rocket fire from the Gaza Strip must stop, and all offensive Israeli military actions must come to an end.   We commend the efforts of the UN Secretary General, Egypt and the United States to broker this and earlier deals, and hope that this new agreement can be extended into a lasting ceasefire.   We call on the parties not to miss this opportunity.

Mr President, in the past few weeks we have witnessed scenes which we hope never to witness again.   We condemn the terrible loss of almost two thousand civilian lives, including over 370 innocent children.   Many more have been injured; entire livelihoods have been destroyed as well as vital public infrastructure. It is clear that Gaza faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis – addressing this will require a coordinated international effort, in which Israel and the Palestinian Authority must also exercise their responsibilities.

Mr President, allow me to reiterate the EU's strong condemnation of the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and other militant groups.  These are criminal, unjustifiable acts.  The EU calls on Hamas to renounce violence.  All terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm. 

While recognizing Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against attacks, the EU is appalled by the horrific human cost of the Israeli military operation. The terrifying ordeal being suffered by the children and families in the Gaza Strip and in Israel must stop once and for all. The Israeli military operation must be proportionate and in line with international humanitarian law; civilians must be protected at all times.

Let me take this opportunity, particularly in the presence of UNRWA CG Krähenbühl to thank UNRWA, our partner, for its indispensable work on the ground.  We reiterate our condemnation of the shelling of UNRWA schools on more than one occasion.  It is unacceptable that innocent displaced civilians, who were taking shelter in clearly identified and designated UN areas after being called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes, were killed. We call for all these incidents to be investigated immediately and for the results of those investigations to be published. There must be justice for the victims and the international community has a collective responsibility.  We also extend our condolences to the families of UNRWA personnel who lost their lives in these attacks.  We also reiterate our condemnation of the placing of rockets and other material by militant groups in UN premises. The inviolability and integrity of UN premises must be respected by all and at all times.  

This tragic escalation of hostilities and its death toll which exceeds that of previous outbreaks of violence should strengthen our resolve to ensure this never recurs.  In order for this ceasefire to be durable, we must acknowledge that the situation in Gaza is unsustainable.  The need for a comprehensive change in the Gaza Strip is imperative. The status quo ante is not an option. A solution to the current conflict will need to tackle the root causes comprehensively in order to avoid a renewal of violence in the future. It is unacceptable for millions of Israeli citizens to live under the threat of rocket fire from the Gaza strip. It is also intolerable for almost 2 million people to be confined to a small strip of land without being able to trade or to move, and live under the control of a group that has not renounced violence. In order to reach a long-term solution, two elements are key: improving the living conditions for the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip and ending the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. For this to happen, the Palestinian Authority under the leadership of President Abbas must return to the Gaza Strip. The restrictions on Gaza must be lifted. In this context, the European Union recalls the provisions of UNSC 1860 which call for arrangements both to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition to Gaza and which can ensure the sustained re‑opening of Gaza's crossing points, and reiterates its readiness to contribute to a comprehensive and sustainable solution meeting the legitimate security, socio-economic and humanitarian needs of Israelis and Palestinians alike.  Any such contribution will depend on the requests of our partners following the talks which are currently ongoing in Cairo.

Finally, Mr President, even at this difficult moment, let me make the position of the European Union absolutely clear.  The Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be a part of the Palestinian state.  A comprehensive peace where two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognised borders must remain our objective. Gaza should be given the opportunity to become the future Palestinian state's window on the Mediterranean Sea. The deaths of almost 2,000 people over the past month do not lead us to question this, but to reaffirm it, even if developments on the ground, including Israel's continued settlement activities, appear to make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly difficult to achieve. The European Union has demonstrated its commitment to working with the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu and with the Palestinian consensus government under the leadership of President Abbas to achieve this objective.  We reiterate that commitment today.  The European Union will do all it can to support the achievement of a just and lasting solution to this conflict.

Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) Meeting of Experts, Geneva, 4 – 8 August 2014 EU Statement - general debate

Mr Chair,

On behalf of the European Union, let me begin by congratulating you on your appointment as President of the 2014 Meetings and by pledging our full cooperation and support.

(Alignment clause)

The threat emanating from the misuse of biological materials as weapons continues to pose substantial challenges to international peace and security. Therefore, it is crucial that all States not parties join the BTWC. Following the Seventh Review Conference of the Biological Weapons Convention, the EU and its Member States have engaged constructively in the inter-sessional process by contributing Working Papers and presentations aimed at promoting common understandings and effective action on the topics and issues under review.

We are looking forward to the discussions of the new biennial topic on how to strengthen implementation of Article VII; we hope these will help identify the issues, challenges and potential solutions to the problems we face in making this Article effective.

Since 2006, the EU and its Member States have funded numerous projects in support of the BTWC. The Union alone has contributed in this regard approximately EUR 4 million. The BWC Actions, under the EU Council Decision of July 2012, ensure continued support and financial contribution to promoting the universality of the Convention; assist States parties in implementing the Convention, including preparing their CBM submissions; support the work of the 2012-2015 inter-sessional programme with a view to strengthening the implementation and effectiveness of the BTWC and fostering international cooperation, through regional workshops, enhanced assistance programmes, and various enabling tools and activities.

The EU and its Member States are also engaged to a considerable degree in supporting improvements in bio-safety and bio-security around the world. These activities contribute not only to the implementation of article X but also support our efforts to achieve universality of the BTWC. In this regard, the Council Decision of 18 November 2013 provides support, through the technical expertise of the WHO, projects aimed at promoting bio-risk awareness, laboratory bio-risk management, and development of national laboratory strategies to counter biological risks and to enhance the core facilities. These projects are fitting under the overarching International Health Regulations that significantly contribute to global public health and security.

The EU has continued to make progress with the implementation of the CBRN Centres of Excellence Initiative, funding, mobilising national, regional and international resources to develop a coherent CBRN policy at all levels. This aims at enhancing the institutional capacity of partner countries to mitigate CBRN risks, offering a coherent and comprehensive approach covering legal, regulatory, enforcement and technical issues irrespective of their origin. Eight regional secretariats have been opened to ensure better coordination and cooperation with partner countries and facilitate the implementation of the projects. Thirty-four projects amounting to EUR 40 million were launched and contracting is underway. Current projects address issues such as: knowledge development and transfer of best practices on bio-safety, bio-security and bio-risk management; strengthening laboratory bio-safety and bio-security through the development of a laboratory ISO-bank system; creation of an international network of universities and institutes for raising awareness on dual-use concerns in biotechnology. The Centres of Excellence Initiative is continuing and has reached a total budget of nearly EUR 100 million at the end of 2013.

The BTWC is first and foremost a disarmament and non-proliferation treaty that is clearly embedded in the international security architecture. Nevertheless, facilitating exchange in biological sciences and technology, including equipment and material for peaceful purposes, is a legitimate goal under the BTWC. However, in accordance with Article III, appropriate technology transfer controls are also necessary in order to prevent deliberate or inadvertent transfers of technology to states or non-state actors for purposes prohibited under Article I. They contribute to the confidence in compliance by all parties involved and, as a result, help to promote trade, and scientific and technological assistance and exchanges under Article X. I would like to stress once more our collective responsibility to ensure that we are not inadvertently assisting in developing biological weapons under the guise of cooperation in biological sciences or in the economic and technological fields.

Verification remains a central element of a complete and effective BTWC disarmament and non-proliferation regime. However, there is currently no consensus on a verification concept for the BTWC. Appropriate verification measures have the objective to build further confidence among states parties in the continued adherence to the obligations under the Convention. We need to continue to think about how we maintain and strengthen compliance with the Convention as we move towards the Eighth Review Conference in 2016.

The EU and its Member States are working towards identifying fresh options that could achieve these objectives. As part of their concrete efforts to strengthen confidence in compliance with the BTWC, the EU and its Member States promote measures aimed at increasing the quality and relevance of CBM declarations. Although not a substitute for a verification mechanism, the politically agreed CBMs represent a unique instrument to help increase mutual trust, generate transparency and thus help demonstrate compliance with the Convention. The last two years we had constructive discussions on this issue. With the financial support of the EU, the ISU has developed a CBM electronic facility, which is currently undergoing testing prior to its planned launch at the Meeting of the States Parties in December this year. We must continue to work to make the CBM process as effective as possible and this includes considering and identifying further modifications, enhancements and new, useful measures, and deciding upon them at the 2016 Review Conference. The EU strongly encourages all States Parties to participate in the annual CBM exchange.

Effective national implementation is fundamental for the integrity of the Convention. We remain committed to identifying ways and means to achieve this goal. Sustained efforts are needed here. Under the Extended Assistance Programme funded by the EU, Action Plans have been developed for several state parties. The current inter-sessional process offers also an opportunity to identify innovative approaches, to enhance national implementation through voluntary exchanges of information, such as the proposed peer-review mechanism.

Thank you. 

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the escalation in the Gaza Strip, 31 липня 2014 року

We are very concerned about the escalation in the Gaza Strip including the resumption of rocket fire into Israel and the Israeli ground operation.

We welcome yesterday's humanitarian pause and deeply regret that this did not lead to a lasting ceasefire. We call on all parties to immediately agree to a ceasefire. We underline the obligation to allow full and unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance.

We have already witnessed too many civilian deaths, including many children such as those killed on a beach in Gaza. We strongly deplore such incidents and we call for them to be investigated swiftly. We condemn the continued firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel by Hamas and other militant groups and the indiscriminate targeting of civilians. We share the UN condemnation of the placement of rockets in a UN school. Israel has the right to protect its population from this kind of attacks. In doing so, it must act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times.

These events make the efforts to establish a ceasefire even more urgent. We welcome the on-going efforts by regional partners and in particular the initiative launched by Egypt. We reiterate our call on both sides to de-escalate the situation, to end the violence and to end the suffering of the civilian populations. A lasting solution must be found which ensures peace and security for all Israelis and Palestinians. The EU reiterates its readiness to provide the necessary support to this end.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/449/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in South Sudan, 31 липня 2014 року

On 10 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/449/CFSP.

The Council Decision integrates measures concerning South Sudan which previously formed part of measures against Sudan and South Sudan into a single act.

The Decision imposes restrictions on admission and the freezing of funds and economic resources of persons obstructing the political process in South Sudan, including by acts of violence or violations of ceasefire agreements, as well as persons responsible for serious violations of human rights in South Sudan. At the same time, an existing arms embargo against South Sudan remains in place.

…………………… 

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States at the GA meeting on "Prevention of armed conflict: Strengthening the role of mediation in the peaceful settlement of disputes and conflict prevention and resolution" , 31 липня 2014 року

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

[Alignment paragraph]

Mr. President,

Allow me to begin by expressing my particular gratitude to Finland and Turkey for their commitment to mediation and for their efforts in preparing and facilitating this important resolution.

Mr. President,

The concept of mediation and its actual use in international politics have come a long way. The increasing commitment towards mediation and ever more important efforts to promote it are developments that we welcome. The resolution adopted today is another milestone on this path.

Mr. President,

We have been dedicated supporters of efforts to enhance the use of mediation to prevent conflicts, to achieve the cessation of disputes and to resolve them. This is at the heart of the work of the European External Action Service (EEAS). It is also a key component of the European Union's comprehensive approach to conflict prevention, management and resolution, encompassing early warning, early recovery, peacebuilding, including through Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions, and long-term sustainable development.

In its February 2014 Presidential Statement, the UN Security Council particularly emphasized the strong cooperation between the EU and the UN in the area of mediation. It welcomed the EU's mediation efforts, among others, its significant contribution to the economic development and stabilization of the Western Balkans region. It equally noted EU's efforts to finding a comprehensive negotiated solution that would ensure Iran’s nuclear programme will be exclusively peaceful.

Mr President,

Regional and sub-regional organisations play a crucial role in the peaceful settlement of conflicts. With their particular regional experience and expertise, they have a profound understanding of the root causes of conflicts and are well suited to contribute to their peaceful resolution.

Their involvement also facilitates a multi-stakeholder approach, without which mediation cannot be effective. Inclusivity and the combined strength of various actors in mediation increase the chances of reaching sustainable peace.

The equal and full participation of women in peace processes, as rightly recognized by today's resolution, remains essential for mediation activities. We are also pleased to see that the important role and added value of civil society is again clearly recognized.

Mr President,

The European Union remains committed to ensuring that the UN, as well as regional and sub-regional organizations, are well equipped and continue to make contributions to conflict prevention, mediation and sustainable peace. In doing so, we contribute with expertise, as well as political and financial support. The European Union stands ready to respond to the call made through this resolution to further strengthen its cooperation and partnership with the United Nations and other regional and sub-regional organisations in order to ensure the coherence and complementarity of efforts of actors involved in a specific mediation context.

At the same time, we have also been actively engaged in developing our own mediation support capacities. The EEAS Mediation Support Team was established in 2011. It provides rapid operational support and contributes to knowledge management, training and coaching. It has established strong cooperation with the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations, with the aim to improve cooperation, coordination, coherence and complementarity.

We are committed to further share information, compile best practices, and strengthen the dialogue with other organizations. We welcome and encourage initiatives meant to promote and support a stronger role of mediation at regional and international level. In this respect, the Spanish/Moroccan Mediation in the Mediterranean Initiative serves as a prime example of the importance of regional initiatives.

Mr President,

It is our shared duty to turn this resolution and commitments contained therein into reality. We will continue to raise awareness of mediation, to build capacities and to use mediation to prevent conflicts more effectively and to help resolve ongoing or future crises in a peaceful manner. We encourage all relevant actors to promote mediation, build partnerships and share experience. Coordination of efforts and messages is key. We look forward to continuing these discussions at upcoming General Assembly sessions.

I thank you.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/455/CFSP, Council Decision 2014/475/CFSP, Council Decision 2014/499/CFSP and Council Decision 2014/508/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 11 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/455/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP. This Decision amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP, adding 11 persons to the list.

On 18 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/475/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP. This Decision amends the listing criteria to allow for the listing of legal persons, entities or bodies that materially or financially support actions which undermine or threaten the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.

On 25 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/499/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP. This Decision amends the listing criteria to allow for the listing of natural or legal persons, entities or bodies that actively support, or benefit from, Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine. The Decision also amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP, adding 15 persons and 18 entities to the list.

On 30 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/508/CFSP amending Council Decision 2014/145/CFSP. This Decision amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP, adding 8 persons and 3 entities to the list.

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 12.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 205, p. 22.

Published on 19.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 214, p. 28.

Published on 25.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 221, p. 15.

Published on 30.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 226, p. 23.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/387/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 23 June 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/387/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 24.6.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 183, p. 72.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/488/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 22 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/488/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 23.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 217, p. 49.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Implementing Decision 2014/487/CFSP implementing Decision 2011/137/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Libya

On 22 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/487/CFSP implementing Council Decision 2011/137/CFSP.

The Council Decision removes one person from the list of persons and entities set out in Annex IV to Decision 2011/137/CFSP.

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 23.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 217, p. 48.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Decision 2014/488/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 22 July 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/488/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

List of countries

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.


Published on 23.7.2014 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 217, p. 49.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

Mr Chairman, the EU stresses once again its support for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, notably the urgent need to agree on a genuine and sustainable cease-fire by all parties to create the necessary conditions for the implementation of President Poroshenko's peace plan. We support the diplomatic efforts by Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France and Germany, as well as the joint Berlin Declaration of 2 July.

We remain alarmed by the further deterioration situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the continuing hostilities. The EU condemns the continuation of illegal activities by armed militants in Eastern Ukraine, including the occupation of public buildings, hostage taking and armed attacks against Ukrainian law enforcers and border guards. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve a rapid de-escalation.

The EU regrets that the requested steps set out by the European Council in its 27 June conclusions have not been adequately taken. As a result, the European Council yesterday agreed to expand the restrictive measures, with a view  to targeting entities, including from the Russian Federation, that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. It tasked the Council to adopt the necessary legal instruments and to decide by the end of July on a first list of entities and persons, including from the Russian Federation, to be listed under the enhanced criteria. It also asked to consider the possibility of targeting individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.

The European Council requested the EIB to suspend the signature of new financing operations in the Russian Federation. Moreover, European Union Member States will coordinate their positions within the EBRD Board of Directors with a view to also suspending financing of new operations. The European Council invited the Commission to re-assess EU-Russia cooperation programmes with a view to taking a decision, on a case by case basis, on the suspension of the implementation of EU bilateral and regional cooperation programmes. However, projects dealing exclusively with cross-border cooperation and civil society will be maintained.

The European Council recalled that preparatory work on targeted measures has been undertaken so that further steps can be taken without delay. It expressed its commitment to reconvene at any time should events so require. In line with the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the European Council requested the Commission and the EEAS to present proposals for additional measures in particular on restricting investments in Crimea and Sevastopol. The European Council also expressed its expectation that the International Financial Institutions would refrain from financing any projects that explicitly or implicitly recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Mr Chairman, the EU expresses its strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office for their efforts to facilitate meetings of the trilateral Contact Group with the participation of its representative ambassador Tagliavini. We strongly regret the lack of willingness on the side of the separatists to engage in substantive talks with the contact group on a genuine and sustainable cease-fire.

We stand ready to adopt a decision on the extension of the SMM before the summer recess and reiterate our support for the use of its full potential. We support expanding the role of the SMM within its mandate, including in regard to monitoring a possible ceasefire, and facilitation of the release of hostages and detainees. We welcome that the Chairmanship and Secretariat are looking into different means for monitoring purposes, including in the border area. The safety of the OSCE observers must remain a priority for all parties.

The European Union commends the efforts of the OSCE and its Chairmanship in Office, particularly in facilitating meetings of the Contact Group in Ukraine, and its readiness to establish a border-monitoring mission, to which the European Union and its Member States stand ready to consider a substantial contribution. Furthermore, we are ready to engage on the basis of the draft proposed by the Swiss chair on the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints at the Russian-Ukrainian border.

The EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on the Commemoration of Srebrenica, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to  the statement issued by the European Union in Brussels on 11 July on the commemoration of Srebrenica:

"On the nineteenth anniversary of the genocide committed in Srebrenica our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones, relatives and friends to this crime against humanity. This is also the day when another 175 victims will be buried in the Srebrenica Memorial and Cemetery. We join the commemorating assembly and pay the respects of the European Union on this day of pain and grief.

Today, we reconfirm the support of the European Union for the continuing efforts to establish the truth about the war crimes committed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Srebrenica's crimes cannot be denied and perpetrators must be brought to justice. The insistence on this assures the families of the victims that their suffering is not forgotten and over time contributes to the healing the Bosnia and Herzegovina's war-torn society.

We look to those in positions of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina to lead in honouring victims and promoting reconciliation. It is essential for the establishment of a conducive social and political environment in which Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to fulfil its European ambitions, founded on peace, stability and prosperity for all citizens."

EU Statement on the 2013 Annual Report by the Secretary General on the Implementation of OSCE Recruitment Policies, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

The Member States of the European Union thank the Secretary General for presenting the 2013 Annual Report on the implementation of OSCE recruitment policies to the Permanent Council. We attach great value to the guiding principles of the OSCE recruitment process and we consider the information presented to us today to be very useful.

We welcome the efforts undertaken that aim to secure high standards of efficiency, competence and integrity among OSCE staff while preserving broad geographical diversity across the whole OSCE as well as improving the gender balance within the Organisation. We appreciate that the number of women staff has increased in 2013 and progress was made with regard to gender balance at the managerial level.

We take note of the fact that while contracted posts have attracted a fewer number of applications, remain attractive and have attracted a number of applications; aspects of the current secondment system are under stress and should be improved.

We value the continued efforts to seek new ideas and ways to improve recruitment practices in light of the Organisation´s changing requirements and needs. In this sense, we look forward to studying further proposals as outlined in the report, such as the standardization of procedures and practices in the recruitment of various types of personnel, or revamping the OSCE expert rosters.

We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concern, raised most recently during the Programme Outline discussions, at difficulties with regard to cross-cutting budgetary issues, in particular, increases in staff standard costs. At a time when significant cuts to such costs have been implemented in many participating States, we are concerned by the increase in these costs in the OSCE. We believe that preserving programmatic activities is paramount in the on-going context of limited resources available to the Organisation.

We also appreciate the speedy deployment of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which demonstrated both the relevance and the effectiveness of the Organisation to respond swiftly to conflict situations when mandated to do so.

Finally, we would like to express our appreciation for the valuable work of the Secretary General and the Department of Human Resources.

Declaration on behalf of the EU on South Sudan, Council of EU, 10 липня 2014 року

Despite all the efforts to resolve the crisis over the past six months, fighting in South Sudan has continued. Many thousands of innocent people have lost their lives. Over one and a half million have been displaced. Millions more face the risk of famine. Appalling human rights violations and crimes against humanity have taken place.

The warring parties have so far failed to make any significant progress in the IGAD-mediated peace talks. Commanders and political leaders continue to obstruct the peace process. Perpetrators of gross human rights violations are enjoying impunity. It is unacceptable that the cessation of hostilities agreements signed on 23 January and reconfirmed on 9 May continue to be breached.

The European Union is determined to do everything possible to avert further suffering of the people of South Sudan. Today, the EU has therefore decided to adopt as a first step restrictive measures against individuals responsible for obstructing the IGAD-led peace process, breaching the ceasefire and committing egregious human rights violations.

It is now time for the South Sudanese leaders to rise to the challenge and start negotiating in good faith towards a peaceful, equitable and sustainable solution. Full implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the rapid resumption of talks leading to the formation of a transitional Government of national unity is the only way the South Sudanese people can be spared further violence and famine and begin to recover from the violence and desperation of recent months.

For the people of South Sudan, peace and independence has been a prize of inestimable value, hard won after years of civil war. They expect their leaders to act with courage, conviction and honesty to break with the past and usher in a new period of peace and prosperity. The European Union will continue to stand by the South Sudanese people and those who are acting for peace.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 760, 16 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States are deeply concerned about the latest developments in parts of eastern Ukraine, including the reports of a flow of significant new quality and quantity of arms and equipment, and militants across the border from Russia to Ukraine, the reported explosion on the Russian side of the border and the reported violations of the border by Russian military aircrafts, as well as the attacks by illegal armed groups on targets in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the vicinity of the border. The increased violence and massive use of heavy and sophisticated military equipment by the illegal armed groups has led to a high number of casualties. We regret the deaths reported and condemn the shooting down of the Ukrainian military aircraft in Luhansk region on 14 July.

We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan and regarding his decision to resume security operations in eastern Ukraine, we recognise Ukraine's right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We encourage the Ukrainian authorities to maintain a measured and proportionate approach in this regard which does not endanger civilians.

The European Union calls on the Russian Federation to support the peace plan of the Ukrainian President by adopting effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment across the border into Ukraine and by using its influence on the pro-Russian armed separatists in eastern Ukraine to stop the violence and lay down their weapons.

Abiding fully and in good faith by all OSCE politico-military commitments is crucial in order to achieve tangible and lasting de-escalation of the situation, thus paving the way for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine. Military transparency and a cooperative spirit should be maximised in order to dispel legitimate concerns and avoid miscalculations. All those concerned, and in particular the Russian Federation, should contribute to this end by, inter alia, hosting voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document, exercising restraint in carrying out military activities in the bordering areas, as well as sharing information about on-going and planned military activities in these areas via the OSCE communication channels.

We have repeated this request to the Russian Federation several times without getting any satisfactory replies, whereas we witness full transparency and cooperation by Ukraine in this respect.

As already stated last week, the kidnapping by illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine, subsequent transfer to the territory of the Russian Federation and detention there of Ukrainian military pilot Nadiia Savchenko raises many questions with regard to Russia’s involvement in the crisis in Ukraine and its respect for its international obligations. We call for the immediate release of Ms. Savchenko.

In conclusion, we reiterate that the European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.

EU Statement on Human Rights in Armed Forces and Women, Peace and Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 760, 16 липня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to warmly welcome today's speakers and thank them for the interesting and stimulating presentations on the issues of Human Rights in the Armed Forces and on Women, Peace and Security.

Only one week ago, at the Third Annual Discussion on its implementation, the Member States of the European Union had the excellent opportunity to reiterate our unwavering commitment and strong support for the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security and, in particular, for its role in promoting and upholding the human rights in the armed forces.

The conditions of service are an important aspect of the social and economic rights of the members of armed forces. We share the view that the respective competent authorities should take the necessary measures in order to ensure that conditions of service are duly implemented in accordance with the national law and international obligations. The involvement of parliamentarians and representative associations in determining the conditions of service is a key component of the social dialogue and the democratic control of armed forces. We look forward to discussing this in further detail tomorrow, 17 July, during the conference on Conditions of Service and Human Rights in Armed Forces.

We thank ODHIR for organising this conference and wish to express once again our sincere appreciation for its important contribution in view of strengthening the implementation of human rights commitments by participating States, in particular with regard to their armed forces members.

Mr. Chairman, The European Union and its Member States would like to express our gratitude also to the OSCE Secretariat's Gender Section and, in particular, to Ambassador Miroslava Beham, for their determined efforts to advance the Organisation's activities to strengthen the role of women in achieving peace and security. The Gender Equality Review Conference, that took place last week to mark the 10th anniversary of the OSCE Gender Action Plan, clearly demonstrated the keen interest of the representatives of participating States and the civil society in taking this task further.

We remain firmly convinced that the OSCE has an important role to play in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related resolutions. We support therefore further efforts in view of increased involvement of women throughout the conflict cycle, as well as of the protection of women in armed conflicts, including by prevention of sexual violence.

We are pleased that the FSC was able to agree upon wording on women, peace and security in the MC decision 8/13 on SALW and SCA adopted in Kyiv and stand ready to actively contribute to its full implementation. At the same time, we encourage all participating States to consider further steps to take into account gender aspects in the implementation of the OSCE SALW commitments. The OSCE Action Plan on SALW constitutes a natural reference point for such an effort.

Equally, we welcome the increasing number of participating States providing on a voluntary basis information on the implementation of Resolution 1325 within the information exchange on the Code of Conduct. However, we would like to stress that it would be beneficial to discuss the information that has already been provided with a view of lessons learned and possible good practices for the national implementation of Resolution 1325. In this respect, we commend the initiative taken by the Gender Section to carry out a Study on National Action Plans and other relevant national strategies for the implementation of Resolution 1325.

In conclusion, we wish to reiterate our continued support for the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

EU Statement in Response to First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, OSCE Special Permanent Counspoiler-bodynbsp;implementation of Resolution 1325. In this respect, we commend the initiative takencil Nr 1008, 15 липня 2014 року

The European Union warmly welcomes First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, to the Permanent Council. We thank him for presenting the priorities of the incoming Serbian Chairmanship.

Mr Minister, much has happened since your predecessor, Ivan Mrkić, addressed the Permanent Council last year in July with his Swiss colleague to jointly outline the vision of your two consecutive chairmanships. Russia's violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol which we strongly condemn and will not recognise and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine mean that we are facing the most serious crisis in Europe in many years. The crisis in and around Ukraine affects not only Ukraine, but also has profound implications for all OSCE participating States and the European security order. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles and commitments that have provided a solid cornerstone for security and stability in our area in the last almost 40 years. We welcome your commitment to maintain a strong focus on the crisis in and around Ukraine and trust that you will do your utmost to uphold and defend these established fundamental principles and commitments during your Chairmanship.

We believe the joint work plan of the Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships – with its firm commitment to the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security and respect for OSCE norms, principles, and commitments – remains a valuable source of guidance in this regard. At the same time, the crisis in and around Ukraine and its impact on the OSCE requires us to direct our energy towards responding to this crisis and its wider implications for this organisation.

Concerning the joint work plan itself, we are pleased that it corresponds to a number of the EU’s priorities, including: 

  • promoting the comprehensive concept of security, the OSCE acquis, and the full implementation of OSCE commitments, especially, the principles and objectives enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act;
  • strengthening the OSCE’s effectiveness across the conflict cycle, achieving tangible progress in the resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and preventing new conflicts;
  • enhancing the OSCE’s politico-military commitments through their full implementation and working towards revitalising, updating, and modernising the Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building regimes in Europe;
  • further strengthening of the OSCE’s concrete work on fighting transnational threats, in particular implementation of the agreed first set of CBMs for cybers lipace, development of a second set of CBMs, implementation of the agreed TNT decisions of 2012, as well as the 2005 Borders concept; 
  • further strengthening the OSCE’s work on good governance as well as relevant confidence building measures in the economic and environmental sphere including, through cooperation on sustainable water management;
  • full implementation of all commitments within the human dimension, in particular as regards fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, assembly and association, freedom of religion and belief, freedom both online and offline media, including the issue of safety of journalists. The prevention of torture, abolition of the death penalty, fight against all forms of discrimination (including LGBTI), and protection of human rights defenders are also important areas;
  • strengthening OSCE engagement with civil society, including youth;
  • promoting gender equality, women’s political and economic empowerment, and elimination of gender-based violence and sexual violence in conflict across the OSCE area;
  • Continuing engagement and good EU-OSCE cooperation in the area of Western Balkans;
  • enhanced cooperation with Central Asia in all dimensions, including in the context of the drawdown from Afghanistan this year;
  • working closely with the Mediterranean and Asian Partners for Cooperation, including Afghanistan, with a view to addressing contemporary security challenges including illegal migration and human trafficking.

We welcome the commitment to reappoint the special representatives on the Western Balkans and the South Caucasus and for the Transnistrian Settlement Process. We fully support efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and reconciliation. As stated in December’s General Affairs Council Conclusions, we will continue to monitor closely Serbia’s continued engagement towards visible and sustainable progress in the normalisation of relations with Kosovo.

Mr Minister, your Chairmanship will see the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. The Helsinki+40 process was launched as an effort to advance work towards work the Astana vision of a security community. Russia’s actions in and around Ukraine have severely undermined this vision. Rebuilding trust by regaining respect for the original principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 now seems to be the most crucial task at hand. At the same time, we believe the Helsinki+40 process remains an opportunity to address ongoing challenges and to find common ground on the way forward. We therefore welcome your commitment to continue the process.

We share your view that there can be no lasting security and stability without respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We remain deeply concerned by the worrying trend of these principles and commitments being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE space. In that regard we agree that the autonomous institutions play an indispenable role in assisting participating States to implement their commitments and that they must be adequately ressourced. We look forward to working closely with the incoming Serbian Chairmanship in ensuring that the institutions can continue to carry out their vital mandates. We also attach great importance to the work of OSCE field operations and are concerned by the current tendency towards downgrading field operations.

Mr Minister, the Republic of Serbia and the European Union enjoy an intensive relationship, particularly in light of Serbia’s path towards EU membership. We look forward to continuing our cooperation next year also as your country takes on the OSCE Chairmanship. We are confident that your Chairmanship will further enhance our relations and that Serbia will look to promote and defend the principles and commitments of this organisation.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1008, 15 липня 2014 року

Mr Chairman, the EU remains alarmed by the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the continuing hostilities. We note with the gravest concern the latest developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine, including the reports of a flow of significant new quality and quantity of arms and equipment across the border from Russia into Ukraine, the reported explosion on the Russian side of the border, and attacks by illegal armed groups on targets in eastern Ukraine, and regret the deaths reported. We recall that the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists are the root cause of the serious human rights violations and suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegal armed groups and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.

We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan. We recognise Ukraine’s right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We welcome the important role of the trilateral contact group with the participation of ambassador Tagliavini on behalf of the OSCE Chairmanship. We expect the contact group to continue its work and that substantial progress in reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable ceasefire can be made. We also welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation and their Joint Declaration of 2 July. While repeating the call for the full implementation of the steps set out by the European Council on 27 June, we regret the limited tangible progress so far.

We continue to express our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office. The SMM plays a crucial role and we look forward to the decision on the extension of the Mission’s mandate. We call for all OSCE monitors and other OSCE staff to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate.

We share the deep concern expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in connection with the continuous attacks of the separatist forces against television channels in Luhansk and Crimea which effectively endanger the safety of journalists and violate the right of people to freely receive information.

Mr Chairman, on 11 July, in view of the gravity of the situation in eastern Ukraine, the Council of the European Union expanded the list of persons subject to targeted sanctions for actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, bringing the number of individuals subject to sanctions to 72. The two confiscated entities in Crimea and Sevastopol remain under asset freeze. The Council stressed that it will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation. We recall that the European Council will meet on 16 July.

The EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Joint Statement to the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 13th Session, United Nations, New York, 14 - 18 липня 2014 року

To be delivered by H.E. Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko  on behalf of the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

We reaffirm our commitment to developing Sustainable Development Goals and a Post-2015 Development Agenda that leaves nobody behind, places people at the centre of development, and is rooted in human rights. The future agenda should aim at tackling the root causes of structural inequalities and discrimination for all members of humankind, and to achieving gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and ending gender-based violence, throughout their life cycle, with particular attention to those living in poverty, vulnerable groups, adolescents and youth.

In order to complete the ‘unfinished business’ of the Millennium Development Goals, and building on the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and related agreements, the respect, promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all must be an essential foundation of a universally-relevant, transformative, high-impact and cost-effective sustainable development agenda across its social, economic and environmental dimensions. They are key for addressing inequality, achieving poverty eradication, educational attainment and public health outcomes, fostering productivity, labour force participation and economic growth, reaping the rewards of demographic dividends, and improving environmental management, energy, food security, water and sanitation, and easing pressures on limited resources and ecosystems.

As fundamental human rights and freedoms for all people are critical to the sustainable development of all nations, we consider that the following targets should form an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda to be achieved by 2030:

  • Under the  proposed goal on Health:

‘Achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, including quality, comprehensive, integrated and affordable sexual and reproductive health information, education and services that include modern methods of contraception’

  • Under the proposed goal on Gender Equality:

‘Ensure the respect, promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all’

  • And under the proposed goal on Education:

‘Achieve universal access to comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, in and out of school’ ADD: , consistent with their evolving capacities'.

We respectfully request that this joint statement and its main contents be reflected in the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to the 68th Session of the General Assembly. 

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Francesco Azzarello Permanent Representative of Italy to the OPCW at the Seventy-Sixth session of the Executive Council

Mr. Chairperson,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

(Alignment clause)

Since this is the first time I take the floor in the capacity of representative of the Presidency of the European Union, I wish to congratulate the Chair H.E. Ambassador Alvaro Marcelo Moerzinger of Uruguay and the Vice-Chairs and to assure them of our continuous support in their endeavours aiming at the successful outcome of the Executive Council activities.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his statement, which covers the various items of the agenda and provides useful guidance for our work. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

The EU welcomed the announcement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that the last remaining declared Syrian chemicals have been removed from the country, thus allowing the start of the destruction phase. This removal, although long overdue, is certainly good news. International pressure, resources provided by the international community and the concerted efforts by OPCW and the Joint OPCW-UN Mission has finally yielded results. Our special appreciation goes to OPCW Director-General Ambassador Uzumcu and his staff, as well as to the Special Coordinator Mrs Sigrid Kaag and the Joint Mission staff for their relentless efforts carried out in particularly difficult and dangerous circumstances.

The EU and its Member States have contributed in kind and with significant funds to the operation aimed at the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons. The EU wishes to express its appreciation to all the States Parties that have also contributed in kind or financially. Syria bears the responsibility for missing the deadline of 30 June 2014, that was stipulated in the Executive Council Decision EC-M-33/DEC.1 of 27 September 2013 and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, as the target date for the complete elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. These various delays have placed additional burden on the contributing Member States, especially those that have provided commercial vessels and their escort.

In this respect, I would like to reiterate our statement at the 75th session, when we drew the attention to the decision of the Council of the European Union, dated 10 February 2014 which introduced derogation to the restrictive measures against the Syrian Arab Republic. This means that, if the Syrian Arab Republic chooses, frozen assets belonging to the Syrian Central Bank or to Syrian public entities can be paid on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the OPCW for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and for activities connected to the verification mission of the OPCW. The Syrian Arab Republic is, as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, responsible for meeting the costs arising in connection with the destruction of its chemicals weapons programme and the verification thereof. The Syrian Arab republic must fulfil its obligations in this regard.

The removal of the final consignment of declared material on June 23rd marked a significant step towards the complete elimination of the Syrian chemical program. There remains however much to be done.  The removed chemicals must now be destroyed according to the OPCW Executive Council Decisions, in full respect of the relevant international norms and procedures and while taking all necessary measure for the protection of the environment. The EU rests reassured that no dumping of toxic chemicals in the Mediterranean Sea or elsewhere will take place and therefore no threats to the environment or to peoples' health will occur.

We call on Syria to take the necessary action in order to ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled.  The destruction of the remaining production facilities, which has not started yet, must be completed in the shortest possible time. The Syrian authorities must provide answers to the questions arising from the discrepancies in their declarations. Syria must provide the international community with evidence to support their assurances that it has fully abandoned its chemical weapons program and ensure sufficient confidence.

We are deeply concerned about the recent allegations of the systematic use of chlorine reported by the OPCW.  The use of chlorine as a weapon is a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and of resolution 2118 of the Security Council of the United Nations. The initial report of the Fact Finding Mission lends credence to these allegations. We fully support the intention of the Director-General to have the Fact Finding Mission continue its work. The perpetrators of such horrific acts must be held accountable.

The situation in Syria continues to be extremely critical from a security and humanitarian point of view. The EU urges all parties to help revive the political track as there can be no military solution to this conflict.

Turning to the other points of the agenda, we underline that achieving the goal of universality remains one of the principal challenges. Despite the progress made since the Convention entered into force, the threat of the possible use of chemical weapons persists as long as even one State remains outside its obligations. The European Union calls upon all States not Party to ratify or accede to the Convention without delay. We encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts in this direction in a targeted and tailor-made manner, and reiterate our willingness to actively contribute to this common objective with concrete action as we have done in the past.

Verification of destruction of declared stockpiles should remain a key priority for the Organisation.  We reiterate our concern that the final extended deadline was not met and we urge the possessor States to continue with their efforts to complete destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the Decision of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties on the issue of the final extended deadlines. In this context the EU notes with concern that the Russian Federation does not now expect to complete destruction of its declared stockpile by their 31 December 2015 “planned completion date” and urges the Russian Federation to provide to the Council a revised such date at the next regular session of the Council.

At the same time, in order to remain effective, the OPCW will need to adapt to its changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology, as deliberations at the recent 21st meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board and the recommendations made by its membership, clearly show.

The European Union believes in the importance of the OPCW’s cooperation with other relevant international organisations, as the close cooperation between the UN and the OPCW in the case of the Syrian operation has vividly demonstrated.  In this context, the EU considers it essential to identify and implement lessons learned from the OPCW’s work in Syria as soon as practicable. Moreover, the added value of regular engagement and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the chemical industry and civil society ought to be fully utilized.

The European Union underlines the importance of full national implementation of the Convention and urges all States Parties to put in place and enforce all the necessary legislative and administrative measures in accordance with Article VII. The European Union remains concerned that 17 years on, a relatively high number of States Parties have yet to do so. We welcome the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to explore new ways of achieving progress in this area including education and outreach. We also wish to thank the facilitator Ambassador Zlatko Dimitroff, whose efforts aim at streamlining the assistance given to those countries in need according to their specific situation.  The EU supports such a needs-based approach and continues to contribute to further progress through extensive outreach. We recognise the often very serious competing challenges some States Parties are facing, and therefore wish to highlight again the relevant assistance available through the activities organised by the Technical Secretariat. The European Union stands ready to continue assisting in this process, not only through its voluntary financial contributions, but also through further concrete action.

Moreover, in our efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons, all provisions of the Convention are important, including in particular those on challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use as well as verification according to Article VI. We need to ensure that the Article VI verification regime is as effective as possible by directing Article VI inspections   to the sites of the most relevance to the object and purpose of the Convention.

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X and in this respect we wish to thank the facilitator Mrs Sarah Broughton for her tireless efforts to bring this matter forward. We also stand ready to discuss concrete proposals put forward under Article XI, in accordance with the relevant decision taken by the Third Review Conference. We also recognize that the implementation of all articles of the Convention constitute a tangible contribution to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the hands non-state actors such as terrorists and promoting chemical safety and security. 

The EU actively supports the OPCW activities regarding assistance, protection and international cooperation. These activities take place in, and are directed to, States Parties from all regional groups with particular emphasis placed on support to the OPCW’s Programme for Africa. We encourage States Parties to take advantage of the assistance provided through the funded activities, by participating in them according to their own needs.

Finally, the Member States of the European Union wish to thank the Director General for presenting the draft Programme and Budget for 2015 look forward to constructive deliberations, hoping that it will be possible for States Parties to agree on it in a timely manner.

Mr. Chairperson,

We all need to remind ourselves of the essence of the OPCW’s work: to achieve a world free of chemical weapons by destroying all existing chemical weapons and preventing their re-emergence. We should also be reminded that this endeavour is a collective one and that it can only be achieved through a cooperative and multilateral approach.

To conclude, the EU looks forward to working closely with you during this session of the Executive Council. I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this session of the Conference.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson

EU Closing Statement, OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting "Promotion of Freedom of Expression: Rights, Responsibilities, and OSCE Commitments" Vienna, 3-4 July 2014

The European Union would like to thank the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and ODIHR, for organising this meeting. We also wish to thank the panellists and those that spoke from the floor for their contributions. As we said at the outset, we welcome the timely opportunity this meeting offered to discuss issues of fundamental importance. 

Respect for the right to freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our OSCE commitments and is central to the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security. Not least in the context of the current crisis in and around Ukraine, it is clear that freedom of expression and a free flow of information are essential for peace and stability. We have spoken on this in the OSCE context on several occasions, including at this meeting, and will continue to do so.

It is with deep concern that we witness an increasing shrinking space for free expression and the exchange of ideas, both online and offline in parts of the OSCE region. We have heard of several examples of this during the meeting. Governments, in clear violation of OSCE commitments, are using a wide range of tools to ensure that critical voices are silenced or marginalised, internet and media outlets censored, disempowered, or shut down.  In turn, some of the same Governments engage in information wars and manipulate state controlled media in a manner that often fuels, within their own states, the hate speech they repeatedly claim is on the rise elsewhere.

This is not to say that the EU and its member states are perfect when it comes to freedom of expression and media freedom. Some issues in the EU have been raised by speakers at this meeting. All participating States face challenges. No state is perfect.  But we are not equally imperfect either.

Without freedom of expression and freedom of the media, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible. Civil society plays an indispensable role as a watchdog and partner in ensuring the better implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We place great value on the input from non-governmental organisations at this meeting. Their interventions remind us of the gravity of the situation with regards to free expression in our region, and the urgent action that needs to be taken to address this.

We would like to highlight a number of recommendations that have been made during this meeting, and also make some additional ones:

Participating States should redouble their efforts to fully implement their OSCE commitments and other international obligations related to freedom of expression and its corollary media freedom. We greatly appreciate the work of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, and call on all participating States to issue open invitations to the Representative on Freedom of the Media and to engage constructively with her and her office.

We must recognise the enormous opportunities that the internet provides for the enjoyment of freedom of expression. The EU urges governments to ensure that their legislation and practice does not unduly restrict access to the internet, and protects the right of individuals to express themselves freely in any media of their choice. We recommend the Representative on Freedom of the Media to continue her important work in this area, including through the ground-breaking project on Open Journalism, and recommend that participating States draw on the expertise of the Representative on Freedom of the Media also in this regard. We call on all participating States that have not yet done so, to support the draft OSCE Declaration on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age, proposed by the US and co-sponsored by all EU Member States.

The role of state-driven propaganda and its impact on society and on security is very clear in our region. We maintain, as does the Representative on Freedom of the Media, that true media pluralism, which allows for a genuine public debate where all voices can be heard, is of paramount importance to peace and stability. We recommend participating States to heed the advice of the Representative on Freedom of the Media in promoting an environment where freedom of expression and media pluralism can be fully realised.

Any restriction to freedom of expression by a participating State must be fully in line with international commitments, and the application of this restriction should be subject to oversight by an independent judiciary.

As was stated in the opening session, there is a clear connection between the respect, promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders. We reiterate our support to the recently published ODIHR Guidelines on protecting human rights defenders, and call on participating States to draw on them when implementing their commitments. We recommend the current and incoming Chairmanships to examine ways to continue the important work that has been initiated on human rights defenders, including at the upcoming Ministerial Council in Basel.

As we have seen throughout this meeting, freedom of expression is a highly topical issue in the OSCE today.  We call on the current, as well as future Chairmanships, to ensure that freedom of expression and media freedom receive the attention they deserve within the OSCE, including in forthcoming discussions on strengthening our human dimension commitments.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by H.E. Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Minister Timmermans to the OSCE Permanent Council. We very much appreciate that the Minister found time to address us this morning and share his views on the crisis in and around Ukraine and the role of the OSCE.

We will discuss the situation in Ukraine later this morning and we therefore refrain from doing so now.

Mr. Chairman, Minister Timmermans reminds us of the accomplishments of the OSCE in the past to which he is all too familiar and has contributed to himself. The OSCE applies a comprehensive concept of security. Since the 1975 Helsinki Final act, we have managed to devise mechanisms and institutions to promote better relations among states and to build security between and within States. At the same time, the OSCE has carefully crafted commitments, blueprints for promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, based on the belief that we can’t ensure security if we do not uphold these commitments. And we know of the personal commitment of minister Timmermans, in the best tradition of the OSCE, to remind us to continue to listen to our citizens, and to enable them to have the future they aspire to.

The OSCE is facing many challenges, and the crisis in and around Ukraine reminds us that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Having said that, we need to continue to improve it and its methods of work. We also have to remain flexible to cope with the challenges of the day. We thank minister Timmermans for his views and we wish him all the best for the future.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Chief Monitor, ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, back to the Permanent Council. We reiterate our strong support for the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), its leadership and its dedicated and professional staff. We believe the SMM is playing a very significant and valuable role and we stand ready to support the use of its full potential.

We acknowledge that the SMM is facing major challenges as mentioned by ambassador Apakan; first among them is the difficult security situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The abduction in May of eight SMM monitors exemplifies the risks involved when operating in this part of Ukraine. We would like to use this occasion to express our gratitude to ambassador Apakan personally and his staff for their tireless efforts in facilitating the successful release of the abducted SMM monitors. We are aware that this was an extremely demanding task for the SMM.

We believe that the SMM is doing outstanding work, often under very complex and difficult circumstances. Ensuring the monitors’ safety is vital. In this regard, we reiterate our confidence in the security measures and operational decisions of the SMM. The SMM needs to be able to adjust quickly to the situation on the ground. Micro-management from the Permanent Council in Vienna is not desirable.

We stress the importance we attach to a continued presence of monitors in those areas where they are most needed. At the same time, we recognize that these areas are the most difficult to operate in. When the security situation allows, we look forward to a quick redeployment of a substantial number of monitors back to the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, including where the Ukrainian government has regained control.

Mr Chairman, we commend the SMM for its impartial and valuable reporting on developments on the ground, particularly in the field of security and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and we stress the importance we attach to its ability to verify facts. We note the current limitations of reporting from the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We appreciate the reporting in regard to internally displaced persons and the close cooperation with the UNHCR in this field. We encourage the SMM to continue reporting in a timely, forthright and transparent manner and also to continue its extensive public reporting.

We reiterate our call for all OSCE monitors to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate. We regret that the SMM has thus far had no access to Crimea where the number of reports of human rights violations is on the increase. Against this background, we appreciate the efforts of the SMM to report on the situation in Crimea based on conversations with interlocutors from Crimea, including IDP’s and representatives of the Tatar community.

We welcome the SMM’s activities with regard to dialogue facilitation at the local level, its active media strategy and outreach to the public as well as its coordination with and support to the work of the OSCE Executive Structures and its cooperation with relevant international organisations.

We recall that on 23 June, the EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed to establish a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission to assist Ukraine in civilian security sector reform. The Council stressed the importance of coordination and coherence with other efforts, including the OSCE.  We believe the SMM and the CSDP mission will complement each other and we look forward to fruitful cooperation.

We look forward to an early decision on the extension of the SMM’s mandate. The SMM needs a reasonable planning horizon, also in order to consolidate its activities and retain or attract new staff. We welcome today’s request by Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister Kyslytsya for an extension of the mandate.

Mr Chairman, on 27 June 2014 the European Council expressed its support for an expansion of the role of the SMM in regard to monitoring the implementation of President Poroshenko’s peace plan, a possible cease-fire and border control. We note the Russian invitation to deploy OSCE monitors at two Russian border checkpoints and stand ready to consider a draft decision to that end.

In conclusion, we wish ambassador Apakan and his staff success in their important endeavours. We believe that the SMM can play a crucial role in assisting Ukraine in overcoming the current crisis and the international community continues to rely on the efforts of ambassador Apakan and his staff. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The EU would like to inform the Permanent Council about the high-level coordination meeting in Brussels this Tuesday on international support to Ukraine. At the meeting, the European Union, Member States, Ukraine as well as other donor countries – United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland – international organisations, including the OSCE, and International Financial Institutions discussed support for Ukraine’s economic and political stabilisation. The meeting was an important opportunity to exchange views and discuss the key short and medium term priorities for Ukraine, the relevant donor coordination structures, and the possible next steps towards a future Donors and Investors Conference to be held later in the year.

Mr Chairman, the EU remains alarmed by the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine. We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan.  We take note of last week’s decision to resume operations in eastern Ukraine. We welcome the Ukrainian government’s commitment to reinstate social services and restore infrastructure in the areas where the Ukrainian government has regained control. We recognise Ukraine’s right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We recall that the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists are the root cause of the serious human rights violations and suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegal armed groups and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation. The kidnapping by militants in eastern Ukraine, subsequent transfer to the territory of the Russian Federation and detention there of Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko raises many questions with regard to Russia’s respect for its international obligations. We call for the immediate release of Ms Savchenko.  

We welcome the important role of the trilateral contact group with the participation of ambassador Tagliavini on behalf of the OSCE Chairmanship. We hope that substantial progress in reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable ceasefire can be made following its meeting on 6 July. We also welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation and their Joint Declaration of 2 July. While repeating the call for the full implementation of the steps set out by the European Council on 27 June, we regret the limited tangible progress so far. We recall that the European Council underlined its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures. Preparatory work on targeted measures has been undertaken so that further steps can be taken without delay.

Mr Chairman, the situation in Crimea remains an issue of pressing concern and we share the assessment of the potential for escalation as presented by the HCNM earlier today. We learnt with deep regret about the recent decision to bar Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body the Mejlis, from entering Crimea for five years. We also express our concerns about the decision of Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court this week to extend the pre-trial arrest of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov who was detained along with three other Ukrainian nationals in Crimea in May on suspicion of planning alleged terrorist acts.  

We join the Representative for Freedom of the Media in condemning the attack on the editorial office of the Vesti newspaper in Kyiv on July 5 and call for a swift investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

The EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on the Violent Attack against the Human Rights Defender, Andrei Yurov, on 1 July 2014, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The European Union condemns the violent attack against the human rights defender, Andrei Yurov, in Voronezh on 1 July. Mr Yurov was attacked by masked assailants who beat him and sprayed a liquid on his face, resulting in him sustaining first degree burns in one eye.

Mr Yurov is a member of the Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights with the President of the Russian Federation and a regular active participant at OSCE events. As the Head of the Council’s Committee for Human Rights Abroad he directly monitors human rights developments in Ukraine, including Crimea, where he has travelled extensively. On 8 May 2014 Mr. Yurov briefed OSCE delegations on the human rights situation in Crimea.

The European Union is deeply concerned that this attack may be linked to Mr Yurov’s human rights work, particularly recent work in Ukraine. The emergence of banners in Voronezh labelling local human rights defenders as traitors and fifth columnists is extremely troubling. Linked to this, the European Union reiterates its concerns at legislation in the Russian Federation requiring non-governmental organisations receiving funding from abroad and engaged in supposedly “political activities” to register as “foreign agents”. We are concerned about the use of the politically charged term “foreign agent” that encourages the stigmatisation of human rights defenders within Russian society, and prompt further abhorrent acts against them under a misguided notion of patriotism.

We welcome the launch of a criminal investigation by the local police into the incident. We call on the Russian authorities to take steps to ensure the protection of all human rights defenders in Russia in line with their OSCE commitments and encourage them to draw on the recently published OSCE/ODIHR Guidelines on Protecting Human Rights Defenders.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ms. Astrid Thors, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The European Union warmly welcomes High Commissioner Astrid Thors back to the Permanent Council and thanks her for her comprehensive report on her recent activities.

The European Union considers the office and the mandate of the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) to be of the utmost importance for the whole concept of comprehensive security of the OSCE. This autonomous Institution is and should remain a core conflict prevention instrument for the whole OSCE area in providing early warning and seeking  early action with regard to tensions involving national minorities.

We reiterate the importance the EU attaches to the respect of rights of persons belonging to national minorities. We call on all OSCE participating States to respect the mandate of the HCNM and to co-operate closely with her office on all matters related to national minorities and to make full use of its expertise. Quiet diplomacy, which characterises the work of the High Commissioner, is less visible to the public but brings results of lasting importance. We reiterate that the HCNM should have the necessary means to fulfil her mandate.

We commend the work done by the HCNM in the areas of education, including in multilingual and integrated education, effective participation of persons belonging to national minorities in public life and policing in multi-ethnic societies.

We wish to underline the importance of the central principles of the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State relations referred to by the High Commissioner in her report, in particular that the respect for and protection of  the rights of persons belonging to national minorities is primarily the responsibility of the State where the minority resides. Any concerns in respect to minorities should be addressed with full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourly relations.

We appreciate the HCNM’s strong engagement in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine. These developments  have proven once again the importance and value of the HCNM. We commend her particularly for her activities regarding language issues. The rights of persons belonging to national minorities need to be fully ensured in line with the relevant international standards, including those of the Council of Europe and of the OSCE. We welcome the commitment of the government of Ukraine in this regard.

We share her concern about the precarious position of both the Crimean Tatar and the Ukrainian-speaking communities on the Crimean peninsula after its illegal annexation by the Russian Federation. We have taken particular note of the fact that the High Commissioner during her visit found no evidence of violations to the rights of Russian speakers. We note with deep concern the  reports received by the HCNM about the detentions and disappearances, about pressures to renounce Ukrainian citizenship, and about violation of the rights to freedom of religion and education rights. We call for an end to these actions that have the potential to escalate tensions in Crimea.

We welcome the High Commissioner’s good cooperation with the  authorities of the Republic of Moldova in developing an integration strategy aiming at strengthening social cohesion while simultaneously protecting and promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities enshrined in national  legislation. We continue to support the efforts of the HCNM to improve the situation of the Latin-script schools in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova with a view to ensuring their normal and sustainable functioning.

As for her visit to Georgia, we appreciate her efforts to explore how the Institution can best assist the authorities in the ongoing multilingual-education reform process and the attention she paid in her reporting on negative developments in the breakaway regions.

We support the activities in the field of higher education in southern Serbia, in particular those in the Bujanovac department of Economics. We welcome that with the assistance of the HCNM the needs of the Romanian speaking communities in eastern Serbia are considered to be addressed. In this context, we reiterate the importance attached to effective implementation of legislation on the protection of persons belonging to minorities and their non-discrimnatory treatment throughout Serbia.

In her reporting on Bosnia and Herzegovina she voices concern about the intensified use of ethnocentric rhetoric in the country. The European Union shares these concerns. To fulfil justified expectations of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina their leaders need to look beyond ethnic divisions.

We support the work done in Skopje on integrated education and call on the government to continue to work expeditiously and closely with the High Commissioner in this field.

We take note of her reporting on positive developments in Kazakhstan concerning education in a number of minority languages, including an action plan on introducing multilingual education in schools with minority languages of instruction.

Finally, we thank Ms. Thors and her staff for their excellent work and once again express our full support for the High Commissioner and her team.

EU Statement on Human Trafficking

1. The EU and its Member States welcome Dr. Merav Schmueli, the Israeli National Interministerial Coordinator in Trafficking in Human Beings, to this meeting of the OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group and thank her for her very informative presentation.

2. We reaffirm that addressing Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) remains a priority for us and recall that the European framework for tackling this crime is very robust. A framework that is comprehensive, human rights based, victims centred, gender specific and child sensitive. As you might know, one of the most comprehensive EU instruments concerning THB, including its external dimension for the years to come, is the EU strategy towards eradication of THB for 2012-2016, adopted in June 2012. It supports and complements the implementation of EU legislation on trafficking in human beings, namely the Directive 2011/36/EU.

3. Our opinion is that THB must continue to be seriously addressed from two different angles: as a form of organized crime but also as a human rights issue. It requires, as highlighted today in your presentation, strong political commitment and long term effort from multiple stakeholders. In this context, we see merit in coordinating mechanisms aimed at facilitating cooperation and sharing information between all relevant actors. We would be interested in hearing your views on the remaining challenges - if there are some - in your country as regards cooperation between institutional stakeholders and with actors from civil society involved in the fight against THB.

4. Concerning the role of the OSCE, we welcome the decision of the Swiss chair to nominate Ambassador Jarbussynova as the new Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (SRCTHB), and are looking forward to working with her and her staff in the coming months. We continue to support the work of the office of the SRCTHB, the Institutions and the field missions. The adoption of the addendum to the 2003 OSCE action plan, at the last Kyiv Ministerial Council, has clearly confirmed the willingness of participating States and partners for cooperation to keep THB high on the agenda of the Organisation. We welcome in particular that this renewed commitment has emphasized partnerships as one of the main pillars for combating THB. We see merit in engaging with OSCE Partners for Cooperation, in view of preventing all forms of THB, protecting victims of trafficking and contributing to better prosecution against traffickers.

5. We assume that this approach is largely shared by the Israeli authorities. We value the level of cooperation between your country and the OSCE, which has been highlighted by the participation of the SRCTHB at the international seminar for judges organised in Haifa in August 2013. We are pleased to note that the OSCE has been invited to the next seminar which will take place again in October this year. We believe that such events are useful to broaden knowledge, in particular on more recent trends, such as domestic servitude in diplomatic households, and discussions on available tools among practitioners from countries of origin, transit and destination.

6. We advocate for increasing the capacities of OSCE participating States and Partners for Cooperation in this regard, with a specific focus on law enforcement agencies, judges and prosecutors. We are convinced that the criminal justice system has a pivotal role to play in combating THB while at the same time, we are fully aware that prosecution of THB cases remains a very challenging issue that should not be isolated from a global and integrated approach, encompassing prevention of the phenomenon, protection of the victims and partnerships, including with civil society. Thank you.

Declaration by the EU on the occasion of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Turture

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we wish to reaffirm the EU's commitment to the prevention and eradication of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Torture is clearly and unequivocally prohibited under international law.

We would like to commend the efforts by many NGOs and individuals, who work tirelessly to prevent torture, alleviate the suffering of victims and mobilise public opinion on this important issue. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union offers substantial support to civil society organisations that strive for the eradication of torture and work to ensure accountability for torture and ill-treatment.

The EU calls upon all States to accede to the UN Convention against Torture and to its Optional Protocol (OPCAT) and to recognise the competence of the Committee Against Torture to receive and consider individual communications. We welcome the recent signature of the Optional Protocol by Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mongolia and its ratification by Burundi and Norway. The EU underlines the need to create and sustain National Preventive Mechanisms and to ensure their operational and financial autonomy.

The European Union expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by international mechanisms, notably the UN Special Rapporteur, the Committee Against Torture and the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and urges States to implement their recommendations.

The EU has given every support to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/156, adopted on 18 December 2013, which stresses the importance of individuals’ ability to freely contact the institutions working to prevent and combat torture and the right of torture victims to redress.

We must continue to work together to make torture a thing of the past.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 28 May 2014, the Council adopted Decision 2014/309/CFSP amending Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP and extends the existing measures until 1 June 2015.

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 28 May 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP.

The Council Decision amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP.

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the latest developments following the abduction of three Israeli students

The EU reiterates its condemnation of the recent abduction of three Israeli students in the West Bank and calls once again for their immediate release and safe return to their families. Such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations.

The EU commends President Abbas for his unequivocal condemnation of the abduction and welcomes the cooperation of the Palestinian security services in the search for the abductees. Statements made by some Hamas leaders that glorify the perpetrators of the abduction are unacceptable.

The EU regrets the violence which has erupted in the West Bank as a result of the abduction, in particular the killing of several Palestinians, and calls on Israel to use proportionate means only to bring about the return of the abductees. We also condemn recent indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza. We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any further escalation which will worsen the situation.

The recent events underline the urgent need for peace negotiations to resume.

EU Statement on Small Arms and Light Weapons, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 759, 2 липня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) would like to warmly welcome today's speakers Mr. Brian Montebello from Malta and Mr. Thomas Göbel from Germany and thank them for their presentations on the topical issues of strengthening export control of Small Arms and Light Weapons transported by sea as well as the outcome of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action on SALW.

We appreciate this opportunity to further discuss the challenges stemming from the illicit maritime trafficking of SALW as well as to welcome once again the good practice established in this regard by the former Maltese FSC Chairmanship.

Combatting illicit maritime trafficking, including through strengthened export control of SALW, is an important but also demanding task for the international community since requiring highly coordinated efforts and cooperation at both national and multilateral level. In particular, scrupulously complying with international obligations and commitments and making full use of their relevant export control provisions is of key importance. We would like therefore to commend the government of Malta for the impressive work it has realised in this respect.

In general, Europe's maritime security is a crucial domain in which all European States face significant risks and threats such as illegal migration, drug trafficking, smuggling of goods, including conventional arms and their ammunition, terrorism, maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea. Thus, individual States and the international community in general are due to redouble efforts in order to tackle these challenges and to ensure the security in the maritime domain.

To be a credible and effective partner, the European Union has also undertaken systematic efforts to put in place a comprehensive, coherent, functional and cost effective approach to maritime security which has been laid down in the EU Maritime Security Strategy adopted on 24 June 2014.

Furthermore, we are of the opinion that the discussions, initiated by the Maltese FSC Chairmanship, on maritime illicit trafficking of SALW should be continued in order to better understand how these important aspects could be reflected into the OSCE comprehensive approach to security.

Mr. Chairman,

We concur with the positive assessment of the outcome document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS-5) on the UN Programme of Action on SALW as expressed by Mr. Thomas Göbel. We welcome its adoption and are pleased that it reflects a number of issues which have been high on the EU agenda as presented, inter alia, at the FSC meeting on 28 May 2014. At the same time, we regret that other priority topics for the EU, such as ammunition, reference to UNSCR 2117, integrating stockpile management in wider SSR programmes, as well as synergies and complementarities between the UN PoA and the ATT, could not been reflected in the final text. Nevertheless, the European Union looks forward to discussing these issues at the next Biennial Meeting on the UN PoA.

We also welcome the impressive achievements of the OSCE in the implementation of the UN PoA, as outlined in the statement by the FSC Chairmanship at the BMS-5, and remain ready to actively contribute to addressing the challenges still lying ahead of us, in particular with a view to further improving the implementation of our SALW commitments and their harmonisation with relevant UN developments.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 759, 2 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States would like to express once again our support for the peace plan announced by the President of Ukraine. We also take note of the President of the Russian Federation’s declaration of support in principle for the peace plan and the Federation Council's decision to revoke the authorisation to use Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine.

We welcome the release on 26 June 2014 of the four members of the Donetsk-based monitoring team of the OSCE SMM as well as the subsequent release on 28 June of the four monitors from the Luhansk-based team. We condemn the abduction of the OSCE monitors and emphasise the leading role of the SMM in the efforts for their release. We expect further hostages detained by illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine to be released without delay.

The Conclusions of the European Council adopted on 27 June 2014 highlighted the release of hostages including all of the OSCE observers as one of four crucial steps along with agreement on a verification mechanism, monitored by the OSCE for the cease-fire and for effective border control; return to the Ukrainian authorities of three border checkpoints; and launch of subsh3 class=tantial negotiations on the implementation of President Poroshenko's peace plan.

At the same time, we condemn the continued flow across the Russian – Ukrainian border, as reflected in reporting from the OSCE SMM, of militants and heavy weapons, including battle tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, MANPADS and mortars, and their use by pro-Russian illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine.

We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups, and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation. The return to the Ukrainian authorities of the three border checkpoints (Izvarino, Dolzanskiy, and Krasnopartizansk) is of particular importance in this regard.

In doing so, we remain firmly convinced, as reiterated during the ASRC last week, that the relevant OSCE politico-military commitments should be respected and implemented, and the OSCE instruments used fully and in good faith.

In this context, we are following closely the requests put forward by Ukraine pursuant to the relevant provisions of Chapter III of the Vienna Document and the clarifications provided by the Russian Federation. We urge the Russian Federation to constructively address this issue by, inter alia, providing additional information on its military activities in the vicinity of the state border giving rise to concern, as well as by considering voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document.

In conclusion, we reiterate that the European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.

EU Statement on the Release of Belarusian Human Rights Defender Ales Bialiatski

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of Permanent Council to the statement on 21 June 2014 by the Spokesperson of the EU High Representative concerning the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. 

2. We welcome the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. After almost three years of imprisonment on politically motivated grounds, he can now finally rejoin his family and friends.

3. This is an important step by the Belarusian authorities and should be followed without delay by the release of all the remaining political prisoners and the reinstatement of their full civil and political rights. This could contribute to improving relations between the European Union and Belarus.

4. We call on the government of Belarus to implement in full its OSCE commitments to protect human rights defenders. We encourage them and all participating States to draw on the recently published ODIHR Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders as they seek to do this.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

1. The EU is relieved that the monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine detained by illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine have now all been released. We commend the SMM leadership for their tireless efforts in facilitating the release. We also thank the trilateral contact group and others for their role. We call for the release of all other hostages.

Mr Chairman,

2. We recall that on the 27 June the European Council  expressed its support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan; it took note of the Russian President's declaration of support in principle of the peace plan and the Federation Council's decision to revoke the authorisation to use Russian forces to intervene militarily in Ukraine;  it expressed its regret that the cease-fire which was respected by the Ukrainian authorities has not led to the full cessation of military hostilities; it called on all parties to genuinely commit to the implementation of the peace plan and to cement the cessation of the military activities; and it also urged the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.

3. Although a few positive developments have taken place, we regret the lack of progress in the implementation of the four steps outlined by the European Council on 27 June. We welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation aimed at making further progress. We also welcome the important role that the trilateral contact group is playing in this context. We recall that the European Council underlined its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures.

4. We continue to express our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office. The SMM plays a crucial role and we look forward to an early decision on the extension of the Mission’s mandate. We call for all OSCE monitors and other OSCE staff to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfill their mandate.

5. We share the concerns expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in her recent statements on violations of media freedom and the appalling journalists' safety situation in eastern Ukraine, including on 30 June alone the death of Anatoliy Klyan, a cameraman with Russian Perviy Kanal;  and the illegal detention in the Luhansk region of two Ukrainian journalists from Hromadske TV. We welcome the agreement on an action plan to improve the media freedom situation in and around Ukraine, including cooperation on steps to increase journalists’ safety and professionalism, at the second meeting of Ukrainian and Russian journalists’ unions organised in Vienna on 27 June by the Representative on Freedom of the Media.

Mr. Chairman,

6. The EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement in Response to the Report of the External Auditor and the Annual Report of the Audit Committee

1. The Member States of the EU welcome to the Permanent Council Mr. Horst Erb, Senior Director of the German Federal Court of Auditors, and other representatives of the External Auditor, and the Audit Committee. We thank them for their comprehensive reports. We strongly support the work of the External Auditor and the Audit Committee which, together with the Office of the Internal Oversight, play a key role in promoting effective and efficient management at the OSCE.

2. With respect to the External Auditor’s Report, we are pleased that no weaknesses or errors pertaining to the accuracy, completeness or validity of the financial statements were found.

3. We note the External Auditor’s findings that the OSCE had a surplus of 5.9 million euros in 2013, and that the organisation’s cash situation is satisfactory.

4. We welcome the full adoption of IPSAS and agree with the External Auditor that the OSCE and its staff can rightly be proud of that achievement.

5. We encourage the Secretariat, and all the Executive Structures, to address the significant gaps identified by the External Auditor in the OSCE’s IT security arrangements.

6. We note the other recommendations and advice all of which should be addressed promptly.

7. We are in a position to adopt the draft Decision on the Financial Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 and the Report of the External Auditor.

8. With respect to the Annual Report of the Audit Committee, we are pleased that progress has been made in recent years in a number of areas, including the adoption by the Secretary General of the “Evaluation framework”. This needs to be implemented effectively across the OSCE. We underline that effective evaluation is essential to ensure efficient use of resources and aids the development of best practices and the process of lesson learning. We believe that performance indicators need to be introduced into budget documents to help participating States to assess the impact of programmatic activities.

9. We note the recommendation that the Secretary General presents participating States with an impact analysis of a multi-annual budget cycle. We believe that an extended budget cycle would allow for more predictability and aid effective planning. 

10. We agree with the Committee that the late approval of the 2014 Unified Budget was not in compliance with Financial Regulation 2.05 and that participating States should increase their efforts to identify and adopt a suitable solution for improving/ streamlining the budget cycle.

EU Statement in Response to the Secretary General's Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Secretary General for the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality. We welcome the efforts undertaken by the Secretary General during the reporting period. We also highly value the contributions made by various OSCE structures, in particular the Secretariat's Gender Section and the gender focal points in field operations, as well as the ODIHR, HCNM and RFoM.

2. The EU strongly supports efforts to promote gender equality within the OSCE. Equality between women and men is a major objective for us. It is one of the founding values of the EU and a fundamental right reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Furthermore, gender equality is highlighted in the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy.

3. We concur with the Secretary General that the tenth anniversary of the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality provides an excellent opportunity to examine our efforts to date and to actively identify ways to further enhance the gender equality work of the OSCE. We would like to reiterate our support for the related measures recommended by the Secretary General in the Report.

4. It remains crucial to ensure a strong and sustainable institutionalisation of gender issues in the OSCE. The EU supports measures to this effect, including developing and adopting an implementation strategy for the Gender Action Plan, strengthening the gender focal points network and gender advisor arrangements, creating a gender equality network as well as ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated in the policy, planning and decision making processes from the beginning. As recommended by the SG in his report, due account should also be given to gender mainstreaming in the context of the H+40 process.   

5. Fully implementing our gender equality commitments also means employing gender mainstreaming as an integral tool of the daily work of the OSCE. It is important to realise that gender mainstreaming is not a goal in itself. It is, in fact, a strategy of assessing the implications of any planned action for women and men. Gender mainstreaming is, therefore, a strategy to achieving gender equality. We need to make full use of this strategy in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.

6. As we all recall, the OSCE 2004 Gender Action Plan sets out priority areas such as guaranteeing equal opportunity in the economic and political spheres, combating violence against women as well as enhancing women's participation in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction. The EU looks forward to actively engaging in further work on these and other gender issues, in particular at the Gender Equality Review Conference, to be held next week.

7. In conclusion, we would like to reaffirm our deep commitment to the OSCE work on advancing gender equality and our readiness to continue to actively contribute to this work. We thank the Secretary General once more for his report and we look forward to fruitful and substantial discussions at the Gender Equality Review Conference.

EU Statement on Latest Round of the Geneva International Discussions

1. The last round of the Geneva International Discussions took place more than two weeks ago. We reiterate our view that the Geneva International Discussions, in their agreed format, continue to be the only forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia, with the participation of all stakeholders. All participants should be committed to this process and engage constructively in its work.

2. But what happened during the talks gives rise to some concern. We regret that participants from the breakaway regions of Georgia decided to walk out of the second working group of the Geneva Discussions, quickly followed by participants from the Russian Federation.  We call upon all participants of the Geneva Discussions to remain committed to the process, so that the next round can take place as scheduled, and in a more cooperative atmosphere, on 7-8 October 2014. 

3. Mr Chair, the position of the European Union on the protracted conflict in Georgia is well known. The European Union recalls its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders and reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) with access to the breakaway regions. The EU plays a leading role in the IPRMs within its stabilisation, normalisation and confidence-building mandate. We also reiterate our call for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations. The EU calls for resuming the effective functioning of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings, and welcomes the constructive work done within the Ergneti IPRM.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay

1. The European Union is delighted to welcome the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanethem Pillay, to the Permanent Council and we are pleased to be able to hear from her before she completes her term in office.

2. We appreciate the candid assessment Ms Pillay has provided of the human rights situation in the OSCE region. Protecting and promoting the rights of the individual is a responsibility for States and for communities of States, such as the OSCE and the United Nations. Effective protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms also lie at the heart of the EU’s external action and we remain convinced that there can be no lasting security and stability without respect for these basic rights. We are therefore deeply concerned by the worrying trend of human rights and fundamental freedoms being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE region. These challenges are best met through a combined effort, supported  by shared values. UN resolutions, and OSCE commitments and its comprehensive approach to security, embody this approach and bind us together in it. When these commitments are violated by States, they represent not simply an attack on the human rights of the individuals concerned, but also an attack on our community.

3. Human rights and the values that underpin our organisations are currently under threat in Ukraine. Illegal activities of armed separatist groups supported by Russia have led to human rights violations, including killings, abduction and torture.  Media freedom is under threat. The targeting of persons belonging to national minorities in Crimea, particularly the Crimean Tatars, is also of grave concern. These issues have all been highlighted in the valuable assessments by the autonomous OSCE Institutions and the UN Missions to Ukraine. We once again commend both the OSCE and the UN for their response to the crisis and encourage them to continue supporting the Ukrainian government in addressing it.

4. The work of the OSCE and the United Nations must be mutually re-enforcing. The UN Charter and the International Bill of Human Rights are the foundation for OSCE commitments in the human dimension. We must continue to reflect UN resolutions, particularly those agreed by consensus, in OSCE commitments, not least to support their better implementation. Unfortunately, such an approach continues to be resisted by a few participating States. Their stance calls into question both their commitment to globally agreed standards and to working together more broadly on the issues which these resolutions address.

5. Mr Chairperson, the OSCE’s autonomous institutions, its field missions and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are significant resources at the disposal of OSCE participating States as they seek to implement their human dimension commitments. We encourage all participating States to draw on their expertise. The European Union remains concerned that some States are not engaging fully with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and we call on them to do so. We also believe assessments by the High Commissioner and UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights issues in specific participating States and across our region, are an important reference for OSCE discussions on the implementation of our human dimension commitments. In turn, discussions in the OSCE could play a useful  role in following up the universal periodic reviews of participating States at the Human Rights Council.

6. We welcome the recent declaration signed by the Office of the High Commissioner and ODIHR, reaffirming their commitment to work closely together and their desire to enhance this cooperation. We also support the good working relationships that exist between other OSCE Institutions and the Office of the High Commissioner and expect these will continue and deepen.

7. In concluding, the European Union would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tireless work by Ms Pillay over the last six years to protect and promote human rights globally. She has spoken up and spoken out for countless victims of human rights abuses, making their voices heard at the highest levels. She has spoken boldly and clearly on many pressing issues that continue to confront the OSCE region. These include: the persecution of human rights defenders; the ongoing practice of torture; the need to address all forms of discrimination, including gender based discrimination and discrimination against LGBTI persons; and the continued application of the death penalty. The European Union commends Ms Pillay for the courage and impartiality that has characterised her outstanding work as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She departs leaving a remarkable legacy.  We wish to express once again our deepest gratitude for her efforts, and we wish Ms Pillay all the very best in her future endeavours.

EU Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

1. In view of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the European Union wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the prevention and eradication of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Torture is clearly and unequivocally prohibited under international law.

2. We would like to commend the efforts by many NGOs and individuals, who work tirelessly to prevent torture, alleviate the suffering of victims and mobilise public opinion on this important issue. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union offers substantial support to civil society organisations that strive for the eradication of torture and work to ensure accountability for torture and ill-treatment.

3. The EU calls upon all States to accede to the UN Convention against Torture and to its Optional Protocol (OPCAT) and to recognise the competence of the Committee Against Torture to receive and consider individual communications. We welcome the recent signature of the Optional Protocol by Mongolia and its ratification by Norway. The EU underlines the need to create and sustain National Preventive Mechanisms and to ensure their operational and financial autonomy.

4. The EU expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by international mechanisms, notably the UN Special Rapporteur, the Committee Against Torture and the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and urges States to implement their recommendations.

5. The EU has given every support to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/156, adopted on 18 December 2013, which stresses the importance of individuals’ ability to freely contact the institutions working to prevent and combat torture and the right of torture victims to redress.

6. The EU welcomes the focus the Swiss Chairmanship has placed this year on preventing torture and we believe consideration should be given as to how the recommendations emerging from the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in April can be taken forward. 

7. We must continue to work together to make torture a thing of the past.

EU Opening Statement, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr. Chairperson-in-Office, Mr. Ministers,

Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. On behalf of the EU and its Member States let me start by thanking the Swiss Chairmanship and the OSCE Secretariat for their hard work over an extended period to organise this year's event. At last year's ASRC, we gathered under the theme 'Towards Helsinki+40, finding common responses to security threats and challenges'. A year later, with the crisis in Ukraine still unfolding, that now seems very distant. The security situation within the OSCE area has drastically deteriorated since we last assembled in this forum. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol which we strongly condemn and will not recognise and Russia's destabilising actions in Eastern Ukraine have seriously undermined European security. As a result, we are facing the most serious crisis in Europe in many years.

2. The crisis in Ukraine affects not only Ukraine, but also has profound implications for all OSCE participating States. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for our area in the last almost 40 years. This is the larger issue that we need to address even as we seek to stabilise the current situation in Ukraine and secure its democratic future. Without full respect for these principles the security of all actors is likely to decrease. If international principles are not respected in the context of the situation in Ukraine, one must also ask how they will be respected in other situations.

3. It takes years to build trust. Unfortunately, it is too easy to destroy it. Over the past nearly 40 years, the CSCE and OSCE have contributed to overcoming divisions and building trust in a peaceful Europe. The Helsinki+40 process was designed to build on past achievements and advance work towards the Astana vision of a security community, a vision that has at its core the full implementation of commitments in all three dimensions and where the use, or threat of use, of force is unthinkable. Russia’s violations of the fundamental principles and commitments now seem to have taken us back to a point where rebuilding trust and regaining respect for the original principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 are the most crucial tasks at hand. The EU believes that the two tasks cannot be separated. Respect for international law and fundamental OSCE principles and commitments is a basic precondition for the rebuilding of trust and no precedent can be based on their violation. The Helsinki+40 process remains an opportunity to address these ongoing challenges and to find common ground on the way forward.

4. At the same time, events in Ukraine have highlighted the value of the OSCE. The efforts of the Swiss Chairmanship, including on the highest diplomatic level, the deployment of the SMM, the use of politico-military mechanisms, and the engagement of the autonomous institutions demonstrate the high degree of impartiality, flexibility, and professionalism that characterises the OSCE. The PC and FSC remain important fora for permanent dialogue. The OSCE comprehensive concept of security has yet again shown its relevance. But the past few months also make abundantly clear that the OSCE can only deliver if there is sufficient political will on all sides to fully use its tools and structures.

5. We cannot talk about OSCE’s efforts in Ukraine without expressing our deep concern about the abduction of SMM observers. This is completely unacceptable and we call for their immediate and unconditional release.

6. The crisis in Ukraine has not made the other thematic sessions on the ASRC agenda less pertinent. On the contrary, it has highlighted the need to strengthen the OSCE’s effectiveness across the conflict cycle and the need to achieve tangible progress in resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The crisis has also shown the clear need to implement fully and in good faith as well as to update and modernise the Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building regime in Europe, including the Vienna Document 2011. Transnational threats remain key challenges and we advocate further strengthening of the OSCE’s concrete work on combatting TNTs, in particular implementation of the agreed initial set of CBMs for cyber-space, development of a second set of CBMs, and implementation of the agreed 2012 TNT decisions as well as of the 2005 Borders Concept. We look forward to discussing Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability against the backdrop of the ongoing transitions in the country, important not only for the country itself but also its impact on the region as a whole.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

7. The European Union will continue to work with all its partners towards achieving a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, while striving to restore respect for the fundamental principles that underpin European security and stability. The EU continues to strongly support OSCE efforts to help bring peace and stability to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol. We believe the OSCE is an important part of the solution and we will continue to provide both political and material support to help it realise its full potential in supporting security in the whole OSCE area. 

EU Statement on Ensuring Security and Stability in the OSCE Region in Light of Recent Developments with Respect to Ukraine, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. The EU welcomes this special and very pertinent session. We thank the two keynote speakers for their valuable presentations. We are very pleased to have the new foreign minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, with us today at this crucial point in time for Ukraine and for the rest of Europe. Allow me to make a few points on the situation in Ukraine, the role of the OSCE and reflections on lessons learned:

2. First, let there be no doubt that what we have seen happening in Ukraine is a serious setback for peace and stability in Europe. We continue to strongly condemn the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, in clear breach of international law as well as fundamental OSCE principles and commitments, and we will not recognise it.

3. The European Union welcomes Petro Poroshenko as new President of Ukraine. It supports the peace plan as a major chance for de-escalation and commends the President’s determined actions towards peace and stability in Ukraine since his inauguration, against the backdrop of increased violent activities by pro-Russia separatists in Eastern Ukraine and the daily loss of lives, in particular the recent downing of a Ukrainian military aircraft killing 49 persons near Luhansk. This is occurring despite the encouraging talks held with the participation of representatives of the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, upon President Poroshenko’s initiative, as well as direct high-level contacts between Ukrainian and Russian authorities. It is now all the more important that they bring rapid and tangible results.

4. The EU calls on all sides to agree and honour a ceasefire immediately in order to stabilise the security situation, achieve a genuine de-escalation and create the necessary conditions for President Poroshenko’s peace plan to be implemented. In this regard, the EU calls on the Russian Federation to adopt effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment over the border into Ukraine, to use its influence on the separatists to stop the violence and lay down their arms, to continue withdrawing and refrain from gathering troops again near the Ukrainian border and to cancel the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil. The EU also urges the Russian Federation to use its influence to ensure the immediate release of the OSCE monitors and other kidnapped persons held hostage by the armed separatists.

5. The EU will continue its efforts to assist Ukraine in overcoming the crisis and to promote growth and development in the country. We welcome the choice Ukraine has made to enter into an Association Agreement with the EU and we look forward to the signing of the economic part of the Association Agreement, including the DCFTA, this Friday. The future of Ukraine is for the Ukrainian people to decide. That is unequivocal. External pressure and violent aggression must not be used to try and prevent the free choice of the Ukrainian people. We call on all parties to respect the choices of Ukraine.

6. Secondly, throughout this crisis the OSCE has demonstrated that it can play an important and valuable role and we commend the Chairmanship the OSCE structures for acting swiftly and promptly. Within days the Human Rights Assessment Mission was deployed and the National Dialogue project launched. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) had people on the ground within a few hours after the decision to establish the mission. The Project Coordinator in Ukraine responded to the new demands and the heads of the three autonomous institutions all demonstrated their strong engagement in Ukraine. ODIHR organised its biggest election observation mission in recent years. Visits and inspections were conducted within the framework of the Vienna Document. We welcome the intention of President Poroshenko to continue to draw on OSCE expertise and assistance in solving this crisis, including by promoting a Ukrainian-led and -owned national dialogue involving all relevant stakeholders and all the regions of Ukraine.

7. Finally, is there a lesson learned for the future of the OSCE? This crisis has clearly shown the value of the OSCE, but it also demonstrates the vulnerability of the organisation when one participating State blatantly violates fundamental commitments and principles. The OSCE could not prevent the crisis and we should consider any lessons we should learn from that. But it is now contributing to stability and solving the crisis. We cannot carry on as if nothing has happened. We can also not move forward without rebuilding of trust, but, as we highlighted this morning, respect for fundamental OSCE principles and commitments is a basic precondition for this to happen. There is still time for Russia to reverse current developments. We believe the crisis underlines the need for the OSCE to focus on the full implementation of OSCE commitments and principles and to strengthening our capacity to respond when these commitments are challenged.

8. Mr Chairman, I hope these points and reflections may contribute to our discussion and I look forward to a fruitful and open exchange of views.

EU Statement on Transnational Threats and Challenges, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairperson, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

1. The EU and its Member States welcomed four major decisions on fighting transnational threats adopted by the OSCE in 2012, as well as last year’s decision on an initial set of confidence building measures on cyber security. These decisions, together with the 2005 OSCE Border Management Concept, provide the OSCE with a sound and comprehensive basis for the Organisation's work on fighting transnational threats.

2. Hence, our focus remains to continue to “translate political commitments agreed by the participating States into effective and sustainable programmatic action”, as put in MC Decision 4/12. In this context, we see merit in deepening our dialogue with the TNT coordinator, in particular regarding the set of recommendations listed in the report by the OSCE Secretary General on the implementation of this specific decision.

3. We welcome that the TNT Department, despite severe challenges caused by longstanding personnel vacancies, achieved a greater focus on and practical implementation of coordination among executive structures, and with OSCE Field Missions, whilst bearing in mind and respecting their respective mandates. We support its efforts to deepen strategic partnerships with other relevant international organisations (such as UNODC), regional organisations, academic institutions, civil society and the private sector, as well as its efforts to strengthen cooperation with OSCE Partners for Cooperation.

Mr Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates,

4. We emphasise that the fight against transnational threats and challenges should be done in a comprehensive and cross-dimensional manner, fully respecting OSCE commitments and principles, including those in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We believe that OSCE’s activities in the area of TNTs have a particular added value and often unique features in projects and programmes, which make use of the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security and its specific expertise and capacities.

5. We reaffirm that the OSCE can play an important role in helping the relevant authorities in capacity and institution building. This should remain a clear priority of action in the future. While doing so, we deem extremely important to strongly coordinate with other major stakeholders. Identifying the niches for the OSCE is a key challenge, and this task is primarily the responsibility of the TNT coordinator and the three heads of unit. We also insist on the necessity for the TNT Department's units to follow a realistic approach when considering any new project, in particular when they require extra-budgetary funding.

6. We reiterate our support for the work of the OSCE and its field presences. We value their activities in the field of police assistance and reform, especially when focusing on the community policing approach.

7. The OSCE has shown that it can undertake pioneering work in the field of confidence building measures to enhance cyber security. We are proud that the OSCE – genuinely fit for building confidence - is the first regional organisation that adopted such measures in a field in which there are many important challenges. The cooperation among the OSCE participating States can be a model for OSCE Partners for Cooperation and other regional organisations. By exchanging information, showing transparency and cooperating to decrease the risk of tension or conflict, participating States bring a contribution to peace and security. Both - implementation of cyber CBMs and plans to advance them - are important.

8. We fully support the UN´s main role, and, as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the role of the OSCE in the prevention of and fight against terrorism and we welcome the close coordination of the two organisations in this area. Times of limited resources require good co-ordination and wise planning. The comparative advantage of the OSCE’s anti-terrorism profile lies in the Organisation's comprehensive approach to security, and in its framework for multi-stakeholder dialogue, including civil society, media and the private sector. The guideline for engagement should focus on the respect of human rights and the rule of law in countering and preventing terrorism. We consider the fight against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that Lead to Terrorism (VERLT) a very good example of the OSCE’s cross-dimensional approach.

9. Border management, which counters all TNTs, including illegal migration and trafficking in human beings, is another area where the OSCE can offer comparative advantages through its integrated approach, which aims to facilitate beneficial cross-border cooperation whilst strengthening and modernising security.  We have a unique institution in the form of the Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe that offers training to border officials from all participating States and Partners for Cooperation thereby helping to build bridges between different systems. However, its core strength lies in its focus on Central Asian borders and we believe that, as a future strategy for the college is elaborated, we should not abandon this emphasis.

Mr Chairperson,

10. The OSCE has a valuable contribution to make in the fight against transnational threats. We look forward to carrying on our joint work to improve the OSCE's effectiveness in tackling transnational and emerging threats and challenges, including those stemming from the Central Asian region, and in particular from Afghanistan. 

EU Statement on the Conflict Cycle: Lessons Learned and the Way Ahead, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

1. The EU and its Members States believe this year’s ASRC comes at a highly sensitive moment. With the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation, the OSCE region has become less secure. Strengthening the OSCE’s capacities across the conflict cycle and achieving tangible progress in the resolution of protracted conflicts are therefore essential.

2. Because of the crisis in Ukraine, we have once again witnessed the OSCE’s early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation capacities in action. The crisis has again underlined the indivisible and comprehensive nature of security. Politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects of security must be addressed equally if we are to ensure sustainable peace and stability.

3. It has also been a true test of the OSCE’s crisis management capacities. The establishment of the Special Monitoring Mission was in itself a significant achievement which confirmed that participating States are ready to use OSCE crisis management capacities, although we still need to ensure safety, free access and freedom of movement for the SMM and OSCE Institutions throughout Ukraine, including Crimea. We think that lessons learned should be collected and analysed from the deployment of the SMM and other OSCE missions in Ukraine, including the HRAM and the military inspections under the Vienna Document, to further improve OSCE capacities in conflict management.

Mr. Chairperson,

4. We commend the Secretary General, the HCNM, the Secretariat and especially the CPC, including through the field missions, for continuously developing the capabilities of the Organisation across the conflict cycle through the consistent implementation of MC Decision 3/11. Closing the gap between early warning and early action remains essential. We welcome reports to the Permanent Council by the Secretary General and by the HCNM on emerging tensions and conflicts as a useful early warning tool. We would also welcome more follow-up reporting to the PC on measures taken. Enhancing the OSCE’s role in mediation support and consolidating its post-conflict rehabilitation capabilities remain equally very important. Women, Peace, and Security, including implementing UNSCR 1325 through an OSCE-wide action plan, should also be at the top of our agenda. Finally, we believe that the added value and capacities of the OSCE field missions in addressing conflict situations should be further explored and enhanced.

Mr. Chairperson,

5. Protracted conflicts in our region pose a threat to the security of the entire OSCE area. The resolution of the existing conflicts in the OSCE area remain a top priority for the EU and our positions on these conflicts are well known. The EU supports the existing formats of negotiations and calls on all actors involved to demonstrate commitment to conflict settlement.

6. On the conflict in the Republic of Moldova, we fully support the '5+2' format and appeal to all participants in the '5+2' talks to address all three baskets in negotiations and advance discussions on the substance of the settlement, based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. The OSCE Mission must be allowed to implement its mandate and have full access to the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including the Transnistrian region. On Georgia, we reiterate our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and call on all parties to show commitment to the Geneva International Discussions which remain an indispensable tool for reducing tensions, addressing humanitarian needs, and implementing commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement. The persistent challenges demonstrate the need for a meaningful, cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia. On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we reiterate our full support for the mediation carried out by the co-Chairs of the Minsk Group and encourage the parties to make greater use of the efforts undertaken by the co-Chairs with the aim of achieving a fair and lasting settlement in accordance with international law

7. Finally, we continue to see value in organising thematic meetings at the OSCE devoted to emerging and ongoing crisis and conflict situations in the OSCE area. 

EU Statement on Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures: Challenges and Opportunities, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

1. The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to thank the Swiss and Moldovan Chairmanships, as well as the key-note speakers, for this useful opportunity to assess the  Conventional Arms Control and confidence and security -building commitments and activities in the OSCE area especially during a period when trust and confidence in the OSCE area are severely damaged by the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and by the security crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. The importance of our politico-military toolbox could not be greater in the context of fast evolving and deeply disturbing crisis, which has been taking place in Ukraine over the past 4 months, since the risk of politico-military miscalculation and further escalation of violence is high.

3. The existing interlocking and mutually reinforcing  web of arms control obligations and commitments  have proven to be of importance for all OSCE participating States, so the strategic objective of their revitalisation, updating and modernisation should be maintained and further pursued, as soon as conditions allow.

4. Finding a solution in order to overcome the impasse on conventional arms control in Europe remains important for the security in the OSCE area as a whole. A modern, functional conventional arms control regime that provides verifiable transparency of armed forces would bolster the security and stability, if respected and fully implemented. The EU and its Member States support discussions on conventional arms control aimed at opening the way for committed and result-oriented negotiations.

5. The EU and its Member States have also repeatedly expressed full support for the Open Skies Treaty, as one of the pillars of the Euro-Atlantic arms control regime. With the certification of the Russian observation aircraft equipped with the digital sensor, the Treaty has entered the digital age. We look forward to the constructive and fruitful work which lies ahead of us in the Open Skies Consultative Commission. Furthermore, we reiterate our support for the pending application of Cyprus to accede to the Treaty

6. The EU and its Member States view the Vienna Document as one of the main components of the OSCE politico-military dimension. At this occasion, we would like to underline that the raison d’etre of the Vienna Document is to build regional confidence and security by implementing the commitments all OSCE participating States have made to refrain from the threat or use of force, including in relation to the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of States.

7. We believe that in such circumstances fully respecting, both in letter and in spirit, the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area remains a priority task to be pursued. At the same time there is a need to take forward the modernisation of the Vienna Document while taking stock of the experience and lessons learnt during the Ukrainian crisis, in