Міністерство закордонних справ України

22, Київ 00:57

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

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union at the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question", United Nations, 23 липня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

 

[alignment paragraph]

Mr. President,

The EU reaffirms its commitment to a just and comprehensive resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the 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. We reaffirm that there is no alternative to a negotiated two state solution. The regional context, including the ongoing radicalisation and spread of terrorism, makes it even more urgent to end the conflict. The status-quo is not an option, as the viability of the two-state solution is constantly being eroded by new facts on the ground. We urge both parties to demonstrate their stated commitment to the two-state solution through concrete actions. Actions by either side which call into question their stated commitment to a negotiated solution must be avoided. The EU will actively support the parties to restore confidence and create an environment of trust necessary to engage in meaningful negotiations as soon as possible. 

An immediate priority must be to address the grave situation in the Gaza Strip. One year after the conflict, the humanitarian and socio-economic situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire. In light of the urgent needs of the people in Gaza, all international community pledges should be honoured. We furthermore express our concern over UNRWA's severe lack of funds and, as a leading donor to UNRWA, we call on all concerned donors to step up their funding.

The EU believes that compliance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law by states and non-state actors, including accountability, is a cornerstone for peace and security in the region.

We welcome recent steps taken by Israel to ease restrictions in Gaza. However, further positive measures are now needed that enable the full delivery of humanitarian aid, reconstruction and economic recovery on a permanent basis. We call for a fundamental change of the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure and a full opening of the crossing points, while addressing Israel's legitimate security concerns. Recent rocket fire by militant groups is unacceptable and underlines again the danger of escalation. All stakeholders must commit to non-violence and peace. We call on all parties to agree on a durable ceasefire that prevents a return to conflict, strengthens Gaza, as it is an integral part of a future Palestinian state, and reinforces the link between Gaza and the West Bank.  

The EU urges all Palestinian factions to find common ground, based on non-violence and reconciliation, and to work together to address the needs of the Palestinian population. Intra-Palestinian reconciliation is an important element for reaching the two-state solution. In that regard, we call on the Palestinian factions to make reconciliation and the return of the PA to Gaza a top priority. The PA must take greater responsibility in this regard and assume its government function in the Gaza Strip, including in the field of security, civil administration and through its presence at the Gaza crossing points. The EU is ready to provide full support to these efforts, including through the rapid reactivation and possible extension in scope and mandate of its EUBAM Rafah and EUPOL COPPS missions. 

Mr. President,

We are committed to working with all sides, including through implementation of existing agreements, to allow the socio-economic development of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and empower Palestinian institutions in preparation for statehood, based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. We stress that actions such as the easing of restrictions must be part of a fundamental change of policy with regard to the occupied Palestinian territory.  We call on Israel to enable accelerated Palestinian construction, as well as social and economic development in Area C. Such actions will serve to strengthen the prosperity and security of both Israelis and Palestinians. We further call on Israeli authorities to halt plans for forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure in the Susya and Abu Nwar communities.

The preservation of the viability of the two-state solution is at the core of EU policy and will remain a priority. In this regard, and recalling that settlements are illegal under international law, the EU reiterates its strong opposition to Israel's settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier beyond the 1967 line, demolitions and confiscation - including of EU funded projects - evictions, forced transfers including of Bedouins, illegal outposts, settler violence and restrictions of movement and access. These actions seriously threaten the two-state solution. Settlement activity in East Jerusalem seriously jeopardizes the possibility of Jerusalem serving as the future capital of both states. We will continue to closely monitor developments on the ground and their broader implications and remain ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two-state solution. The EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. We express our commitment to ensure that - in line with international law - all agreements between the State of Israel and the EU must unequivocally and explicitly indicate their inapplicability to the territories occupied by Israel in 1967.

Securing a just and lasting peace will require an increased common international effort. The EU, notably through the action of its recently appointed Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process, will work actively on a renewed multilateral approach to the peace process in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, including partners in the Quartet, notably the US, in the region and the United Nations Security Council. The establishment of an International support group is a possible way to contribute to this end. The EU's position on parameters, as set out in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of July 2014, provides a basis for achieving consensus on the way forward. The EU is ready to engage in joint work with regional partners on the basis of the Arab Peace Initiative, and welcomes ongoing efforts of the Quartet in this regard.

 

Mr President,

The conflict in Syria has entered its fifth year and the human suffering it has caused and it continues to cause is immense. A lasting solution to this conflict is urgently required. In this framework, we have fully supported and we will continue to fully support the efforts of UN Special Envoy de Mistura to revive a political process.

The EU has contributed to the "Geneva consultations" and we hope that those talks will help launch a Syrian-led inclusive political process leading to a transition, based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012, and in line with relevant UNSC Resolutions in order to maintain the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Our ultimate objective is to help build a democratic and pluralistic Syria where the human rights of all persons are protected and all Syrians, including minorities and vulnerable groups, are included. We are determined to support all efforts to this end.

This political approach is at the heart of the 'EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the ISIL/Da'esh threat' which was adopted in March 2015 and is currently being implemented. Da'esh poses a complex terrorist threat to Syria, to the entire region but also to Europe. We all know that military action alone is not sufficient to defeat Da'esh. In Iraq, the EU is working and will continue to work closely with the Government, supporting it as much as we can in its efforts to restore inclusive governance and stability. In Syria, an inclusive political transition is crucial to sustainable peace and stability: the fight against Da'esh and other terrorist groups must be conducted in parallel with the search for lasting political solutions. All member states, in accordance with resolutions 2170 and 2178, should take decisive action to stop the flow of foreign fighters, counter ISIL/Dae'sh financing, and combat its incitement.

The Assad regime's brutal war against its own people, massive human rights violations, and systematic obstruction against democratic reforms have contributed to the flourishing of ISIL/Da'esh in Syria. As a consequence of its policies and actions, the Assad regime cannot be a partner in the fight against Da'esh.  

The UN, centred on the Security Council, will have a key role. Specifically, UNSCR 2170 and UNSCR 2178 call on all member states to take decisive action to stop the flow of foreign fighters, counter ISIL/Da'esh financing, and combat its incitement. We should actively support countries implementing these and related UNSC resolutions. We must continue to engage in relevant GCTF initiatives.

 

Mr. President,

More than 220,000 Syrians have been killed and more than half of the population is displaced. Peace will remain elusive in Syria, so long as impunity reigns. The EU therefore reiterates the need to hold perpetrators of violations and abuses to account: justice and accountability must be included in the political process from the outset.

In a letter dated 18 June, 71 countries, including all EU Member States, expressed their outrage at the never ending state of unchecked brutality in Syria, in particular by the systematic use of barrel bombs. The Arria formula meeting convened by France and Spain on 26 June 2015 showed clearly to this Council and to all members of the United Nations the terrible toll exacted on civilians by the widespread use of barrel bombs by the Assad regime. As it was highlighted in that meeting, the use of barrel bombs has no military value and its only goal is to terrorize the civilian population. We strongly condemn these indiscriminate attacks, as well as continued besiegement of civilian areas, the starvation of civilians as a method of combat and the arbitrary detention and torture of thousands of Syrians. We believe it is high time for this Council to follow-up on its own resolutions, including resolution 2139, 2165 and 2191, and to take decisive action to put an end to these on-going violations of international law and of UNSC resolutions.

We are equally concerned about frequent reports for more than a year now that toxic chemicals such as chlorine have been used as a chemical weapon in Syria. The use of chlorine gas as a weapon is a violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as UNSC Resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2209 (2015). Both resolutions foresaw further measures under Chapter VII in case of non-compliance. We stress once again that those responsible for such inhumane acts must be held accountable and strongly support the initiative within this Council to establish an attribution mechanism through an OPCW-United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism. [To be updated in case a resolution is adopted]

 

Mr President,

The EU is determined to continue supporting the Syrians and the refugee-hosting countries in the region affected by the crisis. Humanitarian aid and longer term assistance are and will remain important pillars of the EU's response to the crisis in Syria and in the neighbouring countries.

Overall, more than EUR 3.7 billion was mobilized by the EU since the outbreak of the Syria crisis. At the Kuwait III Conference of 31 March 2015, the European Union and its Member States pledged close to EUR 1.1 Billion.

In Syria, we note with serious concern that humanitarian needs continue to rise while access to vulnerable people faces an increasing number of constraints. We call on all parties, in particular the Assad regime, to implement in full the provisions of the UNSC Resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191.

The countries in the region, in particular Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, have made and continue to make considerable efforts to shelter and offer protection to Syrian refugees. We commend the generosity of those countries and we fully recognize the economic and social impact of this situation. In particular, the EU remains fully aware of the immense security challenges that the crisis poses to Lebanon and Jordan. The response to this protracted crisis cannot be sustained through humanitarian response only. There is a need for a longer term / resilience-based response supporting neighbouring countries capacities to provide services and opportunities (access to labour market, to national education and health systems, etc.) for Syrian refugees. We also reiterate the importance of ensuring that humanitarian concerns are addressed by applying international standards on the protection of refugees.

Enhanced burden sharing between countries in the region and international partners is necessary in line with the principles of the "Berlin declaration". The EU remains committed to sustain its support to the countries and the people affected by this crisis and calls on all international partners to enhance also the level and predictability of their respective support.

Thank you, Mr. President!

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1063, Vienna, 23 липня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes this week’s meetings in the working groups under the auspices of the Trilateral Contact Group, as well as some progress made in the discussions. The European Union reiterates its strong support to the work of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship and encourages the parties to meet on a weekly basis, also independently of the working groups. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. In this regard we reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. Mr Chairman, we express our deep concern about the escalation of violence in and around Donetsk and Avdiivka over the weekend, which has claimed the lives of several civilians. We stress that the ceasefire must be respected by all sides and that restraint is needed to de-escalate the situation and avoid the loss of innocent lives. The presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements are also of major concern. We note in this context that SMM’s UAVs continue to observe large concentrations of military hardware in and around Komsomolske, and the SMM noted an apparent link in the logistical supply-chain underpinning military operations, as stated in the most recent weekly report. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts to promote a sustainable political resolution.

3. We repeat our call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

4. We once again commend the SMM’s impartial and objective reporting. We note with deep concern from the SMM’s reports that the mission continues to face restrictions in its monitoring activities, in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory. The systematic jamming of SMM UAVs over large swaths of “DPR”-controlled areas is also of great concern. We call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia.

5. The European Union expresses its concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the on-going crisis in parts of eastern Ukraine and note in particular from the SMM’s reports that the “DPR” and “LPR” seem “slow to provide for the most basic human and societal needs” in areas under their control. The Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. An agreement on this in the humanitarian working group remains crucial. We deeply regret that so-called “humanitarian convoys” from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

6. We welcome last Thursday’s vote by large majority of the Verkhovna Rada comprising coalition and opposition MPs, paving the way for constitutional change enabling decentralisation as well as further necessary reform of the prosecution. The amendments voted for contain an enabling clause for a specific procedure of self-government in certain administrative units in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in line with the recommendation of the Venice Commission. This is important for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We look forward to the final approval of these amendments by September, ahead of the planned local elections the 25th October. The EU considers constitutional reform a key element of the on-going reform process in Ukraine and an important aspect of a political resolution of the conflict.

7. 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.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1063, Vienna, 23 липня 2015 року

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. This Tuesday, we monitored the first day of the trials of Mr. Sentsov and Mr. Kolchenko in Rostov and we will continue doing so. As we said last week, the decision by the Russian authorities on 13 July to hold Nadiya Savchenko’s trial in the small border town of Donetsk, in the Rostov region of Russia, is of great concern. We are equally concerned that the trials of Mr. Sentsov and Mr. Kolchenko are held in Rostov as well. This could significantly hamper access to the court for observers.  Reports that Ms. Savchenko, whose trial is the small border town of Donetsk, also in the Rostov region, is facing up to 25 years in prison are extremely concerning.

4. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

[Alignment paragraph]

EU Statement in response to the addresses of the Secretary General of the Cooperation Council of the Turkic speaking states, H.E. Ramil Hasanov, and by the Secretary General of the PA of Turkic speaking countries, H.E. Jandos Asanov, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1063, Vienna, 23 липня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes the Secretary-General of the Cooperation Council of Turkic speaking states, H.E. Ramil Hasanov, and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of Turkic speaking countries (TURKPA), H.E. Jandos Asanov, to the Permanent Council and thanks them for their addresses.

2. The EU would like to recall its support for the co-operation between the OSCE and other International Organisations that share its values, on the basis of the 1999 Platform for Co-operative Security and taking into account the added value they can bring to the work of our Organisation. In particular, the Platform aims at developing and maintaining political and operational coherence among various bodies operating in the OSCE area.

3. In this context, the European Union would like to reiterate its resolve to promote the implementation of the provisions of the Platform for Co-operative Security with a view to maximising the effectiveness of the OSCE. We are convinced of the need to further develop a mutually reinforcing relationship between the OSCE and those organisations and institutions that can contribute to the promotion of comprehensive security within the OSCE area and that fully respects and is aimed at furthering the implementation of our OSCE commitments.

4. In conclusion, we would like to thank once again H.E. Ramil Hasanov, and H.E. Jandos Asanov for their addresses.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement on the 2014 Annual Report by the Secretary General on the Implementation of OSCE Recruitment Policies, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1063, Vienna, 23 липня 2015 року

1. The Member States of the European Union thank the Secretary General for presenting the 2014 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.

2. 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. However, further efforts are required to address the under-representation of women at the middle and senior management levels. We would appreciate more information on initiatives that have been taken by DHR to further promote broad representation, as mentioned in the report.

3. We take note of the fact that contracted posts attracted more applications and believe that they remain competitive, given that applications increased in 2014. We realise that the current secondment system remains under stress and should be improved, but that it worked well for the staffing needs in the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine. In that regard we would be grateful for an update on whether DHR plan to take forward the “Serveto” project, to allow direct application to the OSCE.

4. We would like to mention our appreciation for the Junior Professional Officer (JPO) Programme which gives young professionals an excellent opportunity for working experience in the OSCE.

5. 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 under the chapter ‘the way forward’. We underline the need to uphold a professional, transparent recruitment process from start to finish, including timely notification of candidates and feedback. We also encourage the Secretariat to take a pragmatic approach in the review of vacancy notices, to ensure they are appropriate for the level of the job, and not so prescriptive as to deter potentially suitable candidates.

6. 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 believe that preserving programmatic activities is paramount in the on-going context of limited resources available to the Organisation.

7. We commend once again 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.

8. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation for the valuable work of the Secretary General and the Department of Human Resources.

[Alignment Paragraph]

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the Day of International Criminal Justice

17 July is the day which the States Parties to the Rome Statute have designated as the Day of International Criminal Justice. This day unites all those who wish to support justice, stand up for victims' rights, and help prevent crimes that threaten the peace, security and well-being of the world.   

Justice for the victims of serious international crimes can only be fully achieved if the perpetrators of these crimes are brought to justice and held to account by fair and effective judicial bodies, at the national or international level. Victims must have their voices heard and taken into account. The prosecution of massive human rights violations plays a key role in deterring the future commission of such crimes. 

The EU and its Member States remain committed to supporting the prevention and the sanction of international crimes and to promoting global justice.  

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the EU on the anniversary of the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17

The EU and its Member States recall the tragedy of flight MH17, which occurred on 17 July 2014, and renew their sympathy to all those who have lost their loved ones. We all remember what happened one year ago with sorrow and sadness. Acts of violence that threaten the safety of civil aviation are grave violations of international peace and security. Progress has been made with the repatriation and identification of the victims, the recovery of wreckage and the ongoing investigation into the downing of the airplane. Those directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice, in accordance with UNSC resolution 2166. In this respect the EU and its Member States fully support the ongoing efforts to establish a binding and credible prosecution mechanism.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 794, 22 липня 2015

The European Union and its Member States would like to convey our gratitude to the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for the excellent work accomplished during the current trimester. We will elaborate further on the FSC activities under Montenegro's able and dedicated leadership on the occasion of the assumption of the Chairmanship by Norway. Returning to the security situation in and around Ukraine, we reiterate our consistent position that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties, based on the OSCE's principles and commitments and the full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, is key to a sustainable political solution to the crisis. We continue to lend our support to all diplomatic efforts, including within the Trilateral Contact Group, the Normandy format, and the SMM, aimed at achieving such a solution.

We note with deep concern recurrent violations of the ceasefire as well as presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements. Particularly worrying are the SMM reports about shelling of residential areas resulting in further civilian deaths. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and reiterate our strong condemnation of the shelling of residential areas and their use as firing positions in breach of international law.

Concentrations of military hardware within the exclusion zone, especially in and around the separatist-controlled railway-hub Komsomolske, add further to our concerns. Such negative patterns are coupled with systematic jamming of SMM UAVs while overflying the separatist-held area north-east of Mariupol.

Furthermore, the SMM remains unable to fully fulfil its mandate and tasks under the Minsk agreements due to security considerations and restrictions of its freedom of movement, especially in separatist-controlled areas. The SMM remains prevented from monitoring the significant portion of the border not under the control of the Ukrainian authorities which is one of its main activities under the Minsk agreements.

We therefore urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM and to provide it with the full baseline information that would allow for effective verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements, the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard. We also call on the Russian Federation to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. We also reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

We repeat that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state 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.

In this context, we deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

[Alignment paragraph]

Opening statement by the European Union, Open-ended Working Group on Ageing for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons 6th working session, 14 – 16 липня 2015

Thank you Mr. Chair,

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

 

[alignment]

The EU and its Member States welcome the holding of the sixth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. Let me express our thanks to the Bureau, our colleagues from Argentina, as well as the United Nations staff for their efforts in preparing this session.

Mr. Chair,

Population ageing constitutes one of the most significant demographic transformations of the twenty-first century. The European Union and its Member States are fully committed to the human rights of older persons. The EU acknowledges the serious challenges that older persons face, including when it comes to the enjoyment of their human rights. Our active participation in the previous sessions of the Working Group and our engagement during this year's session also has to be seen in this context. We perceive this meeting of the working group together with its panel discussions and interactive dialogues as an opportunity to discuss measures and actions devised to improve the situation of older persons. It's an opportunity to hear from government representatives and experts, as well as from civil society actors, about their experiences, best-practices and policies and to further discuss progress and measures to improve the situation of older persons.

Mr. Chair,

The situation of older persons is very high on the agenda of the European Union and its Member States. This is illustrated by a number of recent events. In June of this year, the EU organized in Brussels a conference on innovative financing opportunities for active and healthy ageing, in the context of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. Also in June, on the occasion of the 10th World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the EU Commission organised together with the Council of Europe, AGE Platform Europe and ENNHRI a joint event on Tackling elder abuse in Europe: a renewed commitment or a missed opportunity.

Moreover, the EU, together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), launched the Active-Ageing Index, on which we had a joint international seminar in Brussels on 16-17 April 2015. We are grateful to the University of Southampton, whose support to UNECE and the Commission in developing the index was essential. On Thursday you will hear more on this project from its representative. This is one example of a successful cooperation between the Commission and an international organisation in the area of active ageing policy support to our MS, alongside our cooperation with the OECD, the WHO and the World Bank.  We would also like to mention the European Summit on Innovation for Active and Healthy Ageing on 9 – 10 March 2015 which explored how the demographic change can be turned into an opportunity for Europe through technology, innovation and new ways of cooperation. Lastly, the European Commission has published two important reports on Ageing. The first report, published in autumn last year, describes the underlying macroeconomic assumptions and age-related projection methodologies for all MS. Later on, in March this year, the EU adopted the second report with projection until 2060 of the economic, budgetary and societal impacts of these trends for policy makers.

Mr. Chair,

We sincerely welcome the opportunity to exchange more on regional and national efforts, building on the existing standards and policy frameworks that exist on different levels. The protection of the human rights of older persons requires involvement of multiple stakeholders at all levels, including the involvement of older persons themselves, beyond government and public service. In this regard, we support broad and inclusive participation of civil society organisations in the OEWG. It is important for us to note that the work of this Working Group is part of a larger discourse on ageing issues which should also take into account the social policy and development dimension. In order to mainstream the rights of older persons throughout the work of the UN, we need to ensure a regular, coherent and comprehensive discussion within the UN on ageing issues, making proper use of existing meetings such as those of the Commission on Social Development and regional commissions within the ECOSOC. We further stress our full support for the work of the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons and call on all member states to cooperate with the Independent Expert in the discharge of her mandate.

Mr. Chair,

With regard to the specific mandate of the Working Group, I would like to recall what has repeatedly been underlined by numerous delegations throughout previous meetings: the whole spectrum of internationally recognized human rights standards and principles also cover and protect older persons without discrimination. Moreover, the current international legal framework addresses many of the issues discussed in this session, namely health, social security, accessibility, violence and discrimination. Therefore, although it is important to discuss the implementation and protection gaps, the EU remains sceptical that they are of a normative nature.

At the same time, the EU recalls its position that more can be done through the implementation of the existing Human Rights framework that also addresses the human rights of older persons and combats age discrimination. More can and should be done to address the undisputed human rights challenges, that range from abuse, discrimination, poverty and lack of opportunities and to deal with specific health issues and other challenges associated with old age.

Mr. Chair,

On the basis of our joint analysis of the situation of the human rights of older persons we share the view that there is an urgent need for improvement. At the same time, we remain proponents of the strategy that focus on a determined application of existing standards is the most effective and practical way to address the protection and implementation gaps.

This could be facilitated, for example, through an increased focus on age as a specific perspective when monitoring existing human rights instruments. There are various opportunities within the human rights system which particularly highlight age relevant issues such as the General Comments issued by the Treaty Bodies or joint reports of the existing Special Rapporteurs. In this regard we welcome the upcoming presentation by the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons at this session. The EU also considers that the various mechanisms established in the area should usefully complement each other. A comprehensive compilation which would assemble the existing standards in one document would be a concrete and swift step forward.

For the EU, it is important to emphasize that many protection gaps and measures are already being considered in a comprehensive and inclusive manner, under the umbrella of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. The Madrid Plan remains the international point of reference also today. Regional conferences are organized on a regular basis as part of its review. We urge all UN members and agencies to accelerate its implementation at the national, regional and international level. We agree to the need to substantially step up and support activities benefitting the implementation of current human rights instruments. We hope that this Working Group session will build on the Madrid plan, highlight opportunities to strengthen the application of existing standards to improve the human rights protection of older persons and come up with a strong call to action on all of us to do more. We also hope that it will contribute to generating the political will that is necessary to prioritize ageing issues, including the much-needed change in mind-set, to start conceiving older persons as assets and contributors, rather than as a problem and a subject of state intervention. We also recognise the relevance of the rights of older persons in the post-2015 development agenda.

Mr. Chair,

Before concluding, let me also look beyond this session. We have been looking forward to this meeting and we will contribute actively to the exchanges. It is of utmost importance to revisit priority issues on a regular basis and we agree that much remains to be done to fully realize the human rights of older persons and to ensure their rights to life-long learning, self-determination, participation and inclusion in our societies. We would like to invite you all to join the reflection on how best to ensure a more regular, meaningful and comprehensive discussion within the UN on ageing issues, including through the use of existing meetings such as the Commission for Social Development.

Thank you, Mr. Chair. 

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/959 amending Decision 2014/386/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol

On 19 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/959[1]. The Council Decision extends existing measures until 23 June 2016.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1] Published on 20.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 156, p. 25.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/876 amending Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine

On 5 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/876[1].

The Council Decision extends existing measures for three of the four persons covered by measures applying until 6 June 2015. The measures are extended until 6 March 2016 for two of the persons concerned and until 6 October 2015 for the third person.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1] Published on 6.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 142, p. 30.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/971 amending Decision 2014/512/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in view of Russia's actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine

On 22 June 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/971[1]. The Council Decision extends existing measures until 31 January 2016.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1] Published on 23.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 157, p. 50.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/973 implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 22 June 2015, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2015/973[1] implementing Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision removes one person from the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1] Published on 23.6.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 157, p. 52.

EU Statement at the Closing Session, OSCE Meeting to Review the Implementation of OSCE Practical Assistance Projects on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

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 Meeting to Review the Implementation of OSCE Practical Assistance Projects on SALW and SCA. It clearly demonstrated the continued need to uphold and improve the rich track record of the OSCE commitments and practical activities in combating the broad range of SALW and SCA-related security risks.

We therefore view this meeting as further impetus to the full implementation and strengthening of the OSCE SALW and SCA toolbox in all its aspects. We reiterate our continued commitment and support to this effort.

The European Union reiterates its readiness to take this issue further, including in preparations for the Ministerial Council in Belgrade, and calls upon all participating States to contribute to this common endeavour.

In conclusion, we would like to thank the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for its active involvement in the success of this meeting.

[Alignment paragraph]

EU statement on the Commemoration of Srebrenica, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. On 11 July, we commemorated the genocide that took place in Srebrenica 20 years ago. This heinous crime left deep scars in Bosnia and Herzegovina and across the European continent. We reject any denial or relativisation of the genocide.

2. On that day, we mourned the loss of more than eight thousand victims and honoured the memory of those still missing. The European Union stands by their relatives in their grief. And we confirm our strong commitment to help bring the perpetrators to justice. European integration starts with justice. It continues with reconciliation between nations and within Bosnia and Herzegovina, and joint work on a common project of peace, security and prosperity.

3. We salute all the leaders of South East Europe who work for reconciliation and integration, who are willing to face harsh historical truths, accept their own responsibility and who reach out to each other across dividing lines.

4. We welcomed the decision of Prime Minister Vučić of the Republic of Serbia to attend the commemoration. We regret the fact that the Prime Minister was forced to leave the commemoration. This incident shows that we all need to redouble our efforts to heal the wounds of the past and pursue true and lasting reconciliation across the whole of the Western Balkans region.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement on the 32nd round of the Geneva International Discussions, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The European Union welcomes that the latest round of Geneva International Discussions held on 30 June and 1 July 2015 did not only go undisrupted, but also saw a more lively and engaged exchange than in recent months.

2. In Working Group I, no serious incidents that could have a destabilising impact on the situation were noted. In this regard, we emphasise the pragmatic cooperation of the Incident Prevention Response Mechanism in Ergneti and the use of the hotline, to ensuring stability and avoiding escalation of small scale incidents. We strongly support the resumption of the effective functioning of the Gali IPRM meetings without preconditions.

3. We believe that the issue of non-use of force and international security arrangements continue to be core subjects of the Geneva International Discussions. We therefore regret that only little progress was made in moving forward with this issue. We continue to believe that a clear commitment by Russia on non-use of force is essential.

4. We commend that debates in Working Group II were held in a generally constructive atmosphere, allowing discussions on practical steps in the field of cultural heritage, health, education, residence and crossing permits and regimes, and water-related issues.

5. The EU calls on all the concerned parties to facilitate and grant unrestricted access to the international humanitarian organisations for the benefit of all persons affected by the conflict and in need of human rights protection, and expresses its concern at the human rights situation in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

6. The EU also wishes to underline that the issue of refugees and IDPs, and their safe, dignified and voluntary return, continues to constitute a key agenda item in the Geneva International Discussions. We therefore call on all participants to engage in a pragmatic and open exchange of views on this subject. We welcome the efforts by the Georgian government to provide durable and sustainable housing solutions, access to livelihoods and financial assistance to the IDPs, and the new Action Plan on IDPs for the period 2015-2016 approved in January to ensure harmonisation of government’s policy with the revised Law on IDPs.

7. We welcome the recently launched confidence building measure projects by the OSCE secretariat - “The OSCE Summer School”, which aims at promoting people-to-people contacts and supports restoration of trust and confidence among young people on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line; and the provision of potable water in the villages of Zemo Sobisi and Kvemo Sobisi, situated near the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia.  

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 Serbia OSCE Chairmanship to continue exploring possibilities to this end.

9. The EU reiterates its firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, 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. We once again call on the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the 12 August agreement and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing the EUMM access to the breakaway regions.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, H.E. Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Sorokin to the Permanent Council and we thank him for his report.

2. We support the Office’s activities in all three dimensions and are pleased to note that the Office continues to enjoy good cooperation with the Government and with civil society.

3. We note the ongoing work on improving the electoral process. We encourage the Government of Armenia to continue to work with the OSCE and ODIHR to address the issues raised in their election observation reports and to pursue an inclusive and transparent process of amendments to election-related legislation, in line with their recommendations.

4. However, democratic progress is not limited solely to improved elections. Working on continuously improving respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as rule of law remains essential. We therefore continue to support the Office’s work, in cooperation with OSCE/ODIHR, on reforming the judiciary and the criminal justice system. Our support for the Office’s work in assisting the Armenian Government’s police reform programme is well known. We have previously noted with concern the reports of excessive use of force on 23 June to disperse protestors in Yerevan, including the reports of journalists being targeted. We also recognise the largely restrained and well-handled policing since then during the ongoing series of protests over electricity prices, as well as the ongoing internal police investigation into reported police abuses. We hope this is perhaps evidence of the positive impact of the Office’s work. We commend the actions of the OSCE Office in Yerevan in its swift reporting of the events in a Spot Report and for its statement expressing concern and calling for restraint and dialogue. We encourage the government of Armenia to continue its work on security sector reform and note that the Office will need to remain fully engaged on this to help ensure its long-term sustainability.

5. We strongly support the Office’s work on good governance and the fight against corruption. In particular we welcome the Office’s continued assistance to the Rapid Regulatory Guillotine Project. We would welcome more information on how the office intends to support this area in the future.

6. We also reiterate our support for the Office’s work on the human rights situation in the armed forces and welcome the results achieved.

7. We note the Ambassador’s comments regarding secondments and resources. However, in a challenging resource climate, OSCE operations need to be leaner and sharper in fulfilling their mandate effectively. This may include the necessity to reprioritise and improve the focus of the programmatic structures and activities of Field Operations. We encourage the office to make full use of the OSCE Evaluation Framework for next year’s PBPR, in order that a better measurement of impact can be made. We also encourage you to coordinate closely with other donors to ensure best value for money and that projects work to complement rather than duplicate the efforts of others. 

8. In conclusion, we would like to thank Ambassador Sorokin and his team for their work and wish them all the best for their future endeavours.

[Alignment]

EU statement in response to the Report by the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ms. Astrid Thors, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

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 High Commissioner on National Minorities 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 High Commissioner 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 see the need for developing effective policies for integration of persons belonging to minorities as an essential aspect of a tolerant and stable society, in line with the principle of “integration with respect for diversity”. We agree that preventing divisions along ethnic lines enhances the stability of societies. Any concerns in respect to persons belonging to national minorities should be addressed with full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourly relations.

5. We welcome the High Commissioner’s engagement in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine, and we took note of the concerns the High Commissioner expressed in her report related to the four aspects that are important to an inclusive policy. 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 support the commitment of the Government of Ukraine in this regard. We encourage the High Commissioner to continue her dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities to improve the institutional framework for implementing rights of persons belonging to national minorities, including language issues, and promoting their integration.

6. We share the High Commissioner’s deep concern about the deteriorating human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula as we have learned from numerous reports. 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.

7. We find it highly disturbing that the authorities in de facto control of the Crimean Peninsula have so far not accommodated requests from the High Commissioner and Ukraine to facilitate a visit to Crimea. As stated in her report, it is clearly in the mandate of the High Commissioner to seek information about the situation on the ground. We reiterate that the High Commissioner 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 note the good cooperation the High Commissioner has with the National Assembly and Government of Kazakhstan on inter-ethnic issues and reforms in the education system. 

9. We welcome her first visit to Turkmenistan and it is encouraging that certain issues related to the inter-ethnic situation can now be discussed in openness. The activities within the framework of the Central Asia Education Programme remain important and we commend her for that.

10. We support the High Commissioner’s continuous engagement with the Republic of Moldova and her work on integration of society and language issues. In that context we would like to draw attention to the long-standing issue of the Latin script schools in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova. This subject should be followed closely with a view to ensuring their normal and sustainable functioning.

11. We consider as positive the High Commissioner’s activities in Georgia such as the cooperation on the new Civic Equality and Integration Strategy and the Multi-Party Dialogue on National Minority Issues.      

12. We support her engagement in the western Balkans promoting long-term stability, in particular in Serbia, but foremost in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with her two visits to that country together with the Chairman-in-Office and his Special Representative for the Balkans.

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

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement on the implementation of the law on "undesirable organisations" in Russia, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. In our statement of 28 May, we expressed the European Union’s concern at the enactment by the Russian Federation of a law on so-called undesirable non-governmental organisations. We noted that this law would have a further negative impact on the work of civil society in Russia.

2. The recent request by the Federation Council to the Prosecutor General's Office to consider 12 reputed NGOs as undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation will, if implemented, further isolate civil society and disrupt its legitimate work.

3. The law on "undesirable NGOs" as well as the "foreign agents" law and restrictions on foreign media ownership are already crippling civil society and restricting the exercise of fundamental freedoms in Russia. In practice, the law on "undesirable NGOs" bars internationally recognised NGOs from working for and with Russian citizens and civil society and prohibits the participation of Russian citizens in their activities.

4. This law is yet another worrying sign of the shrinking space allowed for independent civil society in Russia, which is being targeted by measures like the harassment of the independent election observers of Golos and the listing of organisations as "foreign agents". Such listings are increasingly leading to the termination of the activities of the listed organisations, with the most recent examples of the Dynasty Foundation and the Committee Against Torture.

5. The EU calls on the Russian authorities not to proceed with the implementation of this law, which would violate Russia's international human rights obligations in the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement on developments in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The European Union welcome the commitment to an agreement by the four main political parties in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia following the constructive negotiations in Skopje on 14 and 15 July.

2. This agreement builds on the 2 June accord. After several months of facilitated dialogue, we welcome the political leaders' strong commitment to Euro-Atlantic integration and the European perspective. This is an important step in overcoming the current crisis and towards addressing key challenges facing the country. Political leaders in the country must now swiftly implement the agreement in good faith. We stand ready to work with all parties to ensure the full implementation of all aspects of these commitments, including the Commission's urgent reform recommendations on systemic rule of law issues.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement on latest developments along the administrative boundary line towards Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The installation of new demarcation signposts along the administrative boundary line of Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has led to tension in the area, with potentially negative effects on the local population, their livelihood and freedom of movement.

2. Steps that could be perceived as provocative must be avoided, as must any action that is detrimental to ongoing efforts to stabilise the situation, in an atmosphere conducive to longer-term conflict resolution and regional stability.

3. The EU and its monitoring mission are closely following the situation. We call for restraint and for the use of existing mechanisms such as the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism to defuse tensions.

4. The EU reaffirms its full support for Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement in reply to the SMM Chief Monitor Apakan, Joint FSC – PC Meeting No. 60, Vienna, 13 липня 2015

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome SMM Chief Monitor Apakan to this joint meeting of the Forum for Security Co-operation and the Permanent Council. We remain fully supportive of the SMM's impartial and objective reporting and its efforts to de-escalate the crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. Mr Chairperson, today's meeting comes at a critical point in time. Five months after the ceasefire agreed in Minsk in February we continue to receive daily SMM reports on ceasefire violations and movements of heavy weapons and tanks in violation of the Minsk agreements. We note the SMM's assessment that the ongoing clashes have not translated into territorial gains for either side, but have caused further deaths of civilians and fighters of both sides and massive destruction to property and infrastructure with the net result of further suffering for the civilian population. We also note from the SMM's reporting that the independently compiled logs of representatives at the JCCC headquarters suggest that most of the time separatist forces are 'responsible for the majority of ceasefire violations'.

3. We commend the efforts of the SMM to facilitate local ceasefires and demilitarisation on the ground, most recently in Shyrokyne and between Maiorsk and Horlivka. We also commend the efforts of the SMM Chief Monitor and his deputy as coordinators of the working group on security under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE Chairmanship. We call on all sides to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will to allow for concrete results in all working groups.

4. We call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context, we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

5. The SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. We are therefore deeply concerned that the SMM's access continues to be restricted despite repeated commitments to ensure the freedom of movement of the SMM made by all sides. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory. We call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia. We would welcome an assessment of the impact of jamming and other threats to the operation of SMM UAVs. We once again call on all parties to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

6. We welcome the SMM’s recent thematic reports on gender and freedom of movement to and from Crimea. The report on gender is an important reminder of the need to involve women in conflict prevention and resolution and we fully support the Mission’s efforts on gender related monitoring activities. The freedom of movement report clearly underscores the urgent need of access for the SMM to the Crimean peninsula in order to enable monitoring of the alarming human rights situation there.

7. Mr Chairperson, the crisis in and around Ukraine has strongly reminded us of the significant role the Vienna Document and its broad set of CSBMs could play not only in confidence-building but also in early warning and risk reduction, if duly implemented. Therefore we once again urge the Russian Federation to respond to the repeated questions put under the Vienna Document Chapter III and enter into a constructive dialogue. We also urge all parties to make full use of all other instruments pertaining to the OSCE politico-military dimension of security as well as for the FSC itself as a platform for cooperative security and dialogue.

8. That is why we see the full implementation, updating and modernisation of the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area, based on founding OSCE principles and agreed norms, as a priority task. We reiterate that such process should reflect the experience and lessons learned during the Ukraine crisis. Thus, we support discussions aimed at identifying ways to improve specific provisions of the Vienna Document in the light of the crisis in and around Ukraine and remain ready to take an active part in the discussions within a dedicated format.

9. Furthermore, the FSC can play an important role, not only in reviewing the implementation of the OSCE CAC and CSBM commitments, but also in contributing to relevant politico-military activities of the OSCE field operations in accordance with their respective mandates and in line with the 2001 Bucharest MC Decision. We are particularly grateful to the SMM Chief Monitor for his presentation today as we believe that such briefings would better enable the FSC to discuss and adopt, if appropriate, tailor made measures to support ongoing activities, including of the field missions, in conflict prevention, risk reduction and crisis management.

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 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.

11. [Alignment paragraph]

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. The decision by the Russian authorities on 13 July to hold Nadiya Savchenko’s trial in the small border town of Donetsk, in the Rostov region of Russia, is of great concern. This could significantly hinder access to the court and monitoring of her trial, including by international observers. Reports that Savchenko is facing up to 25 years in prison are also extremely concerning. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

[Alignment paragraph]

EU statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggressions against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles, OSCE Permanent Council No 1062, Vienna, 16 липня 2015

1. Earlier today, the Permanent Council commemorated the anniversary of the tragedy of flight MH17 on 17 July 2014. Those directly or indirectly responsible for the downing of MH17 must be held accountable and brought to justice, in accordance with UNSC resolution 2166. In this respect, the EU and its Member States fully support the ongoing efforts to establish a binding and credible prosecution mechanism.

2. We remain deeply concerned by the continuing ceasefire violations at and around the Donetsk airport and other locations in parts of eastern Ukraine. The presence, movement and use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements are also of major concern. We note in particular the SMM’s reports on concentrations of military hardware in and around the separatist-controlled railway-hub in Komsomolske north-east of Mariupol. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements, based on OSCE principles and commitments, and in full respect of Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

4. The Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship must continue to play an essential role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We hope that the meetings of the working groups subordinate to the Trilateral Contact Group scheduled next week will finally result in agreement on concrete proposals. We call on all sides to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will. We reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

5. We remain fully supportive of the SMM's efforts in Ukraine as we stressed in response to Chief Monitor Apakan earlier this week. The SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. We once again call on all sides to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for SMM monitors and UAVs to all parts of Ukraine, including to heavy weapons holding areas, the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia. We also once again call on all sides to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

6. We deeply regret that so-called ’humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. We note with concern a pattern of intensified military activities of the separatists, usually following arrival of so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia.

7. We have taken note of the recent developments in Mukacheve. It is crucial that there is an immediate end to any illegal actions and that rule of law is fully observed. The EU expects the incident to be thoroughly investigated by the authorities and perpetrators of illegal actions to be brought to justice.

8. 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 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.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement on the Abduction by the Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer

Ten months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September 2014 by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory.

His abduction and continuing illegal detention constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

 The illegal detention of Mr Kohver has once again been prolonged, he has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive adequate legal aid.

We are disturbed that there is no public hearing of the case and that the Estonian consul is not allowed to be present at the court hearings. Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue.

The EU calls once again on the Russian Federation to release Mr Kohver immediately and to ensure his safe return to Estonia.

EU Statement at the Opening Session, Fourth Annual Discussion on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, Vienna, 8 липня 2015

The Member States of the European Union wish to express their appreciation for the FSC Decision to hold the 4th Annual Implementation Discussion on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security which provides an excellent forum for discussing the Code's implementation in the light of current political and military developments. We convey our sincere gratitude to all of today's keynote speakers for their contributions.

The value of this OSCE landmark document has been once again acknowledged with the adoption of the Commemorative Declaration marking its twentieth anniversary at the Ministerial Council in Basel last year. We would like to recall that all OSCE participating States took this occasion to reaffirm the undiminished validity of the guiding principles and common values of the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the Helsinki Document 1992, as well as the validity of other OSCE commitments.

We also recall that Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine undermines European security, the latter based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified through subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, including the Code of Conduct. At the same time, the Ukraine crisis strongly underscores the need for countries to comply with their politico-military-commitments, and implement them fully and in good faith.

Ensuring strict implementation and making full use of the OSCE politico-military commitments and instruments, including the Code of Conduct, both in letter and spirit, by all participating States, with a view to de-escalating the crisis in and around Ukraine and helping promote a sustainable peaceful solution, based on full respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, remains for us the top priority.

That is why we remain strong supporters of the OSCE Code of Conduct and attach great importance to its full implementation, in inter alia ensuring democratic political control of the armed and security forces, protection of the rights of armed forces personnel and respecting international humanitarian law. We believe that implementation should be further strengthened and kept in line with today's security needs.

With regard to the annual information exchange, which remains an important implementation tool, we continue to believe that additional efforts are needed to improve the overall quality of replies and to enhance their comparison. In this respect, we welcome the working paper circulated by the FSC Coordinator for the Code of Conduct which is meant to improve the reporting outcome. It is our conviction that a qualitative assessment and analysis of the annual information exchanges would bring a more meaningful and valuable insight into the implementation of the Code as compared to the current, purely statistical overview.

We welcome and support the voluntary reporting of additional information within the annual information exchange of the Code of Conduct on issues related to women, peace and security (UNSCR 1325) which remains at a steady high level. We keep encouraging all participating States to consider providing such additional information on a voluntary basis, including on private military and security companies, and appreciate the Food for Thought Paper prepared by the German Delegation with a view to promote additional information sharing in the latter area.

We are convinced that further events organised for OSCE participating States as well as for the OSCE Partners for Co-operation will contribute to increasing awareness and outreach. We continue to highly appreciate initiatives to strengthen both the internal coherence of the OSCE executive structures' activities in this field and the co-operation of the OSCE with its Partners for Cooperation and key stakeholders of the Code of Conduct such as parliamentarians. In this regard we are looking forward to the outcomes of the conference on the Code of Conduct to be held in Germany next year as well as to the joint Serbian-Swiss workshop in Belgrade in October this year.

In this context, we also welcome the efforts of the previous FSC Chairmanship Mongolia for hosting the conference on the Code of Conduct this March in Ulaanbaatar which we believe was an important event in the promotion of the principles and the norms stipulated in the Code of Conduct in the Central Asian region and among the OSCE Partners for Cooperation.

We highly value as well the activities of RACVIAC for promoting the implementation of the Code of Conduct at sub-regional level and are looking forward to the second peer-to-peer discussion on its implementation to be held among the countries of South Eastern Europe in September 2015 in Croatia.

The EU and its Member States hope that today’s deliberations will pave the way for result-oriented work throughout this annual meeting and are ready to participate actively in the discussions.

[Alignment paragraph]

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. This includes Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

3. We remain deeply concerned about the health of Nadiya Savchenko who was abducted and illegally transferred to Russia in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains.

 [Alignment paragraph]

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. Last week’s Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) was a good occasion to take stock of the crisis in and around Ukraine. We were encouraged by the overwhelming support for restoring respect for the fundamental principles upon which the OSCE is based; principles that we will commemorate next week in Helsinki. Unfortunately, the ASRC was once again a lost opportunity to engage in a genuine and fact-based dialogue about the crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. We continue to follow the crisis in and around Ukraine with deep concern. We note the continuing fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine, including in and around Donetsk city and Shyrokyne as well as in an increasing number of government-controlled areas in the Luhansk region. The large presence, movement and increasing use of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk agreements is of particular concern. In this context, we are also concerned by large-scale training activities involving the use of heavy weapons by the so-called “DPR” and “LPR” as reported by the SMM. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We once again underline the importance we attach to the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. We express our full support for the Chairmanship’s new representative Ambassador Martin Sajdik. We welcome the recent meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group and its working groups but note with regret that only little progress was made. We note with regret and concern that the meeting of the working group on security, scheduled for today, will not take place. We call on the parties to strengthen their efforts and to show the necessary political will. We also reiterate our support for the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating a full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. We continue to believe that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties, based on the OSCE’s principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity is the only acceptable political solution. In line with the Minsk agreements the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine and hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict must be released. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists it backs to meet their Minsk commitments in full. In this context we recall the decision by the European Council to extend the EU restrictive measures, in view of Russia’s destabilising role in eastern Ukraine.

5. Mr Chairman, recent SMM reports have drawn our attention to the issue of freedom of movement within Ukraine. We recall that citizens’ freedom of movement within a country is a fundamental freedom.

6. We welcome the SMM’s thematic report on freedom of movement to and from the Crimean Peninsula. It confirms that the illegal annexation of Crimea has brought severe implications for its inhabitants. Human rights activists, Crimean Tatars and others have been detained and interrogated, and some have been expelled from the peninsula by the de facto authorities. The report adds to numerous other independent reports presenting a very troublesome situation in Crimea in regard to the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

7. As regards the SMM, we once again call on the parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for its monitors to all parts of Ukraine, including to the Crimean peninsula and along the border with Russia.

8. 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 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.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement on the Right to Peaceful Assembly in Armenia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. The European Union has followed events in Yerevan over the last week very closely, as people have protested against an increase in electricity tariffs. We welcome the generally calm handling of the demonstrations in recent days, and the efforts by both police and protestors to keep the demonstrations peaceful.  

2. At the same time, ODIHR Director Michael Link and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic both expressed their concern about the force used to disperse the initial protest on the morning of 23 June, including reports of excessive use of force against journalists, amongst others and including by unidentified plain clothes security officials. We share these concerns and support their calls, as also made by the EU Delegation in Yerevan earlier this week, for all allegations of excessive force to be impartially and promptly investigated and appropriate action taken. We look forward to the results of these investigations as promised by the Armenian authorities. 

3. We call on all sides to continue to act responsibly and calmly.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement on the terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia, Kuwait and Egypt, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council on the statement of High Representative Mogherini on the terrorist attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait:

2. “The chain of attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait is a stark reminder that no country and no region can ignore the challenge posed by terrorists. They aim at destabilising our societies by spreading fear, suspicion, and prejudice. Both Europe and the Arab world are targeted. Together we cry for our victims – and together we will stand against violence and sectarianism.

3. The terrorists want to divide us: our response will be more unity. No nation, no power can carry out this fight alone. We need a truly global alliance, an alliance of civilisations. For this is not a fight among different worlds, the North versus the South, the West versus the Rest.

4. We face the same challenge. We are witnessing an unprecedented attempt to manipulate religion to justify terrorism and to foster divisions inside our societies.

5. We will not fall into the trap. Europe stays committed to defending the security of its citizens while safeguarding the diversity of our societies. The European Union will keep working with all its partners to fight terrorism and shore up peace and stability in our neighbourhood.

6. We offer our condolences to the people of France, Tunisia, and Kuwait and to all the families of those killed and wounded today. Our thoughts also go to the people of Syria, Iraq and also Nigeria, who are among the first victims of terrorist attacks almost every day.”

Mr Chairman,

7. We also express our condolences to the family of Egypt's Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat, who died following a terrorist attack in Cairo on Tuesday morning.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU statement in response to H.E. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Foreign Minister of Germany, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the incoming OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, to the Permanent Council. We greatly appreciate Germany’s readiness to assume the Chairmanship of the OSCE at this critical point in time. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol – which we continue to condemn and will not recognise – and destabilising actions in parts of eastern Ukraine have seriously violated the basic principles of the OSCE. As a result, we face the most serious security crisis in Europe in decades. In order to overcome this crisis we need to restore respect for the fundamental principles upon which the OSCE is based.

2. Mr Minister, we fully support your emphasis on the need to ensure implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments and to further strengthen the ability of the OSCE to respond to this and potential future crisis  based on the comprehensive concept of security. Achieving tangible progress in 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 European Union. Intensified efforts to resolve existing conflicts are needed. We remain committed to strengthening the OSCE’s impact across the conflict cycle while fully respecting existing mandates. Experience shows that having the early warning information is not enough by itself. What is needed is the enhanced capacity and the political will of all sides to also act early.

3. We welcome the overarching priorities of the German Chairmanship across the three dimensions and reflecting the comprehensive concept of security. In the first dimension, full implementation of the politico-military commitments, revitalisation, and modernisation of the existing Conventional Arms Control and CSBM regimes, including the Vienna Document, to ensure stability, transparency and predictability, remains a priority task. Such a process should reflect the experience and lessons learned during the crisis in and around Ukraine. We welcome the focus on counter-terrorism, and in particular on violent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism. We also welcome the focus on cyber security. We hope that implementation of the first set of CBMs will intensify further and that work on a second set will lead to a result this year.

4. In the second dimension, we commend the emphasis on good governance and its substantial linkages with anti-corruption, anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. We will be interested to hear more in due course about the intention to explore other topics such as the environment, business interaction and investment climate and migration from the perspective of good governance

5. We also welcome the planned focus of the German Chairmanship in the third dimension, notably the focus on the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly as well as on combating all forms of intolerance and discrimination. We fully agree that further work is needed to ensure full implementation of our commitments in the human dimension and to address current shortcomings. We continue to be deeply concerned that these principles are being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE space and recall that there can be no security without respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.

6. We highly appreciate the German incoming Chairmanship’s commitment to strengthening the role of the autonomous institutions, whose mandates and autonomy we fully support. Their work to assist participating States in the implementation of commitments remains indispensable. We also reiterate our firm support for OSCE field operations and are concerned by the current tendency towards downgrading field presences.

7. We welcome the importance that the Chairmanship will attach to further involving civil society. We also wish to highlight our support for continued efforts in promoting gender equality, women’s political and economic empowerment, and elimination of gender-based violence and sexual violence in conflict across the OSCE area.

8. Recent and ongoing developments show that the security of the OSCE area is inextricably linked to that of adjacent areas. We therefore welcome the increased attention to our partners for cooperation, including when addressing transnational threats. We are grateful for the efforts that Germany is putting in chairing the Mediterranean Contact Group and we look forward to the Mediterranean conference in October in Jordan.

9. Mr Minister, next week in Helsinki we will mark the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. We hope that our meeting there can contribute to a process of restoring respect for the fundamental principles of the OSCE. We count on the active role of the incoming Chairmanship in facilitating such a process in the future. The European Union will support you in this endeavour.

[Alignment Paragraph]

EU Statement in Response to the Report of the External Auditor and the Annual Report of the Audit Committee, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1061, Vienna, 2 липня 2015

1. The Member States of the EU welcome to the Permanent Council Mr. Christian Ahrendt, Vice President and Ms. Daniela Nick, Senior Audit Manager of the Federal Court of Auditors of Germany, and Mr. Giovanni Vultaggio, Chair of the Audit Committee. We thank them for their comprehensive reports.

2. 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.

3. With respect to the External Auditor’s Report, we are pleased that no material weaknesses or errors pertaining to the accuracy, completeness or validity of the financial statements were found in the audit, nor are there other significant matters arising. The year 2014 has been challenging for the OSCE in response to the crisis in and around Ukraine and we appreciate the good statement of its financial performance despite major additional funding and budgetary commitments.

4. We note that in each of the six field operations visited by the external auditor, there were problems with cash management found. This suggests a trend across OSCE field operations that needs to be addressed.

5. We appreciate the Auditor`s evaluation that previously issued recommendations have been smoothly implemented.

6. The adoption of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), which has been completed one year ahead of the deadline, is of great benefit for the Organisation`s better financial information and for more efficient and effective use of resources.

7. We are ready to support the adoption of the draft Decision on the Financial Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2014 and the Report of the External Auditor.

8. With respect to the Annual Report of the Audit Committee, We appreciate that the Committee`s previously issued recommendations were implemented or are in progress.

9. We are pleased with the good evaluation of the progress made towards finalizing the Enterprise Risk Management and take note that further efforts are recommended in regard to the assessment and mitigation of critical strategic and programme risks. We underline the importance of making progress in this area.

10. We agree with the Committee, that continued efforts are needed to implement shared services functionality in order to increase efficiency and to reduce costs. In that regard, we also support the recommendation of the Audit Committee for the Special Monitoring Mission and Project Coordinator in Ukraine to seek synergies and opportunities for cooperation in administration.

11. We agree with the Committee’s recommendation that there should be a process in place for acting on all issues identified by the External Auditor.

12. We note the Committee welcomed the “on time” approval of the 2015 Unified Budget, and we stress it should not be seen as exception, because we are committed to ensure and successfully achieve the Organization`s objectives. Therefore we also agree with the Audit Committee that an extended budget cycle would allow for more predictability and effective planning.  

[Alignment Paragraph]

Statement on behalf of the European Union, delivered by H.E. Pierre-Louis Lorenz, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the OPCW at the Seventy-ninth session of the Executive Council, The Hague, 7 липня 2015

Mr. Chairperson,

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

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

 

Mr. Chairperson,

Since this is the first time I take the floor in the capacity of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, I wish to congratulate you for taking over the Chairmanship of the Executive Council and express our trust in your leadership and experience. Let me assure you and the Vice-Chairs of our continuous support in your endeavors aiming at the successful outcome of the Executive Council activities.

I seize this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to the outgoing Deputy Director-General HE Ambassador Grace Asirwatham for her valuable contribution to the work and the efficient functioning of this organization.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive statement, which as always provides useful guidance for our work. This gives me the opportunity to reiterate our appreciation to him and to the OPCW staff for their commitment to the work of the organization and their efforts with regards to the ongoing Syrian CW operation in particular. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

 

Mr Chairperson,

It is regrettable that despite the considerable progress achieved regarding the destruction of the declared Syrian chemical weapons and production facilities, we are still facing too many uncertainties to have confidence that the dismantling of the Syrian CW program is irreversible. In this respect, we condemn the continuous use of chlorine as a weapon by the regime against innocent civilians. We are also deeply concerned regarding gaps and contradictions contained in the Syrian CW declarations.

 

Mr Chairperson,

As we have heard today, the Fact Finding Mission refers to testimonies that chlorine has been used repeatedly as a weapon since last March in the Idlib province. As in previous cases, chlorine or other chemicals have been dropped from helicopters, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses.

On the use of chlorine as a weapon, the EU supported the EC Decision at its 48th meeting and the UNSC Resolution 2209 condemning the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria. The Resolution makes clear that the use of chlorine as a weapon is a violation of both resolution 2118 and of the Chemical Weapons Convention and that those responsible for its use will be held accountable, and states that any future use will trigger Chapter VII measures under the UN Charter. 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 and considers it very important that the DG brief the UNSC on the findings of the FFM in coordination with the SG as necessary, pursuant to UNSC Res. 2118. The EU lauds the professionalism and commitment of the members of the FFM and calls on all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to extend their full cooperation to the FFM and to ensure that it carries out its work in a safe, independent and effective manner.

 

Mr Chairperson,

The EU reiterates its concern about the insufficient information provided by the Syrian Government regarding questions arising from the discrepancies and inconsistencies in the initial declaration and subsequent Syrian explanations to the Technical Secretariat. It is regrettable that despite raising specific concerns repeatedly in the past, these worrying discrepancies have still to be addressed: namely the lack of original documentation, the fate of the 2000 aerial bombs that Syria claims to have converted, various questions concerning a ricin programme, the actual role of the SSRC in the Syrian chemical programme, the lack of information about small caliber munitions and, the recent analytical findings in relation to the samples taken by the DAT, showing traces of chemicals directly linked to the production of VX and sarin. The list remains long. In this vein, we reiterate our call on the Syrian Arab Republic to take all necessary measures to provide sufficient proof that it does not retain chemical capabilities and that its chemical weapons programme is fully declared and completely and irreversibly dismantled. The EU urges the Syrian Arab Republic to submit the narrative document it has been compiling and all other evidence to support its claims. It goes without saying that the Executive Council needs to continue to monitor the situation in Syria closely as well as to remain seized of the matter.

At this juncture, the EU again calls on Syria to respect the Convention and fully meet all its obligations as specified in Article IV paragraph 16 of the CWC regarding the costs arising in connection with the elimination of its chemical weapons programme and the verification thereof. The EU proposal to use the Syrian "frozen assets" to this end represents a positive move in this respect. So it is disappointing that Syria has so far rejected that option. We thus regret that Syria’s obligations under the convention in this regard are not met.

 

Mr Chairperson,

Turning to the other points of the agenda, we reiterate that achieving the goal of universality remains one of our principal challenges and call upon the few non States-Parties to the Convention to ratify or accede without delay . The European Union has found encouraging the information provided by the OPCW that some of the remaining non States-Parties are close to acceding to the Convention and is looking forward to the swift completion of this process. The EU, through its latest voluntary financial contribution, continues its active support for reaching this common objective in support of the TS activity and stresses its willingness to assist new States to meet their obligations under the Convention.

Regarding the destruction of declared stockpiles and verification thereof we call on the possessor States to continue their efforts to complete the destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the provisions of relevant decisions of the Conference of States Parties on the final extended deadlines. 

 

Mr. Chairperson,

We all want an effective OPCW, whose role will progressively have to be shifted as further progress on destruction is made from disarmament of chemical weapons to preventing their re-emergence. If it is to remain relevant, the OPCW will need to retain adequate verification capabilities. The EU supports the view that the Article VI verification regime should remain as effective as possible to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons. In addition to challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use, other means of enhancing the capabilities of the OPCW in this area should be considered, while it is important that the organization should continue having staff with the necessary skills and expertise to meet its operational requirements. The EU also welcomes the SAB’s Working Group Report on Verification which identifies important recommendations for strengthening the CWC verification regime.

Furthermore, OPCW’s close work with other relevant international organizations including the BTWC, ISU CTBTO and IAEA is of particular importance. The close cooperation between the UN and the OPCW in the Syrian operation produced many valuable lessons to be learned. These should be evaluated and followed as soon as practicable. Regular engagement and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the chemical industry and civil society, ought to be further and fully utilized. The OPCW needs to adapt its work in a changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology. The reports of the SAB provide valuable guidance in this respect.

National implementation of the Convention in accordance with Article VII remains a core objective and the EU urges all States Parties to put in place and enforce all necessary legislative and administrative measures. It is regrettable that 18 years after the Convention entered into force, a relatively high number of States Parties have yet to implement and enforce its provisions. The European Union acknowledges the often very serious challenges and competing priorities some States Parties face and continues assisting in this area, not only through the new voluntary contribution, but also through extensive outreach. We also support the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to explore new ways of achieving progress in this area including through education and outreach.

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X, which constitutes one of the core pillars of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The European Union encourages all States Parties to submit adequate and timely declarations under Article X and increase offers of assistance. It is of utmost importance that the OPCW continue to increase the capacity of the Technical Secretariat and the States Parties to prevent, respond to and mitigate misuse or attacks involving toxic chemicals. We support broadening the Technical Secretariat’s cooperation with other relevant international organizations on emergency response to the use or threat of use of chemical weapons.

The European Union 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. In the light of recent developments in different parts of the world, relevant action regarding promotion of chemical safety and security has acquired even more importance. In this respect, the work of the open-ended Working Group on terrorism needs to continue with the view to considering the recommendations contained in the report of the WG's Chair to the EC 72nd session and those contained in the Final Document of the 3rd Review Conference.

It is to be noted that 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 wish to thank the Director-General for presenting the draft Programme and Budget for 2016. We are looking forward to constructive deliberations and hoping that it will be possible for States Parties to agree on it in a timely manner.

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.

Item 8 - Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 29th Session, EU Statement, 15 червня – 3 липня 2015

Mr. President, 

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: (aligning countries)

The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action reaffirmed the principle of universality that is so fundamental to human rights. The European Union attaches great importance to this principle, but is concerned that it is sometimes misunderstood and even questioned. Allow me to quote Paragraph 5 of the VDPA in this respect:  “All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The VDPA reminds us of our collective responsibility to stand against all forms of discrimination. The European Union has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to fight discrimination in all its aspects. In this respect, we would like to underline that the universal nature of human rights includes also the responsibility to ensure equality, non-discrimination and protection from violence also for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and all others who may face discrimination on any ground. Human rights violations targeted toward persons because of their sexual orientation or gender identity constitute a global and entrenched pattern of very serious concern to the European Union.

 

Mr. President,

After the adoption of two Human Rights Council resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, this Council and its membership cannot be complacent. As pointed out by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon “the struggle for LGBT rights is one of the great, neglected human rights challenges of our time”.

There is no doubt that states have the obligation to protect all their citizens from violence and discrimination, including their lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex citizens. This is not about values and domestic law. This is about international law.

Therefore, the European Union commends those States in all regions who have pursued a variety of initiatives aimed at reducing levels of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The OHCHR report on “Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity”, officially presented during this Council session, reports on progress made across regions to address these issues.

Unfortunately, this is not the whole story. The reality in many countries is one of continuing, pervasive, violent abuse and discrimination. At least 76 States retain laws that are used to criminalize and harass people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, including laws criminalizing consensual, adult same-sex relationships. In seven States even the death penalty may be applied in cases of consensual homosexual conduct. In the past years, according to OHCHR, we have also seen laws that seek to restrict public discussion of sexual orientation under the disguise of “protecting minors” from information on so-called “non-traditional sexual relations”.

We call on these countries to repeal these laws which amount to serious human rights violations and cause immense suffering and renew our firm commitment to ensure the full realization of all human rights for LGBTI persons all around the world.

The international community cannot sit by and allow that people are being punished just for who they are or whom they love. LGBTI persons are entitled to the same human rights and fundamental freedoms as everyone else. We all should learn from our histories that persecuting people, including persons belonging to minorities, or discrimination of any kind, leads to catastrophic results. Let us be clear, being LGBTI must never be a cause for discrimination or violence, and even less for repressive action by the State that should protect them. Therefore, this Council must continue to act to protect the human rights of all, including LGBTI persons.

I thank you.

DRAFT EU Statement on item 9, Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerence, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 29th Session, 15 червня – 3 липня 2015

Mr. President,

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: (……….)

 

Mr. President,

Let me reiterate the commitment of the European Union to the promotion and protection of human rights for all without discrimination on any ground. The concept that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights lies at the core of the founding principles of the EU.

We welcome this opportunity to once again highlight the important issue of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and the need to step up efforts to ensure their elimination. We remain firmly committed to combat these phenomena both within the EU and throughout the world.

The EU has a strong legal and policy framework in place to prevent and to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Racial and ethnic discrimination is prohibited by the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as by several Regulations and Directives. The EU has also adopted legislation which bans incitement to racist, xenophobic violence and hatred. Furthermore, all EU Member States are required by EU law to set up national bodies for the promotion of equal treatment of all persons without discrimination on grounds of racial or ethnic origin. These bodies, among other tasks, provide assistance to victims of discrimination.

 

Mr. President,

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to which all EU Member States are parties. We call on all States that have not yet done so to ratify and implement this convention, which remains the universal foundation for efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate racism. What is needed is not complementary standards but full and effective implementation.

The EU further remains fully committed to the primary objectives and commitments undertaken at the 2001 Durban World Conference on combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related tolerance. We engage actively in the three working groups of the Council to that effect, namely the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, the Ad Hoc Committee on Complementary Standards, and the IGWG on the Effective Implementation of the DDPA.

Having said this, we continue to wonder whether these 6 weeks of working groups per year with more or less predictable outcomes, are money and human resources most effectively spent in the fight against racism. As we will soon be entering into negotiations on the mandate and modalities of yet another mechanism, namely the new Forum for People of African Descent, we would welcome a collective reflection with partners on ways to streamline the various mechanisms and make best use of the already scarce resources of the OHCHR budget in this crucial fight against racism worldwide.

In conclusion, the EU would like to reiterate its willingness to achieve our international commitment towards the fight against racism. This is an issue that concerns us all, and we must stand united in tackling hatred and intolerance in all its forms.

I thank you, Mr. President

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/784 implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/837 amending Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria.

On 19 May 2015, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2015/784[1] 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.

On 28 May 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/837[2] amending 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, extends the existing measures until 1 June 2016, and implements UNSCR 2199 (2015).

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.



[1] Published on 20.5.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 124, p. 13.

[2] Published on 29.5.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 132, p. 82.

EU statement on international cooperation and assistance, Inter-sessional Meeting Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, 25-26 чеврня 2015

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union.

Aligning clause

 

Mr President,

The European Union wishes to thank the Chair of the Committee on enhancement of cooperation and assistance for the Committee’s activity report. Ending the suffering and casualties caused by anti-personnel mines is a shared commitment. The European Union supports States parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention by providing assistance and helping them to fully and effectively implement the Treaty.

In the Maputo Action Plan it was reaffirmed that the Convention’s shared goals can be better advanced with enhanced ownership by States and by improved international cooperation between States seeking assistance and those that can provide it. We fully share these views. In addition to cooperation with governments at national level, international cooperation is essential to the success of work on the ground and to increase the impact of the different kinds of support that can be made available, including at local level.

We believe that mine action should increasingly be integrated into the development agenda. It can promote integration of communities by making new economic means available and tackle humanitarian impediments.

International Cooperation and Assistance can be best accomplished if synergies under other international instruments pertinent in different countries can be developed, ensuring full usage and interdependence of different programmes and projects. These synergies are equally relevant to ensure an applicable coherent legal framework.

Taking into account that anti-personnel mine issues and mine action are often a cross-border problem, the EU considers that international and regional organisations may make an important contribution to facilitating mine action between neighbouring States. This cooperation has the potential to be more cost effective and provide useful confidence-building measures between neighbouring countries or regions.

In order to ensure adequate integration of mine action into bilateral cooperation, it is necessary that mine-affected countries prioritise or sufficiently take on board mine action in their requests for general assistance, and that they make it a priority in their national indicative programmes, or if not possible, clearly mention it as sub-components of their priorities.

The EU is committed to supporting the implementation of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention. Through a number of targeted projects, which included universalisation, mine clearance and victim assistance activities, we sought to enhance the pursuit of the aims of the Convention by supporting the implementation of the Cartagena Action Plan 2010-2014. Currently, the EU and its Member States are working on new projects on how to best promote the implementation of the Maputo Action Plan. These projects will also focus on victim assistance and mine clearance activities. Efforts to support the universalisation of the Convention and its norms remain close to our hearts.

Beyond those future projects, the EU and its Member States have already contributed more than 550 Million Euro to Mine Action since the last Review Conference in Cartagena, Colombia, representing more than one third of the world's financial assistance to projects in the mine action area in heavily affected countries and areas of the world. This makes the EU and its Member States the leading donor in this area. These significant contributions are also paving the way for reconstruction and economic and social development. In 2014, the EU signed new contracts to implement projects in several areas of the world, such as Angola, Colombia, Lao PDR, Palestine, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia/Croatia, Turkey and Ukraine, amounting to a total of more than 50 million Euros.

The European Union will continue to cooperate with and, where possible, extend assistance to those States Parties that most need support in meeting their commitments under the Convention, and to non-States Parties that significantly support mine action: this will continue to be carried out in coordination with other donors and in close cooperation with countries concerned.

EU statement on victim assistance, Inter-sessional Meeting Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, 25-26 чеврня 2015

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

Aligning clause

It gives us a great pleasure to see Belgium presiding over this inter-sessional meeting, the first after the Third Review Conference of the Convention in Maputo, Mozambique last June.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mozambique for its leadership which was instrumental for a successful Review Conference.

In Maputo, States Parties of the Convention acknowledged the remarkable accomplishments achieved in eradicating anti-personnel mines, but also recognised the need to ensure the full implementation of the Convention's commitments. The new review cycle will give a renewed opportunity to States parties to translate the commitments undertaken in Maputo into tangible results.

The Convention’s norms on victim assistance are the clearest expression of the humanitarian spirit which drove its conclusion. The Maputo Action Plan adopted in June 2014 puts a focus on monitoring and supporting the implementation of the victim assistance commitments in a measurable and time bound way, as well as on the integration of victim assistance into broader national and regional policies and frameworks for disability and development. The Committee on Victim Assistance, as part of the new machinery adopted in Maputo to meet the challenges of the future, will play an important role to assist States Parties in delivering concrete results on the ground.

Important progress on providing assistance to anti-personnel mine victims has been achieved. However, more efforts are needed in order to ensure adequate assistance to victims in accordance to their needs. For the European Union victim assistance is a core component of its Mine Action Strategy. We are committed to providing concrete and sustainable assistance to victims, their families and communities.

The EU believes that in order for victim assistance efforts to be sustainable in the longer term, they need to be integrated into broader disability policies. The EU also particularly emphasises the importance of the full participation of survivors of anti-personnel mines explosions in decision-making and policy-making on issues affecting them.

Our goal is to ensure full participation of survivors in all spheres of society on an equal basis with others and in a sustainable way. This goal can be better achieved taking also into consideration the continued relevance of and synergy with other international instruments and norms. 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.

The European Union is supporting the efforts of States Parties to fulfil their victim assistance commitments and to respond to the related challenges. The EU and its Member States have committed significant funds to victim assistance in many countries and regions of the world. Victim assistance was also one of the four priority areas of EU projects in support of the Cartagena Action Plan.

The EU is now working on the elaboration of new projects in support of the Maputo Action Plan. Victim assistance will continue to be an important dimension of the new projects.

Thank you 

EU STATEMENT – ITEM 6

Mr. President,

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: [TBC]

The European Union extends its strong support for the UPR, a truly universal mechanism which has the potential to make a true difference on the ground and contribute to achieving full realisation of human rights for all.  The principles of the UPR are applicable to all UN Member States without discrimination, and the universality of the process remains a salient feature of its success.

We are pleased to observe a positive mobilizing effect of the second cycle of the UPR on both governments and civil society. We welcome the practice of voluntary mid-term reports by many States as a contribution to a more transparent process and a continuous, regular and meaningful dialogue.

The power of the UPR is embedded in the effective implementation of the accepted recommendations. In bilateral relations with all countries, the EU and its Member States are committed to raising UPR recommendations which have been accepted, as well as recommendations of treaty monitoring bodies and UN Special Procedures. The EU Member States are equally determined to ensure implementation of such recommendations within their own frontiers. The EU pays close attention to the degree of implementation by all countries of UPR commitments which they have accepted and will endeavour to provide support for their implementation.

We welcome the active role of independent National Human Rights Institutions with “A status” in the UPR process, in particular their statements immediately following the State under review.  As up to 80 per cent of the UPR recommendations include the involvement of Parliaments, we look forward to further discussions and exchange of best practices on how the parliamentarians could be more engaged in the UPR at the national level.

Independent civil society effectively brings its contribution to the UPR by speaking out and documenting human rights violations.  We underline the role of all stakeholders in the UPR process, and their active inputs in each phase of the UPR.  We are seriously concerned by any reported incident of harassment, intimidation and reprisals towards civil society representatives and their organisations, and continue to defend NGOs´ legitimate participation.

Finally, we welcome the valuable support provided by the OHCHR in the area of technical assistance and capacity building. We wish to thank the Office for its tireless work to ensure the smooth organization of the UPR process, and will continue to count on the commitment and professionalism of the Office's staff. 

HRC29 - EU statement on item 5

Mr. President,

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

(alignment para)

The EU pays tribute to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office for their dedicated work promoting and protecting human rights worldwide. To ensure that such work can be carried out with optimal efficiency and impartiality, we all need to uphold the independence of the High Commissioner and his Office and to seek the most adequate avenues to address the alarming budget situation the Office is facing.

Just before the beginning of this session of this Human Rights Council, an annual meeting took place of special rapporteurs, representatives, independent experts and working groups of the Special Procedures, unquestionably one of the most important mechanisms at the disposal of the Human Rights Council to ensure the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Communication report of the special procedures submitted to the Council clearly illustrates the intensity of activities undertaken by the mandate holders and the EU is pleased to note the impact the system has towards improving human rights on the ground. At the same time we cannot ignore the challenges the system is facing such as under finance, non-cooperation of states and reprisals.

The EU shares the view of the mandate holders that there is an urgent need to develop a systematic approach to the issue of reprisals as the current response by the UN and member states in preventing and addressing reprisals is inadequate.  We urge all States to respond to cases of alleged reprisals and to provide information to the Human Rights Council on measures taken to prevent and address acts of intimidation or reprisals, including on cases raised in the reports of the UN Secretary General.

The EU firmly believes it is essential that States fully cooperate with and assist the Special Procedures by providing all necessary information requested and by responding to their interventions. The recommendations made by Special Procedures should be interpreted as a genuine offer of assistance rather than improper criticism. We welcome discussions within the Council on the ways to improve follow-up to recommendations of the special procedures, including those made after country visits. The European Union renews its call to all states that have not done so to consider extending standing invitations to all Special Procedures.

The EU reiterates its strong commitment to the UPR and encourages all States to continue to fully cooperate with this mechanism. We also note the crucial role that technical assistance and capacity building can play in the implementation of the recommendations received during the UPR process and highly appreciate the valuable support provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in this area.

Mr President, 

The EU welcomes the "Summary of discussions" of the third Forum on Business and Human Rights as prepared by the Forum's Chair. We particularly would like to highlight the broad reflections of the Chair, and notably the "need to establish a regular and systematic process for measuring and reporting on progress made by States and business enterprises in implementing the Guiding Principles". The EU looks forward to continue its constructive engagement on this at the 4th Forum which is currently being prepared under the guidance of the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Enterprises.

The EU and its Member States also take note of the Report of the third session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on a draft United Nations declaration on the right to peace. Despite our long-term position that currently there is no legal basis for the ‘right to peace’ in international law, we have consistently expressed our willingness to engage in a discussion about the linkages between peace and the enjoyment of human rights and have on that basis participated actively and constructively in the discussions under the stewardship of the Chair-Rapporteur Christian Guillermet-Fernández of Costa Rica. We again commend him for his work and express our appreciation for the constructive nature of discussions at the third session, due in large part to his leadership. We were, however, disappointed that it was not possible to finalise on a consensual basis the work of the group in that session and we remain committed in this regard.

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day

Today we celebrate UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. Free, diverse and independent media are essential in any democratic society because without freedom of expression and media, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible. That is why press freedom is a pillar of any society. It has to be promoted and can never be taken for granted. It is thanks to the courage of many journalists that a word often neglected still has a meaning: truth. 

The EU pays tribute to those journalists and media actors who have lost their lives, been imprisoned or otherwise suffered unjust consequences for exercising their right to freedom of expression. We reaffirm our commitment to promote and protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media worldwide, and to continue to promote the safety of journalists and other media workers.

Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) are part of everyday life and provide new opportunities for the fulfilment of human rights and for social and economic development. Non-discriminatory access to information and freedom of expression for all individuals, both online and offline must be ensured and protected. The internet should remain a single, un-fragmented network, subject to the same laws and norms that apply in other areas of our day-to-day lives where individuals can benefit from their rights and from judicial remedies when those rights are infringed. These principles have been recognised in the Council Conclusions on Internet Governance of 27 November 2014 and Conclusions on Cyber Diplomacy of 11 February 2015.

The EU is committed to further strengthening international efforts aimed at the promotion of freedom of expression and welcomes the UN new special procedures mandate on the right to privacy.

Almost a year after the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Human Rights Guidelines "on freedom of expression online and offline" the EU is determined to continue to use all appropriate EU external financial instruments to further protect and promote freedom of opinion and expression and to support media freedom and pluralism.

Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, 17 травня 2015

On this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the EU stands together with LGBTI people all around the world in the struggle to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. All human beings are equal in dignity and all are entitled to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Over the past years in some parts of the world LGBTI persons have made substantial progress towards obtaining equal rights. Yet in many places they continue to suffer discrimination and violence on account of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In several countries, same sex sexual relations between consenting adults are still criminalised and carry sentences of imprisonment or even the death penalty.

We will continue to make the case for the respect of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity, in line with the EU's Guidelines on the rights of LGBTI persons. Through dialogues with third countries, our work in multilateral fora, public statements, and through our support to civil society, the EU will continue to advocate measures to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and to actively promote their rights.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU marking the passage of one year since former President Michel Sleiman of Lebanon left office

Today we mark the passage of one year since former President Michel Sleiman of Lebanon left office. This protracted Presidential vacuum poses serious risks for the country as a whole. It has undermined the functioning of all institutions and Lebanon's ability to address the difficult security, social and economic challenges facing the country.

The EU recalls the Presidential Statement adopted by the UNSC on March 19th. The EU calls on all political forces to take decisive action to elect a new President. It is crucial that all parties uphold theConstitution, fully implement the Taef Agreement, and the National Pact. The EU underlines the importance of dialogue among all political forces to overcome this deepening crisis. The EU supports Prime Minister Tammam Salam in his efforts to govern the country in such difficult times. The EU calls on all Members of the Parliament to uphold Lebanon's longstanding democratic tradition and to convene to elect a President without further delay in line with the Constitution. 

Now in its fifth year, the conflict in Syria continues to affect the stability of Lebanon. A new set of complex security threats are further exacerbating the crisis. The EU reiterates its commitment to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Lebanon. The EU calls for a renewed commitment to the dissociation policy by all political parties, putting the interest of Lebanon and its stability first. The EU fully supports the efforts of all Lebanese security agencies to maintain stability and respond to the security challenges. That is why the EU has stepped up its assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces and to the security sector as a whole. 

Also of pressing concern is the refugee crisis. The EU commends the Lebanese authorities and population for their generous efforts to host, assist and protect the refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria and, at the same time, stresses the importance of upholding human rights and humanitarian principles. The EU welcomes the indispensable work of UNHCR as well as other UN agencies and international organisations in support of Syrian refugees and host communities in Lebanon. The EU will continue to fulfil its commitment as the largest donor in Lebanon addressing the growing needs of vulnerable communities and refugees. At the donor's conference in Kuwait at the end of March the EU pledged another 1.1 billion EUR including a multi-year humanitarian and development funding for refugees and host countries. 

The EU stands by Lebanon in its efforts to address these extraordinary challenges. Our commitment in support of Lebanon is firm and lasting. The EU reaffirms its strong partnership with Lebanon anchored in our common values of democracy, pluralism and rule of law. The EU highlights the importance of upholding Lebanon's freedom and diversity as a model of moderation in the entire region.   

HRC29 - JOINT STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN BURUNDI

Mr President,

I have the honour to read this statement on behalf of a cross-regional group of XX countries.

We thank the High Commissioner for highlighting his concerns about the situation of Human Rights in Burundi, especially following his visit to this country. We also note the remarks by the special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders made after his visit to Burundi and statements issued by other Special Procedures on the human rights situation in the country.

We have serious concern about violations and abuses of human rights in Burundi, in particular those involving:

-      Excessive use of force by the security forces against demonstrators;

-      Restrictions incompatible with the right to freedom of expression including media freedom, and the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;

We further deplore a general climate of intimidation for opposition parties, journalists and civil society

We strongly condemn the assassination of the opposition figure Zedi Feruzi, as well as other politically motivated violence.

We urge the authorities of Burundi to conduct impartial and independent investigations on these and other human rights violations and abuses in order to bring those responsible to justice.

We are also concerned over the humanitarian situation of more than 100.000 Burundian refugees who fled the country towards the neighboring countries.

We are gravely concerned by the increasingly violent and threatening actions by a pro-governmental militia in Burundi, known as Imbonerakure, as they could tip an already extremely tense situation over the edge. We urge Burundian authorities to disarm all armed youth movements linked to political parties, especially the Imbonerakure, and to investigate all actions carried out by these groups, whilst ensuring that the rights and interests of children are protected.

We call all Burundian stakeholders to demonstrate their sense of responsibility, to exercise restraint, not to resort to violence, to work constructively in order to safeguard the achievements of the Arusha Agreements, and to engage in good faith in a dialogue in order to restore the necessary conditions for democratic and inclusive elections.

We believe that the Human Rights Council, as the main UN body for the promotion and protection of Human Rights, must closely monitor the situation in Burundi and play a supportive role in preventing a further worsening of the situation, complementing efforts by the United Nations, the East African Community and the African Union towards a lasting political solution to the current situation. We welcome, in this regard, the decision of the African Union to immediately deploy human rights observers to the country.

We are, therefore, encouraging the African group to reflect its leadership also within the Council and to make full use of its tools to address this situation

We encourage the Burundian authorities to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi.

We also urge the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Burundi to regularly report to the Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in the country in order to keep the Council informed about developments, and to present a report on the issue to the Council in an interactive dialogue at its 30th session.

Finally, we call on the Human Rights Council to stand ready to convene an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Burundi should the situation further deteriorate.

EU Statement on Implementing the OSCE Basel Counter-Terrorism Declarations – Joining Forces, OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group, Vienna, 19 червня 2015

1. We warmly welcome Ms. Dana Benvenisti-Gabay and Mr. Alexey Lyzhenkov to today's Mediterranean Contact Group meeting and thank them for their insightful presentations.

2. Terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation cannot be ignored by any country in the world today, as we have again been reminded by recent attacks in our partner countries and in Europe. Only last week five people have been hurt in an attack at the historic site of Karnak, in Luxor. The EU will keep supporting Egypt’s efforts to tackle violent extremism and prevent new attacks. We must stand united in our common fight against terrorism.

3. We should also concentrate our efforts on countering terrorist financing. For example, kidnapping for ransom is a common tactic for some terrorist groups to raise funds for their activities. Following the adoption of the UN Security Council Resolution 2133 calling to prevent terrorists from benefiting from ransom payments, the European Union adopted, for the first time, Council Conclusions on Kidnapping for Ransom on 23 June 2014 which aim to build upon and facilitate the implementation of UNSC resolution 2133. We need to ensure that these commitments have practical effect, and take a proactive stance against this lucrative method to raise funds by identifying best practices and integrally tracking the financial flows, including those from offshore jurisdictions.

4. Foreign Terrorist Fighters pose particular challenges that require as well global and multidisciplinary efforts. We have welcomed several initiatives such as UNSC Resolutions 2170 and 2178 (2014) that emphasise the strong commitment of the international community to act jointly and responsibly to address this challenge. In particular we noted with appreciation the strong message in Resolution 2178 that Countering Violent Extremism is an essential element of responding to the Foreign Terrorist Fighter threat in a long-term and sustainable manner, as CVE is placed for the first time in a UNSCR under chapter VII of the UN Charter implying obligations for UN Member States.

5. The EU remains committed to achieving lasting peace, stability and security in Syria, Iraq and the wider region, as well as to countering the ISIL/Da'esh threat. We will continue to contribute to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 2170, 2178, and other relevant resolutions. This will include the security measures spelled out in the EU Syria and Iraq counter-terrorism/foreign fighters’ strategy endorsed by the Council on 20 October 2014, which is an integral part of the EU's regional strategy for Syria and Iraq, as well as the Da’esh threat, as adopted on 16 March.

6. Likewise, the EU is seriously concerned at the increased activity of terrorist and extremist groups in Libya and condemns all acts of terrorism. Current political divisions and mutual mistrust between the main political stakeholders are helping terrorist groups such as Da’esh to consolidate their presence in Libya, undermining Libya’s security and posing serious challenges to its neighbours. The EU offers support to civil society in Libya and will offer support to neighbouring countries to enhance counter-terrorism capacity, including in disrupting the flow of foreign fighters.

7. We recall the conclusions of the European Council of February. The EC agreed a set of actions based on three axis: ensuring the security of citizens, preventing radicalisation and safeguarding values, and cooperating with our international partners. Also the EU Foreign Affairs Council has adopted comprehensive Conclusions on Counter-Terrorism on 9 February, with a primary focus on the Mediterranean. Five priorities have been stated that will enable the EU to contribute to the prevention of terrorism, radicalisation and violent extremism, terrorist recruitment, and financing of terrorism. The challenge now lies in implementing the Conclusions. EU counter terrorism projects, which already foresee the MENA region as a priority, are being elaborated and new programmes focused on counter-terrorism are being developed until 2016.

8. As highlighted by High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini during the second annual Southern Mediterranean Civil Society Forum, held in Brussels last month, the European Union is committed to facilitating interfaith dialogue, civil society dialogue, people-to-people contacts and academic and cultural exchanges.

9. The EU will continue its close cooperation with international initiatives and our key partners. Information sharing in order to prevent movements of foreign terrorist fighters in and out the conflict zones is one measure. We also support the implementation of recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force on good practices to fight financing of terrorism.

10.  As demonstrated by the joint meeting by the three committees earlier this week, the OSCE can play a role in combating terrorism in a cross-dimensional manner, through its human, security and economic dimensions. This was affirmed in the Declarations adopted at the 2014 OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel. The OSCE is also a forum for dialogue between participating States and Partners for Co-operation which are highly affected by terrorist threats and are invited to actively engage in these efforts.

11. The communication campaign “OSCE United in Countering Violent Extremism” could provide an occasion for participating States and Partners for Co-operation to contribute. We are looking forward to further discussing the issue in the OSCE during the upcoming Counter-Terrorism Expert Conference on Countering the Incitement and Recruitment of Foreign Terrorist Fighters on 30 June and 1 July.

12. We once again thank today's speakers for their interesting presentations. 

HC/SG Thematic Reports, Item 2/3, UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 29th Session, 15 червня - 3 липня 2015

Mr. President,

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: Aligning paragraph

We would like to thank the High Commissioner and his office for the presentation of the thematic reports under items 2 and 3.

The European Union remains fully committed to eliminate the Female Genital Mutilation worldwide. The report on good practices and major challenges in preventing and eliminating female genital mutilation is an important update on the current situation in this field, as it allows us to see the current trends and evaluate the effectiveness of applied efforts to eliminating the FGM, which is a violation of human rights and a pervasive form of gender-based violence. The EU is concerned about the reported rise of medicalization of FGM which threatens to undermine the elimination of the practice. We agree with the report’s conclusion that the inclusion of evidence-based training on FGM into medical, midwifery and nursing curricula so as to improve the diagnosis and management of the practice and to prevent its medicalization is important, as doctors and nurses are often at the frontline in helping to eliminate the practice.

Mr. President,

The EU is concerned that discrimination against LGBTI persons continues worldwide. States should take all necessary steps, in particular legislative or administrative measures, to eliminate all kind of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity including by ensuring that sexual orientation or gender orientation is no longer and under no circumstances the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests, detention or fines and to warrant that human rights violations and abuses against LGBTI persons are investigated and perpetrators held accountable and brought to justice.

We welcome the reported positive developments since 2011, including the development of national action plans on anti-discrimination, strengthening of anti-discriminatory laws and the launched public education campaigns aimed to counter homophobia, and urge continued efforts in this regard.

We regret that a number of countries have increased the use of capital punishment, sometimes reversing  a de facto moratoria or clearly violating the fair trial conditions. As 6 Special Rapporteurs warned in a statement earlier this year: by imposition of mass death sentences, courts are casting a serious shadow over the independence and impartiality of the country’s justice system. Especially disturbing also are cases in which persons who were minors at the time of the alleged commission of a crime are sentenced or executed. We call on the countries concerned to respect their obligations under international law. This was also underlined in a Special Procedures statement earlier this month. Furthermore, we call on all retentionist countries to commute the sentences of persons sentenced to death and establishes a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

Mr President,

We also want to welcome the Office report on the accountability and remedy project, which shows the complexity and multifaceted aspect of this project. We are convinced that this project, if supported by all, can allow for much needed progress in the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles. We believe this offers the best approach for addressing the issue of remedy, and for supporting the practical application of the United Nations guiding principles.

The EU notes the summary report on the outcome of the full-day discussion on specific themes relating to human rights and climate change. The European Union is committed to prevent climate change and to take action to ensure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and to pursue its climate targets through combined financial support and regulation, taking into account the human rights dimension.

Thank you.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States Agenda item 2 "International Protection", European Union, Geneva, 24 червня 2015

Mr. Chairperson,

1. I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Allow me, at the outset, to thank UNHCR for their presentation and for the note on international protection.

2. The world continues to face an unprecedented number of simultaneous large scale complex displacement crises. First among them remains Syria which has, in the last four years, forced 12.2 million people to flee their homes.

3. Given the surge of forced displacement world-wide, also the European Union is faced with a sharp increase in persons seeking refuge. Over the last year, the number of asylum applicants has almost doubled to reach a peak of 626 thousand.  And the numbers are further increasing in 2015: more than 200 thousand persons have applied for asylum in the EU only in the first three months of this year.

4. To reach safety, thousands of persons have taken on dangerous journeys to the European soil. More than 170 thousand were saved in Central Mediterranean last year and in 2015 around 100 thousand are estimated to have arrived so far.

5. In the face of the multiplication of humanitarian crises, we commend UNHCR for its robust engagement in the response to such complex emergencies. Statistics, as mentioned above, can only illustrate the scale of humanitarian need underlying the work of UNHCR.

6. With the Syrian crisis entering into its fifth year and no solution in sight and the Ukraine crisis forcing millions to flee their homes, addressing protracted displacement becomes ever more important. Working towards more durable solutions with a wide array of partners finds our full support.

7. Faced with these challenges, we welcome the focus of this year's note on international protection on the rule of law as the fundament of the stability of the international protection system.

Mr. Chairperson,

8. That is also why the European Commission has presented in May this year a European Agenda on Migration, which identifies both measures for immediate action to help prevent further tragedies and the loss of life in the Mediterranean and a new strategic medium to long-term approach to overcome structural deficits for better migration management, including in partnership with all Executive Committee Member States.

9. The objective of the Agenda is to re-build trust in the European Union's Common European Asylum System as part of the international protection framework:

(1) trust between European Union Member States through measures ensuring a coherent and correct implementation of the responsibility sharing mechanisms and the protection standards of the Common European Asylum System, combined with solidarity measures to effectively deal with sudden pressures at the European Union's external borders, thereby addressing the needs of frontline European Union Member States;

(2) trust of persons seeking protection in the European Union by guaranteeing their rights enshrined in the Common European Asylum System and making avenues for legal access to the EU more accessible;

(3) trust in the Common European Asylum System within the European Union by its citizens and outside by building partnerships worldwide.

10. The comprehensive set of immediate actions outlined in the European Agenda on Migration comprises, in addition to tripling the capacities for Frontex Joint Operations Triton and Poseidon in 2015 and 2016, and an action plan against migrant smuggling,

(1) a proposal for a temporary distribution mechanism for 40 thousand Syrians and Eritreans in need of international protection within the European Union for the benefit of Italy and Greece supported by important extra European Union funding and operational assistance from European Union executive agencies,

(2) a recommendation for a European resettlement scheme to offer, as a starting point, 20 thousand places distributed among all participating Member States for persons in need of international protection;  in the spirit of the target of 20 thousand resettlement places per year by the year 2020. In addition, the European Union is committed to using  other legal avenues available to persons in need of protection to the fullest extent, including private and non-governmental sponsorships as well as humanitarian permits, and family reunification clauses.

11. The European Union is also stepping up its efforts to improve legal channels to enter the EU, notably through the seasonal workers directive and the Blue Card directive. Meanwhile, the European Union remains committed to improve its cooperation with countries of origin and transit in order to address different aspects of migration, including root causes.

12. In terms of strategic actions, focus will be on implementing the Common European Asylum System, which will become fully applicable next month. The European Commission will propose a new systematic monitoring process to look into the application of asylum rules, thereby fostering mutual trust among European Union Member States.

13. The European Union is also committed to a more effective approach to inappropriate use of the system. In spite of the high recognition rate, more than half of all applications remain unfounded, hampering the capacity of European Union Member States to provide swift protection to those in need.

14. The European Union and European Union Member States are committed to pursuing these measures actively so as to ensure that Europe will continue to be a safe haven for those in need.

15. In its external relations, the European Union is committed to step up its support to the countries bearing the brunt of displaced refugees. Last year, more than half of the European Union humanitarian budget was dedicated to address the pressing needs of the forcibly displaced population. We continue to support partners in providing assistance and protection to the most vulnerable and in strengthening their protection and reception capacity. And we engage on seeking ways on enhancing livelihood and self-reliance opportunities for persons displaced over long period of time.

16. In this context, we welcome the cooperation of partner countries, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the UNHCR in:

(1) setting up or deepening Regional Development and Protection Programmes, starting in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, as well as by building on the existing one in the Middle East;

(2) setting up a pilot multi-purpose centre in Niger by the end of the year. The centre will combine the provision of information, local protection and resettlement opportunities for those in need. Such centres in countries of origin or transit will help to provide a realistic picture of the possible outcomes of migrants' journeys, and offer assisted voluntary return options for irregular migrants.

Mr. Chairperson,

17. The European Union remains committed to the basic corner stones of the international and European protection system: (1) the respect of the principle of non-refoulement and the right to effective access to asylum procedure; as well as (2) the restrictive use of detention of asylum seekers only as a measure of last resort.

18. The European Union also continues to support UNHCR's global campaign to eradicate statelessness, including through promoting accession to and ratification of the 1954 and 1961 UN Conventions relating to stateless persons, as well as supporting financially European Union Member States with the identification of stateless persons in the framework of asylum and other legal migration procedures. During the Luxembourg Presidency of the European Union in the second half of this year, efforts will aim at a common EU approach in view, amongst other, of the implementation of a mechanism having the ambition to determine the status of stateless persons.

19. Finally, the European Union welcomes the possibility for it to accede to the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence and actively assesses the possibilities for doing so.

Statement on the occasion of the UNIDO Industrial Development Board, European Union, Vienna, 23-25 червня 2015

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*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Norway+, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.

Mr. Chairman,

1.Let me welcome you as the Chair of this 43rd Session of the Industrial Development Board and assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the European Union's full cooperation.

2.The European Union would like to thank the Director General and the staff of UNIDO for the Annual Report and all related documents before the Board.

3.At the outset, the EU would like to reiterate its firm commitment to a well-functioning and efficiently managed Organisation. In this regard, we commend the Director General for carrying forward programme priorities from the current biennium into 2016 and 2017, and we further encourage the Organisation to continue its efforts to identify cost savings and efficiency gains.

4.The EU welcomes the initiatives of the Director General to develop partnerships with international finance institutions, the private sector and other contributors aiming at diversifying the funding sources for technical cooperation.

5.With regard to the Director General’s Annual Report for the year 2014, we take note that work carried out by UNIDO in 2014 targets its integration as a leading partner in the post-2015 development agenda debate.

6.Conclusions of 31st Session of the PBC, which adopted the biennium budget, stressed a number of important principles, including the need to actively pursue additional efficiency gains and cost-savings on an ongoing basis. While endorsing the decisions adopted by the PBC in May 2015, we would like to reaffirm these principles.

7.In this context, the EU welcomes the reflection of these principles in the new MTPF and encourages UNIDO to fully implement its provisions in all of their programmes and projects.

8.The European Union addressed many agenda items already at the session of the Programme and Budget Committee in May 2015. Our comments stand.

9.Let me just reiterate that the post-2015 development agenda gives a great opportunity to address some of these key global issues. As the EU has emphasised on various occasions, foremost among these issues are the interrelated challenges of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development in all its three dimensions (environmental, social and economic). To address these challenges in a coordinated and coherent manner, we need an ambitious agenda, which leaves no-one behind. Through MTPF and the budget UNIDO should prepare itself for the successful implementation of all relevant post 2015 goals.

10.The EU has just adopted a new set of Council Conclusions on "A New Global Partnership for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development after 2015" setting out principles and main components of such a global partnership to which all should contribute. The new global partnership should reflect the paradigm shift to a universal, transformative and inclusive agenda. UNIDO and EU priorities coincide in many areas, e.g. energy, green economy, job creation, gender, health, water, climate change, and food security. The Council Conclusions identify the private sector-led economic growth as the principle creator of jobs which thus contributes to poverty reduction. The private sector should be fully engaged in the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda. Private finance, including finance from institutional investors, is larger than all public resources combined. Thus, creating a conducive and stable business environment for the private sector and investments is the key, including level playing fields for competition, as are accountable and efficient institutions acting in accordance with the rule of law.

11.The EU and UNIDO can promote structural transformation of the economy and an enabling environment for innovation, entrepreneurship, business and trade. The recent Council Conclusions state that the agenda must recognise that environmental sustainability is fundamental to ensuring the sustainable prosperity and well-being of all people within planetary boundaries. It must unlock the drivers of the green economy, make our economies and lifestyles more equitable and sustainable and more effective in reducing poverty. Full and productive employment and decent work are also the key to addressing inequality and social exclusion. These are all areas in which both the EU and UNIDO are active and cooperating and where we will all be able to contribute to implementing the post-2015 agenda.

12.Policy coherence is needed to promote the positive impacts, while limiting or ideally eliminating the negative impacts of industrial activities. Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is of great importance to the EU in the post-2015 context. Key priorities are promoting the use of energy and resource efficient and environmentally friendly products and gradually eliminating environmentally harmful subsidies. Production issues include promoting innovative and resource-efficient production; corporate sustainability reporting; product life cycle assessment; sustainable construction; waste and chemicals management; as well as the promotion of eco-entrepreneurship and eco-innovation. A stable, predictable and transparent legal regime based on the rule of law creates an environment conducive to investment, enterprise and growth. We are convinced that our priorities and UNIDO's activities can well be implemented together.

13. Achieving women’s economic empowerment requires a long-term and comprehensive approach which recognises that women’s economic opportunities and outcomes are shaped by what happens in the economy, but also in social affairs, such as access to quality secondary and tertiary education, respectful reproductive healthcare, and more equal gender power relations in the family and wider society. We recall that gender equality policies are vital for economic growth, prosperity and competitiveness and we reaffirm the need to reinforce governance by integrating a gender perspective into all policy areas. We would appreciate more engagement of the Organisation in the promotion of equal opportunities for women in production and trade, equal economic rights, equal access to the labour market. UNIDO should also make additional efforts to increase the percentage of women in the Organisation, in particular in the professional and managerial category of posts.

14.UNIDO and the EU share a common interest to continue cooperating. At present, this takes the form of EU-funded regional and national projects and programmes in over 80 countries. Over the last 10 years they have amounted to around 95 million euro and centred on poverty reduction through productive activities. The EU has also started to work with UNIDO in sustainable energy, green economy and sustainable and cleaner production patters – all of them strategic sectors. We are open to discussing with UNIDO new projects and programmes that match our partners' priorities in areas where UNIDO has established expertise and can provide value for money. Our future cooperation should look to further mobilise the private sector and deliver holistic, inclusive and sustainable development. Cooperation between the EU and UNIDO has been steadily growing in the last years.

15.The European Union underlines the importance of an experienced and independent evaluator of the Organisation of its programmes and projects as an essential asset for the mobilisation of financial resources from donors and partners.

16.We encourage UNIDO to adopt a more balanced approach focused on qualitative and quantitative success criteria, to scale up the projects, and to diversify its sources of funding, including through public-private partnerships.

17.We encourage recipient countries and UNIDO to take the lead in accessing funds available at the country level, as many Member States as well as the European Commission have adopted a decentralised pattern of technical cooperation.

18.We reiterate our commitment to cooperation with UNIDO and our interest in the continued dialogue with the Organisation. We highly value the exchange of information between the Secretariat and Member States and continue calling upon the Secretariat to organise regular briefings on UNIDO's activities.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

EU Statement on the Abduction by the Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer, OSCE Permanent Council No 1060, Vienna, 18 червня 2015

1. Nine months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September 2014 by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory. His abduction and continuing illegal detention constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

2. The illegal detention of Mr Kohver has once again been prolonged, he has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive adequate legal aid. We are disturbed that there is no public hearing of the case and that the Estonian consul is not allowed to be present at the court hearings.

3. Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue. The EU calls once again on the Russian Federation to release Mr Kohver immediately and to ensure his safe return to Estonia.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1060, Vienna, 18 червня 2015

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned about the ongoing ceasefire violations around Donetsk airport and in other parts of eastern Ukraine. The SMM’s reports on the return and growing presence of heavy weapons in locations on both sides of the line of contact add to our concern. This notably includes the recent observation of more than 50 battle tanks in a separatist-controlled area by an SMM UAV. This was the highest number recorded so far in one place. The increasing presence of heavy weapons is a violation of the Minsk agreements. Any attempts to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution. The European Union reiterates its call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments, and underlines the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons should be released in line with the Minsk agreements, including Nadiya Savchenko and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in Russia and the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula.

2. We welcome the fact that the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE Chairmanship has met as planned in Minsk this Tuesday after the meetings of its working groups. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue its work in its current format, with participants fully engaged, in good faith and in a constructive spirit. The Trilateral Contact Group is and must remain the driving force behind the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

3. Three of the four working groups under the auspices of the Trilateral Contact Group have met on Tuesday. All working groups must work very hard indeed to ensure progress is made. Each of the four areas that they cover is essential to the implementation of the Minsk agreements. And let us not forget that all of the issues being discussed are of direct importance to the well-being of the civilian population.

a. On security, measures for de-escalation remains an essential priority, including ensuring full respect for the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons. The provision of baseline data to the SMM would be a useful step in this regard. Ensuring safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM must be a priority. Progress is also needed on securing local ceasefires, such as in Shyrokyne.

b. On political affairs, we stress the importance of the holding of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and relevant OSCE standards and monitored by ODIHR. We note from the report on ODIHR’s recent security assessment mission that separatist restrictions on access prevented ODIHR from assessing if the security environment permits any observation activities. This is simply unacceptable. ODIHR must be granted full and unrestricted access, as well as security guarantees. 

c. On IDPs and refugees and humanitarian assistance, agreement on an international mechanism to ensure safe access, delivery, storage, and distribution of humanitarian assistance, as agreed in Minsk, remains crucial. There is no better way to convince us that the so-called ‘humanitarian’ assistance from Russia is genuine. We would like to ask our Russian colleagues to confirm that they are indeed ready to discuss this issue in the working group under the Trilateral Contact Group.

d. Finally, we hope that the working group on economic affairs and rehabilitation, when it meets next week, will find an agreement on the concrete proposals under discussion.

4. Mr Chair, the European Union 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, to contribute to stabilise the situation, and to 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.

Заява від імені ЄС в рамках дебатів РБ ООН щодо захисту дітей у збройних конфліктах

Mr. President,

I have the honour of speaking on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

The Candidate Countries ….align themselves with this statement.

I want to warmly thank today´s briefers and in particular SRSG Zerrougui whom we strongly support. We also want to thank the Malaysian Presidency of the Council for organizing the debate today.

Mr President,

2014 has frequently been cited as the worst year for children affected by armed conflict. The Secretary-General speaks in his new annual report to the Council of "unprecedented challenges [in 2014] for the protection of tens of millions of children growing up in countries affected by conflict". Protracted armed conflicts and current crises affect far too many children around the world, keeping them away from school and exposing them to the risk of recruitment and use as soldiers. Atrocities against children that have made headlines, including Boko Haram's abduction of hundreds of women and girls in Chibok or the abductions in Syria and Iraq committed by ISILremind us of the special vulnerabilities and needs of girls in this context.

The "increase in the frequency and scale of abductions" as noted in the report of the Secretary-General is alarming. In view of this increase, but also in view of the fact that abductions are one of the 6 grave violations that are being reported on under the monitoring and reporting mechanism, it is only logical to add abduction as a fifth trigger that leads to listing in the annexes of the SG's report. In many cases abductions are a precursor of other violations such as recruitment and use or sexual violence. [We therefore very much welcome today's adoption of the resolution of the Council that adds abduction as a trigger and we are grateful for Malaysia's leadership in this regard. We hope that in consequence this will lead to the conclusion of action plans with listed parties that commit abductions]. We strongly condemn abductions of children and call on all parties to release all abducted children immediately.

In several cases extremist groups have abducted school children to punish them for attending schools. This reminds us of the importance of education not only for children's development, but also as a powerful cool to contribute to the prevention of violent extremism and of conflict. Consequently, more has to be done to better protect schools from attack and to deter the military use thereof in accordance with international law. We welcome the Council's commitment, stated inter alia in resolution 2143 for enhanced monitoring of and reporting on the military use of schools.

Many of the abductions are committed by non-state armed actors which also form the vast majority of listed parties. During the last open debate in March under the French Presidency we discussed possible measures to effectively address this phenomenon. We are grateful for the non-paper circulated by France that compiles a summary of the proposals presented during the debate. We believe that many of these proposals merit a concrete follow-up. Unconditional access for the UN to non-state armed actors is essential for the adoption of action plans to end and prevent violations and more importantly for steps towards their effective implementation.

In order to prevent future violations it is vital to hold those responsible accountable. A high number of the parties have been listed for at least 5 years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. Fighting impunity needs to be part and parcel of our actions and whereas the primary responsibility lies with states, the ICC has an essential role to play in this regard.

Furthermore, the inclusion of child protection provisions in the mandates of peace operations and mandatory pre-deployment training on child protection for all UN troop and police contingents are crucial measures to ensure the effective protection of children on the ground.

Mr. President,

In this context, the European Union is strengthening its capacity on child protection both atheadquarters and at operational level. We are mainstreaming the issue of children affected by armed conflict in our Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) missions and operations. This year, the EU is again organizing specific training on children and armed conflict for its staff and that of its Member States. Pre-deployment child protection training modules for civilian and military personnel have also been finalised and are taught in the context of preparations for deployment of EU and third country personnel as part of EU, UN, OSCE and AU civilian stabilization missions. Successful reintegration of children back into society is a matter of primary concern for achieving sustainable peace and development. That is the reason why we are funding reintegration measures for released child soldiers, for example in South Sudan. We plan to launch this year a specific call for proposals from civil society organizations on future projects on children associated with armed forces and groups as well as children impacted by violence. The EU and its MemberStates also continue to support the "Children, not Soldiers" campaign of SRSG Zerrougui and UNICEF. We welcome progress achieved so far and hope for a successful conclusion in 2016. 

Mr. President,

The 10th anniversary of the adoption of ground breaking Council resolution 1612 in July this year should provide a new impetus to the UN and its Member States to give the protection of children affected by armed conflict the highest priority and to ensure that everything is being done to provide children with better prospects for their future.

Thank you.

EU Statement on the Effectiveness of the Vienna Document Regime and Regional CSBMs in Crisis Situations, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 792, 17 червня 2015

The European Union (EU) and its Member States warmly welcome today's speakers to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank them for the interesting and thought provoking presentations on the effectiveness of the Vienna Document (VD) regime and regional Confidence and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) in crisis situations.

We would like to recall from the outset that Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine challenge our security. At the same time, the crisis in and around Ukraine strongly reminds us of the significant role the Vienna Document and its broad set of CSBMs could play not only in confidencebuilding but also in early warning and risk reduction, if duly implemented. This is equally true for other instruments pertaining to the OSCE politico-military dimension of security as well as for the FSC itself as a platform for cooperative security and dialogue.

Against this background, we see the full implementation, updating and modernization of the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area, based on founding OSCE principles and agreed norms, as a priority task. We reiterate that such process should reflect the experience and lessons learned during the Ukraine crisis.

We believe that despite fundamental differences in the analysis of the crisis, a common set of conclusions on what is needed to strengthen the Vienna Document could be conceivable. We call on all participating States to redouble their efforts in this respect, notably in view of the reissuing of the Vienna Document in 2016.

Valuable ideas have been gathered over years but a substantive and balanced modernisation package remains to be agreed.

In the current circumstances, a commitment to strengthen the Vienna Document doubtlessly requires political will. However, a more resilient document in times of crises will yield long-term security gains for all participating States outweighing the political reservations that have paralysed the dialogue on updating the Vienna Document to this day.

This is why we support discussions aimed at identifying ways to improve specific provisions of the Vienna Document in the light of the crisis in and around Ukraine. In this context, we welcome the FFT paper on reinvigorating the dialogue on the VD Chapter III, circulated by Greece, and remain ready to take an active part in the discussions within a dedicated format.

We equally support continued general discussions on conventional arms control under the FSC Security Dialogue. Such discussions should be coherent with related activities, create added value and avoid duplication with other formats. We highly appreciate today's Security Dialogue contribution to this end as well as the impetus given by the Helsinki+40 coordinator during the last Security Dialogue devoted to the same topic.

With regard to the presentation by Major General Michele Tores, former Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office for Article IV Agreement, we reiterate with satisfaction that under his 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. We thank General Torres and his team for their outstanding personal engagement.

We see this important achievement as being the outcome of the consistent efforts and political will of the State Parties, ably assisted by the CIO Personal Representative, to re-build security in the aftermath of a terrible war. Article IV Agreement is in that way a compelling example of how military confidence-building and mutual trust and transparency could underpin long term peace and stability.

This is the reason why we continue to strongly believe that this important subregional arms control regime remains a positive model to be emulated in other subregions in the Euro-Atlantic area. We take this occasion to restate our strong support to the State Parties for continuing the implementation of Article IV Agreement in good faith.

In concluding, let us reiterate our understanding that CAC and CSBMs regimes are not designed to solve conflicts. Conventional arms control first and foremost enhances predictability and, by reducing different threat perceptions, contributes to security, stability and mutual trust. Strong CAC regimes can thereby support political solutions.

Statement on the occasion of the 44th Session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission, 18-19 червня 2015

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. The European Union also expresses its appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports, and you, Mr Chairman, and the PTS for preparing this meeting.

3. At the outset, we would like to welcome Cuba in the meetings of the CTBTO as observer. We see this positive development as a first step towards the signing and ratification of the Treaty by Cuba.

Mr Chairman,

4. The CTBT plays a central role in underpinning the international non-proliferation regime and our efforts towards global disarmament. The European Union is, therefore, strongly committed to the entry into force and universalisation of the CTBT. We reaffirm the vital importance of the entry into force of the Treaty and urge all States which have not yet signed or ratified the CTBT, in particular the eight remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without further delay. We are pleased that a large number of States at the 2015 NPT Review Conference (RevCon) reaffirmed their strong support for the CTBT, although we deeply regret that there was no possibility to express this support in an NPT RevCon Final Document. In the course of the RevCon, the European Union confirmed its commitment to the CTBT in various ways, including in an EU working paper on the CTBT. We believe that the broad support for the CTBT expressed by States parties to the Non-proliferation Treaty should be used as a basis for further actions to promote the entry into force and universalisation of the CTBT in the post-2015 NPT RevCon period.

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 increasing performance of its verification regime. The Organisation has demonstrated its ability to effectively monitor the compliance with the Treaty and to provide the international community with independent and reliable means to ensure compliance with it once it enters into force. We call again on the DPRK to refrain from any further nuclear test or any other provocative action, and to join the moratorium on nuclear tests, as well as to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

6. The IFE14 in November/December 2014 was the largest and the most technologically advanced simulated on-site-inspection (OSI) exercise ever conducted by the CTBTO. The successful IFE14 marks a key milestone in the development of the CTBTO verification regime and is a major step for further advancing towards OSI operational readiness. We commend the Jordanian hosts, the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff and all international experts involved for a job well done. The successful conduct of the exercise will help us with the promotion of the ratifications of the Treaty. It is essential that the IFE continues to be carefully evaluated and that a timely and sustainable solution for the Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) is found. We are looking forward to learning about the latest developments on this issue during this Preparatory Commission.

7. 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. We once again congratulate the PTS for the achievements in the realisation of the IDC Progressive Commissioning Plan, and welcome the move to Phase 5b of this Plan. We look forward to the progress in the implementation of Phase 5b. We are pleased to note that the timeliness of the Reviewed Radionuclide Reports has improved and that the Reviewed Event Bulletins now meet the provisional Operation and Maintenance Guidelines.

8. A renewed focus on technology and effectiveness will now be important in order to ensure that the IDC does not lag behind the other verification areas. It is important that sufficient resources be dedicated to ensure that the quality and timeliness of Reviewed Event Products can now be improved upon. To this end, we welcome the suggestion to implement new tools and processes to achieve efficiencies in analysis and operations. We believe this will assist all those States who rely on the IDC for accurate and timely reports. The improvements to the Global Communications Infrastructure and re-engineering of the IDC application software will also be key measures to keep the IDC up-to-date.

9. Regarding the IMS, we are encouraged by the PTS proposals for stations that will be built in the coming financial period in South America and Africa, and we commend those countries that are assisting with this process.

Mr Chairman,

10. The EU and its Member States welcome the efforts of the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat and the employment terms for temporary staff members. We believe, however, that further measures are needed in this field and that a fully staffed human resource team is an urgent requirement.

11. We support the recommendation of Working Group A to approve the introduction of biennial budgeting and consider the initial draft 2016-2017 Programme and Budget proposals (CTBT/PTS/INF.1321) as the basis for further discussion. We also support the WGA recommendation to approve the amendments to the Commission’s Financial Regulations and Rules for the establishment of the multiyear funding modality. We consider multiyear funding as being of the utmost importance to financing verification-related investments. We look forward to receiving information detailing the funds to be established under the multiyear funding modality and the relevant appropriations for each fund, in an addendum to the initial draft Programme and Budget put forward by the PTS.

12. By signing the CTBT States take on obligations including supporting the Organisation. We therefore encourage all States to pay their assessed contributions to the Preparatory Commission in full and on time, as mentioned in the report of the external auditor. These contributions are essential for the proper functioning of the Organisation. We would therefore welcome any additional information on the timeliness of payments.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

13. We would like to commend you for your work to develop procedures for appointment of the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Working Group A and Working Group B. We are, however, concerned at the lack of progress and consensus to date. These Working Groups are separate bodies of the Preparatory Commission with different mandates, requiring different professional skills and qualifications for their officers. Whilst we have been willing to accommodate different views in order to seek consensus, the term of office for WGB Chair should not be decreased beyond three years established by the 25th session of the Preparatory Commission. In addition, any proposed language should not be at the expense of undermining the professional quality of these offices.

14. We also believe it remains essential that candidates are selected from the widest possible groups ensuring quality and consistency, whilst encouraging suitable nominations from all regions. We have consistently been a strong supporter of wider geographical representation. For example, funding from both EU Council Decisions and individual Member States of the EU have been instrumental to the Pilot Project bringing experts to Working Group B. We believe that these experts are crucial to the future of the CTBTO as a source of potential candidates for various positions.

15. We would therefore stress that it is of paramount importance that meritocracy be maintained while promoting geographic representation. In order to run an effective and efficient organisation, we should only accept candidates with the best technical qualifications, experience and competence. We look forward to further discussions on this topic.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 792, Vienna, 17 червня 2015

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support for all diplomatic efforts, including the Trilateral Contact Group and the Normandy format, aimed at achieving a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

We remain deeply worried by the continuing significant deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in some parts of Donbas. The Russia-backed separatists' attack on Marinka on 3 June constitutes the most serious violation of the ceasefire regime since the signature of the Minsk agreements in February. Despite the warnings of the international community that renewed intense fighting risks unleashing a new spiral of violence and human suffering, the SMM continues to observe large concentrations of military hardware in areas controlled by the separatists.

Such negative developments are coupled with continued incompliance of the sides with their commitments under the Minsk agreements to withdraw all heavy weapons from the exclusion zone and increasing number of ceasefire violations along the line of contact, in particular around Donetsk airport and in the vicinity of Shyrokyne.

We reiterate that any attempts by the separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting sustainable political resolution. The ceasefire must be fully respected and all heavy weapons withdrawn and kept in storage sites open to regular verification by the SMM. The implementation of the Minsk agreements, to which all sides have declared their commitment, can only succeed on the basis of such a ceasefire, permanent withdrawal of heavy weapons and regular and effective monitoring and verification. We underline Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

Furthermore, we reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state 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 regret that the separatists continue to prevent the SMM from gaining full access to the border areas. We call on Russia to use its influence with the separatists to ensure the SMM has unfettered access and the necessary security conditions to permit full and effective monitoring of areas of Ukraine’s border not currently under its control.

In this context, we deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

At the same time, we remain deeply concerned about the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and in Crimea as well as the ever growing evidence of the longstanding direct involvement of active military personnel of the Russian Federation in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Against this background, we reiterate our call on Russia to withdraw all heavy weapons and its armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements.

Madam Chairperson, we take note of yet another Ukrainian request for an explanation of Russian unusual military activities, including numerous cases of violation of the Ukrainian airspace by Russian UAVs conducting reconnaissance flights, circulated under reference number CBM/UA/15/0053/F10/O. We take this occasion to urge Russia once again to stop any violations of Ukrainian airspace and to contribute to restoring security, trust and confidence in the OSCE region by making full use, both in letter and spirit, of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

Item 2 – Update by the High Commissioner - EU statement – REV2 - FINAL

Mr. President, 

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: [to be completed]

We thank the High Commissioner for presenting his update to the Human Rights Council on the work of his Office. We reiterate our full support for the independence and integrity of the mandate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the invaluable contributions that the Office continues to make in the protection and realization of human rights for all.

Your update paints a grim picture of human rights violations, some amounting to crimes against humanity, taking place on a dramatic scale in many parts of the world.  The world must unite in its condemnation of these violations and abuses, such as those of women and girls in the areas controlled by non-state actors. Non-state actors must be held accountable for their crimes, and the responsibility lies with the State to protect its population from acts of terror and to ensure accountability through the rule of law.

The increase in migration flows, smuggling and trafficking of human beings, and the associated human rights abuses, are global phenomena of rising concern. We must deal better with the root causes of migration.  Migration policies and measures of better migration flows management must be consistent with international human rights standards and human dignity. We share the concern of the High Commissioner about the human rights of migrants. Therefore, the EU has requested to hold an Enhanced Interactive Dialogue on the issue to take place today.

At our very border, the EU remains deeply concerned by the growing number of victims and serious human rights violations and abuses in the eastern Ukraine and further deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea following its illegal annexation, particularly the continuing persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatars and those who oppose the de facto authorities. We welcome the excellent work 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. We highly value receiving these comprehensive reports on a regular basis.

Turning to Burundi, the EU is increasingly worried about serious human rights violations committed daily, especially by the youth movement affiliated to the majority party, known as the Imbonerakure.  Violence has already forced more than 100.000 people to flee Burundi, including journalists, members of the opposition political parties, high ranking military and police officials and even some of the members of CENI (Commission Electoral National Independent). We call on the authorities to take immediate and concrete measures to stop the violence, disarm urgently Imbonerakure,  protect all citizens from intimidation and guarantee the respect for their human rights. In light of such serious developments the Human Rights Council cannot remain silent.

Once more, we take the opportunity to thank the High Commissioner for his leadership and vocal role in contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights at all levels.

Statement by Ms. Judit Körömi, Chair of the EU Working Group on Non-Proliferation at the Plenary Meeting of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism Helsinki, OSCE Permanent Council No 1059, 16-17 червня 2015

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [alignment clause]

2. Allow me to thank the Government of Finland for its hospitality and commitment to the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism (GICNT). I would like to reconfirm the EU's commitment to this Initiative, as well as our constant support for its objective to enhance global capacity to prevent, detect and respond to nuclear terrorism.

3. I would like to use this opportunity to highlight the progress that the EU has made since the 2013 Plenary in support of the objectives promoted by the GICNT.

4. The implementation of the EU CBRN Action Plan adopted in 2009 has continued. Among the most important achievements, I would like to highlight the following:

- Since its inauguration in 2013, the EU Nuclear Security Training Centre for detection and response to illicit acts with nuclear and other radioactive materials (EUSECTRA) is fully operational for the benefit of EU Member States and partner countries, among them several GICNT members. The Centre is operated by the EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) at its sites in Karlsruhe (Germany) and Ispra (Italy), in close co-operation with other international initiatives promoted by the IAEA and various GICNT partner nations. The Centre is also used for practical exercises mainly related to countering nuclear smuggling. The EU was pleased to co-organise the Joint Nuclear Detection Working Group / Nuclear Forensics Working Group Workshop and Table-Top Exercise "Radiant City" on 5-7 May 2015 in Karlsruhe, at the premises of the JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements, which focused on the technical application of nuclear forensic science in support of an investigation into the illicit trafficking of nuclear materials within a state's border and which was attended by 70 experts from 27 Partner Countries.

- With regard to the nuclear security detection technologies, a joint EU-US report on the evaluation of the state-of-the-art technologies used for the detection and identification of nuclear and radioactive materials will be shared with the international community, including GICNT partners.

- The European Commission and the EU Member States have continued their activities in the field of nuclear forensics for the basic characterisation of intercepted nuclear material, using an advanced nuclear forensic investigation at the JRC's Institute for Transuranium Elements.

- Also, the European Commission's on-going support, through the JRC, to the IAEA Illicit Trafficking Database, has been acknowledged by the Agency for the improvements made on reporting done through the modernisation of the website of the Incident Notification Forms. The EU's support will continue.

5. The EU has consistently provided political and financial support to the UNSCR 1540. In particular, the EU shares the objectives to assist states with identifying specific technical assistance, raise awareness of relevant programs of technical assistance, and enhance cooperation with international and regional organizations to help with national capacity building.

6. The EU CBRN Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, launched in 2010 under the Instrument for Stability, aims at implementing a comprehensive strategy for reducing national and international vulnerability to CBRN risks. The origin of these risks can be criminal, accidental or natural. The initiative is developed with the technical support mainly of the EU Member States and the partner countries. The initiative focuses on strengthening institutional capabilities of the partner countries to mitigate CBRN related risks on a regional basis. This is achieved also through the establishment of eight regional secretariats, the building up of CBRN national teams and the implementation of projects proposed by partner countries based on their own needs. To date, 51 countries already joined the initiative and more are considering joining. Following a voluntary approach, CBRN Needs Assessments have been carried out in 19 partner countries and National Action Plans have been finalised in 8 countries. A wide range of activities including 47 regional projects, as well as high level meetings, technical workshops and trainings are being implemented. Regions cover Eastern Europe and Caucasus, Africa (Atlantic Façade, North Africa and Sahel, Central and Eastern Africa), Middle East, Central Asia and South East Asia, again in close cooperation with the partner countries.

The EU export Control Dual Use Outreach Programme will continue in more than 20 countries after a review enhancing its effectiveness. This work is integrated in the CoE initiative.

Similarly and also as part of the overall preventive approach and in accordance with the New Lines for Actions by the EU in combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, the work of the Science Centres in Ukraine and in Kazakhstan is strengthened to promote a nuclear security culture, via trainings and projects. The new International Science and Technology Centre continuation Agreement will be initialled by the end of June in Astana.

7. The EU continues to implement the Euratom Safeguards system, which for over fifty‑five years has safeguarded all civil nuclear materials in the European Union, ensuring that nuclear materials are not diverted from their declared uses. To this end, the European Commission maintains the database of all civil nuclear materials in the EU. The Commission works in close cooperation with the IAEA, performing joint inspections in the installations of the EU.            

8. The EU intends to advance other concrete contributions for the purposes of the Initiative. Some of these contributions are activities closely coordinated with the IAEA. The EU continues to provide support for the IAEA Nuclear Security Fund, to which it is a key donor, and has committed, in addition to Member States contributions, around EUR 40 million since 2004.

9. At the end of 2013, the EU adopted a revised Directive on Basic Safety Standards which amongst other things integrated the EU’s controls of high-activity sealed sources into the Basic Safety Standards and aligned the definition of a high-activity sealed source with the IAEA’s definition. Implementation of the former EU Directive on high-activity sealed radioactive sources has been thoroughly studied in the framework of the CBRN Action Plan.

10. All these activities underpin the GICNT's objectives. The EU is actively involved in the work of the GICNT Implementation and Assessment Group (IAG), in all areas discussed (nuclear detection, nuclear forensics and response & mitigation). The EU has actively contributed to the substance of all reference documents of the IAG working groups. The EU would also like to thank and congratulate the Republic of Korea for its role and achievements in its capacity as GICNT IAG Coordinator, and to express full support to its successor, the Netherlands.

11. I would like to assure you that the EU remains strongly committed and well prepared to contribute, in a tangible and constructive way, to the future activities of the GICNT. The EU will continue to be actively involved in working together with the other partner nations and observers to the GICNT in order to strengthen international co-operation to advance nuclear security worldwide, also by upholding the importance of the UN 2005 International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and its implementation by its signatories and states parties.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council No 1059, 11 червня 2015

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures.

2. We remain deeply concerned about the health of Nadiya Savchenko who was abducted and illegally transferred to Russia in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. We deeply regret yesterday’s decision by a Moscow city court to extend the pre-trial detention of Nadiya Savchenko until 30 September. We underline that Russia bears responsibility for the health, wellbeing and observance of the human rights of all the persons it illegally detains, in particular the right to a fair trial. This pertains to Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov, Crimean activist Oleksandr Kolchenko, and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula. 

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. 

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1059, 11 червня 2015

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned by the recent increase in heavy fighting near Donetsk airport. The Russia-backed separatists’ attack on Maryinka last week constituted the most serious violation of the ceasefire since February. We also remain concerned about continuing fighting in other parts of eastern Ukraine, including in and around Shyrokyne where the SMM has been forced to suspend its monitoring activities due to the security situation. Adding to our concern is the apparent return and growing presence of heavy weapons in locations on both sides of the contact line not consistent with the Minsk agreements. We note the recent detailed observations by the SMM of concentrations of heavy weapons and equipment in separatist-controlled areas, including main battle tanks, armoured personnel carriers as well as artillery pieces. We reiterate that any attempts to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

2. We once again underline the importance we attach to the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. We deeply regret the announcement that Ambassador Tagiliavini will terminate her position as the Chairmanship’s representative. She has tirelessly and courageously worked for peace in Ukraine and the restoration of the respect for OSCE commitments and principles under very challenging conditions. We ask you Mr Chairperson to convey to ambassador Tagliavini our gratitude and our great admiration for her work. We agree with her message to the Permanent Council on 27 May that the Trilateral Contact Group must continue its work in its current format and continue to be the driving force behind the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We therefore call on the parties of the Trilateral Contact Group to redouble their efforts and to build on the progress made in its four working groups on security, political affairs, IDPs and refugees and humanitarian assistance as well as economic affairs and rehabilitation. We continue to believe that the working groups through their contributions to the work of the Trilateral Contact Group should facilitate a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all parties, based on OSCE’s principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We also once again express our support to the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating a full implementation of the Minsk agreements and welcome yesterday’s meeting at the level of political directors.

3. Mr Chairman, in line with the Minsk agreements the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. We recall the European Council Conclusions of March 19-20 in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

4. We remain concerned about the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk Package of implementation measures. We also reiterate the importance we attach to the provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process. This includes the holding of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and relevant OSCE standards and monitored by ODIHR, including by providing ODIHR with secure and unfettered access. We underline the need for early agreement to enable the local elections to proceed.

5. We note with deep concern from the SMM's reports that the mission continues to experience serious security incidents and face restrictions in its monitoring activities. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory, including along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We once again urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM and to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

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 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 in Response to the Report by the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, OSCE Permanent Council No 1059, 11 червня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints, Mr Paul Picard, back to the Permanent Council. We thank him for his comprehensive and interesting report.

2. Recent developments have once again underlined the vital importance of border monitoring in view of information about the continuing inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from Russia. We reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state 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 calls for effective monitoring of the border and verification by the OSCE and that the Minsk Package of implementation measures includes a commitment to re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border.

3. The Observer Mission’s very limited mandate and its small size does not provide for a comprehensive border monitoring. We therefore encourage the Chairmanship continue consultations in order to meet the calls from the overwhelming majority of participating States for a significant expansion of the Observer Mission to all border crossings currently not under control of the Ukrainian government as well as monitoring between these border crossings. This should be supported and coordinated with border monitoring on the Ukrainian side of the border by the SMM.

4. We regret that the Russian Federation has so far resisted such an expansion of the Observer Mission. We likewise regret that the Russia-backed separatists continue to prevent the SMM from gaining full access to the border. We call on Russia to use its influence with the separatists to ensure the SMM has unfettered access and the necessary security conditions to permit full and effective monitoring of areas of Ukraine’s border not currently under its control. 

5. Mr Chairman, despite its limited mandate and size, the Observer Mission continues to provide evidence of far-reaching and ongoing support for the separatists provided from Russia. We note the regular reports of a high number of people, almost 7000 during the reporting period, crossing the border wearing military style clothes and camouflage. And we note the reported transfers of ambulances, including with persons in military-style dress, and “Cargo 200” lorries through the checkpoints, implying the return to Russia of military personnel killed in action.

6. We are disturbed by reports of Russian so-called humanitarian convoys crossing the border at the Donetsk checkpoint without proper control or inspection by Ukrainian authorities. These convoys continue without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. We call on Russia to provide, without delay, the Mission’s members with the appropriate privileges and immunities. We also call on Russia to remove the access restrictions at the Gukovo border crossing that limit the Mission’s staff to only 3 percent of the area of the crossing point.

8. We once again thank Mr Picard and his staff for their excellent work. We wish Mr Picard every success in his future endeavours. 

EU statement in Response to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, H.E. Mr. Nikola Poposki and Special Representative of CiO for the Western Balkans, H.E. Ambassador Gerard Stoudmann, OSCE Permanent Council No 1059, 11 червня 2015

1. The EU warmly welcomes Minister Poposki and Ambassador Stoudmann to the OSCE Permanent Council. We thank you for sharing your views on the political situation in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

2. Mr Foreign Minister, your country has been in our minds in the recent weeks. Concerned by the current political crisis, the Council of the European Union previously was obliged to underline the deteriorating situation in the country. While reaffirming its engagement in the accession process, the EU calls for political parties in the country to assume their respective responsibilities and take immediate measures towards a sustainable solution, constructively engage in political dialogue and restore trust in the institutions by adequate political steps. Some positive steps have been taken earlier this month when a political agreement was reached between the four main political parties in the country. But a range of problems remain to be addressed in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It is time for the country’s authorities to urgently tackle the pressing challenges through serious reforms in the key areas, including political dialogue, rule of law, independence of the judiciary and state institutions, freedom of expression and the media, the implementation of the 2001 Ohrid Framework Agreement and strengthening good neighbourly relations.

3. The EU welcomes the progress made so far by the leaders of the four main political parties at their meetings on 2 June in Skopje and 10 June in Brussels, facilitated by Commissioner Hahn and urges them to rapidly reach an agreement on the outstanding issues.

4. The EU welcomes the parties' commitment to implement all recommendations of the European Commission in relation to systemic rule of law issues, including those revealed by the wiretaps. We emphasize the European Commission's intention to monitor and report on progress, including through an inclusive High Level Accession Dialogue involving all main political parties and civil society and the Progress Report.   

5. We recall that any elections which may result from an agreement will need to be organised in accordance with OSCE/ODIHR standards and the implementation of all remaining OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, including ensuring the accuracy of the voter list.

6. The EU also recalls that all allegations should be investigated by the relevant authorities, including those allegations of potential wrongdoing being made public, with full regard for due process, the principle of independence of the judiciary and the presumption of innocence, in order to restore trust to the country’s institutions.

7. As regards the recent events in Kumanovo, the EU calls again for the relevant authorities to fully investigate them in an objective and transparent manner within the law. The EU recalls the need for continued engagement by the authorities on building trust between communities.

8. Mr Chairman, we want to commend the OSCE Mission in Skopje for its work, including its cooperation with the European Union.

9. We also want to express our full support for the efforts of Ambassador Stoudmann and commend him for his engagement, and we welcome very much his interaction with us today.

10. Thank you again, Foreign Minister Poposki, for being with us today and for sharing with us your views on the situation in your country and the prospects for the future. 

Agenda Item 13: Any other business - Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

Madam Chair,

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 agreed in the 2010 NPT outcome document.

It is a matter of particular regret for the EU that the 2015 NPT Review Conference was not in a position to make further progress towards the early and much needed implementation of the 1995 Resolution on the Middle East.

We wish to record our gratitude to the government of Finland and also to Ambassador Jaakko Laajava of Finland for his unstinting efforts since 2011 and hope that progress will be made in the near future.

The EU reaffirms its commitment to the establishment of such a zone and we continue to support the aim of convening the Conference on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between the States of the region.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 8 (e): 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, 8-12 червня 2015

Madam Chair,

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 thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2015/34 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 3 June.

Madam Chair,

The EU welcomes the fact that on 2 April in Lausanne, the E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran reached solutions on key parameters towards reaching a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as announced in the Joint Statement by the EU High Representative and the Iranian Foreign Minister. We fully support the on-going diplomatic efforts by the E3/EU + 3, to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue. We welcome the information in the DG's report that Iran has continued to implement the measures required of it under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). We note the expiry of the extended JPA on 30 June 2015, and the commitment by all parties to reach a comprehensive solution within the agreed timeframe.

The EU continues to support fully the Agency in its efforts under the Framework for Cooperation (FfC). During the talks on 27 April and 14 May between the DG and the Iranian Foreign Minister, and the DG and the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister respectively, there was again agreement on the importance of continuing the dialogue between the Agency and Iran at all levels. We note that the DG also reaffirmed the need to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme.

Madam Chair,

The EU deeply regrets that, despite Iran's stated willingness to accelerate the resolution of all outstanding issues, there has been no substantial progress regarding the resolution of possible military dimensions since May 2014. While Iran has shared some information in relation to one of the two practical measures agreed in May 2014 in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation, it has not provided any explanations that would enable the Agency to clarify these measures. Furthermore, despite invitations to Iran by the Agency on several occasions to propose new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, Iran has yet to do so.

The EU continues to share the Agency’s concern, highlighted in the report that the activities at the Parchin site are likely to have 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 at the Parchin site. The EU once again urges Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and to make rapid and substantive progress on all outstanding issues under the Framework for Cooperation, including by the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran, as requested by the Agency.

Madam Chair,

We once again welcome the confirmation in the report that once the Agency has established an understanding of the whole picture concerning all issues contained in the Annex to GOV/2011/ 65, the Director General will report on the Agency's assessment to the Board of Governors.

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, as confirmed in the DG's latest report, 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, 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 is essential and urgent 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, Madam Chair.

LTT for Working Group on the implementation of the Firearms Protocol, United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, 9 червня 2015

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Norway.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols provide a broad framework to support criminal justice responses aimed at preventing and addressing the illicit activities of criminal groups and depriving them of their illicit gains.

The European Union ratified the Firearms Protocol in March 2014 after all the provisions of the Protocol that fall under the Union's competences had been fully transposed into EU legislation. 

We take note of the study which represents an important effort to assess the phenomenon of illicit trafficking in firearms which remains largely unexplored. The EU, which is also involved in improving its policy in the fight against firearms trafficking, considers that the UNODC Study on Firearms is one of the most important outcomes of the Global Firearms Programme (GFP). The EU supports the idea of continuing efforts to enhance national systems for collection and analysis of detailed data on illicit firearms trafficking. The EU recognizes the potential future value of improved national systems to collect data and international cooperation in collating and analysing that data.

The EU supports the full implementation of the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition by:

Revising the EU current legislation on firearms aiming to tackle the firearms trafficking and to reduce the risk of illegal circulation and diversion of legal weapons;

Implementing the annual Operational Action Plan related to the EU firearms crime priority as approved by the European Council and the related actions agreed with the Western Balkan countries and envisaged with the Middle East and North African countries ;

Enhancing a mechanism for information gathering and statistics and try to ensure complementarity with mirror UN actions.

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.

We regret that the expertise of non-governmental organizations in the various anti-corruption issues 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. 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 and the protocols thereto. 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.

Agenda Item 6: Report by the Working Group on Resource Mobilization, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

Madam Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU 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.]

We would like to thank the Co-chairs of the Working Group on Resource Mobilization, the Ambassadors of Norway and Kenya, for their report and for their effective and dedicated work, which has led to agreement on the Report of the Group containing draft Strategic Guidelines on Partnership and Resource Mobilization. We also thank the Secretariat for its hard work in the process.

The Guidelines are an important follow-up result of the work done last year by the Working Group on Financing the Agency's Activities, and we are pleased that Member States were able to reach this result in time for the June Board meeting as agreed. We welcome the spirit of consensus which prevailed within the Working Group and look forward to the Board's approval of the Strategic Guidelines and the amended Financial Regulation.

We also look forward to the Secretariat's report by the end of 2017 on the implementation of the Strategic Guidelines. As spelled out in the Guidelines, it is essential that they are used in a way that maintains the Agency's integrity, independence and impartiality, and that activities are managed with transparency and accountability. We note that the Guidelines will be applicable to the Agency as a whole and hope that they will contribute to making increased resources available to the Technical Cooperation Programme and to the Agency at large.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

EU statement in Response to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Igor Crnadak, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1057, Vienna, 9 червня 2015

Mr Foreign Minister, it is a great pleasure for the European Union to welcome you to the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We congratulate you and Bosnia and Herzegovina for assuming the chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for the first time since the accession of your country to the Council of Europe. We have listened with interest to your priorities and planned activities as Chair of the Committee of Ministers and we thank you for your presentation.

Mr Minister, your visit comes at a critical moment for the OSCE and European security as a whole. European security has been jeopardised over the past year following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and its actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The wider implications of Russia’s violations of basic OSCE principles represent a significant challenge. What is at stake are the fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for our area in the last 40 years. It is important for the European Union, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe, which all have valuable expertise to offer, to achieve complementarity and synergy to avoid duplication in their contributions to the de-escalation of the crisis.

The Chairmanship of Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe coincides with the OSCE Chairmanship of Serbia. This offers opportunities to further strengthen regional cooperation. The European Union welcomes the priorities of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and in particular the implementation of the Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. This is a very important issue. The OSCE decision on preventing and combating violence against women, adopted at last year’s Ministerial Council, rightly recognises the importance of this Convention. We call on all participating States to sign and ratify this Convention, and encourage the OSCE to support participating States in their efforts to implement it.

The EU also welcomes the attention paid by the Bosnia and Herzegovina Chairmanship to the Southern Neighbourhood. Security in Europe is closely linked to security in the Mediterranean area as a whole. Also within the OSCE, we are determined to adopt a comprehensive approach to preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, while upholding human rights, including the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, and the rule of law. Cooperation between our institutions could enhance the discussion and positively contribute to deal with these issues.

The OSCE and the Council of Europe share common values and principles. Bosnia and Herzegovina's Chairmanship of the Council of Europe provides an opportunity to build on existing efforts and strengthen cooperation on core issues of human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, and rule of law. Both at the political and strategic levels, between representatives of both organizations as well as among experts on the ground. We for instance welcome the ongoing joint work on combating trafficking in human beings, and in the field of election observation and assistance. We also welcome the work of the Council of Europe on counter-terrorism and the fight against cyber-crime. We likewise appreciate further cooperation in other areas where joint work has already proven productive, including freedom of media, human rights education, improving the situation of Roma and Sinti, and combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mr Minister, 2015 is a year of anniversaries and honouring the past, honouring all the victims of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina including those of the Srebrenica genocide which was perpetrated twenty years ago. In this respect, we encourage the domestic judiciary to continue its efforts and guarantee justice, for the victims and their families. It is also a year of opportunities and looking to the future. In your statement, you addressed the recent positive developments in the relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina with the European Union. The Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which entered into force on June 1st, is indeed a milestone on Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU path. It deepens our political, economic and trade ties and prepares Bosnia and Herzegovina for EU membership. The positive momentum should be maintained for the fulfilment of the Bosnia and Herzegovina people's aspirations for EU membership. We are encouraged by the sustained commitment of the Bosnia and Herzegovina institutions and leadership. Nevertheless, finalisation and subsequent substantial progress in implementing an initial reform agenda will be crucial for viable development in the country and for a membership application to be considered by the EU.
Mr Minister, we thank you once again for sharing your views with us today. We look forward to continuing to work with your very able delegation here in Vienna, and we wish you every success in the future.

Agenda item 8 (c): Safeguards Implementation Report for 2014, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

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 EU would like to thank Director General Amano for the Safeguards Implementation Report for 2014 as contained in GOV/2015/30, and to express its appreciation for the Agency’s dedicated efforts in strengthening the international safeguards system worldwide. The EU also thanks the Secretariat for the technical briefing held on 26 May.

Madam Chair,

3. The EU strongly supports the Agency's efforts to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the efficiency of its safeguards system. Through comprehensive safeguards agreements, the Agency is mandated to verify that States' declarations are correct and complete, that is to confirm that all nuclear material in those States remains in peaceful activities.

4. While it is recognised that the implementation of safeguards strengthening measures under CSAs provides the Agency with limited tools to detect undeclared nuclear materials and activities, only the Additional Protocol provides the Agency with the necessary tools to provide credible assurances of the absence of undeclared nuclear materials and activities. Universal adherence to both instruments will strengthen the non-proliferation regime and will contribute to further enhancing security worldwide. The EU considers that the Additional Protocol, which has been in force within the EU since 2004, together with a comprehensive safeguards agreement, represents the current verification standard to which all States should adhere.

5. The EU notes that Resolution 1887 of the UNSC calls upon all States to “sign, ratify and implement an additional protocol, which constitutes an essential element of the IAEA safeguards system”. The EU also notes that Action 28 of the Final Document of the 2010 NPT Review Conference “encourages all States parties not yet having done so to conclude and to bring into force additional protocols as soon as possible, and to implement them provisionally pending their entry into force.”

6. The EU notes the progress reported in the 2014 SIR towards meeting all these aims, notably the entry into force of comprehensive safeguards agreements and additional protocols. The EU welcomes the efforts of the Secretariat and Member States to work towards universalisation of the Additional Protocol. The EU calls on the remaining 12 NPT State Parties to bring into force their comprehensive safeguards agreements and on those States that have not yet done so, to bring into force an additional protocol as soon as possible.

7. The EU also recalls the Board’s 2005 Decision that small quantity protocols (SQPs) should remain part of the safeguards system and that their standardised text should be modified to reinforce the Agency’s safeguards. The EU notes that at the end of 2014 there were 42 States with operative small quantities protocols still to be amended. The EU urges those remaining States which have not yet amended or rescinded their SQPs to accelerate their efforts.

Madam Chair,

8. The EU has been supporting the development and implementation of integrated safeguards approaches that allow the optimised combination of safeguards measures available under the CSA and the AP thereby 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 both effectiveness and efficiency gains are higher in States, where integrated safeguards are implemented.

9. The EU supports the continued improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation, notably through the implementation of State-level safeguards approaches. At the 2014 September Board of Governors meeting the EU welcomed the Supplementary Document to the Director General’s report on the conceptualization and development of safeguards implementation at the State level. We also commend the Secretariat for the series of Technical Meetings held with Member States in 2014 and the Technical Meeting in January this year. The EU welcomes the information provided in the SIR on the Secretariat's ongoing work towards the implementation of State-level approaches by updating them in 53 States as well as on its work to improve its internal work practices. We look forward to the continued development and implementation of State-level safeguards approaches, in close consultation with the State and/or regional authority concerned.

Madam Chair,

10. For the most part, the SIR continues to paint a positive picture of the results of the IAEA’s safeguards activities. This has been achieved through a high degree of cooperation between States' authorities and the Secretariat in the implementation of safeguards agreements and through high levels of transparency concerning the activities in Member States. However, the Safeguards Implementation Report also includes issues of serious concern. Regarding Iran, the DPRK and Syria, the EU will make more detailed statements under the relevant sub-items of the current Board’s agenda.

Madam Chair,

11. We welcome the fact that the IAEA and the EU's Regional System for Accountancy and Control, EURATOM Safeguards, continue to develop their cooperation arrangements in the framework of the New Partnership Approach. This enables the IAEA to more fully use EURATOM's verification activities and thereby optimise the use of its resources. The close cooperation between EURATOM and the IAEA, exemplified by the joint inspection of installations underpinned by the joint management and use of common instruments and tools, makes for effective and efficient safeguards, and demonstrates the EU Member States’ continuing respect for their international non-proliferation obligations. In this regard, we encourage the continued joint training of IAEA and EURATOM inspectors. We look forward to re-invigorating and fully exploring all their aspects based on the longstanding reliable cooperation and in the light of State-level integrated safeguards approaches being applied for the countries of the EU.

12. The EU welcomes the continuous efforts by the Secretariat to present a more detailed and transparent, SIR to Member States. The EU stresses the importance of regular dialogue so that States are aware of safeguards issues as they arise and can thereby take timely actions to address them.

13. The EU actively supports the Agency's safeguards system both through the EC Safeguards Support Programme, which is one of the biggest support programmes in this field, and through the support programmes of some of its Member States.

Madam Chair,

14. The EU recognizes the need to strengthen the Agency's capability to provide credible and timely analysis of safeguards samples. We have therefore firmly supported the modernisation of the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf. 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. Altogether the EU is therefore among the biggest contributors to the project. We are pleased to note that the ECAS project remains on schedule and within the approved budget.

15. The EU is also pleased to note that the delay in the analyses of samples continues to decrease, thanks to a collaborative effort between the Agency and the increased network of Analytical Laboratories. We welcome the fact that additional laboratories in several States are currently undergoing qualification, and encourage the involvement of qualified laboratories in developing countries.

16. With these comments, the EU supports the recommended Board action set forth in GOV/2015/30.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 7: Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

Madam Chair,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU 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 would like to thank the Director General and the IAEA Secretariat for the Report on ‘The Fukushima Daiichi Accident’, as contained in GOV/2015/26, and for the technical briefing on 28 May. We recognise that the report is the result of extraordinary efforts.

3. The Report confirms many earlier assumptions on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident and the lessons learned that have already been incorporated into safety analyses. Although it is now four years since the accident, we appreciate that the Report provides a comprehensive analysis of events up to March 2015. The Report is therefore a unique reference point for enhancing the robustness and in-built resilience of safety in nuclear power plants. In this respect, we would like to express our gratitude to the Government of Japan for the provision of detailed information arising from the accident that has enabled this comprehensive Report as well as for their continued information on the decommissioning of the Nuclear Power Plant. We would also like to thank all Member States that have given financial support and/or in-kind expertise in compiling the Report, as well the valuable contribution of other international organisations.

Madam Chair,

4. The Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011 and the subsequent tsunami which hit coastal areas, including the north-eastern coast of Japan, and caused such a huge loss of life, was a devastating and tragic combination of natural hazards. The combination of external hazards clearly exceeded the design bases of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and while the concepts of defense in depth were applied they failed to prevent the progression of the accident or to mitigate its consequences. In effect they were rendered ineffective. This weakness in original plant design initiated in the EU a re-evaluation of Nuclear Power Plant robustness and resilience in response to extreme natural hazards or a combination of them, in particular when affecting simultaneously several units at a multi-unit plant site The EU and its Member States, like others, have carried out ‘stress tests’ to assess and strengthen resilience and robustness of nuclear power plants in these circumstances. Additional safety measures have been implemented in all EU Member States but some work in relation to the national action plans continues.

5. The concept of 'Defence in Depth' is well recognised and is a fundamental tool in ensuring nuclear safety The concept has been enshrined in the revised EU Nuclear Safety Directive of 8th July 2014. The EU and its Member States encourage all IAEA Member States to also take all necessary steps to ensure that safety considerations are aligned with this fundamental concept. Also, we encourage IAEA Member States to report on the lessons learned and actions taken through review processes such as the Convention on Nuclear Safety including steps taken in relation to the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety to ensure that we collectively continue to learn and continuously seek improvements to nuclear safety.

6. Taking into account that the consequences of a nuclear accident can go beyond national borders, the EU encourages close cooperation, coordination and information exchange between States. Additionally, the EU attaches the utmost importance to the strengthening of international cooperation in the field of nuclear emergency preparedness and response and urges all IAEA Member States that have not yet done so to become contracting parties to the Convention on Early Notification of Nuclear Accident,the Convention on Assistance in the Case of Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency, the Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel Management and on the Safety of Radioactive Waste Management and the Convention on Nuclear Safety.

7. Looking ahead, we note the lessons already learned from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident and we would like to highlight the combined importance of human, organisational and technical factors in ensuring the robustness and resilience of nuclear power plants. The Fukushima Daiichi Accident demonstrated the vital importance of the need for States to have plans, resources and decision making capabilities in place to enable fast and effective management of an accident. EU Member States are implementing lessons learnt from the accident into their respective national legislation and will continue to evaluate and enhance resilience at nuclear power plants and further improve emergency preparedness and response. We encourage all Member States to do likewise and to also request periodic IAEA Peer Reviews to ensure that safety levels in-country meet, and continue to meet, the highest possible standards required for operating a nuclear power plant in individual circumstances.

8. We are very aware that the legacy of the earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima Daiichi Accident will continue to affect the lives of many people in Japan for many years to come. With this in mind, the EU and its Member States support the establishment of further IAEA assistance and guidance such as those proposed in the Report, including the practical application of radiation protection in post-accident recovery situations and in addressing the consequences of the affected population.

Madam Chair,

9. In concluding, we would like to reiterate our gratitude to the DG for his Report and to the IAEA’s commitment and continued activities that have taken place since the Fukushima Daiichi Accident, including the Ministerial Conference in 2012; the Extraordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, as well as the Fifth and Sixth Review Meetings; and the Diplomatic Conference which led to the adoption of the Vienna Declaration in February of this year. The EU and its Member States will continue to contribute to the activities of the IAEA in support of the highest standards of safety at nuclear power plants throughout the world. In this respect the Report on the Fukushima Daiichi Accident before us will play an important role. With these comments, we support the recommended action as contained in GOV/2015/26.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

EU Statement on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Nebraska, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1056, Vienna, 4 червня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the fact that Nebraska on the 27 May became the 19th State in the United States to repeal the death penalty. This is a historic step by the Nebraska Legislature at a time where the worldwide movement towards the abolition of capital punishment continues to grow.

2. The EU strongly hopes that this decision will encourage other US States to follow suit by joining this growing national and global movement towards abolition.

3. The EU opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and considers that its abolition contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1056, Vienna, 4 червня 2015

1. The European Union is extremely concerned about reports that Russia-backed separatists have conducted a major attack on the town of Maryinka near Donetsk city. We strongly condemn this blatant violation of the ceasefire and of the obligation to withdraw heavy weapons. We note that the SMM observed the movement of a large amount of heavy weapons in separatist controlled areas in a westerly direction close to Maryinka preceding and during the fighting. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution. We remain deeply concerned also by the continuing fighting in other parts of eastern Ukraine, in particular in and around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne. A number of recent SMM observations are of particular concern to us: The growing presence of heavy weapons in locations not consistent with the Minsk agreements; and an unknown armed group in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske with Russian armed forces insignia.  

2. The impact of the conflict on the human rights situation remains a serious concern to us. In its tenth report the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine in particular highlights allegations of grave human rights abuses, intimidation and harassment of the local population perpetrated by Russia-backed separatists, including killings, torture and ill-treatment as well as illegal deprivation of liberty, forced labour, looting, ransom demands and extortion of money. In Crimea arrests, ill-treatment, torture and intimidation continue to be perpetrated against political opponents, primarily in the Crimean Tatar community. Therefore, we urge the Russian Federation, as occupying force, to put an end to arbitrary arrests and detentions of political opponents in Crimea and investigate all claims of human rights violations. At the same time, the report contains alarming allegations of ill-treatment and torture by the Ukrainian military and law enforcement personnel. We note the statement of the Ukrainian delegation in last week’s Permanent Council that these allegations will be fully investigated. We reiterate that all allegations should be investigated and those responsible brought to justice.

3. Mr Chairman, we reiterate our strong support to the work of Special Representative Tagliavini within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the OSCE. We continue to believe that the working groups through their contributions in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group should facilitate a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, based on OSCE’s principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We welcome the meetings of the Trilateral Contact Group and its working groups last Tuesday. We nevertheless deeply regret reports about the Russian representative’s walk out from the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group. We call on all participants to be committed to this process and engage constructively in its work. We also once again express our support to the efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating a full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. In line with the Minsk agreements the ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

5. We remain concerned about the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border, and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. We are concerned by reported Russian violations of Ukrainian airspace, including by Russian military UAVs to which the Ukrainian delegation drew attention last week. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. We also note statements by a member of the Presidential Human Rights Council of Russia that the recent expansion of the list of state secrets to include military losses in peacetime raises questions and could serve to intimidate activists and journalists reporting on the losses of Russian soldiers in Ukraine.

6. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. This includes Nadiya Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia and the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula. We also reiterate the importance we attach to the provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process. This includes the holding of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and relevant OSCE standards and monitored by ODIHR.

7. We note with deep concern from the SMM's reports that the mission continues to experience serious security incidents and face restrictions in its monitoring activities. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory, including along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We regret that the SMM has been forced to suspend monitoring in key areas, including in Shyrokyne and Avdiivka, due to the security situation. We once again urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM and to provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

8. We deeply regret that so-called “humanitarian convoys” from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

9. 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 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 in Response to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, H.E. Dr. George W. Vella, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1056, Vienna, 4 червня 2015

1. The EU warmly welcomes Minister Vella to the OSCE Permanent Council. We very much appreciate that the Minister has taken the time to visit us today and share his views on the situation in the OSCE region, including the crisis in and around Ukraine, as well as the situation in the Mediterranean region.

2. Mr Minister, as you rightly said, the Helsinki Final Act gives a special role to the Mediterranean region. In 1975, participating States were convinced that security in Europe was closely linked with security in the Mediterranean area as a whole. This remains very true until this day. We are closely following the dramatic situation around the Mediterranean and the threats and challenges emerging from this region which have a direct impact on the OSCE region.

3. These challenges, not least violent extremism and irregular as well as illegal migration, are not just problems for the Mediterranean region itself, or for the European Union, but affect the entire OSCE area. Collective effort is required by all to counter them. We believe that the OSCE can play a role in this regard and most importantly in addressing their root causes - through its work in assisting participating States in the implementation of commitments across the security, economic and environmental, and human dimensions. The OSCE also constitutes a forum for dialogue between participating States and Partners for Co-operation on these and other important questions.

4. Mr. Minister, you also addressed the very worrisome situation in Libya. The current instability there creates an ideal environment for terrorist organisations and for the criminal activities of traffickers in human beings and smugglers of migrants. We therefore actively support UN-led efforts towards establishing a government of national unity in Libya.

5. Mr Minister, your visit comes at a critical moment for the OSCE and European security as a whole. European security has been jeopardised over the past year following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and its actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The wider implications of Russia’s violations of basic OSCE principles represent a significant challenge. What is at stake are the fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for our area in the last 40 years. This is the larger issue that we need to address in the OSCE.

6. We thank you for your views and your useful input to our discussions. We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.

Agenda item 8 (f): Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

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 thank the Director General for his update on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic.

Madam Chair,

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.

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'.

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.

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.

Finally, Madam Chair, 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, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 4: Strengthening of the Agency’s technical cooperation activities, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

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.]

The EU wishes to thank Director General Amano for his Report contained in document GOV/2015/24 and its Supplement. We also thank DDG Kwaku Aning for the technical briefing held on 15 May 2015, as well as for his introductory remarks.

At the outset, we would like to reaffirm our longstanding and strong support for the Agency’s Technical Cooperation (TC) activities. 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 continued focus on human capacity building as a crosscutting priority of the TC Programme (TCP) in each of its Fields of Activity (FoAs). In this respect, we welcome the specific attention given to the IAEA Gender Equality Policy and we encourage the Department to continue mainstreaming gender in all TC activities and to bolster the participation of women in every area of the TCP.

The EU and its Member States positively note that the IAEA has been actively participating in discussions on the post-2015 development agenda, advocating the importance of nuclear science, technology and innovation in the new  Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework. According to the Report, 13 out of the 17 new SDGs will relate directly to the Agency’s Fields of Activity. We, therefore support the Agency's efforts to increase harmonisation and alignment between the TCP and the SDGs. We also encourage the IAEA to further sharpen its role in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda. In this respect, we also recall and look forward to the DG's report on the contribution of the TCP to the attainment of development goals, to be issued for consideration during the TACC meeting, pursuant to the recommendation by the Working Group on Financing the Agency's Activities and Resolution GC(58)/RES/12.

Turning to the thematic distribution of resources, we note that the largest share of the TC Programme in 2014 was devoted to health and nutrition, addressing fundamental human needs. In this regard, we would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation to the Department of TC for its activities aimed at enhancing response capacities of Member States to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, including the Ebola Virus Disease. We also take note of the integration of PACT into the Department of TC. We appreciate the role of PACT in promoting global partnerships in cancer control and in assisting low and middle income countries in their programmes to combat cancer and other non-communicable diseases through radiation medicine technology.

The EU and its Member States attach the utmost importance to project management in order to ensure the desired results are delivered on the ground. In this respect, we continue to stress the importance of efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in TC planning, management and project implementation and we continue to advocate for the greater use of Results Based Management. We also encourage the Agency to conduct further meaningful evaluations of TC projects through comprehensive outcome monitoring to assess whether projects results are delivered and sustainable, based on the desired change or benefit identified at the start of the project.

We are of the view that the OIOS evaluation, as well as the External Auditor's findings, represent invaluable assets. The OIOS evaluation sheds light on the TC Programme's strengths and identifies areas for further improvement. While appreciating the positive trend in the last biennium, we strongly encourage the Department of TC to continue its efforts towards a full implementation of all OIOS recommendations. Closer coordination between the OIOS and the Department of TC, along with a systematic monitoring of progress and an extensive exchange of information with Member States on findings from internal evaluations, will contribute to further increasing the reliability and the accountability of the TC Programme.

The EU and its Member States are of the opinion that within the Programme more and more attention should be paid to the needs of least developed countries (LDCs). We note that LDCs received 23.1% of Technical Cooperation assistance in 2014. We will, therefore, continue to support the Secretariat and the Department of TC in their commitment to facilitate the participation of LDCs, as we remain convinced that it is necessary to ensure a fair and well-balanced access to the TCP, in order to keep it sustainable in the long run.

In this regard, we wish to recall that only those countries signatory to a Revised Supplementary Agreement (RSA) should be entitled to receive technical assistance by the Agency. We welcome the signature of 124 RSAs by the end of March 2015 and we expect more to be signed in the months ahead of us.

We also acknowledge the importance of Country Programme Frameworks. CPFs not only facilitate the understanding of national needs and development strategies, but also include country specific assessments, lessons learned from past cooperation and recommendations on how to foster synergies among projects in the same country. We welcome the signature of 13 new CPFs in 2014. Nonetheless, we note that the number of valid CPFs, amounting to 91, did not increase compared to the previous year.

We believe that valid CPFs represent an important condition for achieving successful outcomes in TC projects and for more beneficial interaction with the United Nations system. In this respect, we continue to express our appreciation for the efforts made by the Secretariat to operationalise TC country programmes within the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). We encourage the Agency to enhance its participation in joint programming with other UN organisations in the coming years and we look forward to receiving more information on how it intends to align the TC Programme with common development priorities in the framework of the post-2015 agenda.

We take note that the rate of attainment on payments to the TC Fund was 89.5%, a figure lower than in 2013 but still in line with the high average of the last decade. This shows the continued support of Member States to the TC Programme. In this respect, we are pleased to note that the total resources received by the TCP increased by 6.9% in 2014 compared to 2013, due to a significant increase in the amount of extrabudgetary resources.

However, there are several reasons for concern. We take note that total voluntary contributions to the TCF decreased by 6.5% compared to 2013, as 51 countries did not make any voluntary contribution to the TCF. Moreover, the relentless decline of Government Cost Sharing reflects that only 18 out of the 130 recipient countries made any extrabudgetary contribution in 2014 for the assistance received. We furthermore note the decrease by 5.7% in the rate of implementation in 2014 compared to 2013, mainly due to the low rate of payment of both National Participation Costs (NPCs) and Assessed Programme Costs (APCs) arrears. In this regard, we would like to recall once again the importance of timely and full payment of NPCs, through which countries concerned confirm their commitment to implement their TC projects.

Overall, the EU and its Member States remained the largest contributor to the TCF with almost € 21 Million, corresponding to roughly one-third of the TC Fund. We also provided substantial extrabudgetary contributions to the TCP.

Through relevant EU Instruments, such as the Instrument for Nuclear Safety cooperation, the European Commission provided in 2014 more than € 5Million in extrabudgetary contributions to the IAEA. This cooperation with the EC has been key in promoting shared objectives in nuclear safety and its supporting regulatory infrastructure, as well as in emergency preparedness and spent fuel/radioactive waste management in several IAEA Member States.

In conclusion, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate their appreciation for the Agency’s commitment to the Technical Cooperation Programme and to reassure the Secretariat of their continued support and cooperation. With these comments, we take note of Document GOV/2015/24.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 9: Assurance of Supply – Establishment of the IAEA Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank for the Supply of LEU to Member States, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

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 thank the Director General for Documents GOV/2015/23 and GOV/2015/36 containing the draft Host State Agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the draft Transit Agreement between the IAEA and the Russian Federation in connection with the Establishment of the Low Enriched Uranium Bank of the IAEA in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The EU also thanks the DG for document GOV/INF/2015/10, providing additional information and an update on the current status of the work on the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank, and the Secretariat for the technical briefing held on 29 May.

At the outset the EU would like to stress, that we remain firmly convinced of the benefits of multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle. The establishment of an IAEA Low Enriched Uranium Bank will be an important step forward in the framework of MNA and will be also in line with action 58 of the NPT 2010 Action Plan.

The EU believes that with the draft Host State Agreement and the draft Transit Agreement the main groundwork for the actual setting up of the

LEU Bank has been laid and we welcome the commitment of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation in this regard.

The EU is committed to supporting the IAEA LEU bank with up to € 25 million, of which we have already contributed € 20 million for the purpose of acquiring the LEU once the project is fully operational. We are now looking forward to the approval of the Board of the draft Host State Agreement and the draft Transit Agreement and subsequent the authorization to the Director General to conclude and implement both Agreements.

We take note that a comprehensive and transparent financial plan has still to be presented to Member States. Furthermore, we would like to recall the Board Resolution of 2010 which states that the Bank's operations will be funded exclusively through extrabudgetary contributions. After the Host State Agreement has been approved, the two outstanding technical agreements subsidiary to the Host State Agreement, (i) a technical agreement on the Facility Operator Services and (ii) a technical agreement on the Consolidated Activities, can also be finalised.

We note from the DG’s report that the LEU for the IAEA LEU Bank will be acquired in accordance with the Agency’s Statute, GOV/2010/67, and the Agency’s standard procurement rules for open tender.

We finally note from the DG's reports that all work needed for the establishment of the IAEA LEU Bank can be completed within two years of signature of the Host State Agreement. The EU requests the Director General to keep the Board of Governors informed of this issue.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 8d: Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 8-12 червня 2015

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 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.

The EU has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms the DPRK’s continuation of these illegal programmes, as well as its willingness to trade in related technologies, in violation of its international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094.

The EU considers that threats to conduct new nuclear tests represent a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability. The EU condemns the DPRK's provocative launches of ballistic missiles. It strongly deplores the DPRK's decision to pursue the ill-advised path of provocation and isolation and urges it to reverse course.

The EU recalls that all UN Member States are obliged to comply with the restrictions targeting DPRK’s illegal activities as imposed by the UN Security Council. The EU has given effect to all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and in line with the objectives of these Resolutions, and as a further step in defence of the international non-proliferation regime, it has adopted additional autonomous restrictive measures.

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.

The Director General’s (DG) report for the September Board noted that the Agency has observed, through satellite imagery, ongoing activities at various locations within the Yongbyon site, which appear to be broadly consistent with the DPRK's statements that it is further developing nuclear capabilities. This can only deepen our concerns.

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.

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.

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. The EU also calls on the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

Finally, Madam Chair, 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, Madam Chair.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 791, Vienna, 3 червня 2015

The European Union and its Member States strongly support the work of the Trilateral Contact Group as laid out in the Minsk package and welcome the establishment of the four Working Groups under the TCG. We urge the sides to make a substantial progress with a view to the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

At the same time, we remain deeply worried about the continuing significant ceasefire violations and their disastrous impact on the civilian population. We are appalled by information that again shelling of residential areas and socio-economic infrastructure has claimed further civilian lives. We express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims and reiterate our strong condemnation of the shelling of residential areas and their use as firing positions in breach of international law.

While the pattern of violence in eastern Ukraine remains volatile and unpredictable the recent deliberate targeting of vital economic infrastructure by the Russia-backed separatist constitutes a new worrying development, as reported by the SMM. Furthermore, we note with deep concern incomplete compliance of the sides with regard to their commitments to withdraw all heavy weapons from the exclusion zone. Thus, such weapons continue to be used, concentrated and moved, in particular by the separatists, within areas that are not in compliance with the Minsk withdrawal lines. This is unacceptable. The SMM should be provided without further delay with the requested baseline information and access that would pave the way for effective and independent fulfilment of its monitoring and verification tasks in accordance with the Minsk agreements.

We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We are deeply concerned about the ever growing evidence of the longstanding direct involvement of active military personnel of the Russian Federation in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. Thereby, we condemn the presence of military personnel wearing Russian Armed Forces insignia and a vehicle with Russian number plates in the separatist-controlled village of Petrivske as observed by the SMM on 28 May. Against this background, we reiterate our call on Russia to withdraw all heavy weapons and its armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements.

The ceasefire must be respected and all provisions of the Minsk agreements must be fully and swiftly implemented, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains essential, especially in the context of information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

Madam Chairperson, we take note of the Ukrainian request for an explanation of Russian unusual military activities, including numerous cases of violation of the Ukrainian airspace by Russian UAVs conducting reconnaissance flights, circulated under reference number CBM/UA/15/0048/F10/O.

We note in particular the shooting down of a ‘Forpost’ UAV by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the vicinity of Pesky on 20 May. We also note evidence that this UAV is owned and operated by the Russian military and entered into service recently.

This is why we consider Russia's reply under reference number CBM/RU/15/0066/F41/O to this, as well as to previous Ukrainian requests for explanation under the Vienna Document Chapter III, as being unsatisfactory and disappointing. We urge Russia to stop its continued violations of Ukrainian airspace and to contribute to restoring security, trust and confidence in the OSCE region by making full use, both in letter and spirit, of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on Implementation of UNSCR 1325, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 791, Vienna, 3 червня 2015

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova, Mr. Antti Häikiö and Ambassador Miroslava Beham to the FSC and thank them for the interesting and comprehensive presentations. Our thanks also go to the Chairmanship of Montenegro for arranging this important discussion. Security dialogues of this kind are needed in order to improve the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the OSCE area.

Furthermore, we welcome two recent appointments by the Serbian Chairmanship of Ambassador Aitimova as the Chair of the Informal Working Group on Gender Issues and Ambassador Verveer as the Special Representative of the CiO on Gender Issues. The European Union is committed to ensuring the promotion of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, both internally and in its relations with third countries. The EU has adopted its Comprehensive approach to UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 in 2008 as well as a revised operational document on their implementation within the EU CSDP in 2012. In 2015, we will refresh the EU indicators established to improve the effectiveness and we will proceed to our third reporting cycle. Last week the EU Foreign Affairs Council welcomed the High Representative's intention to establish a new high-level function dedicated for UNSCR 1325 and gender related matters.

Implementation of the objectives of the UNSCR 1325 and its follow-up resolutions in the areas of prevention, participation, protection and ending impunity for perpetrators of sexual violence, is a long-term undertaking, which requires the concerted efforts of OSCE participating States and executive structures. Involving the non-governmental sector, supporting the women’s civil society organisations in their efforts to participate in peacebuilding and conflict resolution processes are of utmost importance in this regard.

We welcome continued discussion among participating States in line with relevant OSCE commitments undertaken inter alia, in Vilnius, Kyiv and Basel. In our view, one of the focus areas for this continued interest is the voluntary reporting on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 as part of the information exchange on the Code of Conduct on Politico- Military Aspects of Security.

In addition to the reporting on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325, we consider it beneficial to discuss the information that has been provided with a view of lessons learned and possible good practices for the national implementation. We welcome the recent OSCE/UN regional consultation in Vilnius to discuss the progress as well as challenges of UNSCR 1325 implementation in the OSCE area and look forward to the conclusions from this meeting and its contribution to the Global Study which will be presented at the high level review meeting at the UN Security Council in October. Following consultations held in January with the UN drafting team of the Global Study, the EU itself provided input to the Study in March.

One of the areas where the goals and principles of UNSCR 1325 should be firmly anchored is OSCE-led mediation efforts. We encourage women's participation throughout the conflict cycle, including in decision making and mediation, and are looking forward to an exchange of views on how the OSCE could improve its activities and show leadership in this regard.

We are pleased that the FSC was able to agree upon the importance of including Women, Peace and Security in the MC decision 10/14 on SALW and SCA adopted in Basel. At the same time, we encourage all participating States to take further steps to take into account gender aspects in the implementation of all politico-military commitments. Additionally, we underline the importance of implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and other OSCE commitments on these issues.

We are convinced that UNSCR 1325 with its cross dimensional nature has an important role to play in all dimensions of the OSCE work – especially in the politico-military dimension – and needs to be implemented in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Furthermore, we wish to reiterate our support to the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and call for developing and renewing national action plans on women, peace and security. We also look forward to timely drafting and adoption of an Addendum to the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, as tasked by the Basel Ministerial Council.

Draft Statement to be delivered by the Head of Delegation of the European Union to Argentina, Draft EU Statement, Nuclear Suppliers Group Plenary Meeting, Bariloche, 4 червня 2015

QUOTE, GENERAL STATEMENT

 

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [alignment clause

2. Allow me, first of all, to express our thanks to Argentina for the excellent work done over the past year as NSG Chair, for continuing with the Chairmanship of the NSG in 2015-2016 and for kindly hosting this Plenary Meeting of the NSG. The EU would also like to express, as always, its gratitude to Japan for its continued and effective support as the NSG Point of Contact and to the US for its support to the NSG Information Sharing System. The EU would like to thank the Chairs of all working formations of the NSG.

3. The European Union is united in regarding the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the NPT, and an important element in the further development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes. The European Union is committed to upholding and preserving the NPT as a key priority, and as a multilateral instrument for reinforcing international peace, security and stability. It is important to universalise the NPT. The European Union calls upon States that have not yet done so to join the Treaty as non-nuclear weapon States and, pending their accession, to adhere to its terms. The EU also recalls that the 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan encourages States parties to make use of multilaterally negotiated and agreed guidelines. Therefore such guidelines should be constantly reviewed to assure they continue to address current proliferation challenges.

 

Mr. Chairman,

4. The constant challenges to the international non-proliferation regime require the NSG to remain well-equipped and to renew its collective commitment to effective multilateral co-operation. The EU reconfirms its readiness to support the work of the NSG regime and contribute to the strengthening of its Guidelines.

5. The EU welcomes the fact that on 2 April in Lausanne, the E3/EU+3 and the Islamic Republic of Iran reached solutions on key parameters towards reaching a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as announced in the Joint Statement by the EU High Representative and the Iranian Foreign Minister. We fully support the ongoing diplomatic efforts between the parties concerned to reach by 30 June a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (including its technical annexes) that will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme. With regard to the discussions between Iran and the IAEA, in November 2013 the EU welcomed the conclusion of the Framework of Cooperation. However, it has not yet produced the clarification of Possible Military Dimensions (PMD). We will continue to urge Iran to cooperate fully and without delay with the IAEA on all outstanding issues.

6. The EU has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms all DPRK nuclear tests. We remain seriously concerned about the ongoing development of the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programme. The EU stresses once again that the DPRK is bound by its international obligations, as set out by the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and by its IAEA Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement under the NPT, and will continue to urge the DPRK to comply with them fully, unconditionally and without delay. We will also continue to urge the DPRK to sign and ratify the CTBT, and to abandon its nuclear programme in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner.

7. The EU deeply regrets that Syria has yet to provide the necessary cooperation to the IAEA on all outstanding issues. With reference to paragraph 16 of the NSG Guidelines, the EU continues to ask Participating Governments to take into account the consequences of the decision made by the IAEA Board of Governors concerning the non-compliance by the Syrian Arab Republic and to consider appropriate action in that respect.

 

Mr. Chairman,

8. The EU continues to hold the view that the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement together with the Additional Protocol represents the current verification/safeguards standard under Article III of the NPT to which all States should adhere as soon as possible, and which enable the IAEA to provide credible assurance not only about the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in a State, but also about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities. We look forward to all States, and in particular NSG Participating Governments, signing and bringing into force the Additional Protocol.

 

Mr. Chairman,

9.  The NSG guidelines and control lists are the best practice for nuclear export controls. The EU therefore welcomes all efforts that contribute to make these guidelines universal.

10. The EU would like to report that it has implemented all the changes to the NSG's control lists agreed by the 2013 Plenary Meeting.

11. The EU welcomes any opportunity to expand the number of Participating Governments, and encourages the Group to give positive consideration, in a manner consistent with the NSG Procedural Arrangement, to an application from any country that can demonstrate political and practical commitment to the aims and objectives of the NSG. We support efforts to strengthen outreach with non-Participating Governments and also fully support NSG dialogue with relevant international organisations and arrangements.

12. The EU will welcome any non-members adhering to the NSG Guidelines.

Mr. Chairman,

13. The EU wishes to assure you and all NSG Participating Governments, of our determination to encourage in serious and pragmatic discussions in order to contribute to a substantive outcome of this Plenary.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

EU Statement – Opening Session, OSCE Human Dimension Seminar The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in promoting and protection human rights in the OSCE area, Warsaw, 1-3 червня 2015

1. The European Union thanks the Serbian Chairmanship and ODIHR for organising this Human Dimension Seminar, and also wishes to express our appreciation to Poland for once again hosting this event.

2. We also wish to thank our keynote speaker for his address. The EU fully supports the work of the Ombudsman in Serbia. We also welcome the decision of the Serbian Chairmanship to invite their Ombudsman as the keynote speaker. This is a positive signal regarding cooperation between the Serbian Government and the Ombudsman, which we hope will be maintained.

3. National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are an essential component of national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. NHRIs often form a bridge between the rights of the citizen and the responsibilities of the state. Through education and training the work of NHRIs compliments the efforts of states to uphold the rights of their citizens. At the same time, through human rights monitoring and ensuring redress for violations, NHRIs are a tool through which citizens can further hold their governments accountable to their human rights commitments. In this regard, some NHRIs play a particularly important role in torture prevention as designated National Preventative Mechanisms. NHRIs are also often the only institution in a state that can and does speak out in defence of human rights defenders, including women defenders, and members of vulnerable groups. We welcome the specific attention that will be devoted to these aspects of the work of NHRIs during the seminar.

Mr Chairperson,

4. To fulfil their important role, NHRIs must be effective and independent, equipped with sufficient resources and the requisite competence to promote and protect the full spectrum of rights. In other words, NHRIs must adhere to the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions, known as the Paris Principles.

5. The European Union attaches the highest importance to NHRIs. Though not all Member States have NHRIs accredited through the International Coordinating Committee for National Human Rights Institutions (ICC), the EU fully recognises the importance of such institutions and encourages and supports their establishment. The European Union’s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) partners with NHRIs, and other national human rights bodies within the EU as well as assists EU Member States in strengthening them.  For example in 2012 FRA produced a handbook on the establishment and accreditation of National Human Rights Institutions in the European Union.

6. Partnering with NHRIs is also an important element of the EU's external action on human rights. NHRIs are an increasingly important partner for the EU in the context of our bilateral human rights dialogues with countries. We also see them as a key actor in building local ownership within states on human rights issues. The EU has been providing assistance to partners in the OSCE region, and beyond, in the development of NHRIs, and we are currently discussing how to strengthen this support, as we develop a new EU Action Plan on Human Rights for the period 2015-2019.

 

Mr Chairperson,

7. National Human Rights Institutions can also serve as a bridge between states and international organisations. NHRIs bring independent expertise and local knowledge to discussions at the international level, particularly in the UN Human Rights Council. It is crucial that this status is preserved. NHRIs are a valued interlocutor too in the OSCE and we believe there is scope to strengthen and potentially increase their participation in OSCE discussions, in a manner similar to the UN model.

8. The EU also very much welcomes the bridges that NHRI networks such as the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) are building between NHRIs globally. The peer to peer exchanges and technical assistance that these networks are developing are a crucial contribution to strengthening the effectiveness of NHRIs. We welcome too the partnerships that that the OSCE, particularly ODIHR, is developing with NHRIs and NHRI networks, and we encourage them to deepen this cooperation.

9. To conclude, the EU looks forward to the discussions over the coming days and to hearing from NHRIs and civil society as to how their important work can be better supported. We will pay careful attention to the recommendations emerging from this event.

Thank you

EU Statement, Committee for the Application of Standards General Survey concerning the right of association and rural workers' organizations instruments "Giving a voice to rural workers", International Labour Conference, 104th session, Vienna, 1-13 червня 2015

Thank you, Chair.

 

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: …

Since this is the first time we take the floor, I would like to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as chair of this Committee.

Agriculture is the second largest source of employment worldwide after services and provides employment for the largest proportion of the rural workforce. A majority of the world's women workers are engaged in agricultural activities in rural areas. 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. The situation in the European Union Member States has varied substantially in the last decades. The sector is facing a demographic challenge and will need to create sustainable jobs for young workers in the years to come. But the majority of population in low income countries is dependent on the rural economy.

However, rural workers, be it in European Member states but also in most developing countries, are frequently not fully covered by national labour law and, more broadly, their rights are often not recognised or enforced, even in the formal sector. This lack of decent working conditions and social protection often leads to negative impacts on the social, health and economic status of the rural workforce.

We share the view that rural workers are entitled to the same freedom of association rights as those enjoyed by other workers. The almost full ratification of Conventions 11, 87 and 98 by EU Member States is a demonstration of this common commitment. This is also reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. We encourage and support the worldwide ratification and implementation of the eight core ILO conventions, including Conventions 87 and 98.

We are aware of the challenges that exist for rural workers worldwide. Development cooperation carried out by the European Union promotes rule of law and good governance, as well as inclusive and sustainable growth as two basic and mutually reinforcing pillars. It adopts a rights-based approach and 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.

To respond to the challenges reported by its constituents, we encourage the ILO to provide technical assistance upon request and in accordance with national circumstances. This assistance could be based on the Guidelines contained in Recommendation 149 but also activities that pay attention to female workers, as women are particularly disadvantaged in rural areas in accessing jobs, land, finance, new technologies, including information and communication technologies, health, child-care and other basic services. The recognition of their work is very limited, particularly in small scale agriculture. 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, trafficking and hazardous work in the rural economy and therefore they should be targeted with specifically designed measures

We also encourage the Office to compile a collection of good practices concerning the implementation of the related instruments and arrange for exchanges of ideas and experiences across countries. This should be done within the context of the area of critical importance on decent work in the rural economy within existing resources as was discussed at the November 2014 Governing Body. (GB statement and ILO report para 330)

The follow-up to the General Survey largely overlaps with the area of critical importance on decent work in the rural economy. 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, we call for a close and sound coordination within the Office and in its partnerships with other international and intergovernmental organisations.

Concerning the background work for the consolidation of agricultural standards, we believe this should be done in the context of the Standards Review Mechanism.

Thank you, Chairperson.

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, 1-5 червня 2015

Mr. Chairman,

 

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Norway and Switzerland.

2. 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. 

3. The EU is streamlining such measures in its internal and external policies. The EU has tightened its procurement directives and adopted new legislation on the freezing, confiscation and recovery of criminal assets.  The Union will also require large companies to disclose information on anti-corruption policies, risks and outcomes. In addition, the European Commission includes corruption prevention in the programming of Structural & Investment Funds, as part of institutional capacity-building in the Member State administrations.  Relevant issues are also monitored as part of the European Semester of economic governance.

4. 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. 

5. 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. We hope that through a constructive dialogue with the Member States before and during the next session of the Conference, we will be able to improve the review mechanism and to overcome its shortcomings. 

6. 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. We also wish to encourage all reviewed Member States to take full use of voluntary measures to ensure transparency.

7. 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.

8. 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.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council No 1055, Vienna, 28 травня 2015

1. The European Union recalls that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package.

2. As we stressed yesterday, this naturally includes Nadiya Savchenko who was kidnapped and illegally transferred to Russia in connection with the conflict in eastern Ukraine. It also includes Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens who are being illegally detained in Russia and the illegally annexed Crimea.

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release all illegally detained Ukrainian citizens without further delay. 

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1055, Vienna, 28 травня 2015

1. The European Union is deeply concerned about the familiar pattern of a relative calm in the fighting in eastern Ukraine now being followed by increasing ceasefire violations according to the SMM. We are particularly concerned about the SMM’s reports on the deteriorating situations around Donetsk airport, Shyrokyne and other hotspots. We also note with deep concern the heavy shelling of the strategically important coke and chemical plant in Avdiivka by Russia-backed separatists. We note that the SMM was forced to suspend its monitoring activities in Shyrokyne and Avdiivka. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

2. As we stressed yesterday, we continue to strongly support the work of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. We also reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. Full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity remains the only way forward. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

3. We are therefore deeply concerned about the ever-mounting evidence of the direct involvement of military personnel of the Russian Federation in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. This was once again reconfirmed in the SMM’s reporting on conversations with the two captured Russian servicemen in Kyiv who told the SMM ’that they were members of a unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’. We call on Russia to withdraw all heavy weapons and its armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements. We furthermore remain concerned about the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

4. We are also concerned about the SMM’s regular reporting on movements of heavy weapons in violation of the Minsk withdrawal lines as well as previously recorded heavy weapons missing from holding areas on both sides. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide the SMM with the full baseline information and access that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

5. We also note with deep concern from the SMM's reports that the mission continues to face restrictions in its monitoring activities and that the security situation in certain key areas prevents the SMM from monitoring. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory, including along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We once again urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists also in this regard.

6. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. We took note with great concern of Amnesty International’s latest report on Ukraine, describing incidents of torture committed by both sides and summary executions by Russia backed separatists in eastern Ukraine. We call upon all sides to ensure that the treatment of detainees is in line with relevant OSCE commitments and provisions of International Humanitarian Law. These allegations should be investigated and those responsible brought to justice. Access for international human rights organisations to all parts of Ukraine, including the areas under control of Russia-backed separatists and the illegally annexed Crimea, must be ensured.

8. 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 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 in response to CiO Special Representative Ambassador Tagliavini, OSCE Special Permanent Council No 1054 , Vienna, 27 травня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes Ambassador Tagliavini back to the Permanent Council. We reiterate our strong support to her work within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. We thank Ambassador Tagliavini for providing us with an overview of the activities of the Trilateral Contact Group and its four sub-groups. Now is the time for all sides to demonstrate the political will to make the sub-groups effective and result-oriented. We call on them to make substantial progress in the next round of meetings scheduled for 2 June. We believe that the sub-groups through their contributions to the work of the Trilateral Contact Group should facilitate a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, based on OSCE’s principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

3. Mr Chairman, we remain deeply worried about the continued ceasefire violations as reported by the SMM. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine in line with the Minsk agreements. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential, especially in the context of information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. This naturally includes Nadiya Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia and the illegally annexed Crimea.

4. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance. This includes dialogue and agreement on modalities on and the holding of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and relevant OSCE standards and monitored by ODIHR. To this end, the Russia-backed separatist must cooperate fully with ODIHR, including by providing access and security guarantees to ODIHR staff, and refraining from putting forward new preconditions for holding local elections.

5. 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 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.

6. Finally, we wish Ambassador Tagliavini success in her difficult endeavours and we call on all sides to support her efforts. She can continue to count on our strong support.

EU Statement on the International Week of the Disappeared, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1055, Vienna, 28 травня 2015

1. Every last week of May, the world commemorates the International Week of the Disappeared. The European Union wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the prevention and eradication of enforced disappearances, a phenomenon that is unfortunately all too wide-spread also in the OSCE region and which constitutes a serious violation of human rights that guarantee, inter alia, the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

2. We pay tribute to the disappeared and their families and are reminded that the crime of enforced disappearance is not only directed against the disappeared, but also against their families, friends, and the society they live in.

3. Torture is an abhorrent violation of human rights, human integrity and human dignity. It is completely counter to the principle of ensuring human security that the OSCE concept of comprehensive security is founded on. Our OSCE and other international commitments are abundantly clear. The prohibition of torture is absolute and unconditional. There are no exceptions permitted under international law.

4. While the practice of enforced disappearance clearly runs counter to existing OSCE commitments and international human rights law, there is as yet no explicit OSCE commitment on enforced disappearance. Similarly, our commitments against torture are outdated. These significant gaps are startling and require immediate action.

5. Last year in Basel, we were close to agreeing on a text that would strengthen our OSCE commitments against torture and enforced disappearances. We welcome the indication of the Serbian Chairmanship that they will continue to keep the issue high on our OSCE agenda and will continue discussions on a torture decision this year. We hope consensus can be found in Belgrade on strengthened OSCE commitments in this area. The EU will remain firmly committed to this.

EU statement in Response to the Report of the Head of the OSCE Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, H. E. Jonathan Moore , OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1055, Vienna, 28 травня 2015

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Jonathan Moore, Head of the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Permanent Council, and thank him for his comprehensive report.

2. We highly appreciate the activities of the Mission and improvements achieved particularly in the following areas: rule of law, war crimes processing, human rights, effective security policy, displaced persons and gender equality. We note that there are still areas where further progress is needed, such as freedom of the media and safety of journalists, justice sector reform, education, the legislative framework for combatting trafficking in human beings, oversight of the intelligence sector, disposal of surplus and stockpile management of weapons and ammunition, and reducing of the backlog of war crimes cases. We encourage the Mission to continue to pursue these issues attentively.

3. We commend the Mission for the successful implementation of a three-year reform strategy which is about to be completed this year and which has already brought substantial savings. We appreciate the fact that a strategic approach and effective prioritization means that these large scale savings have been secured without undermining the key areas of the mission’s activities.

4. Mr Chairperson, we underline that for all field operations effective evaluation is essential to ensuring the efficient use of resources, and that their activities remain results oriented and add value. We note the efforts of the Mission to focus on results and follow-up, to ensure that all activities and reporting are representative of a culture of evaluation and implementation of lessons learned. To that end, we would be grateful if Ambassador Moore could highlight some of the key impacts of the Mission’s programmatic work during the reporting period. 

5. The Mission has proven its readiness and ability to respond to unexpected events and changing circumstances during social unrests and devastating floods. This flexibility must be preserved for the future as well. We see the establishment of temporary premises based on concrete needs during the crisis as a good example of such an approach.

6. The broad field presence is another key added value of the Mission. It must be fully exploited to engage with local stakeholders and seen as a key asset which the OSCE can bring to cooperation with relevant international partners. We fully acknowledge the need for prioritisation reflected through new reconfigured and reduced hub-based coverage and look forward to its benefits.

7. Enduring partnership with local stakeholders on all levels is of utmost importance. We support the Mission in its efforts towards close cooperation with relevant international players on the ground. The aim should be avoiding duplication and focus on activities where the real added value of the Mission lies. We welcome that the Mission puts further emphasis on regional cooperation, one of the Serbian Chairmanship’s priorities highlighted also during the recent visit of the Chairperson-in-Office to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe opens further possibilities for cooperation in this area. Furthermore, continued horizontal cooperation and interaction with other OSCE field missions in the region is also very important.

8. Mr. Chairman, we strongly encourage the Mission’s intention to help sustain the momentum gained after adoption of the “Declaration on Commitment to EU Integration” by supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina in related reform processes. We recall this year’s March Foreign Affairs Council’s conclusions, which called for developing an initial reform agenda and for upholding Bosnia and Herzegovina’s commitments and obligations. Now finalization of the initial reform agenda is necessary. 

9. We recall that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Bosnia and Herzegovina will enter into force on 1 June 2015. The Agreement serves as the basis for the implementation of the accession process and should allow Bosnia and Herzegovina to move forward in its relations with the EU and pave the way to the overall aim of preparing the country for future EU membership.

10. We once again thank Ambassador Moore for his report and we also thank him and his dedicated team for all their work and efforts.

EU Statement on Conventional Arms Transfers, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 790, Vienna, 27 травня 2015

The European Union (EU) warmly welcomes to the Forum for Security Cooperation H.E. Angela Kane, the United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, and thanks her for the interesting and thought provoking presentation on synergies between the UN and the OSCE commitments in the field of Conventional Arms Transfers (CAT).

Ever since the adoption of its Principles Governing CAT in 1993 the OSCE has been playing a leading role in the efforts of the international community to prevent the illicit trade in conventional arms and their diversion to illicit markets and crisis-ridden countries and regions. The arms export control norms embedded in the 1993 Principles Governing CAT have been further enhanced by the adoption of the OSCE Document on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) in 2000 as well as other relevant OSCE decisions.

The European Union and its Member States commend transparency efforts on conventional arms transfers at UN and OSCE levels. This is in line with our longstanding support to the principles of transparency and responsibility in arms trade. Moreover, we strongly support the OSCE commitments and activities in the field of SALW and conventional weapons and their full implementation with a view to addressing the challenges emanating from the quickly evolving security environment.

For instance, the crisis in and around Ukraine clearly demonstrates the consequences of the uncontrolled spread of SALW and conventional weapons. Their illegal supply to the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine by the Russian Federation is in violation of the norms and commitments contained in the 1993 Principles Governing CAT and the 2000 OSCE Document on SALW, and have a tragic impact on the safety and the security of the civilian population.

This is why we believe that there is a compelling need for strengthening the OSCE conventional arms control commitments through their full implementation and respect by all participating States, on the one hand, and increased coherence and complementarity with the UN framework, on the other.

In relation to the latter, we reiterate that the OSCE can play an important role, based on its comprehensive track record in Conventional Arms Control issues in the promotion and the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in the OSCE area.

Possible venues to be further examined in this respect encompass activities related to both providing assistance to participating States, upon their request, in implementing the Treaty and bringing in line relevant ATT and OSCE norms in the field of arms transfers and export controls.

Achieving a legally binding and robust ATT has been among the top foreign policy priorities for the European Union over the past years. With the ATT now in force, the main challenges ahead are its effective implementation by States parties and its universalisation. The European Union is therefore bringing a tangible and active contribution through the dedicated implementation support programme it adopted in December 2013.

In this context, we encourage the OSCE participating States that have not done so yet to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

Last but not least, we welcome the recent adoption by the UNSC of Resolution 2220 on SALW which encourages, inter alia, regional cooperation on addressing the illicit transfer, destabilising accumulation and misuse of SALW.

In concluding, we would like to thank once again our distinguished key-note speaker as well as the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for providing us with the opportunity to contribute to this Security Dialogue.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 790, Vienna, 27 травня 2015

The European Union and its Member States welcome the meetings of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group and encourage the sides to contribute to a political process toward the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. In particular, we expect the negotiations within the Security Working Group to continue with a view to bringing about decisive de-escalation of the situation on the ground.

We remain however alert about the continuous ceasefire violations and their spill over along the line of contact. Furthermore, the SMM reports keep stressing the incomplete compliance of the sides with regard to their commitments under the Minsk Package to withdraw all heavy weapons from the exclusion area.

Such weapons continue to be deployed and used causing thereby considerable damage to civilian infrastructure and ever increasing death toll among the civilian population and the military.

We strongly condemn the shelling of residential areas and their use as firing positions in breach of international law which further endangers the lives of civilians.

At the same time, we reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We note with deep concern that the SMM continues to observe concentration of troops and equipment on both sides of the contact line, in particular in separatist-controlled areas in and around Donetsk city and north-east of Mariupol.

We are therefore compelled to once again urge the sides, in particular the Russia-backed separatists, to swiftly and fully implement all provisions of the Minsk agreements. The sides must stop fighting and ensure full and comprehensive ceasefire as well as unreserved support to the SMM de-escalatory efforts. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

Equally, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk Package. In this context, we took note of the information provided by the Ukrainian delegation last week and mentioned in the SMM report of 21 May about two members of a unit of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation captured on 16 May. This reconfirms clearly once again the long-standing direct involvement of active military personnel of the Russian Federation in the crisis in eastern Ukraine. In this respect, we remind Russia of its responsibilities and commitments under the Minsk agreements.

We appeal for substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains essential.

We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian

Federation to do likewise.

Statement on the occasion of the UNIDO Programme and Budget Committee, European Union, Vienna, 27-29 травня 2015

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*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Norway+, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova. 

 

Mr. Chairman,

1. Let me welcome you as the Chair of this 31th Session of the Programme and Budget Committee and assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the European Union's full cooperation.

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General and his staff for the draft Programme and Budget for 2016-2017 and related documents before the Committee. 

3. At the outset, the EU would like to reiterate its firm commitment to a well-functioning and efficiently managed Organisation. In this regard, we commend the Director General for carrying forward programme priorities from the current biennium in 2016 and 2017, and we further encourage the Organisation to continue its efforts to identify cost savings and efficiency gains. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

4. With regard to the Director General’s Annual Report for the year 2014, we take note that work carried out by UNIDO in 2014 targets its integration as a leading partner in the post-2015 development agenda debate. [Agenda point 3, 5, 6, 7, 8]

5. We take note of the ongoing implementation of the three critical management goals: the positioning of the concept of inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in all processes leading to the formulation of the post-2015 development agenda, the operationalization of the new mandate of ISID given by the Lima Declaration, and the strengthening of management operations to optimize efficiency and effectiveness. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

6. We support UNIDO's dialogue with all its stakeholders and partners to implement these management goals, in parallel with the continued need to pursue a broad range of efficiency gains through improvements in operational processes and the structure of the Secretariat. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

7. We take note in this regard of the newly instituted annual meetings with UNIDO donors, which should discuss programmes and strategies and contribute to the better understanding of the cooperation schemes and optimisation of the resources for the benefit of the Member States in need.  [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

8. The European Union supports the efforts of the Director General aiming at positioning of the Organization in the shifting development landscape, increasing the quality of its services and the Organization's response to the need for targeted solutions, the mobilization of funds, continuation of the process of change and renewal, and the motivation and engagement of staff. We encourage UNIDO to continue its implementation.  [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

9. We welcome the cross-regional support from the Member States of the Organization recognizing the role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the eradication of poverty. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

10. The EU sees a mutually reinforcing relationship between competitiveness, resource-efficiency of production and environmental protection and social cohesion. The challenge is to make it possible for all countries, to put these win-win opportunities into practice and to benefit from the development and application of sound environmental and resource-efficient technologies and systems. Sustainable industrial policies are key prerequisites for global sustainable development. The choices in terms of design of industrial development are interlinked with challenges such as climate change, energy supply and air pollution. To increase coherence, sustainable industrial policies should be integrated into national strategies, including sustainable development strategies and poverty reduction strategies.

Sustainable industrial development is a challenge for all countries, as current patterns of production and consumption both in developed and in developing countries often are unsustainable in economic, social and environmental terms. In this context, the EU welcomes the reflection of these principles in the new MTPF and encourages UNIDO to fully implement its provisions in all of their programmes and projects. The EU is prepared to cooperate with others and to take the lead in demonstrating how to combine a successful economic and social development with environmental protection. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

11. The post-2015 development agenda gives a great opportunity to address some of these key global issues. As the EU has emphasised on various occasions, foremost among these issues are the interrelated challenges of eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development in all its three dimensions (environmental, social and economic). To address these challenges in a coordinated and coherent manner, we need an ambitious agenda, which leaves no-one behind. The EU reiterates that the empowerment and the human rights of women and girls, as well as ending discrimination and exploitation of against women and girls in all its forms, must be at the core of the post-2015 development agenda. Goals, targets and indicators across the framework should address legal, social and economic barriers to gender equality. The European Union welcomes UNIDO activities to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women. However, we would appreciate more engagement of the Organisation in the promotion of equal opportunities for women in production and trade, equal economic rights, equal access to the labour market. UNIDO should also make additional efforts to increase the percentage of women in the Organisation, in particular in the professional and managerial category of posts. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

12. Sustainable development requires higher levels of productivity and capabilities for continuous technological upgrading and innovation for competitive industry. The Sustainable Development Goal no 9 of industrialization and most of the other goals of the post-2015 development agenda may impact on each other. In this regard we encourage UNIDO to respond to the changes in the world and the interests of its Member States in enhancement of the private sector and the level of foreign direct investments. UNIDO may play the key role in promoting clean industrial technologies and innovation, sustainable production and consumption and stable macroeconomic environment. We expect a flexible response of the Organisation to the needs of its Member States in such fields as entrepreneurship, job creation, in particular for the youth, promotion of the innovation, environmentally sound technologies, energy efficiency and related renewable energy technologies. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

13. The EU continues to see the Organization’s particular value as the central coordinator of international industrial cooperation in the United Nations system. In this regard, the EU underlines the importance of UNIDO’s engagement with and support of the UN resident coordinator system. Through MTPF and the budget UNIDO should prepare itself for the successful implementation of all relevant post 2015 goals. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

14. Cooperation between the EU and UNIDO has been steadily growing in the last years. Contributions by the Member States of the EU account for around 40 per cent of the Regular Budget.  EU MS support the Organization through the EU institutions, which shows commitment to the work of UNIDO. European Union's and EU MS voluntary contributions to the UNIDO's Technical Cooperation Programme totalled around USD 35 million, i. e. 20 per cent of total UNIDO TC delivery in 2014. The EU also contributes through different funds. Just recently the EU and UNIDO decided to closer cooperate in the field of energy and environment and the promotion of industrial cooperation and Small and Medium Enterprises policy implementation. Last year, the European Commission and UNIDO approved two new frameworks to further develop their cooperation. The aide-memoire on future cooperation with the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development identifies inclusive growth and private sector development and sustainable industrial development as the major fields for future joint work. A roadmap signed with the Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs supports cooperation in industrial and SME policies, business partnerships, industrial norms and standards as well as the development of a global network of policymakers and stakeholders in SME policy following the model of SME Envoys established by the European Union. The 2nd EU-Pacific-Business Forum, called for increased cooperation with UNIDO in private sector development and sustainable energy. [Agenda point 10. Mobilisation of Financial Resources]

15. We take note that the technical cooperation activities in 2014 reached a level of approximately USD 171 million, and the overall level of Technical Cooperation delivery remains high. We further encourage UNIDO to adopt a more balanced approach focused on qualitative and quantitative success criteria, to scale up the projects, and to diversify its sources of funding, including through public-private partnerships. [Agenda point 10. Mobilisation of Financial Resources]

16. We would like to thank the External Auditor for the audit of UNIDO for 2014 and we are pleased to see that UNIDO received an Unqualified Opinion from the External Auditor. We considered the findings and recommendations of the External Auditor, also those referring to the implementation of projects, as many of them are funded from the voluntary contributions of the European Union and its Member States. We call on the Secretariat to implement the measures contained in the External Auditor's report. We would welcome more information on the implementation of the previous recommendations. [Agenda point 4. Report of the External Auditor]

17. We appreciate the nominations of candidates by Germany and Indonesia for the post of the External Auditor for the period of two years starting 1 July 2016. [Again point 11. Appointment External Auditor]

18. The EU takes note with concern of the information on the outstanding contributions and urges those Member States and former Member States that have not yet paid their assessed contributions, including prior years’ arrears, to do so without delay. We appreciate that Member States being in arrears agreed on payment plans, met their obligations and paid off long-standing debts. The agreements concluded between Member States being in arrears are to the mutual benefit of both parties. We encourage Member States in arrears to consider negotiation of the payment plans. [Agenda point 10. Mobilisation of Financial Resources]

19. We encourage recipient countries and UNIDO to take the lead in accessing funds available at the country level, as many Member States as well as the European Commission have adopted a decentralised pattern of technical cooperation. [Agenda point 10. Mobilisation of Financial Resources]

20. The European Union welcomes the broad principles followed by UNIDO in seeking to address the financial challenges caused by the significant budgetary constraints in many Member States. We agree that every effort should be made to minimise, to the extent possible, the impact of budgetary cutbacks on programmatic and technical cooperation activities. UNIDO has also been posed an additional challenge through the changes in membership to the Organisation. In this regard we recall that the withdrawal of Member States from the Organisation must not result in an additional burden upon the remaining Member States. The current budget proposal does not fully meet this goal and we encourage the Secretariat to make further efforts towards efficiency gains. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

21. The European Union underlines the importance of an experienced and independent evaluator of the Organisation of its programmes and projects as an essential asset for the mobilisation of financial resources from donors and partners.  [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

22. We reiterate our commitment to cooperation with UNIDO and our interest in the continued dialogue with the Organisation. We highly value the exchange of information between the Secretariat and Member States and continue calling upon the Secretariat to organise regular briefings on UNIDO's activities. [Agenda point 5, 6, 7, 8]

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Statement in support of Cyprus' membership in the Wassenaar Arrangement occasion of the Wassenaar Arrangement General Working Group Meeting, Vienna, 20-21 травня 2015

Mr Chairman,

I am taking the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [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. Cyprusmeets 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 evaluating 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-use 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.

Mr. Chairman, 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 Arrangement. 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 an exporter of controlled items regardless of its indigenous production capacities. The EU believes that the effectiveness 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 at the next Plenary Meeting.

Statement on the occasion of the 8th Meeting of the Working Group on the Regular Budget and TCF Targets for 2016-2017, Vienna, 21 травня 2015

Madam Co-chair, Mr Co-chair,

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 and its Member States would like to thank you for your work done so far in the WG on the RB and the TCF Targets for 2016-17. We are also very grateful to the Secretariat’s ongoing commitment to the discussions of the WG.

3. The EU and its Members States would like to stress, at the outset, that we are, and have always been, strong supporters of the Agency's Technical Cooperation Programme and that collectively we also represent the single largest contributor, both in terms of TCF target shares as well as in actual voluntary contributions.

4. Our commitment to the Technical Cooperation Programme also includes working with a view to ensuring that resources for the TC Programme are sufficient, assured and predictable. It is with this objective in mind that we are willing to set the targets for 2016 and 2017 in Euro, pursuant to the recommendation contained in the report of last year’s Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities (WGFAA) endorsed in September 2014 by the Board of Governors.

Madam Co-chair, Mr Co-chair,

5. At the last meeting of the Working Group, a Non Paper on the TCF Target for the biennium 2016-2017 was presented by the Group of 77 and China. The Non Paper proposes setting the target for voluntary contributions to the TCF for 2016 at the level of 93 360 000 USD and for 2017 at the level of 93 450 000 USD, and to set an Indicative Planning Figure (IPF) for the biennium 2018-2019 based on the figure for 2017.

6. The Non Paper mentions several factors which were considered in arriving at this proposal, such as: past decisions by PMOs and past practices in the Agency; price adjustment factor; growing number of developing countries that are recipients of technical cooperation; and changes in the level of the regular operational budget from 2009 onwards.

7. On this latter aspect, we would like to take the opportunity to thank the Secretariat for sharing important data on the respective growth trends of RB and TCF targets from 2009 to 2015. The table provided clearly shows the growth trend of the TCF target, which exceeds that of the Regular Budget since 2009, and reflects the due consideration paid to the needs of the TC Programme.

 

Madam Co-chair, Mr Co-chair,

8. While recognizing the importance of elements highlighted in the Non Paper presented by the Group of 77 and China, we are of the opinion that the following relevant factors should be taken into account in order to set the TCF targets at a reasonable, realistic and sustainable level:

- the potential impact of recent fluctuations in the Euro / US Dollar exchange rate;

- the stability of the purchasing power of Euro as the TCF functional currency over time and the actual pattern of expenditures in different currencies within the context of the TCP;

- the history of compensation in the level of TCF targets when USD exchange rate against Euro exercised downward pressure on the target;

- the contributing capacities of Member States which may be challenged, notwithstanding their continuing political commitment to supporting the TCP, if there were an abrupt, steep increase in their assessed voluntary contribution;

 

Madam Co-chair, Mr Co-chair,

9. We would like to stress that we are not suggesting anything new or unheard of before in this organisation. In fact, Member States already discussed and took into account most of these elements on previous occasions, for instance, during the 2008 negotiations when setting TCF targets for the 2009-2011 triennium, or during our discussions last year in the context of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities last year.

10. In considering 'IPFs', it is clear from previous meetings of this working group that these figures are of little value for the planning activities conducted by the TC Department. This can only cause us to wonder whether there is any discernible benefit in keeping IPFs. They can wrongly anticipate and constrain future discussions on TCF targets, which should be set taking into consideration factors that cannot be properly assessed and predicted three or four years in advance. Therefore, we advocate discontinuing the practice of setting IPFs.

Madame Co-chair, Mr Co-chair,

11. In our opinion, any agreement on the next TCF Targets should be reasonable, realistic and sustainable on its own merit. This is an important point, as we believe that the more reasonable, realistic and sustainable the targets for the next biennium are, the higher the rate of attainment we may expect to achieve.

12. Please rest assured that we have been engaging in these discussions in a constructive spirit, with a view to assuring the predictability and sustainability of the TC Programme in the coming years. Aware of the different views on this issue, the EU and its Member States hereby would like to propose that the Co-chairs of the Working Group on the Programme and Budget and the TCF targets for 2016-2017, devise a compromise proposal for consideration, taking into account all the factors we have addressed in this statement.

Thank you. 

EU statement on the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, OSCE Permanent Council No 1053, 21 травня 2015

1. We draw attention to the declaration of HRVP Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia on 17 May 2015:

2. “On this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, the EU stands together with LGBTI people all around the world in the struggle to end discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. All human beings are equal in dignity and all are entitled to enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3. Over the past years in some parts of the world LGBTI persons have made substantial progress towards obtaining equal rights. Yet in many places they continue to suffer discrimination and violence on account of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In several countries, same sex sexual relations between consenting adults are still criminalised and carry sentences of imprisonment or even the death penalty.

4. We will continue to make the case for the respect of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity, in line with the EU's Guidelines on the rights of LGBTI persons. Through dialogues with third countries, our work in multilateral fora, public statements, and through our support to civil society, the EU will continue to advocate measures to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and to actively promote their rights.”

EU Statement on commemorating the deportation of the Crimean Tatars, OSCE Permanent Council No 1053, 21 травня 2015

1. The deportation of the Crimean Tatars which took place 71 years ago was a tragic watershed in their history. We regret that the public commemoration in Crimea of this anniversary was prohibited, as it was last year. This is but the most recent example of the restrictions and intimidation imposed by the Russian Federation upon the Crimean Tatars.

2. The EU has consistently reiterated its concern about the deteriorating human rights situation on the peninsula since the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014, including as regards the rights of persons belonging to minorities. The freedoms of movement, expression and media must be respected. International human rights actors must be provided with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

EU statement in response to the Minister of Women Affairs of Afghanistan, H.E. Dilbar Nazari, OSCE Permanent Council No 1053, 21 травня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes H.E. Dilbar Nazari to the Permanent Council and wishes to congratulate her on her appointment as Afghan Minister of Women Affairs, and to thank her for her presentation.

2. The EU strongly condemns the ongoing terrorist attacks claiming so many lives of civilians, including a member of the close protection team of the EU Police Mission in Afghanistan. Last week, the EU High Representative Mogherini underlined: “My deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and loved ones of our colleague and of all other innocent victims. The Afghan government needs to ensure that those responsible for the attack are brought to justice”. The EU will continue its engagement for security, development and the respect and the improvement of rights for all in Afghanistan, of children and women first of all.

3. Madam Minister, we are looking forward to intensifying our cooperation with the Afghan government and your Ministry in setting a positive and progressive agenda for rights of women and girls and building on the results achieved over the past 13 years. These improvements require continuous support, since women’s active participation in rebuilding the state and economy is crucial. We welcome the importance President Ghani placed on the education of girls and women’s economic empowerment within his reform agenda. To this end, the EU has launched a number of new initiatives to promote women in leadership positions, gender equality and empowerment of women in Afghanistan.

4. We are interested to learn more about the Ministry’s work on a 5 year Action Plan on the Elimination of Violence against Women. We also welcome the Government of Afghanistan’s work on a National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security based on UN Security Council Resolution 1325 through a country-wide consultative process, and we look forward to its speedy approval and entry into force. Political commitment, as well as the involvement of other relevant Ministries is key to ensuring a robust implementation of the Plan at the national, provincial and local levels. The EU stands ready to assist with this endeavour and has funds available this year.

5. Madam Minister, the EU hopes to find a strong partner in your Ministry when it comes to cooperating on gender aspects of judicial reforms and on strengthening female policing and the work of the police with female victims. We hope that your Ministry will actively participate in the EU-Afghanistan Human Rights Dialogue which is foreseen for June of this year. We would also welcome your efforts, along with your colleagues at the Ministry of Interior and Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, to help protect Human Rights Defenders, particularly women.

6. It remains an important EU objective to promote greater participation of Afghan women in political and public life as well as their economic empowerment; over two thirds of the EU-funded thematic projects focus on rights of women and girls. The envisaged EU - Afghanistan Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development should create the overall legal framework for our cooperation and enshrine the joint commitment for human rights and rights of women and girls in particular.

7. Finally, the EU welcomes the ongoing and future engagement by the OSCE aimed at establishing long-term stability, security, prosperity and democracy in Afghanistan. Madam Minister, we wish you all success in your future work.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1053, 21 травня 2015

1. The European Union strongly supports the ongoing work of Special Representative Tagliavini within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. We welcome the meetings of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group. The Trilateral Contact Group itself must continue to play an essential role in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We remain convinced that the meetings of the working groups should contribute to a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We encourage the sides to continue their work and to demonstrate the political will to make the working groups effective. We reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. At the same time, we remain deeply concerned about the continued ceasefire violations, although we note recent SMM reports that the situation has been relatively calm in the southern region of Donetsk, including in Shyrokyne, and in the Luhansk region. The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation add to our concern. Recent developments once again reconfirm the direct involvement of military personnel of the Russian Federation. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a gross violation of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We repeat our call on all sides to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide the SMM with the full baseline information and access that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. This notably includes Nadiya Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance and require swift and sustained progress in accordance with the agreed sequence and calendar. This includes dialogue and agreement on modalities on and the holding of local elections in certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian legislation and relevant OSCE standards and monitored by ODIHR. We are concerned that ODIHR staff were denied access to separatist controlled areas. The necessary access and security guarantees should be granted to ODIHR staff.

5. We note with deep concern from the SMM's reports that the mission continues to face restrictions in its monitoring activities. We note in particular that access remains fully or partly restricted in large swaths of separatist-controlled territory, including along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We once again urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia.

6. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. We join the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in welcoming the adoption of a law increasing the penalties for crimes committed against journalists and their close relatives. Like the Representative, we trust that these important legislative changes will contribute to ensuring journalists’ safety in Ukraine. At the same time, we note the Representative’s concern regarding recent laws relating to the history of Ukraine.

8. 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 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.

WHO Response in severe, large-scale emergencies, 68th World Health Assembly, WHO, European Union Statement, 18-26 травня 2015

Chair,

I'm honored to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

We would like to thank the WHO for the report on its response in severe, large-scale emergencies.

The world has faced an unprecedented magnitude of large scale and complex humanitarian and public health emergencies. They have required extraordinary response measures and reminded us that health concerns are present in all emergencies.

Large-scale health emergencies create a serious burden for the national health systems as well as for international response mechanisms. We acknowledge the work done by WHO in leading an effective response to the six Grade 3 emergencies during the period under review.  At the same time we note that there are several protracted crises that require WHO's continuous emergency response.

The Ebola Virus outbreak showed us the importance of being able to respond quickly, timely, efficiently and in a coordinated manner. It, however, also highlighted the crucial importance of prevention, preparedness and early action at national level in order to save lives. Emergency preparedness and capacities required for health security must become routinely addressed in the context of health systems strengthening. In this regard, we would like to underline the urgent need to implement the International Health Regulations.

The mandate given to WHO in its constitution, the organization’s response policy as defined in the Emergency Response Framework, its broad health expertise and its presence around the world are reasons why WHO should remain as the coordinator of health emergencies and the lead agency of the health cluster in humanitarian emergencies, in close coordination with other relevant actors.

We welcome the five changes announced by the Director-General in her opening statement to make WHO better fit for this role. In addition to these changes, an enhanced WHO response requires clear operational leadership by the Director-General, advised by the Global Policy Group. The EU requests that these improvements are brought for consideration to the 69th World Health Assembly through the Executive Board.

Chair,

We have already witnessed progress, including the Emergency Response Framework and the implementation of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee transformative agenda for humanitarian assistance. The EU supports WHO's continued active engagement as an Inter-Agency Standing Committee partner in humanitarian assistance.

To conclude, we reiterate the importance of having a regular agenda item on emergencies in the governing bodies and suggest that the secretariat reports under this agenda item also on improvements made in WHO's emergency work, including with regard to work on preparedness.

Agenda item 14.2, 68th World Health Assembly, European Union Statement, 18-26 травня 2015

Distinguished Chairperson,

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

To add Alignment para: 

The European Union congratulates WHO on its engagement in the processes leading up to the current open-ended working group proposal, which positions health as goal number 3, “Ensuring healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”. The nine targets focus on the completion and the extension of the Millennium Development Goals, including “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services” and include new elements such as universal health coverage (UHC), non-communicable diseases and mental health, as well as strengthening capacity for early warnings, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks.

These nine targets reflect the breadth of the global health agenda, including the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

The EU has always highlighted the importance it attaches to health as an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda. The EU underlines the critical importance of ensuring universal health coverage and social protection for all, which are central for the achievement of sustainable development, linking hereby health and human rights, and highlighting the notion of equity in access to quality services. This is key to improving health outcomes, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable

Furthermore, the EU remains 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 ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), in this context.

The EU stresses the need to focus on Universal Health Coverage with a strong emphasis on resilient, quality and affordable health systems. Moreover, the EU is committed to integrate a human-rights based approach into all development activities,  including on sexual and reproductive health, in order to facilitate the achievement and successful implementation of the future SDGs, including in the health sector.

The EU underlines the importance of the prevention and the control of both communicable and non-communicable diseases in the post-2015 development agenda to alleviate the burden that disproportionally affects low- and middle-income countries.

The Ebola outbreak has further highlighted the need to address outbreak preparedness and response as part of the global health security context.

It is important to note the multisectoral and cross-cutting nature of health and its relevance for some of the other 16 Sustainable Development Goals. We reiterate that health remains one of the key drivers for poverty eradication.

We will follow with interest the technical work underway to develop the accompanying indicators to measure the proposed goals. The EU underlines the leading role of the WHO and other relevant partners in the development of the monitoring framework of the health-related SDGs.

Finally the EU highlights the importance of the ongoing discussion on the means of implementation that are essential in translating the post 2015 agenda into concrete, comprehensive action. 

Déclaration de l'UE relative à la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540 du Conseil de sécurité, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 789, 20 травня 2015

L'Union Européenne (UE) souhaite la bienvenue à S.E. l'Ambassadeur Román Oyarzun Marchesi, président du Comité du CSNU sur la résolution 1540 (2004). Nous vous remercions pour votre contribution au Dialogue sur la sécurité, particulièrement dans le cadre de l’examen complet de la résolution d'ici 2016. Nous mettrons tout en oeuvre pour participer à sa réussite, tant au niveau de l'UE qu'en tant que membres de l'OSCE.

Nous souhaiterions confirmer que, pour nous, la résolution 1540 et ses resolutions afférentes constituent un élément clef de l'architecture internationale pour la nonprolifération, ainsi qu'un instrument capital dans la lutte internationale contre le terrorisme. Ces résolutions ont également contribué à impliquer les acteurs nonétatiques dans la lutte contre la prolifération d'armes de destruction massive, ce qui reste aujourd'hui l'un des objectifs majeurs de la communauté internationale et de l'UE.

L'Union Européenne, c’est bien connu, soutient fermement la mise en oeuvre réelle et efficace de la résolution 1540, afin de renforcer les efforts, aux niveaux mondial et régional, pour empêcher l'acquisition et l'usage d'armes et de matériel nucléaires, biologiques, et chimiques, ainsi que de leurs vecteurs, par des acteurs non-étatiques. Plus particulièrement, la décision 2013/391/CFSP du Conseil de l'UE sur mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540 préconise une coopération étroite entre l'UNODA, l'OSCE, et d'autres organisations et agences internationales compétentes pour développer des synergies et éviter la duplication des efforts.

L'Union Européenne salue l'importante contribution du Comité sur la résolution 1540 et de son groupe d'experts à la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540 et des résolutions afférentes. Nous réaffirmons notre plein attachement et notre soutien au Comité 1540, dont le mandat a été prolongé jusqu'en 2021. Nous voudrions également souligner l'importance des rapports réguliers sur la mise en oeuvre de cette résolution au niveau national et de l’adoption des plans d'action nationaux.

Nous soulignons la nécessité de mettre en oeuvre la résolution 1540, notamment pour éviter que des armes de destruction massive ne tombent entre les mains d'acteurs non-étatiques et de groupes terroristes. Tous les Etats membres de l'Unionи Européenne ont soumis un rapport sur la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540 au Comité 1540, et plusieurs d'entre eux ont élaboré des plans d’action nationaux.

Nous nous félicitons des efforts conjoints de l'Union Européenne et de ses Etats membres et de l'OSCE. Nous pensons que cette coopération doit être renforcée, et qu'elle doit se concentrer sur le développement d'activités pratiques telles que, entre autres, l'assistance aux Etats participants, à leur demande, dans l’élaboration de rapports et des plans d’action nationaux, la rédaction de lois de mise en oeuvre, la facilitation du partage d'informations, la promotion des bonnes pratiques, ainsi que le renforcement de l'échange d'informations relatives à la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540, dans les réseaux multilatéraux.

Dans ce contexte, nous soutenons les activités et les efforts constants des structures exécutives de l'OSCE pour aider les Etats participants qui le demandent à mettre en oeuvre la résolution 1540. C'est pourquoi nous accueillons favorablement le projet de décision du FCS sur le rôle de l'OSCE dans mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540, proposé par les délégations de la Biélorussie et de l'Arménie. Nous sommes prêts à continuer le dialogue dans le but d'arriver à un consensus.

Nous sommes très satisfaits de voir que pas moins de 12 Etats participants à l'OSCE ont mis à jour leurs rapports nationaux en 2014, et que de nombreux autres sont en train de le faire. Nous saluons aussi l'introduction d'un système d'examen par des pairs, à l'initiative de la Pologne et de la Croatie, et nous notons avec satisfaction que d'autres Etats participants ont manifesté leur intention de suivre leur exemple. La coopération entre les Etats participants et le soutien de l'OSCE aux Etats en faisant la demande viennent consolider de telles initiatives pour la mise en oeuvre de la résolution 1540.

Ces observations ne font que renforcer notre conviction que le rôle et les moyens de l'OSCE pour l'application de la résolution 1540 et des résolutions afférentes doivent être maintenus de manière durable. En effet, les événements récents ont prouvé que les menaces liées aux matériaux CBRM sont bien réelles et doivent être prises en compte. Ceci s'applique tout particulièrement dans le domaine de la sécurité des sources radioactives, suite aux vols observés dans certains pays, et aux tentative répétées de certains acteurs non-étatiques d'utiliser ces matériaux à des fins malveillantes.

Enfin, nous tenons à remercier la présidence monténégrine du FCS pour l'occasion qui nous a été offerte aujourd'hui de débattre de la mise en oeuvre de la resolution 1540 dans la région de l'OSCE.

EU statement on Disaster Risk Reduction, OSCE Asian Contact Group , 19 травня 2015

We thank Ms Esra Buttanri, Mr Kaoru Saito and Mr Philipp Beutler for presenting the outcomes of the third United Nations Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sandai, Japan from 14 to 18 March, which reviewed the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, adopted in 2005, and adopted the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030.

We thank Japan for hosting this conference and for the successful outcome. The European Union expresses its appreciation for Japan’s commitment and leadership in DRR, humanitarian aid and resilience. We underline the good cooperation between the EU and Japan during the preparations of the conference. As major global donors, it is important that the EU and Japan work closely together and look for synergies in DRR.

The success of the Sendai negotiation will feed into the other international processes later this year. Japan is a strategic partner for the EU and we are like-minded on this issue. We are therefore keen to continue strengthening cooperation with Japan in disaster management.

Effective implementation of the Sendai Framework for Action will be key. It will require strong commitment, political leadership and will be vital to the achievement of future agreements on sustainable development goals and climate later this year. At EU level, we will need to assess the series of actions, the targets and their implications for EU policies.

The success of the Sendai negotiations will also feed into other processes. We need to make sure, that the outcome document of the Financing for Development conference in Addis Ababa addresses the financing of disaster risk reduction, in particular the need to mainstream disaster risk throughout development programmes, the post-2015 development agenda and the Climate Conference in Paris.

We regret however, that no agreement on including conflict as an underlying risk factor could have been achieved.

We believe that disaster risks, aggravated inter alia by climate change, pose not only threats to security but also offer opportunities for cooperation on disaster risk management across borders and regions. This could contribute to building trust and confidence, thus reducing tensions and potential conflicts.

In this regard, we thank the Swiss Chairmanship for bringing the area of disaster risk reduction and management to the attention of the OSCE pS through last year’s discussion in the framework of the Economic and Environmental Forum and by adopting the MC.DEC 6/14 on enhancing disaster risk reduction.

The OSCE should not duplicate efforts at global level but should support them. [Contingency – In this context, we would be grateful if the distinguished speakers could further elaborate where they see the OSCE’s role in the post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.]

In our view, the OSCE could support the implementation of the new framework by generating political will, as well as by knowledge and experience sharing and facilitating exchange of experience across the OSCE region. Improving accountability, transparency and governance by awareness raising on DRR through OSCE field missions and Aarhus Centres, as well as by building partnerships between different public authorities and relevant stakeholders, including local level actors, civil society and the private sector is another area for OSCE engagement.

In conclusion, we thank the speakers once again for their interesting presentations. 

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 789, 20 травня 2015

The European Union and its Member States strongly support all diplomatic efforts, including in the Normandy format, towards achieving a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We welcome the establishment of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group and encourage the sides to contribute to a political process toward the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and achieve decisive de-escalation of the situation on the ground. In this respect, we look forward to achieving progress in the negotiations within the Security Working Group on withdrawal of heavy weapons and disengagement of troops.

The persistent significant ceasefire violations and their spill over, in particular onto government controlled areas north-west of Luhansk and north-east of Mariupol, continue to claim lives and damage civilian infrastructure and private houses. We strongly condemn the shelling of residential areas and their use as firing positions in breach of international law which further endangers the lives of civilians.

At the same time, we reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We note with deep concern that heavy weapons continue to be deployed and used by the parties in areas proscribed by the Minsk agreements. Furthermore, SMM continues to observe significant build-up and movement of military hardware and forces, notably on the separatists' side of the contact line in and around Donetsk city and north-east of Mariupol. Against this worrying backdrop, we strongly remind the sides of the imperative need to stop fighting and ensure full and comprehensive ceasefire as well as unreserved support to the SMM de-escalatory efforts. In particular, the SMM should be provided with the requested baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons without further delay.

We urge all sides to swiftly and fully implement all provisions of the Minsk agreements and expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. Equally, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk Package. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard as well.

We remain deeply concerned about information of the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula as well as of continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. We appeal for substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains essential.

In this context, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, including outside the area of deployment of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, according to the SMM daily report of 15 May. They do so without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

European Union, Statement on the occasion of the Forty-Seventh Session of Working Group A CTBTO Preparatory Commission, 26-28 травня 2015

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 opening remarks.

 

Mr Chairman,

3. The EU and its Member States continue to believe that programme and budget related matters greatly benefit from the dialogue between States Signatories and the PTS. We are therefore grateful to the Secretariat for the briefing on key aspects of the Programme and Budget Proposals and of the multiyear funding modality, and we would encourage the continuation of this useful practice. We also encourage you, Mr Chairman, to continue the informal consultations on budgetary matters in the future.

4. Budgets of the Organisation should be realistic, sustainable and programmedriven, allowing the Preparatory Commission to effectively carry out its mandate and to protect previous investments. Given the current climate of budgetary austerity, we acknowledge the endeavours of the PTS in this respect. Still, we would welcome further initiatives and modalities leading to a more efficient global cost management of the CTBTO. We encourage the Secretariat to continue looking for possible further savings and efficiency gains. The Midterm Strategy 2014-2017 (MTS) should continue to guide the preparation of the Programme and Budget Proposals for the upcoming years.

5. The EU and its Member States would like to reiterate their support for the introduction of biennial budgeting. We believe this can be done in a way which would not reduce information flow, transparency on accountability to the States Signatories or restrict their control over, or flexibility in, governing the activities of the PTS and in conformity with the provisions of the Treaty and the Resolution establishing the Preparatory Commission. We also regard multi-year funding as an interesting possibility for supporting activities of a multi-year nature. We took note of the recommendations put forward by the Advisory Group at its last session regarding to the modifications in the Financial Regulations and Rules, and are ready to consider these recommendations further during this Working Group.

6. Regarding the International Data Centre, a renewed focus on technology and effectiveness is important in order to ensure that it does not lag behind the other verification areas. It is important that sufficient resources be dedicated to ensure and improve the quality and timeliness of Reviewed Event Products. To this end, the suggestion to implement new tools and processes to achieve efficiencies in analysis and operations is welcome. This will assist all those States relying on the IDC for accurate and timely reports. There are also improvements to the Global Communications Infrastructure and reengineering of the IDC application software which are key elements in keeping the IDC up-to-date. The European Union would also like to recognize and congratulate the PTS on completing the move to Phase 5b of the IDC Commissioning Plan.

7. On the IMS, we note the PTS’ proposal to focus on African and South American stations' installation and certification, and welcome the actions of those countries that have indicated their readiness to start establishing IMS facilities.

8. In this context, the European Union and its Member States welcome the suggestions put forward in the 2016 Draft Programme and Budget Proposals regarding the IMS and IDC.

9. OSI-operability remains of great importance in the post-IFE14 period. It is essential that the recent Integrated Field Exercise is 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.

10. The EU and its Member States welcome the efforts of the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat and the employment terms for temporary staff members. We feel however that the number of positions currently unfilled and the lengthy recruitment process still pose a challenge. We believe a fully staffed human resource team is an urgent requirement which would improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat and speed up the recruitment process in compliance with the approved Staff Rules.

 

Mr Chairman,

11. The EU and its Member States are well aware that operation and maintenance costs are increasing with the growing number and age of certified facilities. In this regard, we welcome the recent negotiations of PCA contracts which ensured the best possible protection of the interests of the Commission and achieved substantial price containment. We encourage the Secretariat to continue with this practice.

12. As in our previous statement for Working Group A, we continue to encourage all States to pay their assessed contributions to the Preparatory Commission in full and on time, as mentioned in the report of the external auditor. In this regard, we would favourably welcome any additional information on how timely payments are made.

13. The EU and its Member States consider that the measures to put in place the IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system were among the most significant accomplishments of the PTS’ administration in 2014. Indeed, we believe that the IPSAS-ERP system will provide additional transparency on financial information and will lead to measurable efficiency gains. In this context, we congratulate the PTS for the successful and first time certification of the CTBTO’s accounts with IPSAS, and we look forward to receiving regular updates concerning the benefits of this system.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Death Penalty, Intervention on the occasion of 24th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Agenda item 6 Use and application of United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, Vienna, 18-22 травня 2015

Mr. Chairman,

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

2. The EU wishes to express its appreciation for the report of the UN Secretary-General on capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of rights of those facing the death penalty. This report provides an excellent and comprehensive description of this issue for the period 2009 – 2013. The report confirms the continuation of a clear trend towards abolition and restriction of the use of capital punishment in most countries.

3. However, a great number of challenges still lie ahead, as many States continue to apply the death penalty, some of them at a distressingly high rate, and other have recently resumed executions after years of a de facto moratorium. Such developments are extremely worrying and clearly show the need to pursue and reinforced actions against the death penalty.

4. The EU expresses a strong and unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances and considers that the death penalty undermines human dignity and errors made in its application are irreversible.

5. We underline the importance of the full implementation of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on a Moratorium on the use of death penalty, which was adopted in December 2014 with an unprecedented number of votes.

6. The EU considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights at the global level. We consider death penalty as a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, for which there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value. The EU welcomes the steps taken by some States to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed, as well as steps taken to limit its application. In this regard we call upon all States to abolish the death penalty in all circumstances.

7. We urge all United Nations’ Member States to impose a moratorium on its use as a step towards its final abolition.

8. The EU fully supports the recommendations contained in the report and we call on the Economic and Social Council to endorse them in July, at its next substantive session.

9. We are pleased that the report includes a reference to the “European Guidelines on Death Penalty”. We call on States that still maintain the death penalty to respect international standards that provide safeguards guaranteeing the protection of rights of those facing the death penalty, in particular the minimum standards.

10. The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime have an important role to play in this regard, as demonstrated by the finalization of the review of the United Nations Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners, that should hopefully be adopted - as “Mandela Rules” - by the CCPCJ at the current session.

11. We reiterate the importance of the third safeguard, concerning specific vulnerable groups: juveniles, pregnant women and new mothers, older persons and persons with mental or intellectual disabilities.

12. Finally, we reiterate our call on States that still maintain the death penalty to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed. In this regard, the EU strongly welcomes the call by the International Narcotics Control Board on those States that still provide for death penalty for drug-related offences in their national legislation and continue to impose it, to consider the abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offences.

Item 15.1 - AMR, WHO, 68th World Health Assembly, EU Statement

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

The European Union is very pleased that a Draft Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance is presented to the Assembly. We are also pleased to cosponsor collectively the draft resolution that has been tabled for the adoption of the action plan.

The Draft Global Action plan is a major step for WHO and its Member States achieved in close cooperation with FAO and OIE. We wish to thank and acknowledge all stakeholders that were involved in developing this important Action Plan, in particular the Secretariat and the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group. Within one year, we have managed to develop in an inclusive manner a comprehensive plan ready for adoption.

With this draft, WHO succeeded in involving all relevant sectors, including human and veterinary medicine as well as agriculture . It considers all elements required to tackle AMR thoroughly. The principles and the five strategic objectives are well identified. They create good guidance to Member States for developing national action plans. 

But we are not yet there:

On financing, we would like to seek confirmation from the Secretariat that, irrespective of the outcome of the programme budget discussions, the action plan and the accompanying resolution will be fully budgeted in the Programme Budget for 2016-17.

A Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Global Action Plan still needs to be developed by the Secretariat and the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group . This will be a very important instrument to WHO and its Member States in measuring their efforts.

The EU also underlines the urgent need to accelerate efforts to develop new antimicrobial medicines, diagnostic tools, vaccines and alternative therapies while preserving existing antimicrobial medicines through rational use.  WHO is an important partner in this regard.

The adoption of the Global Action Plan is a first step. Now it is time to act. Member States are expected to implement the proposed actions and develop national plans. The European Union and its Member States have worked actively to ensure our public health interests via a One Health approach. This has led to the development and implementation of an EU Action Plan including national plans. However, much can still be done in our region. We are ready to support and interact with WHO, for example in the areas of responsible use and surveillance, in sharing our experiences with other countries, too.

We also have to look forward beyond the implementation of the Global Action Plan.

Therefore, the European Union and its Member States support the call for a High Level Meeting in the United Nations General Assembly in 2016. This will create a platform to further strengthening awareness of all sectors and commitment to work collectively on the global threat of Antimicrobial resistance. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Head of the OSCE Office in Tajikistan, H.E. Ambassador Markus Müller, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Müller back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his comprehensive report.

2. We continue to place an emphasis on Tajikistan remaining a priority area for OSCE support across all three dimensions of security. The Office in Tajikistan plays an important role in assisting the government to further the implementation of OSCE commitments. We value the collaborative approach that the Office enjoys with the host government and civil society, not least through the Task Force process of agreeing priority areas for OSCE activity. We urge that OSCE activities arising out of this approach are based on measured evaluation of where the Office has the potential and expertise to deliver practical benefits. In this respect, we welcome evaluation measures such as the perception review on Tajik-Afghan cross-border trade which effectively demonstrated the value of the OSCE’s Cross Border Market Resource Centres. We encourage you to continue such enhancements to internal and external evaluation methods.

3. We are encouraged by the increase in cooperative regional activities such as the work on border management and conflict prevention with Kyrgyzstan, which appear to be demonstrating practical benefits.  We also highly value the Office’s inclusion of Afghan officials in capacity-building activities where appropriate. Such activities help break down barriers and encourage a more open and transparent approach to regional security.

4. We attach critical importance to retaining a space for peaceful opposition and alternative views to be expressed in Tajikistan. Current tendencies to silence such voices, including through the blocking of websites, risks driving them underground, with the danger that those denied a legitimate political outlet for their opinions turn to more radical or extreme solutions. In this respect, we were deeply alarmed by regressive developments, including the harassment of opposition politicians and activists, in the run-up to the Parliamentary elections in March. We regret that these elections took place in a restricted political space and failed to provide a level playing field for candidates. Although some improvements were made to the electoral law, restrictions on the right to stand, freedoms of expression and assembly and access to media limited the opportunity to make a free and informed choice. We urge the Tajik authorities to effectively address the shortcomings identified by the OSCE/ODIHR. 

5. We attach a high importance to the Office’s work on strengthening political dialogue, political pluralism and cooperation with civil society. We welcome the Office’s work in assisting the Government of Tajikistan draft legislation on police reform, in particular fostering the inclusion on civil society in discussions. In a similar vein, we welcome the Office’s co-operation with the Inter-Agency Working Group drafting a national strategy to prevent and counter Violent Extremism and Radicalisation leading to Terrorism. This issue is likely to be a key feature in the future stability and security of Tajikistan and we encourage the Office to share the OSCE’s substantial expertise in this area in order to assist the government develop both top-down and bottom-up approaches that are fully compliant with Tajikistan’s human rights commitments. 

6. We continue to support the valuable work of both the Office and the Border Management Staff College in the area of border security and encourage you to continue work on merging the division of labour between the two where practicable. We are concerned that the College’s financial position continues to be insecure and agree with you that there is a need to put the BMSC on a more sustainable funding, and to include as a minimum at least some of the BMSC’s core costs in the Unified Budget in the interests of stability and predictability. Having to divert energy to fund-raising diminishes the level of attention that can be paid to the core task of capacity-building. In a similar vein, we do not think that the increased emphasis being placed on the College’s research and analysis work is appropriate at this juncture.

7. In the second dimension, we agree that stimulating the domestic economy, foreign investment and local employment will be a key factor in Tajikistan’s future security. We encourage the Office to concentrate on those areas in which the OSCE can best offer assistance – legislative reform, particularly related to anti-corruption, and to work with the government and civil society on the key issue of its effective implementation.

8. Our concern is growing over Tajikistan’s implementation of certain aspects of its OSCE human dimension commitments, particularly related to freedom of expression, freedom of association and assembly and freedom of religion or belief. We believe the OSCE can play a valuable role in these areas. We strongly support the Office’s work in promoting and facilitating dialogue between government agencies and civil society on the development of laws, policy and practices. In this respect, we were encouraged that Office-facilitated dialogue resulted in the Ministry of Justice agreeing significant amendments to the draft Law on Public Associations.

9. We note that there were promising developments related to torture prevention and eradication, particularly related to compensation cases, and encourage the Government and Office to continue pursing effective implementation of recent amendments to the Criminal Code. We also continue to see value in the Office’s activities related to gender-based violence and welcome increased attention being paid to the growing area of trafficking in human beings. We encourage the Office to step up its activities to support freedom of the media, including on-line media, given the concerns expressed on several occasions by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

10. In conclusion, we thank Ambassador Müller and his staff throughout Tajikistan for their dedicated work throughout the year, despite the human and financial resource constraints and offer you our full support for your planned activities in 2016. 

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union once again calls on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package.

2. Last week’s extension of the pre-trial detention of Nadiya Savchenko until 30 June is extremely worrying in view of her hunger strike to protest her abduction and illegal detention. We underline that Russia bears a responsibility for Nadiya Savchenko’s very fragile health. Reports that Nadiya Savchenko will soon be transferred to the city of Voronezh are of great concern. This would significantly hinder monitoring of her trial and conditions of imprisonment by international observers.  

EU statement on the recent events in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

1. We deeply regret the loss of lives in Kumanovo. We express our sympathy with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and offer sincere condolences to the families of the victims.

2. We commend the OSCE Mission for the role it played to reduce tensions during the events. We furthermore welcome today’s timely visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by the Head of the CiO Taskforce, Ambassador Šahović and the Special Representative of the Chairmanship for Western Balkans, Ambassador Stoudmann. We look forward to Ambassador Stoudmann’s report on this visit to the Permanent Council.

3. We welcome the statements of all political leaders in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia that this incident should not be seen as an inter-ethnic conflict. Ordinary people have joined in distancing themselves from conflict across ethnicities. We also welcome President Ivanov’s initiative to meet with all political parties, and call for an increase in engagement in this regard. We note with satisfaction, that the governments of the neighbouring countries have denounced any attempts to destabilise the inter-ethnic relations in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and have called for a restoration of calm as well as a de-escalation of tension.

4. We strongly believe that the incident in Kumanovo must not be allowed to harm relations within communities in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia or regionally. In this context, we urge the relevant authorities to fully investigate the events in an objective and transparent manner within the law, and to share information with international partners. We expect all parties to cooperate in order to shed light on those events.

5. In terms of the ongoing political crisis, we recall the European Council Conclusions of 21 April, which inter alia urge all sides to assume their respective responsibilities and take immediate measures towards a sustainable solution, constructively engage to restart political dialogue and restore trust in the institutions by adequate political steps. All allegations should be investigated by the relevant authorities, including those allegations of potential wrongdoing being made public, with full regard for due process, principle of independence and the presumption of innocence.

6. We continue to fully support the fundamental democratic right of citizens to assemble and peacefully protest, and reiterate our appeal on all sides to refrain from violence.

7. Finally, we underline that this is the time for the government and opposition to pull together and engage seriously, constructively, and without delay in dialogue on all issues facing the country, including the ongoing political crisis and necessary reforms.    

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes the forthcoming meetings of the four working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. These meetings should contribute to a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We encourage the sides to continue their work and to demonstrate the political will to make the working groups effective. We reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. At the same time, we remain deeply concerned about the continued and increasing fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine. We particularly note the SMM's reports about ongoing ceasefire violations in Shyrokyne and around Donetsk airport. The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation add to concern. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

3. We reiterate our call on all sides to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential.

4. We strongly condemn the incidents threatening the safety and security of the OSCE monitors, including the direct firing at SMM personnel on 10 May. We urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia.

5. 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 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.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 788, EU Statement on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition, 13 травня 2015 року

The European Union wishes to warmly welcome today's speakers and thank them for their valuable contributions to the FSC discussion on addressing risks stemming from the illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and conventional ammunition.

This is a topic which the latest negative and highly disturbing security developments in the OSCE area and its immediate neighbourhood have brought to the fore requiring an adequate and urgent response by the international community.

In particular, the crisis in and around Ukraine has once again clearly demonstrated the multifaceted risks related to the illicit spread of SALW and conventional weapons, their illegal supply to the separatist groups in eastern Ukraine by the Russian Federation, and its tragic impact on the safety and the security of the civilian population.

We would like to thank also the Montenegrin FSC Chairmanship for organising this Security Dialogue thereby providing the OSCE participating States with the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to the full implementation of the OSCE politico-military documents, particularly those in the field of SALW, conventional arms control and CSBMs regimes.

For our part, we continue to strongly believe that the OSCE Documents on SALW and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (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.

In this respect we reiterate our strong and longstanding position in favour of strengthening the OSCE relevant norms and activities through improved implementation and increased coherence and complementarity with the UN framework in line with the respective provisions of Ministerial Council decision 10/14.

In particular, we stress the need to continue discussing ways to uphold and update, where 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, including on strengthening women’s role in all stages of the conflict cycle.

We welcome and fully support the draft FSC decision tabled by the Montenegrin Chairmanship on the OSCE Meeting to Review the Implementation of OSCE Projects on SALW and SCA which we view as a concrete step towards the implementation of the FSC tasks stipulated in MC decision 10/14.

Along with our continued and substantial support to projects related to destruction of surplus SALW and SCA and physical security management, including in conflict areas, we stand ready to reinforce the OSCE commitments on maritime transport of SALW and SCA as well as to improve co-operation with OSCE Partners for Cooperation. We welcome therefore the proposals for FSC draft decisions on providing assistance to the OSCE Partners for Cooperation and preventing illicit trafficking of SALW by sea and are grateful to their authors and cosponsors for their commitment to further enhance the OSCE normative basis in the field of SALW and SCA.

Last but obviously not least, we recall that the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) entered into force on 24 December 2014. So far 130 UN States have signed it and 67 ratified, which demonstrates a vibrant international momentum. 45 OSCE participating States, among which all EU Member States have signed the Treaty and, so far, 35 OSCE participating States, out of which 26 EU Member States have ratified it. In this vein, we encourage all OSCE participating States to sign and ratify the Treaty as soon as possible.

Furthermore, we reiterate that the European Union continues to see an important role for the OSCE with regard to the universalisation and the full implementation of the ATT on the basis of the provisions of MC decision 10/14.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 788, Vienna, EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, 13 травня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support for all diplomatic efforts, including in the Normandy format, aimed at achieving sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. Such a solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. In this context, we welcome the launch of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group on 6 May. This is an important step which offers a chance for a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements and decisive de-escalation of the situation on the ground.

At the same time, we express our deep concern about the surge of violence over the weekend as well as its spreading along the contact line beyond hotspot areas such as Donetsk airport and the village of Shyrokyne. Moreover, the hostilities continue to claim civilian and military lives and further deteriorate the dire humanitarian situation in some parts of eastern Ukraine. Fighting must stop and all sides must strictly and comprehensively respect the ceasefire and fully uphold the SMM de-escalatory efforts. We expect Russia to exert its considerable influence over the separatists to this end.

We strongly condemn the incidents threatening the safety and security of the OSCE monitors, including the direct firing at SMM personnel on 10 May, and urge all parties to

ensure full security and freedom of movement for the SMM. We also take note of the explanation and apology given by the local Ukrainian Armed Forces Commander related to the incident on 10 May and his commitment to ensure full security for the SMM.

We note as well with great concern the SMM reports about important concentration and movement of military hardware and forces, notably on the separatists' side of the contact line in and around Donetsk city and north-east of Mariupol. Despite claims that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was completed such weapons continue to be deployed and used by the parties within the exclusion zone, in particular Grad MLRS by the Russiabacked separatists. This is unacceptable.

The SMM should be provided without further delay with the requested baseline information that would pave the way for effective and independent fulfilment of its monitoring and verification tasks in accordance with the Minsk agreements. The SMM role remains crucial in ensuring the complete withdrawal of heavy weapons as well as sustainable and comprehensive ceasefire. This is why we strongly urge for safe, unrestricted and unhindered SMM access to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists.

Furthermore, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk Package. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We remain deeply concerned about information of the build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula as well as of continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

We urge all signatories for the full implementation of all provisions of the Minsk agreements, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We recall that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance. We underline the Russia’s responsibility in this regard as well.

We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian

Federation to do likewise.

Statement on the occasion of 24th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice,Opening Statement, 18-22 травня 2015 року

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Andorra, Norway, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.

2. Let me start by welcoming you, Mr. Chairman, as Chair of this 24th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. We are confident that under your able guidance, we will be in a position to successfully accomplish the work before us this week and I would like to assure you and the other members of the Bureau of our full cooperation in this regard. We welcome the adoption of the Doha Declaration on integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation.

3. An essential principle for the EU remains the promotion and protection of fundamental rights for all, regardless of race, national origin, age, religion, political opinion, disability, sex and sexual orientation, and to ensure effective, fair and humane national criminal justice systems, strongly based on the protection of human rights, including the right to a fair trial. Human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights are at the heart of everything we do. 

4. The EU is opposed to the use of measures of any kind that are not respectful of the human being. In this regard, we oppose the death penalty in all cases and without exception, and we are consistently calling for its universal abolition. We consider death penalty as a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, for which there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value and welcome the steps taken by some States to reduce the number of offences, including drug related offences, for which the death penalty may be imposed, as well as steps taken to limit its application. In this regard we call upon all States to abolish the death penalty in all circumstances.

5. Crime prevention and criminal justice systems, in full respect of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, play a crucial role for the promotion of sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and the reduction of social inequality. As such, they also constitute important elements in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda. We believe it is essential to ensure that the post-2015 agenda is universal, people-centred, founded on a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights and fundamental freedoms, combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance, including religious intolerance, gender inequality and  gender based violence. We have consistently called for an agenda that also promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, democratic good governance and the rule of law, which are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing with sustainable development. 

6. We strongly condemn all acts of violence against women and girls, in particular when they occur in situation of armed conflicts and in any other circumstance in which women and girls are particularly vulnerable and we call upon Member States to develop and implement national gender-related plans, promoting the full protection of women and girls in their national criminal justice systems. We fully support the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in this regard.

7. We strongly condemn all acts of violence, exploitation and abuse against children: we call upon Member States to elaborate and implement national child justice policies aiming at preventing violence against children, including by implementing the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The EU is gravely concerned that sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be used to justify serious human rights violations around the world. LGBTI persons constitute a vulnerable group, who continue to be victims of persecution, discrimination, bullying and gross ill-treatment, often involving extreme forms of violence, including torture and murder. The EU is committed to the principle of the universality of human rights and reaffirms that cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons. When visiting Vienna earlier this year, SG Ban Ki Moon said that ‘Discrimination has no place in the United Nations, nor in the world of the 21st century’.

8. The EU is strongly committed to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. Trafficking in human beings constitutes an obstacle for the full enjoyment of human rights. Both crimes are very lucrative illicit activities globally and generate income used to fund other forms of criminal activities.

9. The situation in the Mediterranean is a tragedy. The EU will mobilise all efforts at its disposal to prevent further loss of life at sea and to tackle the root causes of the human emergency that we face, in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit. Our immediate priority is to prevent more people from dying at sea. We have therefore decided to strengthen our presence at sea, to fight the traffickers, to prevent illegal migration flows and to reinforce internal solidarity and responsibility. Given that instability in Libya creates an ideal environment for the criminal activities of traffickers, we will actively support all UN-led efforts towards re-establishing government authority in Libya. We will also step up efforts to address conflict and instability as key push factors for migration, including in Syria.

10. In this regard, on 23 April the EU adopted a ten-point action plan as a comprehensive response with immediate actions for the crisis in the Mediterranean. The EU is committed to more forcefully repress the networks of smugglers who take advantage of migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection have access to appropriate procedures and assistance.

11. UNODC is the only United Nations entity focusing on the criminal justice element of these crimes. The EU and its Member States appreciate and support the valuable efforts of UNODC and also in its work to get a better coordinated response by other multilateral organizations, including through the Inter Agency Coordination Against Trafficking (ICAT) group.

12. We are deeply concerned that transnational organized crime and corruption undermine human development and democracy, damage private and public sector integrity and reduce access to public services.

13. We reaffirm the importance of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption. We recognise the work of UNODC to assist Member States in the full and effective implementation of these conventions. We welcome in this regard the work carried out by Member States and UNODC within the UNCAC review mechanism and we stand ready to explore all options regarding appropriate and effective mechanisms to assist in the review of the implementation of UNTOC.

14. UNTOC and UNCAC provide a basis for international cooperation, especially extradition and mutual legal assistance. However, gaps exist in their implementation by State Parties which hinders international cooperation.  

15. Over the last decade, there has been a visible rise in public awareness on corruption. Anti-corruption policies have been placed higher up on the political agenda of EU Member States. New legislation has been adopted, new institutions have been set up and national anti-corruption strategies have been adopted by EU Member States.

16. The risk of progressive infiltration of organised crime into the legal economy is also a significant challenge for Europe, which needs to be addressed   based on effective national systems and on international cooperation.

17.  Prevention and prosecution of money laundering are key tools to impede the infiltration of organised crime in the economy and financial system. The revised international standards of the FATF and strengthening the cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units are very important in this regard.

18. The EU spares no effort to help return misappropriated assets to their legitimate owners, as this sends a strong message against the impunity of those involved in corruption and money laundering. Legislative frameworks were put into place that authorise EU Member States to return assets on the basis of judicial decisions recognised in EU Member States. In addition, they facilitate the exchange of information between EU Member States and the relevant authorities of requesting states around the world.

19. The EU is strongly committed to a free, open and secure internet respecting individual human rights. We promote the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime as a framework for international cooperation and we join the broad international consensus on the need to increase our capacity building efforts.

20. Terrorism is a constant and very present challenge to all of us, both as individuals and societies. It destroys human life and condemns victims to lifelong suffering and disability. We underline the need to counter the threats posed by the multiple links between transnational organized criminal activities, terrorism and its financing, and we call upon all States that have not done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the relevant international legal instruments. We also call upon all States Parties to use those instruments and the relevant United Nations resolutions to enhance international cooperation in countering all forms of terrorism, as well as its financing. At the same time, we want to emphasise that any measures we take to prevent and combat terrorism must comply with our obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, refugee law and humanitarian law.

21. The EU welcomes the adoption by the General Assembly of the International Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice with respect to Trafficking in Cultural Property and Other Related Offences. Cultural property is threatened by transnational organized crime and terrorism, as recent events show. We therefore call on all Member States to make the best use of the Guidelines and of all available binding and non-binding instruments in order to strengthen international cooperation in this field.

22. International efforts have contributed to a significant decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia. However, piracy continues to be a threat to the security of important international maritime routes and international trade. This is a complex issue, which requires a comprehensive approach and a range of effective instruments. We appreciate the concrete results of the UNODC Maritime Crime Programme in this regard. These activities form a substantial part of the overall efforts of the international community to address the threat of piracy and they enjoy the full and active support of the EU and its Member States. The long-standing engagement of the EU in the fight against piracy in the Western Indian Ocean is also evident through its naval operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta. We underline the crucial importance of combating money laundering also in the context of addressing the threat of piracy. The EU is fully involved in the work of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, as set out by the UN Security Council Resolutions on piracy off the coast of Somalia.

23. We note that the threat of piracy and other maritime crimes in West Africa is growing and that local efforts to tackle this threat deserve coordinated international support. In this respect, the EU and its Member States support the efforts of our partners in West Africa to enhance security and increase the safety of maritime routes in the Gulf of Guinea.

24. The EU would like also to express its strong concern regarding the increasing challenge posed to the legal economy and to  health and safety by the involvement of transnational organized criminal groups in the production and trafficking in counterfeit goods, including fraudulent medicines, chemicals, consumer electronics, and agricultural products. In particular, fraudulent medicines have severe consequences, as a public health risk, with those affected suffering serious health consequences or even death.

25. Environmental crimes are not new and have been committed for decades, but what has changed is the sophistication and global coverage of these criminal activities. 

26. Wildlife crime has remained high on the international agenda with a dedicated resolution by the UN Environment Assembly and work on an UNGA resolution ongoing. Joint efforts by source, transit and market countries are necessary to fight this crime effectively, and the EU is stepping up its efforts to strengthen its own enforcement and to step up support to developing countries. For that purpose, we will develop a dedicated EU action plan as we have done for other areas of organized crime to give strategic guidance to our efforts.          

27.  We must also not forget other key environmental crimes, such as waste trafficking in hazardous waste, that receive at the moment less attention but are no less harmful and are to the same extent governed by international criminal groups.

28. In this regard, corruption is a main enabler to all these environmental crimes and therefore, the effective implementation of UNCAC in all countries is crucial also from this perspective.

29. We urge all Member States to fully and effectively include the contribution of the civil society, the private sector, academia, media and all relevant stakeholders in the development, implementation and monitoring of crime prevention policies, on the basis of a participatory, inclusive, collaborative and integrated approach. We also underline the crucial role in preventing and countering crime in all its forms and manifestations of the promotion of a culture of lawfulness based on the protection of human rights and the rule of law, especially among young people, through education and awareness-raising.

30. At this point in time, I would like to confine myself to these remarks. We have prepared a statement under agenda item 5 and will be delivering it at the relevant time.

Statement on the occasion of 24th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Agenda item 5) Integration and coordination of efforts by the UNODC and by Member States in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice: a) Ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto; and b) Ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, 18-22 травня 2015 року

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Andorra, Norway, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova.

Transnational organised crime is a threat to human security, including peace, human rights, democratic governance, the rule of law, socioeconomic development and to international trade and fair economic competition.

The increasing complexity of organised crime requires us to continuously adapt our response in a manner that fully respects human rights and dignity, together with the principles of freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols provide a broad framework to support criminal justice responses aimed at preventing and addressing the illicit activities of organised criminal groups and depriving them of their illicit gains. The European Union ratified the Firearms Protocol in March 2014 after all the relevant provisions of the Protocol 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. We stand ready to explore all options regarding appropriate and effective mechanisms to assist in the review of the implementation of UNTOC.

We believe that UNTOC, as a global instrument with wide adherence, offers the broadest scope for effective cooperation among Member States to address both existing and emerging forms of transnational organized crime and we would like to encourage all Member States to make widest possible use of its international cooperation measures.

Mr. Chairman,

We take note of progress made by all the current Working Groups established by the Conference of the Parties. Trafficking in Human Beings is a gross violation of human rights and is justifiably referred to as a modern form of slavery. We underline the importance of the concept of shared responsibility for effective cooperation and encourage the participation of experts from capitals, representatives from other UN entities and representatives from NGOs to share experiences from the fight against trafficking in persons.

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 to combating networks of smugglers who take advantage of migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection have access to appropriate procedures and assistance.

The EU welcomed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty on 24 December 2014. When widely and effectively implemented, the ATT can make a significant difference in making legal international arms transfers more responsible and transparent, and in combatting the illegal or unregulated trade in conventional arms.

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.

The EU supports the, focus on sound legislation one of the prerequisites for effective anti-corruption policy. The EU has recently adopted new rules on public procurement. But we are also clear about the importance of effective implementation of international and national standards, as well as good practices.

We take note of the on-going Review Process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. We are pleased that the hard work of the reviewers and of all the stakeholders in the countries under review has resulted in a considerable amount of valuable data and experience. We are looking forward to implementing the lessons learnt from the review in the next cycle.

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. We also wish to encourage all reviewed Member States to take full use of voluntary measures to ensure transparency.

We regret that the expertise of civil society, the private sector, academia and  non-governmental organizations in the various issues involved in anti-corruption, organized crime, trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants, to mention just a few, can be used by the subsidiary bodies of the Conferences of the Parties of the Conventions only to a very limited extent. 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 both conventions, and that at future sessions of the Conferences of the Parties to UNTOC and UNCAC we should take further steps to fully  include the  experience offered by  all the relevant stakeholders. We will engage in a constructive dialogue with other States Parties to reach this goal.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

EU statement on Abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union once again calls on Russia to respect its international commitments and immediately release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package.

2. Last week’s extension of the pre-trial detention of Nadiya Savchenko until 30 June is extremely worrying in view of her hunger strike to protest her abduction and illegal detention. We underline that Russia bears a responsibility for Nadiya Savchenko’s very fragile health. Reports that Nadiya Savchenko will soon be transferred to the city of Voronezh are of great concern. This would significantly hinder monitoring of her trial and conditions of imprisonment by international observers.  

[Alignment paragraph]

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1052, 14 травня 2015 року

The European Union welcomes the forthcoming meetings of the four working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairmanship. These meetings should contribute to a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on OSCE principles and commitments and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. We encourage the sides to continue their work and to demonstrate the political will to make the working groups effective. We reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

At the same time, we remain deeply concerned about the continued and increasing fighting in parts of eastern Ukraine. We particularly note the SMM's reports about ongoing ceasefire violations in Shyrokyne and around Donetsk airport. The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation add to concern. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution.

We reiterate our call on all sides to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We also expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential.

We strongly condemn the incidents threatening the safety and security of the OSCE monitors, including the direct firing at SMM personnel on 10 May. We urge all parties to ensure safe, full and unhindered access for the SMM to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia.

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 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.

[Alignment Paragraph]

23rd OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, 2nd Preparatory Meeting, Belgrade, 11-12 May 2015, EU Opening Statement

Mr. Chairperson,

1. The European Union is pleased to participate in the second preparatory meeting of the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum, and would like to thank the Serbian Chairmanship and the OSCE Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities and his staff for organising this meeting. We would also like to thank the key note speakers for their interesting presentations.

2. Sustainable water management can be an important factor to preserving peace, security and stability. Water scarcity and water stress, exacerbated by climate change, as well as poor water quality, drought or floods are factors which can contribute to tension and conflicts which can in turn deprive many people from access to water.

3. Drawing on the experience and knowledge gained by the EU and its Member States in water management, the EU attaches great importance to regional and transboundary water cooperation as factor of social and economic development but also for political stability, peace and security. In this context, we welcome the opening of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention) to all UN Members States and the entry into force, in August 2014, of the United Nations Watercourses Convention. 

4. Proactive engagement in transboundary water security challenges with the aim of promoting collaborative and sustainable water management arrangements encouraging regional and international cooperation is a concrete objective of EU water diplomacy, adopted by the EU in its July 2013 Council Conclusions.

5. We welcome that this meeting aims to promote regional and cross-border cooperation as well as looks at water governance as a catalyst for cooperation and confidence building. The OSCE, as a regional security organisation, is well placed to play a role in facilitating and enhancing dialogue and cooperation and thus contributing to increasing trust and confidence.

6. We appreciate that the meeting also intends to explore the linkage water governance has with disaster risk reduction and climate change and provides thus continuity to our last year´s discussions. We return to the topic of disaster risk reduction only few weeks after the third UN Conference on DRR in Sendai reviewed the Hyogo Framework for Action of 2005 and adopted the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030.

7. Effective implementation of the new framework will be key to ensure the delivery of results and measurement of progress.

8. Risk management measures are already a part of numerous key EU policies and financial instruments. The revised EU civil protection legislation has a very strong focus on preparedness, prevention and response.

9. The 2007 EU Floods Directive provides a framework for the assessment and management of flood risks, aimed at reducing the adverse consequences for human health, the environment, cultural heritage and economic activity. Ultimately Flood Risk Management Plans focusing on prevention, protection and preparedness should set the objectives and include measures to achieve flood risk reduction.

10. We welcome that lessons learned from the 2014 devastating floods in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia were included into the agenda of our meeting today. We would be particularly interested to hear concrete proposals on which lessons might be relevant for the OSCE given its specific mandate as a regional security organisation.

11. We would like to once again express our sympathy and solidarity with all those affected by these tragic events. We recall that the European Union and its Member States provided immediate assistance to the affected countries through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism which was activated following the requests of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was the largest operation in the history of the Mechanism, 23 countries offered assistance, 800 relief workers were deployed, 1.8 Mill EUR immediate financial assistance was provided to NGOs. In addition, for Serbia alone the EU provided 60 Mill EUR from our solidarity fund, 30 Mill EUR in immediate reconstruction of housing, public buildings and support to agriculture as well as 62 Mill EUR mid-term grants for early warning systems, prevention and risk reduction as well as to cater to the remaining needs in housing and economic growth. In this context, we are happy that our host country, Serbia, joined the EU Civil protection mechanism recently.

12. We look forward to an intensive and fruitful debate in the days ahead and encourage the speakers to focus on identifying areas for future action of the OSCE in the area of water governance.

13. We are aware that issues of water governance and water diplomacy are of growing relevance in particular, but not only, to the region of Central Asia and we look forward to hearing from various representatives of participating states, OSCE structures and field missions about their views on this issue.

14. Finally, we would like to thank the Serbian Chairmanship for hosting this meeting in Belgrade.

EU statement on 70 years since the end of the Second World War, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. World War II was one of the greatest tragedies ever to have afflicted the peoples of Europe and the world and took tens of millions of lives. The war brought about violations of human rights and freedoms, as well as crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. We mourn all those who lost their lives as victims of the war, the Holocaust, occupations, or acts of repression.

2. We pay our earnest tribute to the historic role of the allied forces and their sacrifices in the defeat of Nazism during the World War II. However, likewise, we should remember that the World War II brought about painful divisions in Europe. For many European countries, the end of the World War II did not bring freedom, but more crimes against humanity committed against their people.

3. An honest and thorough research on the history of the Second World War contributes to reconciliation. Given our responsibility, towards all victims, past and present, we should avoid using, for extraneous purposes, divisive and selected approaches.

4. Mr Chairman, on 9 May we will celebrate Europe Day. Too often one forgets why the European Union was created. The Union of today has evolved and adapted to contemporary circumstances, but the Coal and Steel Community, and then the EEC, were created with the hope that never again would Europe be destroyed by war. Today, the European Union is built on strong foundations of shared values and common purpose, rooted in freedom and democracy.

5. As we commemorate the victims of the World War II, we cannot forget that peace is still not a reality on the whole of the European continent. Russia's violations of international law and the fundamental principles of the UN and the OSCE in the context of the crisis in and around Ukraine, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine have seriously harmed the vision of peace in Europe.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by H.E. José Manuel García Margallo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1051, 11 травня 2015 року

1. It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Minister García Margallo to the OSCE Permanent Council. We very much appreciate that the Minister has come to see us this morning and share his views on the Helsinki +40 process, the crisis in and around Ukraine, and Mediterranean affairs.

2. Mr. Chairman, the Foreign Minister of Spain reminds us of the accomplishments of the OSCE in the past and of its 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.

3. The OSCE is facing many challenges. The crisis in and around 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 40 years. This is the larger issue that we need to address. Foreign Minister García Margallo also discussed Mediterranean affairs, including among others, the challenge of illegal migration. The OSCE can play a role in combating this phenomena in a cross dimensional manner. The OSCE also has to remain flexible to cope with the challenges of the day.

4. We thank the Foreign Minister for his views. These provide a useful input to our discussions the coming days at the OSCE Ambassadorial retreat. We wish Minister García Margallo all the best for the future.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Mr.Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the Security Council Debate on “The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina"

Madam President, 

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

(Alignment paragraph)

I join other speakers in welcoming High Representative Valentin Inzko back to the Council and would like to reassure him of our continued support.

Madam President,

The European Union continues to closely follow developments in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Stability and progress in this country are both very important to us.

I have the pleasure to inform this Council that the Stabilization and Association Agreement between the European Union, its Member States and Bosnia and Herzegovina will enter into force on 1 June 2015, following the adoption in Sarajevo of the "Written Commitment", which sets out an ambitious framework for a comprehensive reform agenda.  We attach strategic importance to this "Written Commitment" to reform and progress towards EU membership, which was adopted by Bosnia and Herzegovina's Presidency, signed by the leaders of the political parties and endorsed by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

These positive developments are crucial signs of Bosnia and Herzegovina's strong partnership with the European Union, and evidence of the country's commitment to the EU path, in the context of the renewed EU approach outlined by the Council of the European Union in December 2014.

Madam President,

Following the October 2014 general elections, the process of formation of state and entity parliaments and governments has now been concluded.

Representatives of the newly formed State and entity level governments are now engaging with the European Union and international partners, including with the international financial institutions, towards the development and implementation of the "initial reform agenda". This reform agenda should be in line with the EU acquis and will need to focus on Copenhagen criteria (socio-economic reforms including rule of law and good governance) and also agreed functionality issues (including the EU coordination mechanism). It should also embrace the Compact for Growth initiative, of which this Council was informed in May 2014.

Comprehensive efforts towards implementation of reforms by the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina will benefit all citizens of the country, irrespective of their ethnicity or religious affiliation. Meaningful progress in the implementation of reforms will strengthen stability and build strong foundations for future development and prosperity. It will also play a role in further progress on the EU integration path.

Despite these important positive signs, there is a long way to go in Bosnia and Herzegovina before we can declare unreserved success. Deeply rooted divisions remain and reconciliation is slow. Socio-economic challenges can be easily manipulated for political purposes. There are attempts to do so. Divisive and separatist rhetoric remains a cause for serious concern and is highly disruptive for the reforms that Bosnia and Herzegovina has to implement. Statements are made and initiatives are taken for short term political purposes. Misleading and harmful political visions are offered to the public, often to consolidate power and to distract attention from deep socio-economic challenges and from the political responsibility for the state of the economy. Such behaviour undermines trust in the domestic political leadership, questions its intentions and its commitment to the success of the reform process in the country. 

Madam President,

Since September 2011, the consolidated presence of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina is fully engaged in supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina, including in all EU related matters. The recently appointed EUSR/HoD Lars-Gunnar Wigemark has just arrived in Sarajevo, and will, like his predecessors, continue to also provide political guidance on military issues with a local political dimension to the EU Force Commander.

The EU also continues to accompany Bosnia and Herzegovina's progress in the security field. The overall security situation has remained calm and stable; yet stability has not been entrenched. The recent incident in Zvornik, where a police station was attacked by an individual and a policeman was killed, is an indicator of the persistent risks in the area of public order and security, and a reminder of the need for continuous efforts in these areas. In addition, the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina need to address the root causes of the socio-economic difficulties and further improve the capacity of law enforcement agencies.

In relation to this, the EU is ready to keep EUFOR Althea focused on capacity-building and training while retaining the capability to contribute to the authorities' deterrence capacity if the situation so requires, and an executive military role to support Bosnia and Herzegovina's efforts to maintain the safe and secure environment under a UN mandate.

In the context of the overall EU strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina, we look forward to continuing the discussion with the international community on the reconfiguration of the international presence, in the appropriate forum, and call on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet the outstanding objectives and conditions for the closure of the Office of the High Representative.

Madam President,

The EU reiterates its unequivocal commitment to the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a sovereign and united country as well as to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU prospect.  The EU will continue to provide the necessary support and assistance to promote the country's stability, reforms, development and European integration process.

A new energy and spirit are evident. These must be sustained and strengthened further to take on the deep-rooted divisions and challenges which remain. This includes the need for significant improvement of the efficiency and functionality of the country's institutions in general, to ensure sustainability and continuity of democratic reforms since 1995, and to develop capacities and capabilities required in the context of EU accession, particularly as regards coordination among various levels of government.

Therefore, I would like to use this opportunity to invite this Council to urge the leadership of Bosnia and Herzegovina to respond to its citizens’ demands, maintain the positive momentum by delivering on its commitments to reforms, including those relating to the adaptation of the SAA, to look beyond persistent political divisions, and to finally and decisively move the country forward on its reform agenda, towards stability and prosperity for all its citizens, on the path to the EU.

The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina deserve progress, prosperity and the perspective of a better future. EU stands ready to help and assist the country to complete this vision and encourages all the stakeholders in the country and the region to provide their share of support. Bosnia and Herzegovina’s tangible progress on the comprehensive reform path is in the best interest of the country, the region and the European Union itself.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

The European Union welcomes yesterday’s first meeting of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE-chairmanship in Minsk. The launch of these working groups offers a chance for a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on respect for OSCE principles and commitments. We encourage the parties to continue their work without delay and to demonstrate the political will to make the working groups effective. We reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We welcome steps agreed during talks between the heads of state and government of the Normandy format on 30 April, including the launch of working groups, efforts to strengthen the ceasefire and ensure withdrawal of heavy weapons, demilitarisation of Shyrokyne and release of prisoners and detainees and emphasizes the need to implement these fully and immediately by all sides.

Mr Chairman, we once again express our deep concern about the many ceasefire violations along the line of contact, including in recent days around Horlivka, and the fighting that has intensified in and around Shyrokyne and in villages around Donetsk airport, especially Avdiivka. We again call on all parties to halt the fighting and expect Russia to use its considerable influence on the Russia-backed separatists to support the SMM in its endeavours. We are appalled by the many recent security incidents involving SMM monitors. The security of monitors is of paramount importance. The Minsk signatories must ensure safe, full and unhindered access to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia.

We remain concerned about the numerous observations by the SMM of heavy weapons missing from established holding areas. We note the assessment by the SMM that planned military parades by Russia-backed separatists may have been used as a pretext to move heavy weapons to the buffer zone. We share the view of the Chief of the SMM that these actions constitute a clear violation of the Minsk agreements. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation further add to our concern. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. Once again we underline that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict based on full respect for OSCE principles and commitments, and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

Mr Chairman, we reiterate our call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

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 Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 787, 6 травня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the OSCE Secretary General H. E. Lamberto Zannier, the Head of the NATO´s Arms Control and Coordination Section Mr. William Alberque and Mr. Vladislav Chernov from the Russian Federation  to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank them for their insightful presentations. We also welcome the presentation made by the Helsinki+40 coordinator on CAC and CSBMs, Ambassador Lüdeking.

Cooperative security remains at the core foundation of Conventional Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) in Europe. Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sebastopol and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine challenge the security system in Europe. At the same time Russia’s selective approach to the CAC and CSBMs regimes puts into question their implementation.

The Ukraine crisis strongly underscores the potential value of CAC and CSBMs which rely on countries complying with their commitments and obligations and implement them fully and in good faith. In particular, it is yet another reminder of the urgent need to update and modernise the Vienna Document so that it better respond to the current European security environment.

This is why we reiterate our longstanding view that a modern, functional CAC regime that provides stability and predictability would bolster the security of the whole OSCE area. In relation to this topic, the Member States of the European Union noted with regret the decision by the Russian Federation to “suspend their participation in the Joint Consultative Group per 11 March 2015”. This step further undermines the existing CAC and CSBMs regimes in the OSCE area.

We still consider enduring commitments on CAC and CSBMs regimes as set out in Astana, Vilnius and other relevant OSCE Documents, to be not only a valid basis for the FSC’s work but also in need of further progression. We continue to count on Russia's political willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue on European security and on the future of CAC.

We also like to reiterate our readiness to pursue both a pragmatic and forward looking approach in the process of modernisation of the Vienna Document on CSBMs with the aim of ensuring increased military stability, transparency and predictability for all participating States and to restore confidence lost during the ongoing crisis. In this context, it is our opinion that the FSC should take stock of lessons learned in Ukraine and reinvigorate dialogue regarding the application of the Vienna Document including in crisis situations.

We are mindful that CAC and CSBMs regimes are not designed to solve conflicts. Conventional arms control first and foremost enhances predictability and, by reducing threat perceptions, contributes to security, stability and mutual trust. Strong CAC regimes can thereby support political solutions. In conclusion, we reiterate our firm belief that lasting security in and for Europe can only be achieved through a collaborative effort of all participating States and a genuine commitment to the instruments of comprehensive and cooperative security.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 787, 6 травня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States continue to strongly support the Minsk agreements as well as all diplomatic efforts aimed at their full implementation which is the only possible way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. Such a solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

The establishment of the four working groups on security, political affairs, economic affairs and humanitarian affairs under the umbrella of the Trilateral Contact Group envisaged for 6 May offers the chance for a political process to fully implement the Minsk agreements and more sustainably de-escalate the situation.

At the same time, we are appalled by the information of incidents involving live fire near and at SMM patrols as well as cases of direct interference with their work and condemn all such attacks. We join the Chief Monitor's appeal to all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to do their utmost to ensure the safety and security of the SMM personnel as well as full and unhindered access to the territories under their control.

Likewise, we remain deeply concerned about the ongoing significant ceasefire violations in several hotspot areas in eastern Ukraine and the suffering inflicted to the civilian population. We regret with dismay that the fighting around Shyrokyne and Donetsk airport continues unabated for several weeks despite the SMM efforts to facilitate sustained ceasefire, including through the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Shyrokyne. We urge all sides, in particular the Russia-backed separatists, to stop immediately fighting, strictly and comprehensively respect the ceasefire and fully support the SMM de-escalatory efforts. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

In this context, we recall time and again that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory would constitute a violation of the Minsk agreements and will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We are equally worried about the continued build-up of forces and heavy weapons on the separatists' side of the contact line, as reported by the SMM, and their attempts to redeploy proscribed weapons within the exclusion zone for alleged training or military parades purposes. We condemn any such attempts and share the SMM Chief Monitor's view that they constitute a violation of the Minsk agreements.

Ensuring effective and unrestricted SMM monitoring and verification is essential for the successful implementation of the tasks it is entrusted under the Minsk agreements. Weь are therefore compelled to call once again on all parties to complete without delay the withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with the Minsk Package of Measures. The Minsk signatories must provide the SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible and independent verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We urge all signatories for the full implementation of all provisions of the Minsk agreements, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We recall that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

Furthermore, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk Package. We

underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We remain also deeply concerned about information of continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation as well as about the continued Russian military build-up in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian

Federation to do likewise.

EU statement on World Press Freedom Day, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. The EU would like to draw the attention to the Declaration by the High Representative, Federica Mogherini, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day

2. On Sunday, we celebrated UNESCO World Press Freedom Day. Free, diverse and independent media are essential in any democratic society because without freedom of expression and media, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible. That is why press freedom is a pillar of any society. It has to be promoted and can never be taken for granted. It is thanks to the courage of many journalists that a word often neglected still has a meaning: truth. 

3. The EU pays tribute to those journalists and media actors who have lost their lives, been imprisoned or otherwise suffered unjust consequences for exercising their right to freedom of expression. We reaffirm our commitment to promote and protect freedom of expression and freedom of the media worldwide, and to continue to promote the safety of journalists and other media workers.

4. Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) are part of everyday life and provide new opportunities for the fulfilment of human rights and for social and economic development. Non-discriminatory access to information and freedom of expression for all individuals, both online and offline must be ensured and protected. The internet should remain a single, un-fragmented network, subject to the same laws and norms that apply in other areas of our day-to-day lives where individuals can benefit from their rights and from judicial remedies when those rights are infringed. These principles have been recognised in the Council Conclusions on Internet Governance of 27 November 2014 and Conclusions on Cyber Diplomacy of 11 February 2015.

5. The EU is committed to further strengthening international efforts aimed at the promotion of freedom of expression and welcomes the UN new special procedures mandate on the right to privacy.

6. Almost a year after the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Human Rights Guidelines "on freedom of expression online and offline" the EU is determined to continue to use all appropriate EU external financial instruments to further protect and promote freedom of opinion and expression and to support media freedom and pluralism.

 

Mr Chairman,

7. World Press Freedom Day provides us all with an opportunity to examine the record of our OSCE region in the area of Media Freedom and Freedom of Expression, and consider how we can improve. In doing this, the Representative on Freedom of the Media is a key resource, established by the participating States, and tasked with the, often challenging, role of advocating for full compliance by all OSCE participating States with their OSCE freedom of expression and media freedom commitments. The Representative provides invaluable assistance to participating States in addressing serious problems in these areas. The work of the RFoM is widely recognized, and we congratulate her to the award of the Charlemagne Medal for European Media in Aachen last week.

8. We want to highlight the very useful joint declaration on the occasion of this year’s World Press Freedom Day made by the Representative and her colleagues from the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the African Commission on Human rights and People’s Rights on Freedom of Expression and Responses to Conflict Situations – a very topical issue in our region. The EU reiterates its full support for the mandate of the Representative on Freedom of the Media and both supports and commends the current Representative for the manner in which she discharges it.

EU Statement in response to the presentation by the OSCE Secretary General on the 2016 Programme Outline, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. The Member States of the European Union thank the Secretary General and all Fund Managers for their contribution to the 2016 OSCE Programme Outline.

2. This year’s Programme Outline exercise is, once again, combined with the 2014 Programme Budget Performance. The combination of the meetings for reviewing the performance of the previous year and for drafting the Programme Outline for the coming year constitutes the first step for improving the budget cycle. In our opinion, this does not mean that the discussion related to the performance recorded in the past should be neglected. The policy guidance that the participating States are invited to formulate to the Fund Managers for next year should be based on lessons learned from the previous budget cycle. We reiterate our willingness and preparedness to engage in a biennial or multiannual budget process.

3. In this regard, we continue to express the wish that future budget planning is based on a review of activities previously undertaken. To do so, various performance indicators and an assessment of the OSCE’s performance against them, have to be submitted to the Participating states; this would represent a small but concrete step towards improving the transparency and relevance of this stage of the budget cycle. Another such step would be the inclusion of results and recommendations stemming from project evaluations. Without objective indicators set at outcome level, it is extremely difficult for participating States to incorporate the lessons drawn from evaluation in decisions about the Unified Budget. We would ask the Secretariat to include the relevant performance indicators in the Unified Budget proposal for 2016.

4. Noting the abiding difficulties with Horizontal Issues when we negotiate the budget, we recall that we have requested one session devoted to these topics and a chapter in the Programme Outline in previous years and reiterate that call. This is particularly the case for, inter alia, the development of staff standard costs, augmentation fund or local income tax, where the Fund Managers need guidance from us ahead of the 2016 UB proposal.

5. We shall examine the Programme Outline with a view of providing the Organization with the means to carry out all of its mandate. We should also take into account the new challenges facing this organisation in particular, not least due to its engagement in the crisis in and around Ukraine as well as the wider challenges for European security.

6. At the same time we need to keep in mind that national budgets of many participating States are under pressure and that savings need to be found wherever possible. We should bear in mind the necessary rigour required of all international organisations, which should also act as a guideline for us. This is even more relevant at a time, where considerable additional financial resources have had to be found to finance the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine and other OSCE activities related to the crisis in and around Ukraine.

7. On the substance, we will continue to support the reinforcement of the OSCE’s human and financial resources in the human dimension, given the growing challenges it faces. For the 2015 Unified budget, some additional means were granted to the autonomous institutions, which are far below the budget they need given the growing challenges we face. In spite of the saving we made every year in optimizing the South-East Europe operations, it is abnormal that we cannot manage to reallocate appropriate funds to the missions in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

8. It will be important to review the OSCE's response to the crisis in and around Ukraine, and to identify and learn the lessons of that for the Organisation, both in terms of its continuing response to developments there, and its ability to respond effectively to possible future crises.

9. On a general note, we support initiatives of the Secretariat aiming at examining opportunities to achieve efficiency and greater economy of scale. We continue to believe that the field missions and autonomous institutions are vital to the Organization’s success. In this regard, we commend the support given by the Secretariat, and the CPC in particular, to the field missions, especially to the SMM. At the same time, solutions should be explored for optimization of the Secretariat’s budget, including in staff standard costs, as committed to in the approval of the 2015 UB.

10. In conclusion, the EU Member states wish every success to Mr Erik Tintrup, who will be chairing the ACMF work during the new budget cycle. We call upon all participating states to get the next OSCE budget adopted on time in order to enable the organisation to continue its important work unhindered on the first day of the new year and the new budget period. We also thank the Secretary General for his presentation. 

EU statement on Nagorno Karabakh, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. In view of reports about so-called parliamentary elections in Nagorno-Karabakh on 3 May, we reiterate that the European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which they are being held. These events cannot prejudice the determination of the future status of Nagorno-Karabakh or impact on the negotiation process.

2. The EU firmly supports the OSCE Minsk Group, and its Co-Chairs’ efforts to progress beyond the status quo and bring about comprehensive peace negotiations. The EU stands ready to further support efforts, aimed at early peaceful resolution of the conflict.

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union once again calls on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. Russia bears a responsibility for Ms Savchenko’s very fragile health.

2. We recall that all hostages and illegally detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. 

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1050, 7 травня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes yesterday’s first meeting of the working groups under the Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and the OSCE-chairmanship in Minsk. The launch of these working groups offers a chance for a political process towards the full implementation of the Minsk agreements based on respect for OSCE principles and commitments. We encourage the parties to continue their work without delay and to demonstrate the political will to make the working groups effective. We reiterate our support to the ongoing efforts of the Normandy format in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We welcome steps agreed during talks between the heads of state and government of the Normandy format on 30 April, including the launch of working groups, efforts to strengthen the ceasefire and ensure withdrawal of heavy weapons, demilitarisation of Shyrokyne and release of prisoners and detainees and emphasizes the need to implement these fully and immediately by all sides. 

2. Mr Chairman, we once again express our deep concern about the many ceasefire violations along the line of contact, including in recent days around Horlivka, and the fighting that has intensified in and around Shyrokyne and in villages around Donetsk airport, especially Avdiivka. We again call on all parties to halt the fighting and expect Russia to use its considerable influence on the Russia-backed separatists to support the SMM in its endeavours. We are appalled by the many recent security incidents involving SMM monitors. The security of monitors is of paramount importance. The Minsk signatories must ensure safe, full and unhindered access to all parts of the conflict areas, including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists, also in the border area with Russia.

3. We remain concerned about the numerous observations by the SMM of heavy weapons missing from established holding areas. We note the assessment by the SMM that planned military parades by Russia-backed separatists may have been used as a pretext to move heavy weapons to the buffer zone. We share the view of the Chief of the SMM that these actions constitute a clear violation of the Minsk agreements. We once again call on the Minsk signatories to provide SMM with the full baseline information that would allow for credible verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

4. The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation further add to our concern. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. Once again we underline that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict based on full respect for OSCE principles and commitments, and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

5. Mr Chairman, we reiterate our call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries removed from the territory of Ukraine. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

6. 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.

Statement on behalf of the European Union, delivered by H.E. Maris Klisans, Permanent Representative of Latvia to the OPCW at the Forty-Ninth meeting of the Executive Council, (The Hague, 7 May 2015)

Mr. Chairperson,

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

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

Mr. Chairperson,

Since this is the last Executive Council meeting under your chairmanship, I would like to express our deepest appreciation for the exemplary way that you have steered the work of the EC with great professionalism and in a constructive and conciliatory manner.

I would also like to thank the Director-General for his informative statement and to reiterate our appreciation to him and to the OPCW staff for their commitment to the work of the organisation and the Syria CW operation in particularly challenging circumstances.

Mr. Chairperson,

Despite the considerable progress achieved regarding the near destruction of the Syrian declared chemical weapons and Production Facilities, we are obliged to convene again in an extraordinary meeting as too many uncertainties persist regarding the irreversible dismantling of the Syrian CW program, notably the proven use of chlorine as a weapon and the veracity and completeness of the Syrian Declarations.

Mr. Chairperson,

One of the very reasons that our Executive Council meets today is related to the fact that there have been several reports, that chlorine attacks have taken place in the North of Syria, in the region of Idlib. And what is terrible and should be considered as a reminder of this Organisation’s duty is the fact that those reports continued after the adoption of Resolution 2209 by the UNSC on 6 March, including a serious fatal attack on March 16th, and have kept coming since then. The EU expresses serious concern about this ongoing and unacceptable situation. It then becomes even more tragic to realise that, as we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the first large scale use of chemical weapons, these reports of alleged use mention the same chemical agent that was used during the battle of Ieper.

The alarming reports of the Fact Finding Mission stated that “it has found information constituting ‘compelling confirmation’ that a toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly” “as a weapon”. The reports also refer to testimonies that these chemicals have been dropped from helicopters, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses. The seriousness of the findings led to the adoption of an historic decision by the EC at its 48th extraordinary meeting and subsequently of Resolution 2209 by the UNSC condemning the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon in Syria. As appropriate, this Resolution made it clear that the use of chlorine is a violation of the international law and of resolution 2118 and reaffirmed that the UNSC will impose sanctions under Chapter VII in case of new use of chemical weapons.

The EU reiterates its fundamental position that the use of chlorine constitutes a breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and that those responsible for these illegal 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 also considers it very important that the DG brief the UN SC on the findings of the FFM in coordination with the SG as necessary, pursuant to UN SC Resolution 2118. While lauding the professionalism and commitment of the members of the FFM, we call all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to extend their full cooperation to the FFM and to ensure that it carries out its work safely and effectively. 

Moreover, we express concern over allegations transmitted by the Syrian government in December 2014 regarding possible use of chlorine or other chemicals as a weapon by non-state actors. The EU’s position is clear: just as for those concerning the Idlib region, these allegations should be examined and elucidated by the FFM and the EC should be duly informed there-of. It is therefore very troubling to us to see Syria prevent the Technical Secretariat from doing its work by not allowing a FFM team to come to Damascus to investigate those allegations. The Syrian government cannot pretend to be willing to fight terrorist groups while it refuses to allow the FFM to do its work independently with professionalism and integrity. Once again, we call on the Syrian Arab Republic to provide full cooperation to the OPCW, as it is up to the Syrian government to build confidence.

Mr Chairperson,

We cannot but reiterate our concern with the insufficient information provided by the Syrian authorities regarding questions arising from the discrepancies and inconsistencies in their initial declaration and explanations to the Technical Secretariat. Despite expressing similar concerns in previous meetings, the list of discrepancies remains long; these are not trivial book keeping issues. They are matters of substance. Lack of original documentation, the fate of the 2000 bombs that Syria claims to have converted, the various questions concerning a ricin programme, the actual role of the SSRC in the Syrian chemical programme, the lack of information about small calibre ordinance and, last but not least, the recent finding of the DAT, showing traces of precursors of VX and sarin were found on a site where they were not supposed to be, figure high in that list. The EU is in particularly concerned that, due to all the above, Syria may still hold chemical weapons materials or undeclared chemical weapons agents. In this vein, we call on the Syrian Arab Republic to take the necessary measures to provide sufficient confidence that it does not retain offensive chemical weapons capabilities and that its chemical weapons program is completely and irreversibly dismantled.

At this juncture, we commend the Declaration Assessment Team of the Technical Secretariat for its work on this important issue and we underscore that the Executive Council needs to continue to monitor the situation in Syria as well as to remain seized of the matter.

Once again, the EU is obliged to stress 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 chemical weapons program and the verification thereof. We call on Syria to respect the Convention and fully meet all its obligations as specified in Article IV paragraph 16 of the CWC. Syria should take advantage of the EU proposal to use the Syrian "frozen assets" to this end, a proposal that Syria has rejected previously. In the same context, it is important to reiterate that the EU will not accept that the Trust Fund be used to pay verification costs as requested by the Syrian authorities.

Finally, I seize this opportunity to inform this Council that the contract regarding the new EU Council decision for the years 2015-16, has been signed with the TS at the end of March. Thus, the implementation of this Decision of a value of 2, 54 million EUR can start with immediate effect, benefitting activities such as promoting universality, national implementation, international cooperation, the Africa Programme and taking stock from lessons learned from the Syrian operation. I recall that this Council Decision is the sixth voluntary contribution of the EU to OPCW activities since 2005 and constitutes a token of continuous support and recognition of the important work carried out by the organisation

In closing, I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this meeting of the Council and be published on the OPCW extranet.

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

Заява від імені ЄС в рамках дебатів високого рівня на підтримку проведення Спеціальної сесії ГА ООН з світової проблеми наркотиків

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

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

[Alignment clause]

We welcome the organisation of this High Level Thematic as an opportunity to address UNGASS preparations with Member States, relevant UN agencies and bodies, in particular dealing with public health, human rights, development and security and other stakeholders;

UNGASS 2016 will be a prominent platform and a very useful opportunity for the international community to take stock of the achievements of the international drug control system to date, to elaborate on the immense challenges that remain in the global, local and national response to the world drug problem and to find workable, operational and sustainable solutions for the longer term within the framework of the international treaties.

In this content we would like to reiterate that:

UN Conventions which provide the international legal framework for addressing the drugs phenomenon and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are the cornerstone of the global response to the world drug problem.

An effective drug policy should be based on a global as well as a balanced and evidence-based approach, comprising drug demand reduction, including prevention, treatment, social risk and harm reduction and care, and drug supply reduction, including prevention and dissuasion and disruption of drug-related crime as well as international cooperation;

The EU and its Member States are convinced that drug-related health and social risks and harm reduction, including prevention of overdoses and reduction of drug-related deaths, should be an essential element of drug policies at national and international level;

There is an urgent need for improving access to and availability of controlled medicines, and avoiding unnecessary obstacles to access to essential medicines.

The meaningful participation of the civil society, including the scientific community in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug demand reduction policies should be promoted and encouraged. The continued engagement with civil society, namely trough the Civil Society Task Force, is vital for the preparatory process for UNGASS 2016 and beyond;

From the perspective of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the absolute priority is the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including for drug-related crimes as well as the abolition of other practices which are not in line with the principles of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights;

Alternative development measures should be promoted as a long term approach to tackle the root causes of drug crop cultivation.

The spread of new psychoactive substances is one of the main new challenges in drugs policy and we consider the UNGASS 2016 as an opportunity to further develop and strengthen the international response.

The growing use of alternative precursors used to replace traditional precursors under international control must be addressed at global level.

As regards the outcome of UNGASS 2016, we support the decision for the CND to produce a short, substantive, concise and action-oriented document comprising a set of operational recommendations. We support the proposal to reflect in a Chair’s summary the salient points raised during each of the High-Level Workshops.

Delegations are kindly invited to consult more extensive EU recommendations to be included in the outcome document of UNGASS 2016 on the Paper Smart portal.

In concluding let me state that the European Union remains firmly committed to a successful UNGASS 2016.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

EU statement in response to the Secretary General of GUAM, Ambassador Valeri Chechelashvili, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1049, 30 квітня 2015 року

1. The EU warmly welcomes the Secretary General of the Organisation for Democracy and Economic Development – GUAM, Ambassador Valeri Chechelashvili, to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his presentation.

2. We are supportive of non-exclusive regional cooperation initiatives that can contribute to improving stability and security at the regional level. Since the last visit of the Secretary General of GUAM, European security has been jeopardised following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its deliberate destabilisation of the situation in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s violations of fundamental OSCE principles, and its international commitments, represent a significant challenge to the Astana Summit vision of a security community rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals and have wider implications on the security of the entire region.

3. The Eastern Partnership provides the framework for the EU's cooperation with the countries of GUAM. The Eastern Partnership remains our priority aimed at developing closer and stronger EU relations with our sovereign, independent eastern partners.

4. The resolution of the protracted conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a top priority for the European Union and enhanced efforts should be made at all levels to stir political will in order to make tangible progress for conflict resolution based on the principles and norms of international law and in the framework of existing agreed formats.

5. Developing a democratic, stable and prosperous neighbourhood, based on a commitment to core values, including the rule of law, protection of human rights and gender equality, is a strategic priority and fundamental interest for the EU. We are committed to driving forward the Eastern Partnership agenda and to continuing to work together on subjects of common interest.

EU statement on Migration in the Mediterranean, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1049, 30 квітня 2015 року

1. Last week, the European Council convened a special meeting to discuss the dramatic situation in the Mediterranean at the highest political level. The heads of states and government agreed that saving people’s lives is the number one priority. At the same time trafficking in human beings and irregular migration need to be addressed and smugglers need to be stopped. The European Union will mobilise all efforts at its disposal to prevent further loss of life at sea and to tackle the root causes of the human emergency that we face, in cooperation with the countries of origin and transit.

2. The European leaders have agreed on four priorities for action. First, our presence at sea will be strengthened. EU operations Triton and Poseidon will be reinforced by at least tripling the financial resources for 2015 and 2016, thereby increasing search and rescue possibilities within the mandate of FRONTEX.

3. Second, the European Union is committed to fighting traffickers in accordance with international law by disrupting trafficking networks, bringing the perpetrators to justice and seizing their assets. Swift action by EU agencies and Member States authorities will be complemented through increased intelligence and police-cooperation with third countries. We will also undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and destroy vessels before they can be used by traffickers. The High Representative has begun preparations for a possible CSDP operation to this effect.

4. Third, we need to prevent illegal migration flows. We will increase cooperation with countries of transit and origin, especially the countries around Libya, and launch specific regional development and protection programmes for North Africa and the Horn of Africa. The European Union will further step up dialogue with the African Union at all levels on these issues. 

5. Finally, we will reinforce our internal solidarity and responsibility. This will include among other measures a first voluntary pilot project on resettlement across the EU, offering places to persons qualifying for protection. While respecting the right to seek asylum, we will set up a new return programme for the rapid return of illegal migrants from frontline Member States, coordinated by FRONTEX.

6. Instability in Libya creates an ideal environment for the criminal activities of traffickers. We will actively support all UN-led efforts towards re-establishing government authority in Libya. We will also step up efforts to address conflict and instability as key push factors of migration, including in Syria.

7. The European Union will remain seized of the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean and will closely monitor the implementation of the actions outlined. Collective effort is required by all. Illegal migration is not just an EU problem, but is a problem which affects the entire OSCE region. We therefore call on all participating States to join our efforts in addressing this phenomenon.

8. We believe that in this context, the OSCE can play a role in combating this phenomenon in a cross-dimensional manner, through its human, security and economic dimensions. This was affirmed in the Ministerial Council Decision on migration in Ljubljana in 2005, and on migration management adopted in Athens in 2009. The OSCE is also a forum for dialogue between participating States and Partners for Co-operation which are also very much affected by migration issues, including their root causes.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1049, 30 квітня 2015 року

1. We welcome the Ministerial Meeting of the OSCE Troika that took place in Belgrade this week and emphasise the call by Foreign Ministers Dačić, Steinmeier and Burkhalter for the immediate establishment of Working Groups as provided for in the February 12 Package of Measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We express our full support for the work of the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office to the Trilateral Contact Group, Ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, in particular on the establishment of Working Groups. Hence, we welcome the appointment of representatives to the Working Groups by the OSCE Chairperson in Office. We consider the political process as essential to overcome the crisis.

2. We express our deep concern that the fighting in and around Shyrokyne has continued to intensify and that Russia-backed separatist forces continue to amass north of Shyrokyne, despite the efforts of the SMM to ensure a local ceasefire and demilitarisation of the village and surrounding area. We therefore repeat our call on all parties to halt the fighting and expect Russia to use its considerable influence on the separatists to support the SMM in its endeavours and to allow SMM unhindered access to Shyrokyne.

3. We are also deeply concerned about the seriously deteriorating situation in the area around Donetsk airport and continuing fighting in other hotspots. We note the numerous observations by the SMM of heavy weapons missing from established holding areas. The build-up of Russian troops next to the Ukrainian border and information about continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation further add to our concern. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. Once again we underline that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the crisis based on full respect for OSCE principles and commitments, and full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

4. We reiterate our call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries must be removed from the territory of Ukraine. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

5. Hostages and unlawfully detained persons, including Nadiya Savchenko whose health has further deteriorated after many weeks of hunger strike, must be immediately released. We call on Russia to respect its international commitments in this regard.

6. Mr Chairman, the SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. The Minsk signatories must provide the SMM with the full baseline information that it has been asking for since February that would allow for credible and independent verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. The Minsk signatories must ensure full, safe and unhindered access to all parts of the crisis areas including those controlled by the Russia-backed separatists. We condemn the incident on 23 April where separatists used a SMM convoy as cover in Shyrokyne. On the same day two mortar shells fired by separatists exploded close to a SMM patrol in Avdiivka.

7. We continue to deeply regret that so-called “humanitarian convoys” from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

8. The EU reaffirms its deep concern at the continued military build-up and deterioration of the human rights situation in the illegally annexed Crimean Peninsula, including the denial of free speech and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities, including the Crimean Tatars. We call for the provision of full, free and unrestricted access to the peninsula to international human rights actors.

9. We continue to strongly support the full engagement of the OSCE in Ukraine based on its concept of comprehensive security. We welcome the recent launch of a new ODIHR supported project to enhance effective mechanisms to address human rights issues in Ukraine in line with OSCE commitments and international standards. 

10. 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 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.

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Programme and Budget Committee, 4-6 травня 2015 року

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.]

§ Candidate Country

 Candidate Countries Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

Candidate Country Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

+ Norway and Liechtenstein are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

2. We would like to thank the Director General and his staff for the Draft Programme and Budget for 2016-2017 and related documents before the Committee.

3. At the outset, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate their firm commitment to a well-functioning and well-resourced IAEA. In this regard, we commend the Director General for carrying forward programme priorities from the current biennium in 2016 and 2017, and we further encourage the Agency to continue its efforts to identify cost savings and efficiency gains.

Mr Chairman,

I would like to make the following comments on the documents before us today.

Draft Programme and Budget 2016-2017

4. The EU and its Member States take note of the Agency’s Draft Programme and Budget 2016-2017, including its revision (2015/Note 28). The Draft Programme is a well-presented and clear document which includes an appropriate balance in the allocation of resources across the Major Programmes. In this regard we support the efforts of the Co-chairs in establishing a consensus.

5. We appreciate the revised budget proposal and further clarifications on the areas identified for transfer and delay, and encourage the Secretariat to continue to focus on efficiencies in both the budget planning and implementation process in order to ensure sustainability in meeting the Major Programmes' activities.

6. The EU and its Member States attach great importance to the activities of the Agency in the field of nuclear security. In this regard, we welcome the proposals for regularization of positions in the Division for Nuclear Security, which is still largely dependent on extra budgetary resources, and support the proposed increase in regular budget funding for nuclear security activities. We appreciate the focus on enhanced international cooperation, given the internationally acknowledged central role of the Agency in the field of nuclear security. We furthermore welcome the integration and follow-up of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety as well as the focus on transport safety, support to newcomers and nuclear power plant ageing.

7. The EU and its Member States take note of the proposed budgetary increases in Major Programme 6. We remain firmly committed to the technical cooperation activities of the IAEA and to efforts to make them more efficient and effective. We attach great importance to the new focus on outcome monitoring, and welcome the emphasis on Results Based Management – an important and cross-cutting theme addressed in many of the documents before us today.

8. The EU and its Member States welcome the priority given to the renovation of the nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf through the ReNuAL project, representing an important aspect of the Agency’s work. We note, however, that the total costs of the project are still unknown and therefore, we would like to receive more concrete cost information as soon as the ongoing detailed planning exercise will have been finalized. We support the Secretariat’s efforts to mobilize resources for this important project.

9. The EU remains firmly committed to ensuring that the Agency’s nuclear verification programme continues to receive the necessary resources to enable the Agency to provide assurances that States are complying with their obligations under relevant Safeguards agreements.

10. With regard to the developments in negotiations between the E3/EU+3 and Iran, the EU takes note that the financial implications for 2016-2017 are unknown at this stage. We expect the DG to assess resource implications for the Agency of subsequent developments and to report to the Board of Governors accordingly, allowing for appropriate consultations.

11. We welcome the specific attention paid to the Agency’s Gender Equality Policy in the budget preparation process and hope to see improved gender balance in the Agency and its activities as a result.

12. We thank the Ambassadors of France and India for leading the working group on Programme and Budget and TC Targets, assisting Member States to align views on important budgetary matters.

Financial Statements and External Audit 2014

13. We appreciate the provision of quarterly reports on the financial situation of the Agency. We note the DG’s report on the Agency’s Financial Statements for 2014 and we welcome the increase indicated therein in voluntary contributions. However we would like to express our concern regarding the again significantly increased amount of outstanding assessed contributions to the regular budget, and to underline that financial contribution should be paid in full and on time.

14. We would like to thank the External Auditor for the audit of the IAEA for 2014, and note that he has given an unqualified opinion of the Agency’s account. We would welcome information from the Secretariat on how it intends to take forward the implementation of the Auditor’s recommendations. We would furthermore welcome more information on the stated implementation of last year’s recommendation regarding efforts to increase the percentage of women in the Agency, especially in the professional category of posts.

Mid-Term Progress Report

15. We note the Mid-Term progress report and welcome its overall finding that the main activities of programmes were carried out according to plan. Monitoring the actual effects of delivered outputs remains a key priority for the European Union and in this regard we anticipate the programme performance assessment to be conducted later this year.

Internal Audit Activity Report

16. We welcome the 2015 Internal Audit Activity report and the clear way in which findings are presented. We reiterate our support for the recommendation to adopt an accountability policy to ensure clear accountability of managers for programmatic objectives, to increase the achievement of results of programmes, policies and operations and to promote further transparency, as well as to communicate audit results to member states. We furthermore note the need for improved security governance within the Agency.

Programme Evaluation Report

17. We take note of the 2014 Programme Evaluation Report, and particularly would like to commend the Agency for the important and highly valued work it does in the field of nuclear security. We strongly encourage any measures to strengthen the Agency’s efforts with regard to education, training and knowledge management as well as the development of a competency framework for personnel with accountabilities for nuclear security. Appropriate coordination of all activities between Agency departments is imperative to find synergies and efficiencies when implementing projects in a country receiving various types of Agency assistance.

18. A sound Results Based Management (RBM) system is a crucial element in programme planning and monitoring and enables continuous programme improvement. We are therefore very concerned by the findings on the current application of RBM, and urge the Secretariat to address this situation as a matter of urgency. We look forward to being informed about the implementation of these as well as the still outstanding recommendations.

Implementation of the Recommendations of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities

19. We note the Progress Report on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Working Group on Financing the Agency’s Activities (WGFAA) and appreciate all efforts so far in this respect. Several recommendations, including those on outcome monitoring and consultations on refining and improving the Due Account Mechanism, are yet to be fully implemented. We, therefore, encourage the Secretariat to take these up without delay and to report to Member States regularly. We thank the Ambassadors of Norway and Kenya for leading the Working Group on 5

Resource Mobilization and trust their efforts will lead to broadly supported guidelines for this activity.

Appointment of the External Auditor

20. We would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the nomination of candidates by India, Indonesia and the Philippines. We support the Chair of the Board of Governors in her efforts to come to a consensus recommendation to the General Conference.

Conclusion

21. With these comments, we take note of the proposed Programme and Budget for 2016-2017 and other documents before us.

EU Statement on the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 786, 29 квітня 2015 року

The Member States of the European Union wish to thank the FSC Chairmanship Montenegro for placing on its agenda the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security. We welcome and thank also today's speakers for their interesting and insightful presentations.

We have declared on many occasions our consistent support for and firm commitment to the Code of Conduct as well as our determination to further promote its full implementation by, inter alia, enhancing awareness and outreach and through a focused review during the annual discussion on its implementation. Indeed, we look forward to the 4th annual discussion on the implementation of the Code to be held on 8 July, which should serve to evaluate the Code’s effectiveness and reconfirm its relevance in the current security environment.

Full respect and implementation, both in letter and in spirit, of the OSCE politicomilitary commitments, including the OSCE Code of Conduct, are still of vital importance in order to de-escalate the situation and to promote peaceful solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine.

As the Code enters the 21st year since its adoption it has lost neither its relevance, nor the very important role it plays in defining principles and commitments for interstate and intra-state behaviour, including for the role of armed forces in democratic societies. Thus, the Code has become a model for other regional organizations  through the values and the principles enshrined in it.

In this context, we appreciate the efforts of the previous FSC Chairmanship Mongolia for hosting the conference on the Code of Conduct this March in Ulaanbaatar which we believe was an important event in the promotion of the Code of Conduct in the Central Asian region.

We highly value as well the activities of RACVIAC for promoting the implementation of the Code of Conduct at sub-regional level, particularly the first ever peer-to-peer discussion on its implementation which was held last year among the countries of South East Europe.

Although Security Sector Governance/Reform (SSG/R) obviously transcends issues related to the OSCE's first dimension, we recognise it as an essential part of conflict prevention and crisis management activities, a field where the OSCE plays an important and valuable role. We therefore support the cross-dimensional approach by the OSCE to SSG/R.

The European Union itself is very active in the field of SSG/R, the main objectives of which are in line with our core values: promotion and respect of rule of law, human rights, and democracy. We have a long-standing experience in supporting SSG/R programmes in post-conflict, transitioning and developing countries in many areas around the world including in the OSCE area.

We are of the opinion that the OSCE can play a role and has comparative advantages in this field. Building synergies and avoiding duplication with other relevant actors is however more than advisable. Bearing also in mind that relevant OSCE commitments in this area already exist and most of them contain clear indications for enhancing coordination of efforts both internally and with other relevant international stakeholders. The key issue remains the implementation of existing commitments, rather than the creation of new ones.

In this regard we would like to convey our gratitude to the Serbian CiO for having organised a few days ago the OSCE-wide Conference on SSG/R in Belgrade with the objective of raising awareness about the ongoing OSCE activities in this field. We thank once again the speakers for their substantial contribution to today's discussion.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 786, 29 квітня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States wish to reiterate our strong support to the Minsk agreements and remind that only their full implementation offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. This important message has also been conveyed at Monday's EUUkraine Summit.

We are deeply concerned about the most intense shelling in Shyrokyne since mid- February which is taking place in addition to continued significant ceasefire violations in this and other hotspot areas in eastern Ukraine, in particular around Donetsk airport. High concentrations and build-ups of forces and heavy weapons on the separatists' side of the contact line, notably in the vicinity of Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne, as being reported by the SMM, are of great concern as well. We reiterate in this context that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory would constitute a violation of the Minsk agreements and will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We are equally worried about the continued presence and use of heavy weapons inside the exclusion zone despite the claims of the parties that the withdrawal of heavy weapons was completed. We particularly note the attempts of the Russia-backed separatists to remove and eventually redeploy heavy weapons within the exclusion zone for alleged training or 9 May military parade purposes, as repeatedly observed and reported by the SMM.

We are therefore compelled to call once again on all parties, in particular the Russiabacked separatists, to strictly respect the ceasefire and complete without delay the withdrawal of heavy weapons in accordance with the Minsk Package of Measures. Providing the SMM with the required baseline information remains instrumental in enabling the SMM to monitor and verify the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

We appreciate the efforts of the SMM to broker a local ceasefire and promote demilitarisation of Shyrokyne and urge all parties to immediately stop fighting and support these efforts.

Furthermore, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk Package. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard and expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full.

The separatists continue to restrict the SMM access to large portions of the territory under their control, including in the critical areas along the state border, as consistently reported by the SMM. We remain also deeply concerned about information of continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation.

We therefore appeal for the full implementation of all provisions of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We recall that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

In this context, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

UN Security Council briefing "The Role of Youth in Countering Violent Extremism and Promoting Peace", 23 квітня 2015 року

Draft EU Statement

Excellences, distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen,

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

[Alignment clause]

We thank the Jordanian Presidency of the UN Security Council for the initiative to organize this high level debate on the role of youth in countering violent extremism and promoting peace. It offers us the opportunity to further the discussions and to build on the recent commitments we took at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit convened by President Obama in February.

The fight against violent extremism will be long. As we focus on immediate threats, we should also think strategically, to our future. Younger generations are the key to our success.

Terrorist groups and extremists are capitalising on advances in technology to find new ways of engaging with disaffected youth, taking advantage of social networking sites, online video channels and radical chat rooms. They are spreading their propaganda more widely, more rapidly, and more effectively and youth are the main specific target through social media. That is why it is important that we act together and in a concerted manner while upholding our core values.

The EU and its Member States are very actively engaged in countering violent extremism and have identified anti-radicalisation efforts as one of the main areas in which to concentrate our efforts. A particular emphasis is placed on prevention and the EU has defined its vision through an EU Strategy on Prevention of Radicalization and Recruitment.

We cannot afford to lose the fight for our youth. This is why education is so crucial. Let us not forget the words of a brave young woman, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai: “The extremists are afraid of books and pens. The power of education frightens them.”

In Europe, we believe public education is a powerful tool to promote open-mindedness and tolerance in the youth. We are also engaging with local communities, the civil society and the private sector, in order to foster their resilience and to prevent the formation of parallel education networks, where extremist ideas may thrive. At the initiative of the French Government and the EU, the EU Education Ministers met in Paris on 17 March to discuss new measures to tackle radicalization across the EU. 

In our partner countries, the EU also supports initiatives aimed at identifying drivers for youth extremism, empowering women, promoting community policing, strengthening local actors, improving the media and education capacities to counter radicalizing ideologies. We have to make sure that young people are not only in education, but that they can find their place in their own societies, and an appropriate one. A powerful one.

In this context, we also focus on addressing the underlying factors of radicalization by supporting initiatives with regard to youth, education, vocational training, job opportunities, civil society, security sector reform, role of women. This goes very much in line with the link between security and development the EU upholds and as it is underlined in the Presidency's concept note. There is indeed no security possible without the necessary development conditions and in this sense, supporting programmes giving opportunities to the youth is a good way to counter extremism in an effective way. As already announced at the Countering Violent Extremism Summit in February, we will launch promptly additional programmes on how to link education and countering violent extremism, addressing the socio-economic aspects of conflicts and linking them with the Post 2015 agenda.

We therefore encourage States to engage with members of relevant local communities and non-governmental actors in developing strategies to counter the violent extremist narrative that can incite terrorist acts and address the conditions conducive to the spread of violent extremism, including by empowering youth, women, religious, cultural and education leaders, and members of all other concerned groups of civil society and adopting tailored approaches to countering recruitment to this kind of violent extremism and promoting social inclusion and cohesion.

At the UN level, we plead constantly for better coordination and focus of the relevant UN entities in the area of preventing terrorism. United Nations Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) and the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) have a crucial role to play in developing analysis and programmes involving youth and dedicated to youth for the purposes of effective CVE prevention.

The Global Counter-Terrorism Forum (GCTF) is also an appropriate forum to develop CVE efforts further. We welcome the ongoing close cooperation between the GCTF and the United Nations and encourage it to be further strengthened. In their respective competence, regional organizations also have an important role to play, especially in the effective implementation of initiatives emanating from the UN level.

The EU will therefore continue to be very active and to cooperate with all countries to counter violent extremism. The UN is a key forum for this endeavour, and we look forward to further constructive discussions during the UNGA Ministerial week in September.

EU Statement on Migration, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 1048, 23 квітня 2015 року

1. We were all shocked by the dramatic events in the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend that have resulted in so many deaths. Events like these are unacceptable for those who value the principles of solidarity, respect for human rights and dignity for all. Human lives must be saved, while at the same time we need to protect our borders and to fight those who smuggle or traffic human beings.

2. The issue of migration was discussed by EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Interior in a joint meeting last Monday. The ministers sent a strong and clear message that Europe is ready to take determined action to prevent tragedies like the recent events that took place a few days ago off the Libyan coasts. Work will be taken forward along three strands: One, the fight against organised crime networks and human traffickers. Several options were discussed, including stepping up work on the traveling routes used by migrants and enhanced police cooperation on counter-measures against smugglers. Two, more efficient efforts to save lives at sea by reinforcing Frontex activities, in particular the operations Triton and Poseidon in the Mediterranean. For this, further funds for Frontex, and more assets for both operations will be needed. Search and rescue obligations should be approached in a sustainable and a more long-term approach. Three, a possible EU wide voluntary pilot project on resettlement offering a number of places to persons in need of protection is being considered.

3. Proposals have been conveyed to the European Council of Heads of State and Government which meets in an extra-ordinary session today to address the situation in the Mediterranean.

4. The root causes of migration also need to be addressed and most of all the instability of an area that is broader and broader, from Iraq and Syria to Libya. We recognize more than ever the need to address the humanitarian tragedies caused by the many wars and conflicts in the region, to tackle the issue of poverty and inequality in a much more effective way as well as the issue of human rights across the Mediterranean region.

5. We need to work for an urgent resolution to the political process in Libya which is carried out under the good offices of the UN SG Special Representative for an unified and representative  government. The resolution of the Libyan conflict would be an important step in the fight against smugglers and human trafficking.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 1048, 23 квітня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, back to the Permanent Council. We continue to strongly support the SMM. Its impartial and objective monitoring and reporting as well as its support to efforts to de-escalate the crisis in and around Ukraine are of vital importance. We commend the SMM for responding quickly to new developments, adapting and improving its reporting regime and for enhancing its capacity in eastern parts of Ukraine.

2. We appreciate the efforts of the SMM to ensure a local ceasefire and de-militarisation of Shyrokyne and to extend monitoring of the situation in the area. We regret that hostilities are continuing in Shyrokyne despite these efforts. We call on all parties to support the efforts of the SMM that might be replicated in other hotspots. We remain concerned about the continuing fighting in particular in the villages around Donetsk Airport and the suffering inflicted on civilians in the conflict area. The security incidents and provocations in Odessa and Kharkiv are also of concern. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict based on the full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

3. We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements. The ceasefire must be respected, heavy weapons withdrawn and foreign armed formations, military equipment as well as mercenaries must be removed from the territory of Ukraine. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We expect Russia to use its considerable influence over the separatists to meet their Minsk commitments in full. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance and require swift and sustained progress. In this regard, we reiterate our call for a quick launch of the working groups within the Trilateral Contact Group of the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the OSCE-chairmanship.

4. Mr Chairman, the SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements. There is an urgent need to ensure full and unhindered access for SMM monitors in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The widespread restrictions on the movement of monitors in separatist controlled areas, including in critical areas along the state border, as indicated by SMM reporting, is deeply troublesome. This constitutes a major obstacle to comprehensive monitoring by SMM patrols and makes it even more important to establish an effective technical surveillance package as part of a wider monitoring and verification framework, including through the use of UAVs and satellite imagery. We are concerned about reports of continued inflow of military equipment and personnel into Ukraine from the Russian Federation. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its border remains essential.

5. We note the many SMM observations of heavy military equipment on both sides that have not been withdrawn as required but re-deployed or removed from their holding areas. For instance, at three “DPR” controlled holding areas none of the previously recorded weapons were present during a check on 19 April. We once again urge the parties to provide SMM with the baseline information needed to verify the withdrawal of heavy weapons. Moreover, we reiterate the need for parties to recognise that if a durable political settlement is to be reached, it is critical that they uphold both the letter and the spirit of the Minsk agreements.

6. We express our deep concern about the serious security incidents involving SMM monitors, including the incident on 7 April when a “DPR” member opened fire towards a SMM patrol near Shyrokyne. It is unacceptable that SMM patrols continue to experience threats and harassment by all sides, and this must stop. SMM patrols must be allowed to pass all checkpoints without providing information about citizenship of its members or destination of its patrols, and without delay or threat of detention.

7. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

8. We welcome the increased activities of the Human Dimension Unit of the SMM and we urge the SMM to closely follow the situation of the most vulnerable especially those remaining in the crisis area as well as the internally displaced. We also welcome the SMM’s monitoring activities related to gender issues.

9. It is unacceptable that the SMM has had no access to Crimea despite the urgent need for international monitoring of the deteriorating human rights situation. We support the continuation of the SMM’s reporting together with the OSCE Institutions on the situation in Crimea based on interviews with activists, IDPs and other sources.

10. 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 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 Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 1048, 23 квітня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.

2. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko, Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. Russia bears a responsibility for Ms Savchenko’s very fragile health.

3. We recall that all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. 

EU Statement on the death penalty in the USA, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 1048, 23 квітня 2015 року

1. It is with deep regret that the EU learnt of the executions of Kent Sprouse on 9 April 2015 in the US State of Texas, and of Andre Cole on 14 April in the State of Missouri, in spite of the concerns as regards their mental health and mental condition, in the case of Mr Sprouse, at the moment of the commission of his crimes, and as regards Mr Cole, at the time of his execution.

2. We are aware of the severity of the crimes for which Mr Sprouse and Mr Cole were convicted and wish to express our deepest sympathies for the suffering of the victims and of their surviving families and friends. However, the EU notes that the execution of persons suffering from an intellectual disability or mental illness is contrary to the minimum standards set forth in several international human rights instruments as well as being prohibited by the US Constitution.

3. The EU is opposed to the use of capital punishment under all circumstances and aims at its universal abolition, seeking a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition, in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December 2014, which reaffirms previous resolutions since 2007. The EU believes that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights.

EU Statement on the Assumption of the Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation by Montenegro, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 785, 22 квітня 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States warmly welcome H.E. Igor Lukšić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, and express our gratitude for outlining the FSC Chairmanship's programme for the second trimester of this year.

We take this occasion to also sincerely thank the outgoing Chairmanship Mongolia for the professional and dedicated way in which it has steered the FSC activities during its term. We wish Norway every success as a new member of the FSC Troika and thank Monaco, which is leaving the Troika, for their efforts and commitment over the past year.

The outgoing Mongolian Chairmanship had to assume, as its predecessors did, a highly demanding extra-task, which is to handle the FSC discussions related to the crisis in and around Ukraine.

We reiterate in this context our support to the Minsk Package of Measures and remind that only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

We furthermore remain firmly convinced that ensuring the strict implementation, and making full use, of OSCE politico-military commitments and instruments, both in letter and spirit, by all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, with a view to help promote a sustainable peaceful solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine is imperative under current circumstances.

Thus, we reiterate our longstanding position in favour of the full implementation and modernisation of the OSCE politico-military toolbox, in particular the Vienna Document, in line with the evolving security environment. As a subset of this, we support discussions on lessons learned for the OSCE politico-military toolbox in the context of the crisis in and around Ukraine, with a view to identifying shortfalls and possible improvements.

Moreover, we support strengthening the OSCE norms and activities in the field of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) through improved implementation and increased coherence and complementarity with the UN framework. In view of existing terrorist threats in Europe and throughout the world we attach particular attention to the implementation of OSCE projects related to destruction of surplus SALW and SCA and secure stockpile management in the region and will continue to contribute to them. In this regard, we welcome the Montenegro FSC Chairmanship's proposal for an OSCE special meeting on SALW projects and are ready to actively support it.

The European Union supports the universalisation and the full implementation of the

ATT and sees an important role for the OSCE in this regard on the basis of the provisions of MC decision 10/14.

It will be important for all participating States to support the full implementation of the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, including through its focused annual review and other measures such as enhancement of its outreach.

We remain in favour of strengthening and sustaining the OSCE role and capacities devoted to the implementation of UNSCR 1540 and related resolutions in the OSCE area and recall the importance of cooperation and interaction among relevant international organisations in order to facilitate synergies and avoid duplications.

We reiterate our commitment to the women, peace and security-agenda as established by UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions and emphasise its relevance to the work of the FSC.

In the midst of discussions on the Helsinki +40, we still believe that the FSC can play an important role in this process, offering an opportunity to address these current challenges whilst taking into account new and emerging security threats to the OSCE. In this regard, we encourage the Chairmanship to ensure that the FSC adequately features and contributes to the H+40 process, as mandated by MC decisions.

Minister Lukšić, we welcome the well balanced and comprehensive agenda for Security Dialogues and hope it will provide a solid basis for the FSC work during the Montenegro Chairmanship. We thank you once again and wish you every success in your professional endeavours.

[Alignment paragraph]

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 785, 22 квітня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our support to the full implementation of the Minsk Package of Measures as well as the diplomatic efforts undertaken within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group to this end. At the same time, we are gravely concerned about the continued ceasefire violations, especially around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne, and about the suffering inflicted on civilians who remain in the area. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russiabacked separatists to gain control of additional territory would constitute a violation of the Minsk agreements and will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

We therefore strongly urge all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and, in particular to strictly respect the ceasefire and conclude without delay the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We welcome the call of the Normandy format foreign ministers to include weapons with a calibre of less than 100 mm and tanks of all types among those that should be withdrawn.

Furthermore, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk package. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard.

Only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis. We underline all parties' responsibilities to this end and repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to full implement their commitments. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20

March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements.

We remain concerned that the SMM has still not received the baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons nor does it enjoy free and unhindered access. SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements.

We continue to call for immediate, substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over this border remains essential.

In this context, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

We take note of the Ukrainian request for an explanation of Russian unusual military activities along the border with Ukraine, including several cases of violation of the Ukrainian airspace, circulated on 16 April under reference number CBM/UA/15/0032/F10/O. We also note the observations made in this respect in the last weekly reports by the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk.

We consider the Russian Federation's reply under reference number CBM/RU/14/0052/F41/O to this, as well as to previous Ukrainian requests for explanation under the Vienna Document Chapter III, as being unsatisfactory and not conducive to helping to restore security, trust and confidence in the OSCE region through the full use, both in letter and spirit, of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

[Alignment paragraph]

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union at the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question", United Nations, New York, 21 квітня 2015 року

Madam President,

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

[alignment paragraph]

 

Madam President,

As regards the Middle East Peace Process, the EU position has been clear, consistent and unequivocal for many years and will remain so: the only realistic way to solve the conflict is through an agreement between the parties that ends the occupation which began in 1967, that ends all claims and that fulfils the aspirations of both sides. A lasting solution to the conflict must be achieved which would see 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 regional context which we are witnessing right now makes the urgency of the search for such a solution even more pressing.

The preservation of the viability of the two-state solution must remain a priority. We are concerned at developments on the ground that could make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly unattainable: Israel should halt all new settlements in the West Bank. A fundamental change of policy on this and other negative developments is necessary to prevent the irreversible loss of the two-state solution.

Accordingly, the EU continues to urge the parties to renew their commitment to the two-state solution, to build trust and to resume meaningful negotiations with the aim of achieving a comprehensive peace agreement that ends the occupation which began in 1967, that ends all claims and that fulfils the aspirations of both parties. The European Union also reiterates its call upon the Palestinian leadership to use constructively its UN status and not to undertake steps which would lead further away from a negotiated solution.

 

Madam President,

The international community must take its responsibility in facilitating such a resumption of negotiations. The Quartet must redouble its efforts to facilitate a renewed peace process and, in so doing, reach out to all stakeholders, in particular in the region, to make sure that the push for peace which is needed now is supported and embraced by all key actors. In this context, it must be recalled that the Arab Peace Initiative – the continued validity of which was confirmed recently by Arab leaders – remains of strategic importance for any future comprehensive peace agreement.

The Security Council has the primary responsibility for maintaining peace and security, including in regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We therefore fully support continued efforts within this Council to find common ground on a resolution which would convey an authoritative message to the parties about the framework within which to reach an agreement. We believe that the EU position on final status parameters as set out in Council Conclusions can provide a basis for rapidly steering such efforts towards consensus.

Concerning Gaza, the EU remains deeply concerned at the dire humanitarian situation faced by the population, which must be addressed urgently. Basic infrastructures and services must be restored. We have welcomed pledges made by members of the international community towards the reconstruction of Gaza, but these pledges now need to be honoured as a matter of urgency.

The EU continues to call for a fundamental change of the political, security and economic situation in the Gaza Strip, including the end of the closure. The parties must urgently make progress towards a durable ceasefire, based on their agreement in Cairo on 26 August, and reach an agreement which both ends the Gaza closure and addresses Israel’s legitimate security concerns. The Palestinian factions should put aside their rivalries towards a real national reconciliation, restoring governmental control by the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip, starting with a return to the crossing points and civil service reform. We also underline the need for the Palestinian government led by Prime Minister Hamdallah to redouble its efforts work at ending the internal division.

 

Madam President,

The EU offers its full support to the Secretary-General’s newly appointed Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, Mr. Nickolay Mladenov, and remains determined to play its part in the process of establishing a durable peace in the Middle East. Last week, the Council of the European Union appointed Fernando Gentilini as EU Special Representative for the Middle East peace process. His tasks are to contribute to actions and initiatives leading to a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on the two-state solution. He will facilitate contact between the parties and contribute to setting up a possible new framework for negotiations. We also reiterate our substantial offer to Israelis and Palestinians of a Special Privileged Partnership with the EU in the event of peace. The EU remains determined to follow very closely developments on the ground and their broader implications, and remains ready to take further action to preserve the two-state solution.

Peace will be difficult to attain and will require courageous decisions on both sides. On the other hand, the cost of non-peace – of a continued unresolved conflict – would be considerable, not only for the parties but also for the broader region and the international community as a whole.

Together, the parties, the neighbouring countries and the wider international community must do all they can to engage finally and decisively on the path of a comprehensive solution to the entire Israeli-Arab conflict. The EU, for its part, is firmly intent on being present and engaged at all stages of such a process.

 

Madam President,

As regards the situation in Syria, the EU remains committed to achieving lasting peace, stability and security in Syria, Iraq and the wider region, as well as to countering the ISIL/Da'esh threat. To this end, on 16 March 2015,  we adopted conclusions on a detailed Regional Strategy focussing on these priorities.

As the Syria conflict has entered its fifth year, the EU reiterates that a lasting solution urgently requires a Syrian-led inclusive political process. The EU fully supports UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura's intention to push for consultations with all relevant domestic and international actors focussed on the contents of the Geneva Communiqué. There is an urgent need to revive the political process and advance the prospects of achieving a political transition, based on the Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012 and in line with relevant UNSC resolutions in order to maintain the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We are determined to actively support all efforts to reach a political solution by mutual consent and we encourage members of the international community with influence over the Syrian parties, to take a special responsibility for ensuring the success of such efforts. There cannot be lasting peace in Syria until the legitimate grievances and aspirations of all components of the Syrian society are addressed. In particular, the involvement of Syrian women is key to a just peace process. As the conflict continues, we deplore the ongoing violations and abuses of international humanitarian and human rights law. The EU remains focused on the need to hold perpetrators of these abuses to account: justice and accountability should therefore be included in the political process from the outset.

We call on all Syrian parties to show clear and concrete commitment to such a political process and we urge those with influence on the parties, and notably on the Assad regime, to put pressure on them to end all violence and to engage constructively in the process. We also call on all parties to respect their international obligations to ensure the protection of civilians. The EU strongly condemns the escalation of violence by the Assad regime, including the sieges of civilian areas, the starvation of civilians as a method of combat, the arbitrary detention and torture of thousands of Syrians, the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, as well as aerial bombardments and the use of barrel bombs. The Assad regime's brutal war against its own people, massive human rights violations and systematic obstruction against democratic reforms have heavily contributed to the flourishing of ISIL/Da'esh in Syria.

 

Madam President,

The conditions in the Palestinian refugee camp in Yarmouk have become critical and need to be addressed with outmost urgency. After 3 years of besiegement by the Syrian regime, the recent wave of violence in Yarmouk by different fighting sides is putting the population living in the camp at serious risk. 

The ongoing denial of humanitarian access to the refugees living in the Yarmouk camp by the Syrian regime and other belligerents is unacceptable. 

All sides should cease their hostilities to ensure immediate and unconditional humanitarian access to those in need, and provide safe passage for all civilians who wish to leave the camp, in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191.

We urge all parties to use their influence over the fighting groups to enable immediate and unconditional humanitarian access and provide safe passage for all civilians who wish to leave Yarmouk.  

As the EU, we commend UNRWA for the important work it is doing and will continue to work together with UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl, and all other partners to help alleviate the suffering of the people in the greatest need. To that end the European Commission released immediate emergency funding of EUR 2.5 million to UNRWA's operations to deliver life-saving assistance to Palestinian refugees in Syria through cash and emergency relief items. In addition, and as part of the EU’s 2015 humanitarian funding for Syria, support will facilitate a rapid humanitarian response to meet the needs of vulnerable families. This funding extends to all parts of Syria affected by the conflict, with specific focus on the recent violence in Yarmouk, Idlib, Dara’a and Aleppo. 

 

Madam President,

We also note with serious concern that humanitarian needs continue to increase while access to vulnerable people faces an increasing number of constraints. 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, including medical material. We reiterate our call on all parties, in particular the Assad regime to comply with and immediately implement in full the provisions of the UNSC resolutions 2139, 2165 and 2191. The EU will seek to accelerate the implementation of those Resolutions to deliver cross-border and cross-line assistance in order to help those Syrians most desperately in need. We also condemn the continued sieges of civilians and recall the regime's primary responsibility for ensuring the protection of its own population. We are deeply concerned that ISIL/Da'esh has significantly affected the presence and operation of humanitarian agencies and actors in northern Syria, thus compromising their humanitarian function.

The EU is deeply concerned about the allegations of the use of toxic chemicals in barrel bomb attacks in Idlib governorate between 16 and 31 March 2015. If these alleged chlorine attacks are substantiated, they would violate the Chemical Weapons Convention as well as UNSC Resolutions 2118 (2013) and 2209 (2015) that foresaw further measures under Chapter VII in case of non-compliance. The international community must ensure that impunity will not prevail.

Thank you, Madam President!

OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Vienna, 16-17 квітня 2015 року

1. This Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM) has been an invaluable and timely opportunity to discuss freedoms that play an important role in bolstering democratic legitimacy and facilitating the promotion and protection of many fundamental freedoms and human rights. The European Union commends the Chairmanship for having selected such a relevant issue as the topic for this SHDM. We thank both the Chairmanship and ODIHR for their work in organising the event, as well as the speakers and moderators, whose valuable contributions have helped shape our discussions.

2. We also particularly appreciate the active contribution that civil society has made to this meeting. They are after all at the forefront of those that suffer when the freedoms of assembly and association are repressed, and the beneficiaries when these freedoms are facilitated.

3. Unfortunately, we have heard numerous examples at this meeting of the serious obstacles that civil society is experiencing in the face of restrictive legislation and policies. The prevalence of such obstacles underlines the need for improved implementation by participating States of their OSCE human dimension commitments. ODIHR continues to play a valuable role in assisting participating States in such endeavours. We wish to take this opportunity to reiterate our continued appreciation for the excellent work ODIHR is undertaking in relation to these two freedoms, including the guidelines they have prepared together with the Venice Commission, first on freedom of peaceful assembly and most recently on freedom of association. We also take this opportunity to once again highlight our support for the guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders.

4. Whilst the first response to the challenges and shortcomings outlined at this meeting must come from the concerned states individually, it is also important that we continue to respond collectively. We hope that the Chairmanship will facilitate a strengthened OSCE response to the issues raised at this meeting by maintaining a focus on these freedoms in the run- up to the Belgrade Ministerial Council. In that context, we recall the broad support amongst participating States for the draft Ministerial Council Decision on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association tabled ahead of last year’s meeting in Basel, which we hope will attract further support and soon find consensus.

Promoting Tolerance and Reconciliation: Fostering Peaceful, Inclusive Societies and Countering Violent Extremism, 21 квітня 2015 року

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the EU.

[Alignment clause]

1. We thank the President of the General Assembly and the UN Secretary General for the opportunity to discuss the rise of radicalization and violent extremism which has sadly resurfaced with force this  year. This is also a timely opportunity to continue the discussions of the Washington Summit convened by President Obama in February.

2. At the outset, I would like to underscore the European Union's commitment to countering violent extremism in all of its forms and manifestations, while promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

3. Member States’ Ministers remain vigilant to the threat of violent extremism and have identified countering violent extremism and anti-radicalisation efforts as one of the main areas in which to concentrate our efforts. A particular emphasis is placed on the promotion of interfaith/intercultural dialogue as well as promoting the most effective conflict prevention measures.

4. The EU's work to promote interreligious dialogue and mediation in many conflict areas worldwide is a good example of how we all strive to foster peaceful societal relations.  Since August 2013 in the Central African Republic the EU has fostered inter-community dialogue and the de-escalation of tensions and conflicts between Christians and Muslims, mainly through assistance to the Inter-faith Commission and civil society networking and through the establishment of twenty Peace Cells throughout the country.  In Mali, we have strongly encouraged and supported civil society and religious organisations to promote mediation as a tool to reconcile divided communities.

5. Facilitating interfaith dialogue, civil society dialogue, people-to-people contacts, academic and cultural exchanges are some of the measures we have envisaged to fighting radicalisation and violent extremism at the EU level.  In this context we are in the process of setting up a Round of Eminent Persons from Europe and the Muslim world, to encourage more intellectual exchanges and promote wider thematic dialogues on the roots and ramifications of terrorism and radicalisation on our societies.

6. In this context, we will also explore further cooperation opportunities with actors such as the Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue of Cultures, the UN Alliance of Civilisations and the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and intercultural dialogue.

7. Our engagement also includes supporting international initiatives on countering radicalisation and terrorism such as the first International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism (“Hedayah”), and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. We will also deepen our work in initiatives such as the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network which since 2011 has worked with over a thousand local practitioners and more than 800 organisations to offer expertise to support those being confronted with problems of radicalisation

8. Fostering peaceful and inclusive societies will only succeed if citizens can address legitimate grievances through the peaceful democratic process and express themselves through strong civil societies, and reject the premise that violence is the only way to achieve changes in societies faced with violent extremism. We are in the midst of the discussions of the post 2015 agenda. A truly transformative agenda must include peaceful societies and freedom from violence as a key ingredient. Peace is not possible without development and respect for human rights.

9. We further recognize that violent extremism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, nationality, or civilization. Religions should not be misused to justify crimes. Religious leaders can undoubtedly play a role in building bridges for tolerance and reconciliation and building a positive counter-narrative. We are looking forward to the discussions tomorrow. 

10. The EU is mobilizing to help address the underlying factors to counter radicalisation and extremism. We will continue to pursue our comprehensive approach combining diplomatic, socio-economic, development, conflict prevention, peace-building and crisis management tools. Each situation requires a tailored response. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to countering radicalisation and extremism, but one thing is for certain: education is our strongest weapon and younger generations are key to our success. The Security Council open debate on Thursday will give us the chance to talk about the importance of education to promote open mindedness and tolerance in the youth and to prevent violent extremism.

11. The EU will continue to be active and cooperate with all countries to counter violent extremism as we can only fulfil our mission together. The UN is a crucial forum for this endeavour, and we look forward to further constructive discussions during UNGA Ministerial week in September.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, 16 квітня 2015 року

1. The European Union is gravely concerned about the massive increase in ceasefire violations in recent days, especially around Donetsk airport and Shyrokyne, including through the widespread use of heavy weapons, and about the suffering inflicted on civilians who remain in the area. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political resolution of the conflict.

2. We reiterate our full support for the diplomatic efforts of the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group and therefore echo the call made last Monday in Berlin by the foreign ministers of France, Germany, the Russian Federation and Ukraine for a full implementation of the ceasefire and conclusion of the withdrawal of heavy weapons. We welcome the call to include weapons with a calibre of less than 100 mm and tanks of all types among those that should be withdrawn. Furthermore, foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries must be withdrawn from the territory of Ukraine as stipulated in the Minsk package. We remain concerned that the SMM has still not received the baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons nor does it enjoy free and unhindered access. SMM must be allowed to fulfil its mandate and implement its tasks under the Minsk agreements.

3. We once again call on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities’ responsibility in this regard. We recall the European Council Conclusions of 19-20 March in all their elements, in particular those linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. We reiterate that any solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are of major importance and require swift and sustained progress. We welcome the agreement reached at Monday’s meeting in Berlin relating to the establishment as soon as possible of working groups within the Trilateral Contact Group on security, political process, humanitarian issues and economic affairs and rehabilitation. A quick launch of these working groups and the political will to make them effective, would be a significant step forward and could contribute to confidence building.

4. The Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

5. We continue to call for immediate substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. Re-establishing full Ukrainian control over this border remains essential.

6. Mr Chairman, we remain deeply concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in the illegally annexed Crimea. On 1 April the only remaining channel broadcasting in the Crimean Tatar-language, ATR TV, was taken off air. This constitutes a blatant violation of the right to freedom of expression and is part of a wider pattern of persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatar community by the Russian Federation.

7. 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 Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1047, 16 квітня 2015 року

1. The European Union once again calls on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. Russia bears a responsibility for Ms Savchenko’s very fragile health. We recall that all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in and around Ukraine should be released as stipulated in the Minsk package. 

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/432 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 13 March 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/432.

The Council Decision renews the existing measures until 15 September 2015, amends the entries for certain persons, and 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.

Déclaration de l’Union Européenne relative à l’accord sur les personnes disparues dans le conflit du Haut-Karabagh, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1047, 16 квітня 2015 року

1. L’Union européenne soutient l’accord trouvé lors du Sommet de Paris d’échanger de l’information sur les personnes disparues en relation avec le conflit du Haut-Karabagh, sous l’égide du CICR. Nous appelons les parties à prendre des mesures concrètes pour avancer au plus vite dans la mise en œuvre de cet accord.

2. 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 progresser vers un règlement pacifique du conflit. Nous réitérons son plein soutien à la médiation conduite par les co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk.

3. Nous invitons les parties à coopérer également avec le représentant spécial de l’Union Européenne pour le Caucase du sud et la crise en Géorgie, Herbert Salber.

EU statement on International Roma Day, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1047, 16 квітня 2015 року

1. International Roma Day, which was marked on 8 April, was an opportunity to both celebrate progress made towards Roma empowerment and recognise the continuing challenges of marginalisation and exclusion which remain.

2. The European Union is founded on the principles of equality before the law and non-discrimination: values enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Yet, today the Roma community, Europe's largest ethnic minority with around 6 million people living in the European Union, still face exclusion, inequality and discrimination. Access to jobs, education, housing and healthcare remains difficult for many; Roma children often cannot benefit from the same quality of education as other children.

3. These challenges need to be addressed head-on. Change will not happen overnight, but the European institutions and Member States are committed to fighting discrimination and improving integration. Since 2011, with the adoption of the Framework for the National Roma Integration Strategies, the European Union has put Roma and Sinti integration onto the political agenda across Europe. A solid policy, legal and financial framework has been developed at both EU and national levels. EU Member States have elaborated and are currently implementing Roma inclusion strategies or sets of policy measures within their broader social inclusion policies. These policies target in particular improving access to education, employment, healthcare and housing. Specific targets and monitoring mechanisms are part of these strategies as means to ensure their better implementation.

4. The Council Recommendation on effective Roma integration measures, adopted unanimously by all 28 EU Member States in December 2013, was also 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.

5. Furthermore, the EU has set up a permanent dialogue between Member States through 28 National Roma Contact Points to exchange good practice. The EU has also managed to strengthen EU financial support for Roma inclusion not only in 28 EU Member States but also in enlargement countries.

6. The European Commission produced last year a report assessing the implementation of the EU Framework, which underlined that efforts to improve the lives of Roma population within the EU have already delivered visible results, but progress still needs to be done in some areas, 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.

7.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. We also welcome increased dialogue and cooperation between ODIHR and the European Union on these issues.

8. The OSCE Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti remains a milestone document for the OSCE on Roma and Sinti issues. The Status Report on the Implementation of the Action Plan prepared by ODIHR in 2013 accurately highlighted some visible progress has been achieved, while challenges still persist throughout the OSCE area. 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.

9. On this occasion, we reiterate our calls to all participating states for full implementation of all OSCE commitments regarding Roma and Sinti. 

UNSC Open Debate - Women, Peace and Security: Sexual Violence in Conflict, 15 квітня 2015 року

Excellencies, Distinguished Participants, ladies and gentlemen,

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

[Alignment]

I thank the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict Zainab Bangura and Ms Hamsatu Allamin of Nigeria on behalf of civil society for their statements.

Madam President,

We welcome the report submitted by the Secretary-General and note the updates to the annex of the report. We commend, in this regard, the work of SRSG Bangura and of the Team of Experts on Rule of Law, as well as of the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict. We welcome the increased flow of inputs to the report, which allows for an increasingly in-depth and comprehensive analysis and recommendations. We emphasise the importance of the focused recommendations made by the Secretary-General for the thematic and country-specific considerations of the Council.

Madam President,

Twenty years ago, in 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action drew attention to the widespread – and unpunished – use of sexual violence in conflict, including the use of "systematic rape as a tactic of war and terrorism". It stated that the violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. This principle was reaffirmed in the G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict in 2013 and the Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, that both reiterated that "rape and other forms of serious sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes and constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Convention and their Protocols". The seventh report on conflict related sexual violence submitted to the Security Council reflects the continuing concerning scope of sexual violence, including recent alarming trends, and its close linkages to ensuring broader peace and security.

We therefore underline the need to make full use of the mechanisms and tools created by the UNSC to combat and prevent conflict related sexual violence. In this regard we emphasise the following points:

- Conflict related sexual violence is intrinsically linked to broader, multiple and systematic gender based discrimination. It is facilitated by the absence of women from formal or informal decision-making and of the recognition of their full and equal human rights. It leads to further forms of gender discrimination and abuse, often as a result of steps taken to cope with sexual violence or the threat of it, such as child, early and forced marriage, inability to receive education or to engage in economic, political, social or cultural activities. Discrimination against women and girls restricts the access of survivors to assistance and services and can lead to re-victimisation, i.a. through social stigmatisation, so-called "honour crimes" or compulsion to marry the perpetrator. This makes a convincing argument why the implementation of CEDAW, a near universally ratified binding human rights treaty, and the Beijing Platform, are essential elements in addressing conflict related sexual violence.

- Women need to meaningfully participate in decisions and policy-making with regard to peace and security, in line with the main objectives of resolution 1325, including to address the underlying causes for sexual violence in conflict and ensure adequate protection measures.

- The collection of continued timely information and training remains crucial to the efforts to combat sexual violence, including the detection of early warning signs. We welcome the contribution of the women's protection advisers to the implementation of the monitoring, analysis and reporting arrangements (MARA) and continue to support their further deployment, alongside gender advisers, in the UN missions. Equally, we need measures to ensure the safety of those who face reprisals and intimidation because of their work to help the survivors of sexual violence or report on this crime that all too often goes under-reported.

- We need to end impunity for sexual violence-related crimes. We emphasise the significant advancement in international law made by the Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as non-permanent International Criminal Tribunals in combating sexual violence in conflict. We underline the need for rapid and effective investigation and documentation of these crimes and welcome the increased use of the Justice Rapid Response-UN Women special Justice Experts Roster. Accountability and transitional justice mechanisms are also a key to this end. We welcome and encourage further use of the human rights and sexual violence related criteria in the SC sanctions regimes. We also welcome the SG Guidance note on reparations for sexual violence published in June 2014.

- The Secretary-General describes the alarming trend of the use of sexual violence by violent extremist groups, including for religious or ethnic persecution, and its integral linkage to their strategic objectives and ideology, including its use to advance recruitment, funding, intelligence gathering, conversion, and the destruction or change of community ties. The empowerment of women and girls and the respect for their human rights need to be a part of efforts to counter violent extremism. Peace and security, human rights and development go hand-in-hand.

Madam President,

The EU actions in this regard include the following:

- The European Union continues to implement its dedicated policy on women, peace and security, including through close cooperation with other international and regional organisations. We are now preparing the third implementation report of the policy, with one of its focus areas being sexual violence in conflict. 17 EU Member States have adopted national action on UNSCR 1325.

- The EU continues to follow up the 2014 Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict and the Call to Action on Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies. At the end of last year, the EU adopted a Guide to Practical Actions at EU level for Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict, which includes 36 concrete initiatives ranging from human rights to conflict prevention and humanitarian aid.

- The EU continues to support initiatives to implement UNSCR1325 around the world. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EU supports ensuring access to justice for witnesses and victims through strengthening existing and establishing witness support networks. These efforts also include support to the programme for women’s empowerment included in the Trust Fund for Central African Republic and aimed at empowering women victims of violence, including through the provision of health services and support to access to justice. The EU also supports a project on gender-sensitive transitional justice, implemented by UN Women with UNDP, OHCHR, the International Centre for Transitional Justice and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence. The EU is also launching a project in the Democratic Republic of Congo on improving the provision of care to victims of sexual violence and continues to support the work of the Panzi hospital in the DRC, headed by Dr Denis Mukwege, who was awarded the Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament in 2014.

- The EU continues to support the capacity of civil society and women's organisations as key partners in implementing UNSCR 1325. The EU humanitarian assistance not only includes access to basic life-saving aid adapted to the needs of women and girls, but also specific actions to protect women and girls and to offer them livelihood support. The EU has so far committed over 34 MEUR to protect victims of the Syrian crisis, including for gender-based violence and child protection activities.

- The EU is also currently revising this generic standard of behaviour for its CSDP missions and operations and is adopting a Code of Conduct and Discipline common for all civilian CSDP missions, expected to ensure better coordination on conduct and discipline matters across civilian missions and to lay the ground for stronger preventive measures.

- The EU welcomed the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty has been signed by all and ratified by almost all EU Member States.

Madam President,

We are looking forward and contributing to the High-level Review of the implementation of UNSCR 1325, including the Global Study this year. This provides an opportunity to identify gaps in our action, exchange experiences and lessons learned and identify further practical steps needed to implement our commitments on women, peace and security. As the preparations of the review will be conducted in parallel with the peacebuilding review and the review of peace operations, this also provides an opportunity to embed a stronger gender dimension in the UN peace and security architecture.

Thank you.

European Union, Statement on the occasion of Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Doha, Opening Statement, 12-19 квітня 2015 року

Check against delivery

Your Highness,

Secretary General of the United Nations,

Excellencies,

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, San Marino, Andorra, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. 

2. We congratulate you, Mr. President, as President of the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and we thank the people and the government of Qatar for the invitation to host the congress.

3. It is widely acknowledged in various UN documents that crime prevention and criminal justice systems, in full respect of the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, play a crucial role for the promotion of sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and the reduction of social inequality. As such, they also constitute important elements in the framework of the post-2015 development agenda. We believe it is essential to ensure that the post-2015 agenda is universal, people-centred, founded on a rights-based approach encompassing all human rights and fundamental freedoms, combating all forms of discrimination, including gender inequality and the elimination of gender based violence. We have consistently called for an agenda that also promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, democratic good governance and the rule of law, which are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing with sustainable development.

4. The EU strongly condemns the recent attacks which have been carried out by terrorist groups and individuals in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, directed against all countries and all people regardless of their ethnic background, religion or belief and against our common cultural heritage, belonging to all mankind. In a globalized world, such threats can only be countered through international cooperation and determined national action.

5. We underline the need to counter the threats posed by the multiple links between transnational organized criminal activities, terrorism and its financing, and we call upon all States that have not done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the relevant international legal instruments. We also call upon all States Parties to use those instruments and the relevant United Nations resolutions to enhance international cooperation in countering all forms of terrorism, as well as its financing.                          

Mr. President,

6. To ensure an effective criminal justice system, all must be given equal and full access to impartial and timely justice with credible enforcement of judgments in order to eliminate impunity for perpetrators allowing those whose rights have been violated to seek redress, but also aiming at the rehabilitation of the offenders.

7. We emphasize the need for Member States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all individuals, regardless of race, national origin, age, religion, political opinion, disability, sex and sexual orientation, and to ensure effective, fair and humane national criminal justice systems, strongly based on the protection of human rights, including the right to a fair trial.

8. The EU considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to respect for human dignity and to the enhancement and progressive development of human rights at the global level. We consider death penalty as a cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment, for which there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value and welcome the steps taken by some States to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty may be imposed, as well as steps taken to limit its application. In this regard we call upon all States to abolish the death penalty in all circumstances.

9. We strongly condemn all acts of violence against women and girls, in particular when they occur in situation of armed conflicts and in any other circumstance in which women and girls are particularly vulnerable and we call upon Member States to develop and implement national gender-related plans, promoting the full protection of women and girls in their national criminal justice systems. We fully support the implementation of the UN Security Council resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in this regard.

10. We strongly condemn all acts of violence, exploitation and abuse against children: we call upon Member States to elaborate and implement national child justice policies aiming at preventing violence against children, including by implementing the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

11. The EU is gravely concerned that sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be used to justify serious human rights violations around the world. LGBTI persons constitute a vulnerable group, who continue to be victims of persecution, discrimination, bullying and gross ill-treatment, often involving extreme forms of violence, including torture and murder. The EU is committed to the principle of the universality of human rights and reaffirms that cultural, traditional or religious values cannot be invoked to justify any form of discrimination, including discrimination against LGBTI persons.

12. We are deeply concerned that transnational organized crime and corruption, being mutually reinforcing, undermine human development and democracy, distort markets, damage private and public sector integrity and reduce access to public services.

13. The EU is strongly committed to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. Trafficking in persons constitutes a gross violation of human rights. Both crimes are very lucrative illicit activities globally and generate income used to fund other forms of criminal activities.

14. The EU is stepping up its efforts against wildlife crime, which has a dramatic adverse impact on sustainable development, biodiversity, and regional stability. In this regard, the EU is working with partners on demand reduction measures for major markets.

15. The EU calls upon Member States to take effective national measures in order to prevent and to combat counterfeiting, including fraudulent medicines.

16. The EU is strongly committed to a free, open and secure internet respecting individual human rights. We promote the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime as a framework for international cooperation and we join the broad international consensus on the need to increase our capacity building efforts.

 

Mr. President,

17. We underline the need to promote the full and universal implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the universal legal instruments against terrorism, as main international legal instruments relevant in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice, and call on those States that have not yet ratified or acceded to them to do so.

18. We recognize that international cooperation in criminal matters is a cornerstone of the efforts of States to prevent, prosecute and punish crimes, in particular transnational organized crime and corruption, and underline the need for a deeper analysis and understanding of their causes and modus operandi, through studies, statistical data and research, in order to assist Member States in the elaboration and implementation of most effective national strategies on crime prevention and criminal justice policies, laws, procedures and programmes.

19. We urge all Member States to fully and effectively include the contribution of the civil society, the private sector, academia, media and all relevant stakeholders in the development, implementation and monitoring of crime prevention policies, on the basis of a participatory, inclusive, collaborative and integrated approach. We also underline the crucial role in preventing and countering crime in all its forms and manifestations of the promotion of a culture of lawfulness based on the protection of human rights and the rule of law, especially among young people, through education and awareness-raising.

 

Mr. President,

20. We conclude by reiterating our commitment to work with international community in integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation. We invite the Congress to take appropriate action in this respect and United Nations Member States to work together to achieve the important objectives before us.

I thank you, Mr. President

EU Statement at the Meeting of Experts of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II To the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), Geneva, 9 квітня 2015 року

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

Aligning clause

1. We are concerned at the world-wide indiscriminate use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and their effects particularly on human security at national and regional level, including on civilian populations. The number of IED victims has come to an unprecedented level in recent years. We believe that it is in our common interest to seek effective responses to the increasing use of IEDs.

2. We highly value the discussion and the substantive exchange of views on IEDs during the meeting of High Contracting Parties in November 2014, as well as the work done by the informal Group of Experts since 2009. These discussions contributed to increasing awareness of the IED threat.

3. We took note of the national efforts by High Contracting Parties of Amended Protocol II to combat the spread of IEDs and to clear IEDs as well as the progress made in this field. We warmly thank the Coordinators, France and Moldova, for their valuable work. We look forward to further discussions on the draft questionnaire presented by the Coordinators to improve international cooperation in counter-IED efforts, as well as on the idea of a database, portal or platform to enhance information exchange on this issue. We also thank the Coordinators for their food for thought paper underlining the work done in the context of the CCW and highlighting several options High Contracting Parties could consider as a response of the international community to this threat, also in the lead up to the Review Conference of the Convention in 2016.

4. We welcome the Compilation of existing guidelines, best practices, and other recommendations aimed at addressing the diversion or illicit use of materials which can be used for IEDs, which is available on the CCW Implementation Support Unit’s 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 and keeping record of the victims.

5. The European Union, with a view to respond to the IED threat, has adopted measures aimed at enhancing the security of explosives for civil uses, in line with the EU Internal Security and Counter-Terrorism Strategies. In this respect, the EU Action Plan on Enhancing the Security of Explosives contains a number of prevention, detection and response measures, as well as horizontal measures, such as the development of information sharing mechanisms and research. The actions are implemented through a joint effort of the European Union, its Member States, Europol, research institutions as well as private sector stakeholders.

6. Another example is the EU legislation on the Marketing and Use of Explosives Precursors which aims at restricting access to dangerous precursors to the general public, and ensuring the appropriate reporting of suspicious transactions throughout the supply chain.

7. The European Union has also complemented its internal actions by adopting extensive legislation regarding explosives for civil uses. This legislation ensures harmonisation of the laws of EU Member States relating to the making available on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses. It also foresees the setting up of a system for the identification and traceability of explosives for civil uses, the establishment of a single market in the EU, the harmonisation of safety requirements for civil explosives at a high level of protection and the setting up of information exchange networks.

8. We would also like to mention as a practical counter-IED measure the EU Multinational Theatre Exploitation Laboratory which collected, recorded and analysed information related to IEDs in its deployment in Afghanistan from 2011 until 2014. It has proved to be an effective tool in the fight against IEDs. Building on the experiences in Afghanistan, a similar Laboratory, the Joint Deployable Exploitation and Analysis Laboratory, which is based in the Netherlands, will continue to support counter-IED efforts.

Thank you

Declaration by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Today we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This year we also celebrate the 50 th anniversary of the adoption the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The convention is the bedrock for the worldwide fight against racial discrimination. And as such it continues to remind us that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and that any assumptions or beliefs to the contrary are wrong and morally false. This is why the convention should be universally ratified and implemented.

Racial discrimination, incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence directed at persons due to their belonging to a certain ethnicity or religious group, and acts of violence motivated by racism and xenophobia strike at the very heart of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and should never be tolerated.

Vigorous measures for preventing and combating all forms and manifestations of racism, and xenophobia are indispensable for the building of safe, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the values of diversity, tolerance and mutual respect. These shall include not only effective legal responses, but also preventive measures that promote social inclusion and equality of all members of society.

In all its strengthened efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, the EU will continue its cooperation with partner countries as well as international organisations, such as the United Nations, Council of Europe and the OSCE, and relevant civil society organisations. EU Actions will pay particular attention to all persons who are made the most vulnerable through cumulative and multiple forms of discrimination.

Now more than ever there is a need for the world community to take determined and effective measures at national, regional, and international levels to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

Declaration by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini on behalf of the EU on the occasion of World and European Water Day

On the occasion of World Water Day, the European Union recalls that safe drinking water and sanitation are crucial for a healthy and dignified life. And yet, over 750 million people worldwide are still without access to safe drinking water, thus deprived of a basic human right. It is a human tragedy and totally unacceptable that over 4,000 children under five die every day from diseases associated with the lack of access to clean drinking water as well as inadequate sanitation and hygiene.

In 2015, the world has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to agree on a truly transformational and comprehensive approach to poverty eradication and sustainable development worldwide. The EU believes that a rights-based approach to the post-2015 agenda, encompassing all human rights, and gender equality, would best ensure that these objectives are met. The availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all must be an important component of this new framework, as water is a key factor for sustainable development.

The EU is concerned about the problem of water scarcity and water stress, which is increasingly due to climate change and likely to affect more people in the future due to demographic developments. Water shortages, poor water quality, drought or floods are factors contributing to violent conflict which in turn deprive many people from access to water.

Drawing on the experience and knowledge gained by the EU and its Member States in water management, the EU strongly encourages transboundary cooperation on water management to promote sustainable development as well as stability, peace and security. In this context, we welcome the opening of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Water Convention) to all UN Members States and the entry into force, in August 2014, of the United Nations Watercourses Convention. The EU also looks forward to contributing actively to the success of the World Water Forum in April this year.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2015/364/CFSP amending Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine

On 5 March 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision 2015/364/CFSP.

The Council Decision extends the restrictive measures until 6 March 2016 for 14 persons and until 6 June 2015 for 4 persons and amends the entries for 18 persons.

……………………

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 2015/241/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 9 February 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision 2015/241/CFSP.

The Council Decision expands 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 by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2015/143/CFSP amending Decision 2014/119/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons, entities and bodies in view of the situation in Ukraine

On 29 January 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision 2015/143/CFSP.

The Council Decision clarifies designation criteria for the freezing of funds targeting persons responsible for the misappropriation of Ukrainian State funds.

……………………

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 2015/157/CFSP amending Decision 2011/72/CFSP concerning restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities in view of the situation in Tunisia

On 30 January 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision 2015/157/CFSP amending Decision 2011/72/CFSP.

The Council Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2011/72/CFSP and extends the existing measures until 31 January 2016.

……………………

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 Council Implementing Decision 2015/117/CFSP implementing Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 26 January 2015, the Council adopted Decision 2015/117/CFSP implementing Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

On the basis of the new statement of reasons the Decision includes again 3 persons and one entity on the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures.

……………………

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 Council Implementing Decision 2015/383/CFSP implementing Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 6 March 2015, the Council adopted Decision 2015/383/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.

……………………

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 2015/202/CFSP amending Decision 2010/656/CFSP renewing the restrictive measures against Côte d'Ivoire

On 9 February 2015, the Council adopted Council Decision 2015/202/CFSP.

The Council Decision introduces an additional derogation from the prohibition on the sale, supply, transfer and export of equipment which might be used for internal repression. 

……………………

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 2015/277/CFSP amending Council Decision 2011/101/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Zimbabwe

On 19 February 2015, the Council adopted Decision 2015/277/CFSP amending Council Decision 2011/101/CFSP.

The Decision renews existing measures until 20 February 2016. The Decision maintains the travel ban and asset freeze for two persons and one entity set out in Annex I to Decision 2011/101/CFSP. The Decision renews the suspension of travel ban and assets freeze for persons and entities set out in Annex II to Decision 2011/101/CFSP. The names of five deceased persons are removed from Annex I and II to that Decision.

……………………

They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.

The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne sur l’attaque terroriste en Tunisie, OSCE Contact Group with the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation, Vienna, 27 березня 2015 року

1. Monsieur le Président, l'Union européenne a appris avec horreur et indignation l'annonce de l’attaque terroriste survenue en Tunisie le 18 mars dernier. De nombreux étrangers ont perdu la vie ou ont été blessés dans cette attaque, en plus de deux Tunisiens. Mais c’est la Tunisie elle-même qui était ciblée, et le symbole de liberté et de démocratie qu’elle incarne pour toute une région. Permettez-moi de lire la déclaration faite ce jour-là par la Haute Représentante de l’Union pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Federica Mogherini :

2. "Avec l’attaque qui frappe Tunis aujourd'hui, les organisations terroristes visent une fois de plus les pays et peuples de la région méditerranéenne.

3. Cela renforce notre détermination à coopérer plus étroitement avec nos partenaires pour faire face à la menace terroriste. Ce défi commun a fait partie des discussions que j'ai eues hier encore, à Bruxelles, avec le Ministre des affaires étrangères Taieb Baccouche.

4. Je tiens à présenter mes condoléances aux familles et proches des victimes, et rappeler la solidarité de l’Union européenne au peuple tunisien dans cette épreuve.

5. L’Union européenne est déterminée à mobiliser tous ses instruments pour soutenir pleinement la Tunisie dans la lutte contre le terrorisme et la réforme du secteur de la sécurité, et pour faire en sorte que la transition démocratique et les réformes économiques bénéficient aux Tunisiens, à commencer par les jeunes".

6. Vendredi, les Chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement ont également fait une déclaration a l’occasion du Conseil européen, dans laquelle ils ont souligné que « l’Union européen et ses Etats membres intensifieront leur coopération avec la Tunisie pour contrer cette menace terroriste commune, afin de renforcer la démocratie pleine de promesses du pays et de contribuer à son développement socioéconomique ».

7. Monsieur le Président, la Tunisie peut compter sur le soutien actif et indéfectible de l’Union européenne dans ses efforts de réformes et pour relever les défis auxquels elle fait face, autant de sujets qui étaient encore discutés lors du Conseil d'Association tenu à Bruxelles le 17 mars, la veille de l’attentat. Nous partageons la région méditerranéenne, ce qui signifie que nous en partageons également les épreuves et les enjeux. Plus que jamais, la Tunisie et l’Union européenne partagent également une vision de notre avenir commun, un avenir de dignité, de liberté, et de démocratie.

EU Statement on Countering Terrorism and Conditions conducive to Radicalisation and its Impact on our Societies, OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group, Vienna, 27 березня 2015 року

1. We warmly welcome Dr. Gudrun Harrer and Mr Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw to today's Mediterranean Contact Group meeting and thank them for their insightful presentations.

2. Terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation cannot be ignored by any country in the world today, as we were brutally reminded by recent attacks in our partner countries and in Europe. Tackling terrorism means to close all spaces where extremism flourishes. It is a security challenge, but we should not forget its political and cultural dimension.

3. The fight against terrorism is also a battle for hearts and minds. Da'esh and other terrorist groups are trying to revive a fabricated clash of civilisations. We will not forget that the first victims of their attacks are Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, Arabs, Africans and Asians. This is not a clash of civilisations, this is not a fight between Islam and the West. This is a criminal misuse of a religion, in order to perpetrate terrorist attacks in a fight for power.

4. We need to counter their narrative, both in our home countries and abroad. In this regard, the European Union has formulated a Strategy on Prevention of Radicalisation and Recruitment, which is regularly updated. Prevention is one of the core elements of our strategy. Through the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN), over a thousand local practitioners and more than 800 organisations have been provided with the opportunity to develop policy recommendations and collect best practices to support those being confronted with problems of radicalisation.

5. Young people are particularly targeted by extremist propaganda. For this reason, education is so crucial. Public education is a powerful tool to promote open-mindedness and tolerance in the youth. We are engaging with local communities, civil society and the private sector, in order to foster their resilience and to prevent the formation of parallel education networks, where extremist ideas may thrive. The European ministers for education signed last week in Paris a declaration on promoting citizenship and the common values of freedom, tolerance and non-discrimination through education. They highlighted that the primary purpose of education is not only to develop knowledge, skills, competences and attitude and to embed fundamental values, but also to help young people in close cooperation with their families, to become active, responsible and open-minded members of society.

6. Taking concrete steps, the European Union is committed to facilitating interfaith dialogue, civil society dialogue, people-to-people contacts and academic and cultural exchanges. Some of our initiatives with our partners in the south include improving strategic communication, promoting fundamental rights, and taking into account the increasingly frequent misuse of the internet in radicalisation, engaging through social media and enhancing communication in Arabic. We will come back to this later today, when we present the regional EU strategy to counter ISIL/Da'esh.

7. The EU will continue its close cooperation with international initiatives and our key partners. We are mobilising on addressing the underlying factors of radicalisation and will launch additional programmes on how to link education and countering violent extremism, addressing the socio-economic aspects of conflicts and linking them with the Post-2015 agenda.

8. We are looking forward to further discussing the issue in the OSCE during the Security Days on 21 and 22 May on Promoting Dialogue to Prevent Radicalisation and Violent Extremism.

9. We once again thank today's speakers for their interesting presentations. 

EU statement on a death sentence in Belarus, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, Vienna, 26 березня 2015 року

1. A death sentence was handed down on 18 March to Mr Siarhei Ivanou by the Homyel Regional Court of the Republic of Belarus.

2. Mr Ivanou's right to appeal must be fully guaranteed.

3. We are conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which Mr Siarhei Ivanou was convicted and extend our deepest sympathy to the family of the victim of these crimes. Nevertheless, the European Union opposes capital punishment in all cases as it cannot be justified under any circumstances. The death penalty is a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

4. The European Union urges 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 on arrests of suspects in the Srebrenica genocide, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, Vienna, 27 березня 2015 року

1. The EU and its Member States take note of the arrests upon order by the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor of Serbia last week, of the eight individuals suspected of crimes linked to the Srebrenica genocide. We commend the progress made in investigating these crimes. We praise the cooperation on this matter between Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly in the context of the protocol signed by the Prosecutor’s Offices to exchange information and evidence on perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. The introduction of joint investigative teams is an important additional step in this endeavour.

2. The EU and its Member States continues to be strongly committed to ensuring that there is no impunity for individuals who commit war crimes and will follow with great attention further proceedings of this case. Justice for war crimes is crucial, for the victims, their families, as well as for the broader efforts towards reconciling societies within the countries concerned. 

EU statement in Response to the Report by the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, Vienna, 26 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Yiğitgüden, to the Permanent Council and thanks him for outlining the plans of his Office for this year.

2. We have studied carefully the draft work plan of your Office and are broadly supportive of it. In this context, we would like to thank you for following up on the EEC Meeting of 25 February and responding to our questions, and for attaching to the work plan a tentative calendar of OCEEA events in 2015.

3. We welcome your intention to ensure increased efficiency and prioritisation of your Office´s activities, and to focus on security-related economic and environmental issues, and those issues where the OSCE can provide added value. It is essential for the OSCE to create synergies with other specialised international and regional organisations, and thus avoid duplication of efforts – the Environmental and Security (ENVSEC) initiative established in 2003 should be mentioned in this context as a good example.

4. Cooperation and coordination with other international and regional organisations, as well as good "in-house" cooperation with other departments of the Secretariat and with the OSCE institutions is, in our view, a necessity and the right approach given the limited human and financial resources. We welcome that you have highlighted the necessity to cooperate and coordinate closely with the OSCE field presences. We attach great importance to their active involvement and feedback concerning second dimension activities and encourage your Office to continue liaising with Economic and Environmental Officers. We strongly support their participation in our discussions in Vienna.

5. We highly appreciate the attention you intend to devote to the area of good governance. We welcome that your anti-corruption work is planned in partnership with other specialised actors, such as the UNODC, World Bank, OECD etc. We look forward to the upcoming Thematic Committee meeting on ‘Anti-corruption and Anti-money Laundering’, the report by the IGOF on Anti-Corruption and the Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting focused on good governance issues, all of which will hopefully generate further ideas on how to strengthen the OSCE´s role and visibility in the area of good governance, transparency and the fight against corruption. In relation to this, we highly appreciate your office's cooperation with the IGOF on Anti-Corruption.

6. We fully support your efforts to apply a good governance approach to many of your activities, including in the environmental field. Multi-stakeholder dialogue and partnerships among governments, civil society, media and the private sector represent an important element in this regard. We value the work done so far in the area of environmental good governance through the support of Aarhus centres, as well as through the implementation of the Civic Action for Security and Environment, CASE.

7. We commend your work in the area of environment and security, including through the ENVSEC initiative. We welcome your work, as ENVSEC Regional Desk Office for South Caucasus, on promoting good examples of confidence building through environmental cooperation.

8. We highly appreciate your continuing focus on Climate Change, and in particular the security implications of climate change.   

9. We welcome the attention paid to water management, in line with the Chairmanship´s priorities, in your activities planned for this year. In particular, we welcome your work within the framework of ENVSEC on promoting good water governance and strengthening trans-boundary water cooperation. We believe that the discussions in the framework of the 2015 EEF offer another opportunity to further explore this important aspect of security-related environmental activities. We look forward to the 2nd Preparatory Meeting of the EEF where we will discuss the link between Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Governance. We believe that it is necessary for the OSCE to focus on the security aspects of water governance, and hope that the forthcoming preparatory meetings of the EEF this year will provide an answer as to how this can be done in practical terms. 

10. On energy security, we appreciate your intention to build upon activities undertaken in the past years, while taking into account the two decisions adopted in Kyiv and the need to concentrate activities where the OSCE can provide added value.

11. We look forward to engaging in the implementation of the two Ministerial Council decisions related to DRR and the Prevention of Corruption that were adopted in Basel last year.

12. Finally, we wish you and your able team a successful year and assure you of our support.

EU Opening Statement, Serbian OSCE Chairmanship Conference "Protection and Integrity of Journalists in the OSCE Region", Belgrade, 26-27 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union thanks the OSCE Chairmanship in Office, Minister Ivica Dacic and the Serbian Minister for Culture and Information, Ivan Tasovac for hosting this conference and for their opening remarks. We welcome too the presence of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, and take this opportunity to reiterate our continued support for her work.

2. Freedom of expression, including safety of journalists, is an issue that has been at the forefront of the OSCE agenda for many years, and for good reason. Free expression and a free and vibrant media landscape, where everyone can express their views and share information without fear, is a cornerstone of democracy. As such, it is a crucial element in our OSCE comprehensive security concept.

3. Let us be frank, no participating State has a perfect record when it comes to media freedom issues, including within the EU. The same is true in Serbia, and there are still issues that need to be addressed. The Serbian Chairmanship deserves credit for their willingness to organise an event on such an important but also sensitive issue. Likewise we commend the Chairperson-in Office for how Serbia has pledged to use its OSCE chairmanship to lead by example when it comes to the implementation of OSCE commitments.

Mr Chairperson,

4. Regrettably, there is a downward trend in parts of our region with regard to media freedom and safety of journalists. Too often, those exercising their right to freedom of expression are under attack. Journalists, including bloggers and other media actors, face threats, harassment, violence,

imprisonment and even murder for what they say or write. This is clearly unacceptable, and goes against the principles that participating States have signed up to, both in the OSCE and in other international fora. All participating States must ensure that journalists, working online as well as offline, can perform their work independently, without undue interference and without fear of censorship, persecution and prosecution. All participating States must swiftly and effectively investigate attacks against journalists. All participating States must ensure that those responsible for such crimes are brought to justice.

5. Participating States should also take account of the changed media landscape created by technological advances, something the RFOM’s current series of events on Open Journalism has demonstrated. Efforts to protect journalists should not be limited to those formally recognised as such, but should also cover support staff and others, such as ''citizen journalists'', bloggers, social media activists and human rights defenders, who use new media to reach a mass audience.

6. The last twelve months have been a particularly concerning period for the safety of journalists. The horrendous attack against Charlie Hebdo in January this year was the worst single attack against journalists in the OSCE region since participating States established the position of an OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. In the ongoing crisis resulting from Russian aggression against Ukraine, including Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea, several journalists have been killed, and others kidnapped, tortured, attacked and intimidated. Propaganda fuelled by the Russian Government is fomenting and exacerbating tensions. We see how those, who through their reporting seek to challenge government narratives, become targets of repression. Self-censorship has become the only option for many, while those courageous journalists who preserve their independence are witnessing the space for free public debate shrink. We look forward to addressing in more detail at this and other events this year how the interplay between conflict and media affects journalists in their work as well as their safety and integrity.

7. We warmly welcome the attention that the RFoM is paying to the growing problem of online threats against female journalists. This is an issue with severe implications for media freedom, and must be taken seriously, both at the political level and by law enforcement. We are also looking forward to discussions related to journalist integrity, keeping in mind that such principles such as integrity and professionalism are best defined and upheld by media self-regulatory bodies.

8. The international community has a responsibility to reflect on how to better promote and protect the safety of journalists. OSCE pS are signatories to a range of international instruments in this area, including in the United Nations, and these are all applicable in the OSCE space. Where it is not already the case, the principles of these documents should at a minimum be reflected within our OSCE commitments. We call on those participating States that have resisted this approach to reconsider.

9. Discussion on the improved implementation of OSCE commitments and other international obligations cannot take place in a vacuum and should not be confined to exchanges between government officials. We welcome the presence at this conference of media and civil society representatives, whose engagement in our events enriches our debates. We hope to leave this conference with a clearer idea about how we can strengthen our commitments and their implementation both at the national level and internationally.

10. Freedom of expression and media freedom, including safety of journalists, is a priority for the EU in the OSCE. Our engagement is guided by the EU’s Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline, adopted last May. We would welcome any comments conference participants may wish to share on our implementation of these guidelines to date.

11. In conclusion, the EU recalls the draft Ministerial Council Decision on Freedom of Expression tabled by forty-four participating States at the Basel Ministerial Council. The broad support amongst participating States for a further OSCE decision in this area is clear and we hope that the discussions at this conference will convince those remaining participating States of the need to update and strengthen our freedom of expression commitments. 

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on Crimea, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 26 березня 2015 року

One year on from the holding of the illegal and illegitimate "referendum" and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  

The European Union does not recognise and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law. The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation is also a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states.  

The European Union will remain committed to fully implement its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. The EU calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UNGA Resolution 68/262.  

The EU reaffirms its deep concern at the continuous military build-up and deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula, including the denial of free speech and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities. The European Union reiterates its call to provide international human rights actors with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

EU Statement in response to OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ambassador Apakan and CiO Special Representative Ambassador Tagliavini, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 26 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its member states thank Ambassador Apakan and Ambassador Tagliavini for their important updates on developments in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine. The presentations confirm that we are in a critical phase of the implementation of the Minsk agreements. We are very concerned about persistent fighting in certain areas as mentioned by Ambassador Apakan. That includes the area around Donetsk airport and in particular east of Mariupol where the fighting has intensified in and around the town of Shyrokyne in recent days. This is a clear violation of the ceasefire under the Minsk agreements. We join the OSCE Chairman and Ambassador Apakan in calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and support efforts to secure a local ceasefire that would allow for delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians. The ceasefire must be fully observed as stipulated in the Minsk package. We repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments.

2. We note that there is a decrease in the use of heavy weapons as reported by the SMM. While we welcome this development we must also note with deep regret that the SMM continues to observe heavy weapons and the use of heavy weapons in certain areas, including not least in areas controlled by the separatists. That includes the use of artillery, mortar, heavy machine guns, anti-tank missiles and battle tanks. We remain deeply concerned that the SMM has still not received the baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons nor does it enjoy free and unhindered access.

3. Mr Chairman, we are concerned by the fact that the SMM is experiencing increasing restrictions on its monitoring activities. Recently, the SMM has experienced further restrictions to its access to the Ukrainian-Russian border area and to the separatist controlled areas in the southern part of Donetsk. We note that the so-called “DPR” demands to accompany all SMM patrols in the areas they control. We also note that occasionally the SMM is prevented from crossing checkpoints controlled by the Ukrainian army. We underline that unconditional access and freedom of movement for the monitors is vital for the SMM, in order to independently and comprehensively monitor and verify developments. We would appreciate if Ambassador Apakan could elaborate on how this issue could be addressed.

4. We also reiterate the paramount importance we attach to the safety and security of monitors. We note with concern the extremely close call that the team in Pisky experienced earlier this week. The harassment, threats and warning shots SMM monitors experience are unacceptable and must stop. We also regret the continuing “jamming” of the UAVs.

5. Mr Chairman, we once again express our strong support to the SMM. We commend the SMM for its response to the Minsk package and for the efforts to enhance its capacity. The work of the SMM is of vital importance. The EU and its member states will continue to provide qualified staff, appropriate equipment and financial contributions.

6. We also express our strong support to the work of Ambassador Tagliavini in the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship. The Group must play an important role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk agreements, including by establishing the foreseen working groups. Further information and updates on this specific element of the on-going work would be valuable. We call on the parties to support the efforts of Ambassador Tagliavini.

7. We wish Ambassador Apakan and Ambassador Tagliavini success in their difficult endeavours. They can continue to count on our strong support.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 26 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union calls on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the Minsk agreements and honour their commitments. We underline the Russian authorities' responsibility in this regard. Full implementation of all aspects of the agreements by all signatories remains the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution. We recall that the European Council last week agreed that the duration of the restrictive measures against the Russian Federation should be clearly linked to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements. We reiterate that any solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

2. As we said earlier today, while we welcome that the security situation elsewhere in Donbass appears relatively calm, we are very concerned about the outbreak of heavy fighting in and around the village of Shyrokyne and the persistent fighting in the area around Donetsk airport. We note with deep regret that the SMM continues to observe heavy weapons and the use of heavy weapons in certain areas. We remain deeply concerned that the SMM has still not received the baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons nor does it enjoy free and unhindered access. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting a political resolution of the conflict.

3. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups as foreseen in the Minsk documents. We again underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over the state border with Russia remains essential.

4. We recall that in keeping with the commitments of the Minsk package all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine should be released. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegaly detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. We underline that Russia bears a responsibility for Ms Savchenko’s very fragile health.

5. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance and require swift and sustained progress. All signatories of the Minsk Agreements share the responsibility to ensure a full and transparent fulfilment of agreed steps. We noted with interest the presentation by the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine and high-level Ukrainian officials this week in Vienna on the new National Dialogue project. We welcome the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to request this project to facilitate effective Ukrainian-led and -owned dialogue between the Ukrainian government and different parts of Ukrainian society. 

6. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We call for the speedy implementation of such a mechanism, including through a working group of the Trilateral Contact Group. We deeply regret that so-called ‘humanitarian convoys’ from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. 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 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 26 березня 2015 року

The European Union would like to draw attention to the declaration made by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on 21 March on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

“Today, we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This year we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adoption the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The convention is the bedrock for the worldwide fight against racial discrimination. And as such it continues to remind us that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and that any assumptions or beliefs to the contrary are wrong and morally false. This is why the convention should be universally ratified and implemented.

Racial discrimination, incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence directed at persons due to their belonging to a certain ethnicity or religious group, and acts of violence motivated by racism and xenophobia strike at the very heart of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and should never be tolerated.

Vigorous measures for preventing and combating all forms and manifestations of racism, and xenophobia are indispensable for the building of safe, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the values of diversity, tolerance and mutual respect. These shall include not only effective legal responses, but also preventive measures that promote social inclusion and equality of all members of society.

In all its strengthened efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, the EU will continue its cooperation with partner countries as well as international organisations, such as the United Nations, Council of Europe and the OSCE, and relevant civil society organisations. EU Actions will pay particular attention to all persons who are made the most vulnerable through cumulative and multiple forms of discrimination.

Now more than ever there is a need for the world community to take determined and effective measures at national, regional, and international levels to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.”

Draft EU Statement, Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 25 березня 2015 року

Mr President,

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

[Alignment clause]

At the World Conference Against Racism in 2001, the EU joined the international community in acknowledging that: "slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims." The Conference further acknowledged that "slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade, and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences."

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to establish a Permanent Memorial in the grounds of the United Nations to honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and [today] we have witnessed the unveiling of the memorial "The Ark of Return" [by the Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon].  The memorial will remind us of the tragic legacy of the slave trade and the need to continue the fight against racism and prejudice.

We would like to acknowledge the work of the Committee of interested States and the generous voluntary contributions from Member States, complemented by funding from foundations and private individuals. A particular word of praise is due to the Chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee, Mr Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations, for his leadership and commitment to bring this project to a successful conclusion as well as the dedication of all members of the Permanent Memorial Committee.

Mr President,

No effort should be spared to raise the awareness of, educate and inform current and future generations about the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. In this context we want to acknowledge the work carried out by UNESCO and the UN Department of Public Information.

Mr President,

This international day contributes to the remembrance of the millions of persons who suffered from transatlantic slave trade. This day should also help us to remember that despite its prohibition, slavery and slavery-like practices - in the form of trafficking of persons and other forms of modern slavery - persist and constitute flagrant violations of human rights.  The lessons of the past should urge us to address this slave trade of our time, including by addressing roots causes such combating discrimination on any grounds. We owe it to the women, men, girls and boys who, as we speak here, are being kept against their will and exploited in appalling conditions. Every victim of modern slavery is one victim too many.

We now have legal instruments such as the Palermo Protocol aimed at the prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of its victims and prosecution of its perpetrators. Further steps need to be taken towards their full implementation.

Mr President,

The memorial and this day should be a reminder of a time where human beings were treated as commodities that were openly traded, but also the victorious fight from oppression to freedom, a quest for universal human rights, guided by the belief in human dignity and in the equality of all human beings. 

Thank you.

Заява від імені ЄС в рамках відкритих дебатів щодо захисту дітей у збройних конфліктах

Mr. President,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the EU and its MemberStates.

The Candidate Countries ….align themselves with this statement.

I want to thank today´s briefers and in particular SRSG Zerrougui whom we reassure our continued strong support. We also want to thank the French Presidency of the Council for organizing today's debate.

Mr. President,

The fact that 51 out of the 59 listed parties in last year's report of the Secretary- General are non-state armed actors exemplifies the high relevance of today's debate- namely how we deal with children victims of non-state armed groups. The various conflicts that we face today and that involve non-state armed groups bring unspeakable suffering for children. Just to name two examples: Boko Haram's appalling atrocities, including on children, demonstrated by the abduction of around 276 girls in Chibok. These girls have been subjected to abuses including physical and psychological violence, forced labour; forced participation in military operations, forced marriage to their captors, and sexual abuse, including rape. In Syria and Iraq, ISIL/Da'esh is committing barbaric acts against children, recruiting them into its armed units, forcing them to participate in executions; and subjecting them to various forms of physical and psychological violence and abuse, including cruel and degrading treatment, sexual violence and rape.

It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that all children are able to attend school and to grow up free from fear and violence, no matter where they live. In this regard we must not forget the responsibility for States themselves to protect their populations, including children, from atrocity crimes. We need to intensify our efforts to address abuses and violations committed by non-state armed groups against children with a series of measures. For example, we need to:

-Facilitate the adoption of action plans and more importantly work towards their effective implementation. So far, only 12 action plans have been concluded with non-state armed groups. In order to implement them it is essential that Member States allow unconditional access for the UN to non-State armed groups for the purpose of ending and preventing violations and abuses against children. In addition, child protection provisions, including those relating to the release and reintegration of children, need to be addressed in peace negotiations.

-Ensure accountability: 25 non-state armed groups have been listed for at least 5 years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. Fighting impunity needs to be part and parcel of our actions and whereas the primary responsibility lies with states, the ICC has an essential role to play in this regard.

-Better protect schools against attacks and deter their military use in accordance with international law. We welcome the Council's decision in resolution 2143 to request enhanced monitoring of and reporting on the military use of schools.

We also need to:

-Include child protection in military training and standard operating procedures, undertake targeted and operational training of UN troop and police contingents and ensure the inclusion of child protection provisions in the mandates of peace operations.

-Address the worrisome pattern of abduction of children. One measure in this regard would be to add abductions as a new trigger for listing. Recent abductions in Nigeria, Iraq and South Sudan are just some examples for the need to act more decisively in this area.

-Give priority to combatting sexual and gender based violence committed against children, including violations committed by non-state armed groups.

-Ensure effective reintegration in order to prevent re-recruitment by armed groups.

Mr. President,

The EU and its MemberStates have made considerable strides to address the issue in a comprehensive way. Let me name just a few recent measures:

We have strengthened our capacity on child protection through regular training for our staff and are currently finalising our pre-deployment child protection training module for civilian and military personnel. The EU is working with ILO and UNICEF on a project to reintegrate former child combatants in Somalia. We also support the ”Geneva Call" project reviewing and promoting the implementation of so-called Deeds of Commitment for non-state actors. And soon the EU will launch a 9.3 million Euro call for proposals for conflict prevention and peace- building prioritising actions on child combatants and child victims.

Mr. President,

In closing, I also want to underline our strong support for the UN campaign "Children, not Soldiers" which sees its first anniversary this month and which the EU and its memberStates have strongly supported from its inception. Looking ahead, this summer will mark the 10th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1612, which established the Council's working group on children and armed conflict. This will be a good opportunity to take stock on what has been achieved and what challenges still lie ahead.

Thank you.

CONCLUDING STATEMENT, OSCE Serbian Chairmanship Conference on “Protection of Safety and Integrity of Journalists in the OSCE Region”, Belgrade, 26-27 березня 2015 року

DRAFT

This statement is being made on behalf of…

The co-sponsors of this statement commend the Serbian Chairmanship for organising this conference. It has provided a timely reminder of how threats to the safety of those in the media are an attack on freedom of expression and can have a chilling effect on democracy.

We express our gratitude and admiration to the journalists and civil society representatives that have contributed ideas and shared their experiences of the difficulties that they encounter.  Their participation has enhanced our appreciation of the scale of the challenge but also provided examples of best practice that can contribute to the improved implementation of OSCE commitments.

We emphasise our resolve to promote the full implementation of existing OSCE commitments on freedom of expression including those related to the safety of journalists.  We believe that we can further strengthen OSCE commitments, and in this regard should look to initiatives in other multilateral fora, and reflect the principles agreed in texts such as UNGA Resolution 68/163 of 18 December 2013 as well as the Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/27/5 adopted on 25 September 2014 within our own OSCE commitments. 

The participating States have mandated the Representative on Freedom of the Media to “observe media developments and to advocate and promote full compliance with the OSCE’s principles and commitments regarding freedom of expression and free media”. We affirm our full support for the professional, impartial and determined manner in which the Representative and her team exercise this function.

Societies around the world are strengthened and enriched by free speech. No one should face murder, violence, intimidation or harassment for exercising his or her right to freedom of expression. The proposal for a draft Ministerial Decision on the Right to Freedom of Expression tabled by over forty participating States prior to the Basel Ministerial Council advocated concrete commitments in support of this principle as well as other proposals to promote freedom of expression, including by members of the media. We encourage the Serbian Chairmanship to build on the momentum generated by the Basel draft as they prepare for the Belgrade Ministerial Council.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 784, 25 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States would like to convey our appreciation and gratitude to the Mongolian Chairmanship for the professional and dedicated way in which it has handled the FSC activities during its term. We will elaborate further on the work done during the first trimester on the occasion of the assumption of the FSC Chairmanship by Montenegro in April 2015.

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted in February 2015.

Only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

We welcome the general decline in violence, including in the use of heavy weapons, in most locations in Donbas. At the same time, we remain seriously disturbed by SMM reports of continuing intensive fighting in several areas, especially in the vicinity of the village of Shyrokyne and Donetsk airport. We join the CIO and OSCE Chief Monitor's call on all sides to strictly respect the ceasefire and all provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures as well as to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and access of the OSCE monitors to Shyrokyne.

We note also that the SMM continues to observe heavy weapons in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including within the security zone. This is unacceptable. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. Any attempts to gain territorial advantages will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

We urge the Russian Federation to exert its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments. While noting some progress in facilitating the implementation of the SMM monitoring and verification activities, we remain deeply concerned about none of the signatories of the Minsk Package of Measures having yet provided the SMM with baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Moreover, SMM continues to experience serious restrictions to its freedom of movement. In this respect, we welcome the information provided by the Ukrainian delegation at last week's FSC meeting that individual cases of restrictions to the SMM freedom of movement are dealt with by the Ukrainian authorities.

We strongly urge all parties, in particular the pro-Russian separatists, to grant SMM safe, unconditional and unfettered access to the areas under their control as well as to provide the SMM with the requested baseline information.

Mr Chairman,

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 19 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We draw attention that the Minsk Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the conflict area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise

HRC28 - Item 10 (General Debate)– Technical assistance and capacity building

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

[alignment para]

The European Union reiterates its strong support for High Commissioner and his Office, and pays tribute to their valuable work in the areas of technical assistance and capacity building. These are an important means to consolidate the foundation for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in a constant dialogue with States, regional organisations and other stakeholders

We value the important role of the OHCHR Human Rights Mission in Ukraine deployed on the invitation of the Government of Ukraine since March 2014. Its enhanced work now includes technical cooperation which is extremely valuable. Evaluating and reporting on the current and developing human rights situation in the whole of the country, particularly in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea, and providing support to the Government of Ukraine in the promotion and protection of human rights is of high importance.  

We commend the Government of Mali for its efforts towards the re-establishment of constitutional order. We encourage it to focus on accountability for human rights violations as a fundamental step towards national reconciliation. In this context, we encourage the Government to intensify its efforts to combat impunity to co-operate with the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes in the country in order to bring all perpetrators of human rights violations before an independent and impartial court.

We appreciate the full cooperation by the Central African Republic with international mechanisms, but remain gravely concerned about the volatility of the security situation and persisting human rights abuses in the country. We call on all parties to immediately end violent attacks against the population and reiterate that all who perpetrate such acts will be brought to justice. We reiterate our support to the Independent Expert, and call on the authorities to continue to extend full cooperation to this important mechanism.

We note with satisfaction the cooperation of Guinea with UN human rights mechanisms, and encourage the authorities to intensify their efforts in ensuring that the elections to be held in 2015 are conducted in a free, peaceful and transparent manner and that security conditions fully respect human rights and democratic standards. We urge the authorities to take all necessary measures to bring to justice those responsible for the human rights violations and abuses committed in September 2009.

Thank you, Mr. President

Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Item 8, 24 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

(aligning paragraph)

More than twenty years after its adoption, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action remains as relevant as ever in guiding our efforts in responding to today’s global human rights challenges. The VDPA contributed greatly to the protection of human rights through the encouragement of institutional development. Most importantly, in this respect, it laid the groundwork for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We thank the High Commissioner, his predecessors and his staff for more than two decades of untiring efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and reaffirm, that the European Union attaches the highest importance to OHCHR’s operational independence. The High Commissioner’s effectiveness in fulfilling his mandate to promote and protect human rights for all requires him to be independent and politically impartial. The European Union therefore cannot and will not support any attempt to interfere with OHCHR’s operational independence. The European Union is also committed to contribute to the resources needed for effective fulfilment of OHCHR’s mandate.

Mr. President,

The VDPA reminds us that – and I quote – “Special emphasis should be given to [...] strengthening of a pluralistic civil society.” In addition, the General Assembly emphasised that the VDPA had to be translated into action inter alia by non-governmental organizations. The European Union fully endorses the VDPA’s emphasis on the indispensable role played by civil society, NGOs, Human Rights Defenders and journalists, as well as NHRIs and other stakeholders, to remind governments of their human rights obligations, to highlight violations of human rights and to support them in their implementation. Civil society reflects the plurality of voices that is the bedrock for any open and democratic society.

It is therefore a development of great concern to the European Union, that by a number of governments, systematic action is being taken to suppress the legitimate activities of civil society, NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists. The European Union is seriously concerned about recent and on-going activities in several countries that aim at suppressing the activities of NGOs. Attempts to outlaw NGOs, by way of legislation that runs counter to international human rights obligations, or by way of sham or arbitrary judicial proceedings, make a mockery of the rule of law and fly in the face of any open and democratic society that is committed to upholding the human rights of its citizens.

The European Union also rejects any attempts by some states to limit the space for civil society by pressuring NGOs or other civil society representatives who speak out on their countries dire human rights situation. We equally condemn all attempts to prevent their citizens from cooperating with UN human rights mechanisms, or to intimidate or punish them. Cooperating with the UN is every persons’ right. It is the obligation of all states to protect these individuals and other human rights defenders from harassment, intimidation and other forms of reprisals. 

Mr. President,

The VDPA also affirmed the universality of human rights. Not disregarding the importance of history, culture and religion it nevertheless states very clearly, that it is - I quote - the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Against this background, the European Union laments repeated efforts by some to undermine the principle of universality with cultural relativism. Values or cultural specificities, or any other concept, cannot relieve States from their obligation to protect all human rights of all persons in their jurisdiction. In this context it is also important to highlight what should be self-evident: that human rights protection is not afforded to groups, beliefs or ideologies but to human beings – whatever their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or migration status. The European Union will continue its efforts to promote and protect the universality of human rights in the Human Rights Council and elsewhere.


I thank you. 

Item 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 28th Session, 24 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

[Alignment clause]

Mr. President,

Once more the European Union would like to reiterate its commitment to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. These phenomena run counter to the founding principles of the EU which are indeed common values to all EU Member States. They include the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights lies at the core of the founding principles of the EU. All members of our societies, irrespective of their gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation or gender identity must be treated equally in law and in practice. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance undermine those principles and are challenges which the international community must face together.

No country or region in the world is immune to this scourge. Both the EU and its Member States are committed to prevent and to fight discrimination on any grounds and have adopted a strong legal and policy framework to that effect.

The European Union has an extensive arsenal of policy and legislative instruments in place to

prevent and to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The EU has also adopted legislation which bans incitement to racist or xenophobic violence or hatred. Particular attention is given to victims of discrimination granting them a broad set of rights, including access to justice, compensation and restoration, as well as the right to receive appropriate information, support and protection.

In addition, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights plays an important role in monitoring the situation in the EU when it comes to racism, related tolerance, or unequal treatment of ethnic minorities.

Mr. President,

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). All EU Member States have ratified and implemented this convention. We hereby call upon all Member States of the UN to do so.  It is our firm conviction that the ICERD provides the adequate framework to address all forms of racial discrimination. We do not see a lack of complementary standards but a need for its full and effective implementation. As stated by the High Commissioner [1] the legal protection esteeming from the Convention "cannot be allowed to give way in the face of political pressure to fan the flames of hatred".

Furthermore, the EU remains fully committed to the primary objectives and commitments undertaken at the 2001 Durban World Conference.

Mr. President,

2015 marks the start of the International Decade of people of African Descent which we hope will be used to create further political and practical momentum towards fulfilling our international commitments.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that the ceasefire continues to be largely respected. However, the situation remains fragile and instances of ceasefire violations still occur, including in and around Donetsk airport and east of Mariupol as reported by the SMM. The ceasefire must be fully observed. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict. We repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments.

2. We are encouraged by the SMM's reports of a general decline in the use of heavy weapons. But we reiterate that for the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the Minsk package, the SMM must receive the necessary baseline information. At the same time, we are concerned by the daily reports on restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement by third parties. We call on all sides to provide the baseline information and to guarantee the security, safety and unconditional access for SMM monitors that would allow the urgently needed verification of withdrawals of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk package.

3. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Full implementation of all aspects of the agreements by all signatories remains the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution. Any solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups as foreseen in the Minsk documents. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over the state border with Russia remains essential.

4. We recall that in keeping with the commitments of the Minsk package all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine should be released. We note with concern that SMM reports that detainees are being used to recover remains at Donetsk airport and call for these detainees to be released. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegaly detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. We note with concern that Ms. Savchenko has resumed her hunger strike to protest her illegal detention and underline that Russia bears a responsibility for her very fragile health.

5. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance and require swift and sustained progress. We are studying the two resolutions and amendments to the law on interim self-governance status adopted this week by the Ukrainian Parliament and their impact on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. All steps in the direction of the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements are to be welcomed. All signatories of the Minsk Agreements share the responsibility to ensure a full and transparent fulfilment of agreed steps.

6. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. 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 Russia’s Illegal Annexation of Crimea, OSCE Permanent Council No 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to recall the Declaration by the High Representative of 16 March on behalf of the European Union:

2. “One year on from the holding of the illegal and illegitimate "referendum" and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

3. The European Union does not recognise and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law. The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation is also a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states.

4. The European Union will remain committed to fully implement its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. The EU calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UNGA Resolution 68/262.

5. The EU reaffirms its deep concern at the continuous military build-up and deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula, including the denial of free speech and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities. The European Union reiterates its call to provide international human rights actors with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.”

6. Mr Chairman, the OSCE has an important role to play in Crimea. We reiterate that the SMM as well as the PCU should be given access to the whole of Ukraine, including Crimea.

7. The autonomous OSCE institutions must also have full and unimpeded access to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea. In this context, we welcome ODIHR’s readiness to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea in continuation of the Human Rights Assessment Mission conducted jointly with the High Commissioner on National Minorities in March last year. Comprehensive international monitoring of the human rights situation in Crimea by the OSCE institutions, including of the situation of the Crimean Tatars and also drawing on reports from civil society and IDPs, is essential, given reports about the deteriorating human rights situation, including arrests, arbitrary detention and deportation of activists, and the denial of the right to free expression, and the right to peaceful assembly.

8. We share the concerns of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media over the repression of free media and independent voices we continue to witness in Crimea. As a most recent case, we join the Representative in calling on the de facto authorities in Crimea to immediately release Natalya Kokorina, a journalist and editor who was detained last week.

Mr Chairperson,

9. The OSCE was founded on the principles of dialogue and a respect for peace and stability, based on territorial integrity and sovereignty. We call on Russia to show through its actions a clear commitment to these agreed principles and commitments and we deplore the attempts, as happened yesterday in the Forum for Security Cooperation, to justify and legitimise the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Universal Periodic Review, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 28th Session, (2-27 March 2015), EU Statement

Mr. President,

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

Alignment paragraph

Let me start by reiterating the EU's support for the UPR, a truly universal mechanism which has the potential to make a difference on the ground.  The principles of the UPR are applicable to all Member States without discrimination, and the universality of the process remains a salient feature of its success.

The preparation for the second cycle of UPR reviews through the implementation of accepted recommendations in the first cycle has had a positive as well as a mobilizing effect on both governments and civil society.  We are pleased to note that a growing number of States have decided to present a mid-term report on a voluntary basis. We welcome this practice as a contribution to a more transparent process and a continuous, regular and meaningful dialogue. At the same time, we underline the importance of and strongly encourage the practice of each State to keep a continuous focus on the implementation of the recommendations.

We recognise the importance of providing technical assistance in order to help States in the implementation of recommendations. While noting that implementation plans are done on a voluntary basis, we believe that they are useful tools for dialogue and cooperation between the States providing and the States receiving technical assistance related to the implementation of the accepted UPR recommendations.

We are pleased to witness an active role of independent National Human Rights Institutions in the UPR process. Those institutions which are in full compliance with the Paris Principles are able to intervene immediately following the State under Review. We are encouraged by their participation, which enables them to provide their views on the progress made and challenges ahead. 

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. While in many cases the relations between States and independent NGOs are exemplary, we remain concerned by reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and reprisals towards civil society representatives and their organisations, and continue to defend NGOs´ legitimate participation.

In conclusion, we welcome the valuable support provided by the OHCHR in the area of technical assistance and capacity building. We wish to thank the Office for its contribution to the UPR process, and will continue to count on the commitment and professionalism of the Office's staff. 

EU Statement on the death penalty in the USA, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. It is with deep regret that the EU has learnt of the execution of Mr Cecil Clayton on the 17th March in the State of Missouri.

2. Mr. Clayton suffered the loss of part of his brain in an accident years before the commission of his crime, which led to several mental disorders. There is evidence indicating that his mental capacities were seriously impaired.

3. The EU strongly believes that the execution of persons suffering from an intellectual disability or mental illness is contrary to the minimum standards set forth in several international human rights instruments as well as being prohibited by the US Constitution.

4. The EU is opposed to the use of capital punishment under all circumstances and aims at its universal abolition, seeking a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition, in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December 2014, which reaffirms its Resolutions of 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The EU believes that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights.

EU Statement in response to Deputy Foreign Minister, H.E. David Dondua, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes Deputy Foreign Minister David Dondua to the Permanent Council. Mr. Deputy Minister, we thank you for your comprehensive and timely address.  

2. The European Union and Georgia enjoy a strong relationship, which has been significantly enhanced through the signing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement in June 2014. The Agreement, provisionally applied since September, allows us to move ahead with deeper political association and economic integration.

3. In this context, the reform agenda in such vital areas as economy, rule of law and judiciary is key, as is fostering a political climate with respect for opposition and cross-party dialogue. Sustainable implementation of these reforms will transform and modernise Georgia, to the benefit of all its citizens. 

4. The EU remains committed to strengthening the security of the whole OSCE region. We believe that it is essential that we achieve tangible progress towards the resolution of the protracted conflicts. We welcome that the latest round of the Geneva International Discussions took place this week, on 17-18 March.

5. [PP on outcome of discussions]

6. Recent actions by the Russian Federation have substantially harmed the constructive spirit of the discussions. The signature by the Russian Federation of a so-called “Treaty on Alliance and Integration” with Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia is yet another step that goes against ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region.

7. Like the previous agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the two Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, this so-called treaty – which includes references to a transfer of powers in some areas – clearly violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, principles of international law and the international commitments taken by the Russian Federation, including the 12 August 2008 Agreement and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008 and has no legal standing.

8. Furthermore, the signature of this document on the very day of the 31st round of Geneva International Discussions creates circumstances that do not foster a constructive climate for efforts to improve the security and humanitarian situation on the ground.

9. We express our grave concern about the military exercises launched on 5 March by the Russian Federation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. These actions violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders and contradict OSCE commitments, principles of international law and international commitments of the Russian Federation. The EU has repeatedly underlined its concern about the continued Russian military and security presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions. We reiterate our call on Russia to fulfil its international obligations, including with regard to providing access for humanitarian organisations and the EUMM to the breakaway regions.

10. We note with profound concern the potential implications of the continued deployment of fences and other obstacles at different locations along and beyond the Administrative Boundary Line.

11. We recall that any actions undermining the security and stability on the ground must be avoided. We encourage all participants to use the Geneva International Discussions constructively.

12. Our position in support of the territorial integrity of Georgia is well known. In this spirit, we remain committed to support conflict resolution in Georgia, through the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, and through the Geneva International Discussions that need the active and constructive commitment of all participants on all relevant issues.

13. In light of recent developments we however stress once again that the Geneva International Discussions remain the best forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia.

EU Statement in Response to the Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, H.E. Ambassador Janina Hřebíčková, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome H.E. Ambassador Janina Hřebíčková, Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, to the Permanent Council. We thank Ambassador Hřebíčková for her report, outlining the highlights of the Mission's work in the reporting period and identifying priorities for its future work.

2. The EU welcomes the progress Montenegro has made in the EU accession negotiations and in pursuing its ambitious internal reforms agenda. The European Union encourages Montenegro to keep the positive momentum and ensure multi- party support for the reform process.

3. The EU emphasizes the importance of continuing efforts in the area of the rule of law, in particular in the fight against corruption and organised crime, the judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as on law enforcement, trafficking in human beings, cyber security, anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering. Effective implementation of recently adopted laws in the prevention and fight against corruption will help to achieve concrete results. We commend the OSCE Mission for its valuable support to these matters.

4. Further efforts are needed to guarantee freedom of expression and of the media, including safety of journalists. We welcome the cooperation of Montenegro and the Mission with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović in this regard and on strengthening media self-regulation. 

5. Constructive political dialogue between all political parties in Parliament is important to ensure trust in the electoral process and in state institutions.  While new electoral legislation already fulfils several OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, we encourage the implementation of all recommendations.

6. We welcome the Mission's intention to focus on a cross-programmatic and cross-dimensional approach in order to encourage a broader participation of civil society in the overall reform process in the country. Civil society can continue to contribute considerably to this process

7. As a future chair of the Forum for Security Co-operation, Montenegro will have the opportunity to contribute to further strengthening OSCE commitments in the politico-military dimension and supporting their full implementation and modernisation.

8. We commend the Mission’s support in the area of demilitarisation. The MONDEM Programme is an extra-budgetary project financed by the European Union, many EU Member States as well as other OSCE participating States. It has been extended until the end of 2016, and we hope that additional donor funds will be secured in order to implement the still outstanding components.

9. The European Union values Montenegro’s constructive and active approach towards regional co-operation and stability in the Western Balkans. We recognize the important role the Mission plays in assisting Montenegro to consolidate key reforms as well as in strengthening cooperation among the field missions and other international actors in the region. We commend the Mission's efforts to focus on main priorities as well as on results and follow-up, and we encourage further efficient use of resources also on the basis of effective evaluation. In this regard we invite Ambassador Hřebíčková to highlight some concrete examples of the key impacts of the Mission in this reporting period. 

10. We appreciate the host country's readiness to join the efforts on the implementation of priorities and commitments across all three dimensions and wish the Mission further success in its future work based on this fruitful cooperation.

11. Finally, we thank you, Ambassador, for your presentation and assure you and your team of our continued support.

CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Statement on the occasion of the Twenty Fourth Session of Working Group A and B, 20 березня 2015 року

Mr Chairman,

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

2. The EU wishes to thank the Executive Secretary for his opening remarks and the Chairs of Working Group A and Working Group B, as well as the PTS, for preparing this meeting. We look forward continuing discussions on the priorities of the CTBTO for 2015.

Mr Chairman,

3. The EU welcomes this joint meeting of Working Group A and B as an excellent opportunity to generate a useful dialogue among States Signatories and the PTS on the implementation of CTBTO priorities in 2015, and to provide the Secretariat with guidance on the preparation of the initial draft 2016 and Biennial Programme

and Budget Proposals. We believe that programme and budget related matters, as well as the implementation of the 2015 priorities will benefit from a continued dialogue between States Signatories and the PTS.

4. The EU and its Member States appreciate the intention and efforts of the Chairperson of the WGA to hold open-ended informal consultations on the major aspects of the annual and biennial budget, as well as on the multiyear funding modality. In this regard, we would like to reiterate our support for introducing biennial budgeting, with annual appropriation allowing for some adjustments and an intermediary report on implementation. Such a decision should also be taken in the light of a comprehensive legal analysis by the PTS as to how this decision would articulate with the provisions of the Treaty and the Resolution establishing the Preparatory Commission that provide for the adoption of annual programs and budgets. We also regard the creation of multi-year funds as an interesting possibility for activities of a multi-year nature. Recommendations by the Advisory Group and WGA, especially regarding to the modifications in the Financial Rules and Regulations needed for the introduction of biennial budgeting and multi-year funding, should also serve as an important input to the consultations on budgetary matters and to the whole process of preparation of programmatic and budgetary decisions to be taken by the Preparatory Commission in 2015.

5. As the EU and its Member States have stressed before, future budgets of the Organisation should be sustainable and programme driven, and they should also reflect the current climate of budgetary austerity. While acknowledging the endeavours of the PTS in this field so far, we would welcome further initiatives and modalities which lead to a more efficient global cost management of the CTBTO. We encourage the Secretariat to continue looking for possible further savings and efficiency gains.

6. The Midterm Strategy: 2014-2017 (MTS) should continue to guide the preparation of the programme and budget proposals for the upcoming years. In this regard, the EU and its Member States would appreciate further assessment of the resources required to implement the priorities identified in the MTS, including for the 2016 programme and budget and the subsequent year, in particular in the light of preparations of the first biennial budget of this Organisation.

7. The EU and its Member States were pleased to note that the measures to put in practice the IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system were among the significant accomplishments of the PTS in 2014. As we underlined in our previous statements, we believe that the IPSAS-ERP system should provide additional transparency on financial information to States Signatories and should lead to more efficiency gains for the PTS. In this context, we would welcome the continuation of regular updates to States Signatories concerning the functioning and the benefits of this system.

Mr Chairman,

8. The EU would like to commend the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff and all international experts involved in the Integrated Field Exercise 14 for a job well done in the conduct of the Exercise. We also express our gratitude to Jordan for hosting the IFE and, in doing so, once again demonstrating its strong and long-standing support to the CTBT. The EU looks forward to the OSI Workshop- 22, to be held consecutively in Israel in April and in Austria in June, for the proper and effective analysis of the lessons learnt and for drawing important conclusions for the development of the CTBTO verification regime in the future. The EU has demonstrated its commitment to the IFE14 by providing relevant technical expertise, equipment and financial resources.

9. We also believe that after this IFE a long term solution needs to be found to the issue of the CTBTO's Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF). We noted the report of the PTS on the Status of and Options for the Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility and possible options proposed for solution of this issue

published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1312. We call on the PTS, as well as other potential stakeholders, to find an efficient and cost effective solution to this matter as soon as possible. We have been informed that constructive talks are taking place in this regard.

Mr Chairman,

10. The EU and its Member States attach great importance to the longterm sustainability of a cost effective and financially viable verification regime. We therefore encourage WGB to further prioritise its proposals in order of technical importance and urgency. This would enable WGA to better understand the technical challenges to, and the requirements for the balanced development of the IMS, IDC and OSI components of the verification regime, and to make informed decisions on where budget resources should be focused.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Item 5 Human Rights Bodies and mechanisms, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 28th session , EU Statement, General Debate, 2 – 27 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

(Alignment paragraph)

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.

The EU reiterates its full support to the independence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office and expresses its sincere gratitude for the efforts to promote and protect human rights worldwide. The EU shares the assessment of the High Commissioner expressed during the last interactive dialogue with Member States that the continued strength and independence of the Office and its work to assist States in promoting human rights is vital to the interest of the people of our world. The EU will continue to support the Office and stand against any attempts to undermine its independence.

The EU notes the recently announced initiative by High Commissioner to reorganize the management of his Office with a view to make it more effective in protecting and promoting human rights. We expect that the announced reform will further demonstrate the ability of the Office to adapt to increasing expectations and responsibilities, showing the continued relevance of human rights mechanisms and country-level engagement.

The EU takes note with interest of the report on the 21st annual meeting of special rapporteurs, representatives, independent experts and working groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council that provides a detailed account of the activities of and challenges faced by the Special Procedures while exercising their mandates. The Special Procedures constitute one of the most important mechanisms of the Human Rights Council for the promotion and protection of human rights. Their full independence is the cornerstone for the effective realization of their mandate. The EU and its Member States remain concerned about the resourcing of the mandate holders and calls for the allocation of adequate resources to this mechanism. 

The EU shares the mandate holders’ appreciation for the increasing number of standing invitations being issued by Member States. At the same time, the EU is concerned that several mandate holders reported on cases of intimidation and reprisals against witnesses and interlocutors willing to engage with them before, during and after country visits. The EU concurs with the view of the mandate holders that there is an urgent need to develop a systematic approach to the issue, including by identifying more effective and rapid mechanisms in situations where protection gaps exist and by establishing a high level mechanism to respond to States that engage in reprisals.

The Universal Periodic Review is a unique mechanism for improving human rights situations on the ground. Objectivity and impartiality are amongst its major assets and these values should remain at the core of this mechanism. The second cycle of the UPR enables countries to identify both achievements and remaining challenges in the field of human rights thus allowing them to recommit to their human rights obligations. The EU reiterates its strong commitment to the UPR and encourages all States to fully cooperate with this mechanism. We also note the crucial role that technical assistance and capacity building can play in the implementation of the recommendations received during the UPR process and highly appreciate the valuable support provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in this area.

The treaty bodies lie at the heart of the international human rights protection system. They play an indispensable role in ensuring that universal human rights norms are being fully and effectively implemented in practice. The EU has therefore been supportive of the General Assembly resolution 68/268 on strengthening the UN treaty bodies. We are convinced that its comprehensive implementation by all relevant stakeholders will pave the way towards a more sustainable, effective and efficient treaty body system.

Last but not least, the EU would like to emphasize the paramount importance of mainstreaming human rights throughout all areas of work of the United Nations, including in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you.

EU Statement on European Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 783, 18 березня 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to welcome Ambassador Alexander Grushko, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO, and Major-General Yevgeni Ilyin, Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation in the Russian Ministry of Defence, to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank them for their presentations.

From the outset, let us recall the EU High Representative's speech at the UN Security Council of 9 March where the European Union's commitment and support to multilateralism were strongly reiterated. Need for cooperation has grown proportionally to the increasing complexity of threats to unprecedented level. The new global order will thus be multilateral, the High Representative stated, or it will not be.

Against the global background of growing complexity and interdependence, the security in Europe, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, is facing one of the most serious crises since the end of the Cold War.

Russia's actions in and around Ukraine, ranging from the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the active military support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, have directly challenged international security with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. In the year of the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act we see with great disappointment that key Helsinki principles are being violated by Russia.

One year after the illegal and illegitimate referendum and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation the European Union remains fully committed to Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We do not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia and once again condemn this violation of international law. The European Union reaffirms its deep concern at the continuous Russian military build-up in the Crimean peninsula.

It is therefore more important than ever that Russia recommit itself to the principles in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the Astana vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals. Recent developments in the OSCE region underline the validity of the OSCE concept of comprehensive and co-operative security. We need to revert to our common commitment to ensure full respect for, and implementation of, these core principles and commitments that we have undertaken in the politico-military dimension, the economic and environmental dimension, and the human dimension, notably in the areas of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We repeat our call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements by all signatories as the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. In this context, we regret that Russia once again has not agreed to the necessary expansion of the Border Observation Mission at two Russian border checkpoints. We reiterate that reestablishing Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains essential.

The provisions concerning the political process included in the Minsk Agreements are also important parts in their entire implementation. We take note of the presentation of the new Russian Military Doctrine and remain open to discuss it further, for instance at a possible High-Level Military Doctrine Seminar.

Furthermore, we emphasise the importance of strengthening and modernising the obligations and commitments in the field of conventional arms control and CSBMs. These instruments should be brought into conformity with the current military and security conditions. We consider therefore that a modern, functional conventional arms control regime that provides stability and predictability would bolster the security of the whole OSCE area. In relation to this topic, the Member States of the European Union noted with regret the decision by the Russian Federation to “suspend their participation in the Joint Consultative Group per 11 March 2015”. This is another step by the Russian Federation that undermines the viability and validity of the existing conventional arms control and CSBMs regimes in the OSCE area.

In conclusion, we reiterate our firm belief that lasting security in and for Europe can only be achieved through a collaborative effort of all participating States and a genuine commitment to the instruments of cooperative security. We still count on Russia's political willingness to engage in constructive dialogue on European security.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 783, 18 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted in February 2015 in Minsk. We welcome the overall decrease of active fighting along the line of contact and in particular the general decline in the use of heavy weapons in almost all locations, as observed by the SMM, which is an indication that at least some of the withdrawal of heavy weapons may be genuine. This remains however to be duly monitored and verified by the SMM.

At the same time, we note with growing concern that heavy fighting continues in strategic hotspots such as Donetsk airport and the area east of Mariupol. We strongly condemn in this regard the Russia-backed separatists' offensive in the area of Shyrokyne to which the SMM is consistently denied access. We recall that any attempts to gain territorial advantages will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution. We urge the Russian Federation to exert its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments. Persistent restrictions of the SMM access to the security zone as well as continuing presence of heavy weapons in areas controlled by the separatists give rise to serious concern and are unacceptable. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

We remind that the strict, comprehensive and sustainable compliance with the ceasefire regime and the verifiable withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential for the successful implementation of the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk. We therefore strongly urge all sides to provide the SMM with the requested heavy weapons baseline information and necessary security guarantees as well as to ensure unconditional and unfettered SMM access to the areas under their control.

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

Furthermore, we draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that further Russian so called humanitarian convoys entered Ukrainian territory on 13 and 15 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

We take note of the information circulated by the Russian Federation under reference number CBM/RU/15/0034/F41/O about the large-scale combat readiness inspections taking place in the Northern and Western Military Districts of the Russian Federation.

We remain concerned however about Russia's military exercises conducted in areas adjacent to Ukraine as well as the continuous Russian military build-up in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. We recall therefore that exercising strict restraint in carrying out and sharing information about on-going and planned military activities in the bordering areas with Ukraine, even if they do not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document, would be important steps towards rebuilding security, trust and confidence in the region severely affected by the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia.

One year on from the holding of the illegal and illegitimate referendum and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation the European Union remains fully committed to Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law. The European Union will remain committed to fully implement, including through restrictive measures, its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

EU Statement in Response to Mr. Kim Yong-hyun and Ambassador Fred Tanner, OSCE Asian Contact Group Meeting, 13 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes Mr. KIM Yong-hyun and Ambassador Fred Tanner to this first Meeting in 2015 of the OSCE Contact Group with the Asian Partners for Co-operation. We thank both of them for their engaging presentations.

2. The relationship between the European Union and the Republic of Korea encompasses, in a comprehensive manner, political, trade and security cooperation. The 2010 Free Trade Agreement, the 2010 Framework Agreement and the 2014 Framework Participation Agreement for Korean Participation in EU Crisis Management Operations bear testimony to the ever-developing and deepening nature of our bilateral relationship.

3. The European Union welcomes the Republic of Korea’s continuous strong commitment to international security, and its active involvement in the UN and other international and regional organisations, including with the OSCE. In this respect, the European Union reiterates its support for the Republic of Korea’s trust-building policy and its North East Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative.

4. The European Union reiterates that it shares the objective of a nuclear-free stable and peaceful Korean Peninsula. The illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its decision to cease all cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency remain a matter of grave concern to the European Union and a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

5. The European Union has called upon the DPRK to re-engage on a credible basis with the international community and in particular the members of the Six-Party Talks by taking meaningful steps towards denuclearization. The EU continues to urge the DPRK to address the grave human rights abuses in the country and, to that end, constructively engage with the international community.

6. In conclusion, we would like to reiterate that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening its cooperation with the Republic of Korea and our Asian Partners, including through the OSCE, wherever this organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security in order to better confront current and emerging challenges both regionally and globally. In this respect, we look forward to the 2015 OSCE Asian Conference that will take place in Seoul, the Republic of Korea and we express our willingness to actively contribute to a successful outcome.

7. Finally, we continue to note with appreciation the generous contribution of our Asian Partners to OSCE extra budgetary projects, in particular their financial support to the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine or to the Border Management Staff College, which eased their establishment and continuation of activity.

HC/SG Thematic Reports, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 28th Session, 13 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The full text of this statement will be posted on the extranet.

(alignment para)

We would like to thank the High Commissioner, his office and Secretary-General for the presentation of the thematic reports under items 2 and 3.

The EU would like to commend the High Commissioner’s report on the rights of the child and the summary of the panel discussion on accelerating global efforts to end violence against children. The rights of the child are an integral part of EU’s fundamental rights policy and we are strongly committed to eliminating all forms of violence against children. We fully concur with the High Commissioner’s conclusions that a sustainable, equitable and broad-based investment in the rights of children is crucial for the full and comprehensive realization of States’ international obligations to implement the rights of the child. We note with great interest that the report of the Secretary-General on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights focuses on the importance of social protection floors and how they can contribute to the enjoyment of minimum essential levels of those rights by reducing poverty and inequality, in particular children, persons with disabilities and older persons. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing declaration, the EU remains comitted to overcome the persistent challenges which many women still face to fully enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights. We note that States have ultimate responsibility for the implementation of national social protection floors. For the EU, coordination of the social protection systems, has been one of the pillars of the European integration process and we fully concur that human rights norms and social protection floors complement each other. These systems guarantee access to several services that are vital to the preservation of human dignity.

The EU welcomes the comments and clarification provided by the Secretary General regarding the report of the JIU on the review of management and administration of the office. We note that the Secretary General clarifies that there is no legislative basis to support a separation between the High Commissioner and his Office. Both function as one single unit, with an independent mandate. Likewise, we highlight the Secretary General's assessment that existing governance arrangements, as established by the General Assembly, strike an appropriate balance between independence and accountability.

The EU welcomes the summary of the panel discussion on history teaching and memorialization processes. The EU favours multi-perspective history teaching and agrees that a human rights-based approach to history teaching and memorialization processes is important to further mutual understanding and ensure the non-recurrence of serious human rights violations. We stress that history teaching and the memorialization of historical events must not be used as an instrument of ideological manipulation and propaganda, but as a means towards greater understanding of all viewpoints and truth.

Regarding the outcome of the panel discussion on protection of the family, the EU would like to underscore that the recognition of the different forms and compositions of families in our societies, is imperative in order to be able to fully understand and respond to their needs. We must also recognise that every individual within the family needs and is entitled to protection and support and that States bear the primary responsibility to ensure that these individual rights within the family are adequately catered for and protected.

Mr President,

The EU welcomes the summary report on the panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the right to privacy. We reiterate that any limitation to the right to privacy must be based on accessible, transparent, clear, comprehensive and non-discriminatory laws and limited to what is necessary and proportionate for safeguarding the public interest in a democratic society.

The EU underlines that all individuals enjoy the right to freedom of religion or belief, and that it is the States obligation to guarantee protection against acts of violence against any ethnic and religious minorities. The EU is concerned with the increasing number of instances of violence and discrimination against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities in various countries. Freedom of religion or belief must be protected everywhere and it applies equally to all persons, without supporting any specific religion or belief.

Thank you.

EU statement on Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association and the Rule of Law in Tajikistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union is becoming increasingly alarmed by the reduced space available for peaceful alternative political views to be publicly expressed in Tajikistan.  We fear that the current tendency to restrict open debate, including through the blocking of websites, risks driving alternative views underground, with the risk that those denied a legitimate political outlet for their opinions turn to more radical or extreme solutions. Several events have occurred recently that raise questions and concerns. 

2. The ODIHR preliminary conclusions noted that the March Parliamentary elections took place in a restricted political space. In that context, it is striking that the Islamic Revival Party, Central Asia’s only legal Islamic party, no longer has a voice in Parliament. 

3. We strongly condemn the killing of opposition politician and founder of Group 24, Mr Umarili Quvvatov, in Istanbul on 5 March and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We are confident that the Turkish authorities will conduct a full and transparent investigation, and bring the culprits to justice.

4. The European Union is concerned that the detention and conviction of opposition figures in Tajikistan, such as former Minister of Industry Zaid Saidov, may be politically motivated.

5. We welcome the fact that the sentence for bribery and fraud that was handed down to human rights lawyer and Social Democratic Party Deputy Director, Mr Sukhrat Kudratov, has been reduced on appeal. However we continue to question the motivation for his prosecution, and the timing and circumstances of his initial arrest. We fear that the example of Mr Kudratov’s prosecution may prove detrimental to the freedom and impartiality of Tajikistan’s legal profession. 

6. We welcome the statement made by the Tajik delegation at the Permanent Council last week concerning the government’s intention to continue to work with ODIHR in the future. We urge the Tajik authorities to fully respect their OSCE and UN commitments with regard to freedom of expression, freedom of association and the rule of law. 

EU statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. 2015 marks a particularly important year for women's rights and gender equality. As we celebrate 40 years since the first world conference on the status of women (Mexico 1975), 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and 15 years since resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security we note advancements made and highlight gaps in many areas requiring political will and resources.

2. The EU remains at the forefront on promoting gender equality. Progress on women's rights is progress on human rights and it leads to smart politics and economics. Societies prosper when women are given an equal chance to participate freely in political, social and economic life. Therefore, we must ensure that women’s rights and lives do not depend on arbitrary decisions, lack of access to justice or biased governance institutions. Combating all forms of violence against women and girls remains a crucial endeavour. When discussing women's rights and gender equality, the role of men and boys must not be underestimated.

3. In the OSCE we look forward to meaningful discussions on an Addendum to the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, as tasked by the Basel Ministerial Council. Additionally, we underline the importance of implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and other OSCE commitments on these issues. We also wish to highlight the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and we support continued discussions on the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. Preventing sexual violence in conflict is another important area where the OSCE should be more engaged.

4. The International Women’s Day provides a good reminder to all of us of the work which remains to be done in promoting and advancing gender equality. The EU will continue steadfast in its endeavours to place gender equality, human rights and empowerment of women and girls at the forefront of the global agenda. 

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. Mr Chairman, we remain extremely concerned that Nadia Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, who was kidnapped in Ukraine and transferred to Russia, continues to be illegally detained. Nadia Savchenko remains seriously ill and her life is at risk, after having been on a hunger strike for more than 80 days. We underline that Russia bears a responsibility for her very fragile health. We call on Russia to urgently release Nadia Savchenko.. Also in keeping with the commitments of the Minsk package, all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine should be released.

2. We welcome that ODIHR representatives attended the court hearing on 25 February and we would be interested to hear their observations. We encourage ODIHR to continue monitoring the trial of Ms. Savchenko.

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of ODIHR, Mr Georg Michael Link, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States welcome Director Link back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report.

2. In light of the immediate human rights, democracy and security challenges facing our region, the expert, professional and impartial role of ODIHR is as important as ever and we reiterate our full support for its excellent work. Many participating States have benefitted from ODIHR's advice on their path to democratic reform and their support in implementing commitments. Participating States must do their part to enable ODIHR to fulfill its mandate it has been entrusted with, including through provision of the necessary human and financial resources.

3. Responding to the crisis in and around Ukraine has rightly been high on the agenda of ODIHR. We commend ODIHR for its ongoing and intense engagement in Ukraine under challenging circumstances, including the Human Rights Assessment Mission Report and its two election observation missions last year. These activities are an important contribution to efforts to resolve this crisis. We welcome your readiness to deploy observers to specific areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to monitor local elections based on Ukrainian law and OSCE standards. We also commend ODIHR’s readiness to conduct a "Human Rights Assessment Mission" to the illegally annexed Crimea. Comprehensive international monitoring of the human rights situation in Crimea is essential, given the deeply worrying reports we receive of developments following the Russian illegal annexation. Drawing on reports from civil society and IDPs can be a good first step in this regard. It is crucial that ODIHR enjoys full and unimpeded access and full cooperation by all sides. This also applies to ODIHR's proposal to monitor the trial of Nadia Savchenko, following the attendance of ODIHR representatives at her court hearing on 25 February, and we urge the Russian Federation to enable a comprehensive monitoring.

4. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are at the heart of the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security. Security and stability are only possible when human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully respected, protected and strengthened. We attach the utmost importance to this dimension of the OSCE's work, and we are concerned about worrying negative trends in the implementation of our common commitments that have been taken on as obligations by all participating States.

5.  ODIHR adds value in many areas and is rightly seen as an international standard setter in election observation. We take this opportunity to reiterate our strong support for the professionalism, independence and impartiality of ODIHR’s election observation work. The scope of ODIHR’s activities is extensive and its guidelines and advice are rooted in international standards. The Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders published last year, as well as the recent ODIHR/Venice Commission joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association, are valuable tools and we call on all participating States to make use of these to improve the implementation of OSCE commitments. We encourage ODIHR's ongoing work on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief and hope that activities will be enhanced with the recruitment of a Policy Adviser in this area. Much remains to be done to enhance the inclusion of Roma and Sinti as described by you, Director Link, this morning. We support ODIHR's strong engagement with civil society and call for their active participation in the wider work of the OSCE.

6. In conclusion, we would like to take this opportunity to express our full appreciation for the work performed by you, Ambassador Link, and your staff, and assure you of the EU's continued support. 

EU statement in response to the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Didier Reynders, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

Mr Deputy Prime Minister,

1. It is a great pleasure for the European Union to welcome you in the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We have listened with interest to your priorities and activities as Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and we thank you for your presentation.

Mr Chairman,

2. Deputy Prime Minister Reynders has shared with us a number of reflections on the context in which we work today. It is indeed important to keep reminding ourselves where we have come from in order to determine where we have to go.

3. European security has been jeopardised over the past year following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The wider implications of Russia’s violations of basic OSCE principles represent a significant challenge. It is important for the European Union, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe, that has valuable expertise to offer, to achieve complementarity and synergy to avoid duplication in our continuing efforts to de-escalate the crisis and seek an urgently needed sustainable political solution. We reiterate that any solution must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. In this regard, we also reiterate our concern on the situation in Crimea. Disturbing reports indicate that several groups opposed to the annexation face severe pressure, including Crimean Tatars.

4. The OSCE and the Council of Europe share common values and principles. Belgium’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe provides an opportunity to build on existing efforts to strengthen the coherence and coordination of both organisations, especially in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We appreciate the continuous dialogue and practical cooperation that takes place between our two organisations. We should reinforce these joint efforts, at the political and strategic level; between representatives of both organisations; as well as on the ground in countries where our organisations and the European Union are active in supporting progress and reform. We also particularly support the Belgian efforts in taking forward the ongoing reform of the Council of Europe in particular the attempts to further strengthen the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, promote the implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and to make the Court more efficient.

5. The OSCE and the Council of Europe already cooperate in a number of areas. We very much value our close cooperation on human rights issues. We also welcome the joint work on combatting trafficking in human beings. We further welcome the close cooperation in the field of election observation and assistance. The partnerships involving OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission reinforce the individual work of our respective organisations. We also welcome the jointly prepared new guidelines by ODIHR and the Venice Commission on the Legal Personality of Religious and Belief Communities and on Freedom of Association.

6. One of the priorities of the EU in the Council of Europe is the fight against intolerance and hate speech. Today, more than ever, while standing up for freedom of expression, it is of utmost importance to actively combat hate speech that can lead to violent extremism and radicalisation. Recent terrorist attacks in our partner countries, as well as in Paris, Copenhagen, and last year in Brussels, have demonstrated that violent extremism is a global threat. Also within the OSCE we are determined to adopt a comprehensive approach to preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, while upholding human rights, including the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, and the rule of law. Cooperation between our institutions could enhance the discussion and positively contribute to tackling this issue. In this respect, the EU welcomes the Belgian initiative to organise on 8th of May a high level conference on ‘Tolerance trumps hate’ in Brussels, which could feed in the upcoming OSCE Security Days Conference.

7. We welcome the work of the Council of Europe on counter-terrorism, in particular the Action Plan on Terrorism, as well as on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, and look forward to the Additional Protocol to the CoE Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which is currently being negotiated. We see substantial scope for synergies between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in the field of radicalisation. A strong CoE participation in the upcoming OSCE counter-terrorism conference on countering the incitement of foreign terrorist fighters and preventing their recruitment and departure would be useful.

8. Regarding the fight against cyber-crime, the Council of Europe is clearly in the lead with its Budapest Convention, which we fully support. The OSCE, on the other hand, is very active in the field of cyber security, where a first set of Confidence-Building Measures has been adopted and is being implemented and where a second set of CBM’s will hopefully be agreed this year.

9. We continue to believe that cooperation could be further pursued between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in other areas where joint work has already proven productive, including Freedom of Media, human rights education, improving the situation of Roma and Sinti, and combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

10. We will continue to work to make better use of the comparative advantages for an improved efficiency of both the OSCE and the Council of Europe, whilst fully respecting mandates and avoiding duplication. In doing so, the European Union looks forward to continuing to work with the very able and dedicated Belgian team here in Vienna.

11. I would like to once again sincerely thank Minister Reynders for sharing his ideas on the OSCE and the Council of Europe and we wish him every success in the future.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that the ceasefire continues to be largely respected and the number of ceasefire violations has been reduced.  However, the situation continues to be fragile and instances of ceasefire violations occur, including in and around Donetsk airport and east of Mariupol, where the situation is of particular concern and where heavy weapons are being used. We are also seriously concerned that despite the declared ceasefire, there are further casualties almost on a daily basis. The ceasefire must be fully observed. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict. We repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments.

2. We note the many SMM observations of significant movements of convoys of heavy weapons from both sides of the line of contact. We are encouraged by the reduction in the use of heavy weapons along most of the line of contact. We reiterate that for the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the Minsk package, the SMM must receive the necessary baseline information. The SMM must have free access to fully monitor these movements and the storage of heavy weapons. Without baseline information and unhindered access there is a risk that heavy weapons might be relocated or hidden away and used in a new military build-up. We note for instance the SMM observation that a number of heavy weapons were hidden in a “LPR”-controlled coal mine.

3. We repeat our call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements by all signatories as the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. In this context, we regret that Russia once again has not agreed to the necessary expansion of the Border Observation Mission at two Russian border checkpoints. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. The provisions concerning the political process included in the Minsk Agreements are also important parts in their entire implementation.

4. We welcome continuous efforts made in the Normandy format, including the oversight mechanism at the level of Political directors and Vice-ministers, to ensure full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

5. Mr Chairman, we attach great importance to the SMM that is playing a vital role on the ground and we reiterate our strong support to the SMM. [We welcome today’s decision on the extension of the SMM mandate and the expansion of the ceiling to 1000 monitors / We look forward to adopting a decision on extension of the mandate, including an expansion of the ceiling to 1000 monitors]. We stand ready to continue our support, including through financial and operational contributions. At the informal EU foreign ministers meeting last Friday, a discussion on how best to support the SMM took place with the presence of the OSCE Secretary General.  A key issue remains to ensure full and free access to the SMM to independently monitor and verify developments, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. The restrictions on movement are extensive in many places. For instance the SMM recently reported that they had no access whatsoever in the south of the Donetsk region controlled by the “DPR”. The safety and security of monitors is of paramount importance. The harassment, threats and warning shots they experience is unacceptable and must stop. We also note the continuing “jamming” of the UAVs.

6. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. 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.

Statement on occasion of the 44th Session of Working Group B, CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 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 Dr Hein Haak for his dedication and invaluable work in steering the activities of this Working Group. The European Union would also like to congratulate Dr Joachim Schulze, on his election to the Chairmanship of Working Group B and wish him all the success in carrying out his important responsibilities as Chair of this subsidiary body of the Preparatory Commission. I can assure him of the EU’s full support and cooperation. The EU expresses its appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports, and you, Mr Chairmen, and the PTS for preparing this meeting.

3. The Integrated Field Exercise 2014 was the largest and the most technologicaly advanced simulated on-site inspection exercise ever conducted by the CTBTO. The EU expresses its gratitude to Jordan for hosting this Exercise and, in so doing, once again demonstrating its strong and long-standing support to the CTBT. The IFE14 marked a key milestone in the development of the CTBTO verification regime and was a major step for further advancing towards OSI operational readiness. We commend the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff and all international experts involved for a job well done. The successful Exercise will help us with the promotion of the ratifications of the Treaty. It also demonstrated the organisation’s ability to effectively monitor the compliance with the Treaty.

4. The EU attaches particular importance to the thorough evaluation of the Exercise. We noted the report on the preparation and conduct of the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise, published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1311. In this context, we look forward to the reports from the evaluation process and expect the detailed technical and highlevel findings to play a leading role in shaping the future OSI action plan which would focus on the priority actions needed to further develop operational OSI capabilities. The approach used in the Build-up Exercises and the IFE14 itself provides a solid basis for the future evaluation of OSI exercises. We welcome the development of the Evaluation Information Management System and encourage the PTS to develop this system further, learning the lessons from its application during the IFE14. We would also encourage a training and knowledge management plan where experiences from those who participated as inspectors of the Exercise can be recorded and used to shape future training cycles.

5. The EU thanks the PTS for its document CTBT/PTS/INF.1312 which updates States Signatories on the current status of the CTBTO's Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) and encourages it to continue exploring all options to find an efficient and cost effective solution to this matter as soon as possible. We have been informed that constructive talks are taking place in this regard. We believe that a long-term solution needs to be found to this issue taking into account the unique requirements of the OSI Division, such as radionuclide calibration, testing and training of staff and rapid deployment.

6. It is of the utmost importance that the investments already made in the CTBTO verification regime are protected and sustained, that the installations under way are completed, and the stations built are certified. We have noted the installation and certification programme in 2015 and 2016 and are entirely supportive of the proposal. In addition, we are very pleased to learn that Ecuador and CTBTO have recently concluded a facility agreement. This fully opens the way to the establishment of two additional IMS stations, namely infrasound station IS20 and radionuclide station RN24, on the Galapagos Islands. We also noted the report on the status of PTS work on the IMS stations and radionuclide laboratories published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.142/Rev.36 and the progress reported therein, and encourage further efforts in improving the International Monitoring System. Thanks to this progress, it is now harder than ever for any State to conduct a nuclear explosive test without being detected by the International Monitoring System.

7. Station reliability continues to be essential. We highlight the importance of the efforts for the re-establishment of the hydro-acoustic station HA04 near Crozet Islands.

8. The EU supports efforts that lead to increased data availability, and we call on State Signatories to provide data to the CTBTO from all the installed stations that they host. We believe that all tools that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

9. We are pleased at the progress being made towards moving the IDC from Phase 5a to 5b and we look forward to working together on this subject. Regarding delays of delivery in IDC Reviewed Products, we encourage the PTS to continue to ensure that the quality and timeliness of the Reviewed Products are upheld, given these are a core part of the verification regime. In this context, we welcome the news that PTS is recruiting additional staff. Finally, we would also encourage preparation for Global Communications Infrastructure 3 (GCI3), and look forward to discussing this topic at the 45th session of WGB.

10. The EU emphasises the importance of security of supply of radiomedical isotopes, and acknowledges at the same time the need of minimising the interference of xenon radioisotope releases with global radioactive monitoring activity. We encourage the PTS to work closely with States Signatories and other International Organisations, in particular the IAEA, on this subject. We also encourage expert participation of all States at the upcoming 5th Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production Conference (WOSMIP), to be held in Brussels (Belgium) in May 2015.

11. The upcoming Science and Technology 2015 Conference will be an important milestone in further building and strengthening the CTBTO’s relationship with the scientific and research community. We look forward to the participation of a broad community of scientists, technologists, academics, representatives to the CTBTO's policy-making organs and agencies involved in research and development in areas relevant to the Treaty’s verification regime.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

12. I would like to confirm that the EU will continue to strive towards strengthening of the verification regime of the CTBTO, to build support for the universalisation of the CTBT and to further enhance the prospects for the entry into force.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

EU Statement on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 782, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome today's speakers Mr Thomas Göbel from the Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany and Dr Niklas Schörnig from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and thank them for their enlightening presentations on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS). We are also grateful to the Mongolian Chairmanship for having brought once again the issue of new technologies to the FSC agenda.

Discussions like this are useful indeed as they help reach a better understanding of an issue of great complexity, including of its politico-military, legal, ethical and humanitarian aspects. Important questions, though, still remain. For instance, alongside their comparative military advantages LAWS raise numerous questions such as their compatibility with international human rights law and humanitarian law as well as their possible impact on arms control regimes.

We welcome therefore discussions in the framework of the UN Certain Conventional Weapons Convention and look forward to the Informal Meeting of Experts on LAWS in April in Geneva with a view to further enhancing our common understanding of this important issue.

Coming back to the FSC day-to-day work, we are of the opinion that MC decision 10/14 provides a good basis for boosting relevant OSCE norms and activities, including in the field of SALW and conventional arms control, through improved implementation and increased coherence and complementarity with commitments related to the UN framework.

In this respect, the European Union recalls that the Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force on 24 December 2014, is a landmark in the international security agenda and needs to gain universality and full implementation. We see an important role for the OSCE to this end on the basis of the provisions of MC decision 10/14.

In conclusion, we would like to once again express our gratitude to today's speakers for their contribution to achieving a harmonised approach to an important matter.

EU Statement in Response to H.E. Mr Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1043, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes H.E. Edward Nalbandian to the Permanent Council today and thanks him for his presentation.

2. Your Excellency, your visit comes at a time when we are confronted with the most serious challenge to European security in decades. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine have seriously violated the basic OSCE principles and commitments.

3. The EU remains committed to strengthening the security of the whole OSCE region. We believe that it is essential that we achieve tangible progress towards the resolution of the protracted conflicts. In this context, the situation in the South Caucasus remains of great concern and has direct implications for the security and stability of the whole region.

4. We therefore strongly support a peaceful resolution to the long standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to step-up their efforts to conduct comprehensive negotiations to find a lasting settlement. We support the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in trying to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We join the call of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, reiterated by President Hollande at the Paris summit, in encouraging both sides to make progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement and to prepare the populations for peace. We note with interest the recent statement by the Minsk Co-Chairs which referred to potential next steps towards a settlement, as well as preparations for a future presidential meeting later this year.

5. We would further encourage the parties involved to take steps which will contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, including through confidence-building measures in support of and fully complementary with the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. On this basis, the EU has been supporting and promoting such confidence-building measures across the conflict divide and we invite the parties to also cooperate with the EUSR. We would encourage all sides to continue to discuss with the International Committee of the Red Cross issues related to persons who were missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call upon both Armenia and Azerbaijan to fulfil their commitments undertaken in the framework of the Minsk Group, to show readiness to compromise and engage in dialogue, and to refrain from any rhetoric or action that could heighten tension.

6. In this context we remain concerned about the serious incidents along the Line of Contact and along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We urge the sides to redouble their efforts to avoid such incidents in the future. We also reiterate the call of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries on both sides to settle pending humanitarian issues. We reiterate our support for the regular monitoring activities of the Personal Representative of the CiO, Ambassador Kasprzyk and his team, the HLPG, and for efforts to put in place a mechanism to investigate incidents along the front lines.

7. We would also like to encourage Armenia to continue to cooperate with the OSCE, including through the Office in Yerevan, which is providing valuable assistance to Armenia to implement its OSCE commitments. 

8. The EU notes the progress achieved in implementing reforms, while at the same time encouraging Armenia to accelerate reforms in specific areas, notably democracy and the rule of law, anti-corruption, human rights and fundamental freedoms, constitutional and judicial reforms. We would also like to draw attention to the important role of civil society and the need for reform of the electoral system. The EU is concerned about recent pressure on prominent members of the opposition in Armenia, and hopes that the government and opposition parties can work together productively to strengthen Armenia’s democratic institutions. In this regard we encourage the Government of Armenia to continue to work with ODIHR to address the issues raised in their election observation reports. We also reiterate our concern over the lack of results in the investigation of the March 2008 events.

9. The EU also wishes to stress the need to assure freedom of expression and of the media and reiterates its concern regarding cases of harassment and attacks against journalists, issues which have also been raised by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

10. We look forward to further developing our relationship with Armenia, including through launching negotiations on a new EU-Armenia agreement. The EU will continue to help Armenia implement the political and economic reforms the people of Armenia desire.

11. In conclusion, we would like to thank H.E. Edward Nalbandian for his address to the Permanent Council today.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 782, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. We stress that only the full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution of the crisis which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

We note reports by the SMM that the ceasefire is largely holding with the exception of some areas in the Donetsk region, notably in and around Donetsk airport, east of Mariupol and north of Debaltseve. In this context, we are deeply concerned by the SMM assessment that fighting near Mariupol could be part of the Russia-backed separatists' attempts to take control over this strategically important port city. We recall that any such attempts will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

Reports from the SMM of continued obstructions to its freedom of movement, including of several instances in which the SMM was prevented from monitoring and verifying the withdrawal of heavy weapons and of serious threats to SMM observers give rise to  grave concern and are unacceptable.

We remind once again that the strict, comprehensive and sustainable compliance with the ceasefire regime and the verifiable withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential for the successful implementation of the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk. The SMM was entrusted under the Minsk agreements to play a crucial role in this respect. We therefore strongly urge all sides to fully cooperate with the SMM to fulfil their tasks and mandate, including by providing the requested baseline information that would allow the SMM to monitor and verify the withdrawal of heavy weapons, ensuring unconditional and unrestricted access of the SMM to the areas under their control as well as providing the SMM personnel with the necessary security guarantees.

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains of paramount importance.

Furthermore, we note the continued presence of heavy military equipment in areas

controlled by the separatists. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

Only words matched with deeds will in the end bring real hopes of a political solution to this conflict. The European Union stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue. We draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 4 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

Mr Chairman,

We have closely followed the discussion, including at last week's AIAM, on the recent Vienna Document inspections to Russia. We have noted with concern the reports about flight restrictions applied by the Russian side during the inspections. Despite the explanations provided to this effect by Russia, we remain unconvinced that, under such circumstances, the genuine purpose of the inspections that is to alleviate security concerns stemming from Russian unusual military activities along the border with Ukraine has been met.

Cooperative spirit and good faith have no alternative in rebuilding trust and confidence

greatly affected by crisis situations. We note as a positive example in this context developments on the demining in the village of Kominternove which supports the security and safety of civilians and the process of confidence building. In a complementary sense, we strongly appeal to all participating States to make full use, both in letter and spirit, of the OSCE politico-military toolbox.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian

Federation to do likewise.

Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Statement of the European Union and its Member States

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

[alignment clause to be added – once statement is agreed among EU28, it is sent around to candidate and other partner countries for alignment]

We are approaching the end of a long and fruitful negotiation process.

The Hyogo Framework for Action agreed 10 years ago has been instrumental in supporting global, regional and national efforts for disaster risk reduction.

It is now time to set the world on a clear course for enhanced disaster resilience. We must keep high our ambition for the post-2015 Framework for Action as a key element for sustainable development.

This is what the Sendai conference needs to aim at. It is our collective responsibility.

The post 2015 framework should be universal and based on shared responsibility. The EU is ready to play its full part in such a new global partnership, together with all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.

It also needs to demonstrate our strong commitment to risk management and vulnerability reduction as critical components of human rights protection, poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies. But this is also a more cost-effective use of our funds: every euro invested in disaster risk reduction saves between four and seven euros of disaster response.

In international cooperation, development and humanitarian aid we have taken concrete measures to increase coordination, thus ensuring capacity-building and making resilience a priority in our work in all third countries most vulnerable to natural hazards.

At EU level, last year we revised our civil protection legislation with a very strong focus on preparedness and prevention policy and action. We are committed to the development of risk and risk management capability assessments. We have also integrated risk management measures in a number of key EU policies and financial instruments.

At this stage of the negotiations, we would like to convey the following main observations:

Firstly, the focus on effective implementation will be vital for the success of the new framework.  This should take place mostly at the country level, although national efforts can be reinforced also through cooperation and partnerships at regional and global levels. In this regard, regional inter-governmental organisations should play an important role to support efforts to implement the new framework.

We would like to reiterate the importance of the new framework of delivering results and measuring progress; to this end the EU has been supporting action-oriented targets linked to the priorities of action.

Transparency and accountability will be important as well as good governance, at all levels, as well as a comprehensive monitoring of all actions, which will be needed to ensure an effective use of resources and a greater focus on impact.

Secondly, we support a strong focus on the integration of disaster risk management within all national development policies, economic and financial strategies, research programmes, and multilateral and bilateral assistance programmes. In order to implement planned measures effectively and efficiently, the local and community level has to play a pivotal role in all parts of the disaster management cycle.

It is also crucial to ensure a joint approach with climate change adaptation and a strengthened focus on reducing the underlying risk drivers and building the resilience of ecosystems.

Thirdly, it is vital that the new framework addresses vulnerabilities and needs and harnesses the potential of civil society. It should also integrate gender, age, and disabilities for a more inclusive disaster risk management.

Fourthly, we have been advocating in the course of negotiations for a framework factoring in conflict and fragility, technological risks, emerging risks, and global shocks and stresses such as food and nutrition insecurity and epidemics.

Fifthly, we support the need for a more effective investment in disaster risk management. The new framework should also clearly emphasise the contribution of disaster risk management to innovation, job creation and sustainable growth

The mobilisation of all resources as well as their effective use will be vital for the successful implementation of the framework. We need to make sure that the Financing for Development negotiation track set for July, in Addis Ababa remains the main forum to settle these issues.

Finally, several concomitant milestone events will take place in the next months  leading to global frameworks that will define our collective priorities for years to come. The succession of, inter alia, the Sendai Conference, the July Addis Conference, the September Post-2015 Summit and the December Paris Climate Conference, as well as the World Humanitarian Summit next year offer the international community a great opportunity to ensure a coherent international framework for action.

This should be further reflected at operational level and will involve coordinated action and advocacy to partners and stakeholders across these processes.

All countries have shared challenges in the face of disasters and the Member States of the EU are not spared. Ownership at appropriate levels will be of key importance for the implementation of the framework.

The EU and its Member States are determined to continue playing an active role in the implementation of the new framework and stand ready to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with all partners and stakeholders. 

EU statement on the Ratification by Mongolia of Two Key Human Rights Conventions, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement issued by the spokesperson for the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini on 20 February regarding the ratification by Mongolia of two key human rights conventions:

2. "Mongolia's recent ratification of both the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is an important step in promoting and respecting human rights at the international, regional and domestic level. The EU stands ready to assist Mongolia in the full implementation of these key human rights instruments.”

3. The EU calls upon states that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocol and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as a matter of priority.

4. Although all OSCE participating States have now ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, much remains to be done in terms of making its provisions a reality. We therefore hope the issue of torture will remain high on the OSCE's agenda.

EU statement on ODIHR/VENICE Commission Guidelines on Freedom of Association, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw attention to the launch in Geneva today of the guidelines on Freedom of Association developed jointly by ODIHR and the Venice Commission.  We pay tribute to the excellent work done by the group of experts that prepared the guidelines. 

2. We very much welcome these guidelines and see them as an important and timely contribution in a context where international standards and commitments in relation to freedom of association are increasingly being undermined.

3. The right to the Freedom of Association is an essential prerequisite to any democratic society and facilitates the fulfilment of many other rights including freedom of expression.  But there has been a disturbing trend in some OSCE participating States that has seen the space for independent civil society restricted by legislation and policies that impede and control the enjoyment of freedom of association.  The consideration and enactment of laws that restrict access to foreign funding for NGOs and label them as foreign agents is one the most worrying examples of such restrictive measures.

4. We therefore welcome the inclusion in the joint guidelines of a set of guiding principles and note that they recall important obligations including states’ duty to not only protect, but also to facilitate the exercise of freedom of association. The guiding principles also highlight the importance of associations being free to seek, receive and use resources.

5. Mr Chairman,

The European Union recognises that the joint guidelines are neither legally binding nor negotiated by consensus. They are however rooted in OSCE commitments and international law and standards. It is in that spirit that we encourage all participating States to welcome such documents as a source of reference, guidance and practical advice to aid the implementation of our common commitments.

6. In conclusion, we recall the draft Ministerial Council Decision on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and the Freedom of Association in the OSCE Area that we tabled prior to the Basel Ministerial Council meeting.  We were pleased that the draft received the co-sponsorship of over 40 participating States and will continue to promote the adoption of a decision on this topic. These joint guidelines are an important addition to our draft initiative. We look forward to further discussing these issues at the first Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting next month.

EU statement on the murder of Boris Nemtsov, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union strongly condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, former Governor of Nizhny Novgorod and one of the leaders of Russia's liberal opposition. He was killed just before a demonstration which he was organising against the effects of the economic crisis and the conflict in and around Ukraine. In the event, the planned demonstration became a commemorative march which attracted tens of thousands of Russians who marched through Moscow in a show of protest.

2. Boris Nemtsov was a strong advocate for a modern, prosperous and democratic Russian Federation, open to the world. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and the Russian people.

3. The EU urges the Russian authorities to conduct a full, rapid and transparent investigation into this assassination, bringing the culprits swiftly to justice. We would appreciate if the Russian delegation could provide the Permanent Council with regular updates on the investigation of the murder.

EU statement on the Abduction by Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. Exactly six months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the Estonian-Russian border. His abduction and continuing illegal detention in Lefortovo prison constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

2. The EU remains seriously concerned about the conduct of the court proceedings in respect of Mr Kohver. His illegal pre-trial detention has been extended until 5 April. Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive appropriate legal aid by the attorney appointed by Russian authorities. We are particularly disturbed about the order of an unfounded psychiatric examination, the details of which still remain unknown.

3. Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue. We call once again on the Russian Federation to act according to its international obligations and release Mr Eston Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia.

EU statement on recent political developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union expresses its deep concern at the current political situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The latest political developments raise serious issues such as the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedom of media, which are core values of any democratic society and are at the heart of the EU and its accession process.

2. We call on all political actors to act responsibly and cooperate, in good faith, to overcome the current impasse, restart a political dialogue, and restore trust in the institutions. In the interest of their citizens, the country’s leaders must now act and focus together on the strategic priorities of the country.

3. The EU is deeply concerned at indications of wide-spread illegal surveillance of citizens, including civil society and journalists, as the Representative on Freedom of the Media has also expressed. We join the calls for the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to ensure that the content and substance of the allegations are fully and transparently investigated, with full regard for due process and the principle of presumption of innocence.

4. Finally, the EU draws the attention to recurring incidents of hate speech in the media in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The EU is very concerned about the further deteriorating situation as regards freedom of expression and of media in the country.

EU statement on the Parliamentary Elections in Tajikistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union takes note of the preliminary findings and conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament's International Election Observation Mission to the Tajikistan Parliamentary Elections of 1 March 2015.

2. The strong turnout in the election demonstrates the commitment of the people of Tajikistan to the democratic process. Nevertheless, the preliminary conclusions of the election observers state that the 1 March parliamentary elections took place in a restricted political space and failed to provide a level playing field for candidates.

3. Although the government had expressed its ambition to hold democratic elections, and some improvements were made to the electoral law, restrictions on the right to stand, freedoms of expression and assembly, and access to media limited the opportunity to make a free and informed choice.

4. The EU welcomes the will of the Tajikistani authorities to have a large presence of national and international observers. 

5. We call on the Tajik authorities to effectively address the restrictions and irregularities mentioned in the OSCE/ODIHR preliminary statement. The EU stands ready to assist Tajikistan in its efforts to bring the election process into line with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. We welcome reports by the Special Monitoring Mission that the ceasefire is being largely respected in most areas along the line of contact. Full respect for the ceasefire is a basic precondition for the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements as outlined in the Minsk package of 12 February. We regret instances of ceasefire violations, including near Mariupol and Donetsk airport. We note SMM’s assessment that attacks on government controlled towns east of Mariupol may indicate an attempt to test the eastern defences of the city. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

2. The SMM has observed movement of some heavy weapons from both sides of the line of contact. In this context, we deeply regret that the SMM has not received the baseline information that would allow the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the provisions of the Minsk package. Without this there is a risk that heavy weapons might be relocated and be included in a new military build-up. Therefore, the SMM must continue to insist on receiving this information which we call on the parties to provide without delay. Even if heavy weapons are withdrawn outside the ‘security zone’, verification must be ensured. We note with regret that Russia has still not replied to the letter of Ambassador Apakan of 13 February. Attempts by Russia and the separatists to have the SMM confirming a withdrawal, without giving the SMM the information and unconditional access to verify this, are clearly unacceptable.

3. We continue to note the continued presence of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists.  We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. We underline that there is a close link between sanctions and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. We reiterate our strong support for the SMM. Its role has become even more vital as we rely on the SMM to facilitate the implementation of key aspects of the Minsk agreements. We need a robust SMM working at full capacity and with full and free access to independently monitor and verify developments, without any external pressure, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. We call on all sides to provide security and safety and access for SMM monitors. We reiterate our support for an extension of SMM’s mandate and look forward to an early decision on extension. The EU stands ready to further support the SMM, including through financial and operational contributions. The SMM is a collective OSCE endeavor and this should be fully reflected in the funding arrangement.

5. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship.

6. Mr Chairman, we continue to closely follow the media coverage of the crisis in and around Ukraine. We are very concerned about the use of propaganda in Russian state-owned media outlets that fuel hatred and extremism. The ongoing information war must stop. We share the concern expressed by the Representative on Freedom of the Media in regard to limitations on Russian media outlets and on some Russian journalists working in Ukraine. We note the observation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about continuing attacks on journalists in Ukraine, in particularly in eastern areas controlled by armed groups and in Crimea. The death of a Ukrainian photojournalist in the Donetsk region on 28 February is another stark reminder of the alarming security situation for journalists covering the conflict.

7. In its ninth report, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine again presents the outstanding and emerging human rights challenges in the eastern regions of Ukraine, and in illegally annexed Crimea, as well as other parts of the country. We note the observation that in areas controlled by the separatists “parallel structures” have been established and the break down in law and order in these areas accommodates persistent violations of the rights of civilians, including abductions, arbitrary detention, beatings and alleged torture. We also note that the situation in Crimea continues to be characterised by systematic human rights violations affecting mostly Crimean Tartars and those who opposed the so-called March “referendum”.

8. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

9. 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 Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to yesterday’s statement by High Representative Federica Mogherini on the continued detention of Nadiya Savchenko: 

2. `Today, a Moscow court rejected another appeal from Nadiya Savchenko against her illegal detention by the Russian Federation, introduced in reference to her immunity as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a decision earlier today in Strasbourg by an overwhelming majority calling for her urgent release.

3. Ms Savchenko has now been on hunger strike for 82 days. After such an extended period of time, she faces permanent damage to her health, or death. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has called again for her urgent release to preserve her life.

4. Once again, I add my voice to all of those calling on the Russian authorities to urgently release Ms Savchenko on humanitarian grounds. I also call for the release of Oleh Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.  This would be in keeping with the recently agreed "Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements" and the commitment to release all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine’

Problem of the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Statement on the occasion of the Special segment on the preparations for the UNGA Special Session on the World Drug Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

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

2. UNGASS 2016 will be a prominent platform and a very useful opportunity for the international community to take stock of the achievements of the international drug control system to date, to elaborate on the immense challenges that remain in the global, local and national response to the world drug problem and to find workable, operational and sustainable solutions for the longer term within the framework of the international treaties.

3. 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. 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 challenges that remain and possible solutions that respond to the evolving nature of the problem.

4. We appreciate the efforts undertaken 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. GA Resolution 69/200 invites all relevant UN agencies and bodies to contribute fully to the preparations for UNGASS and we welcome their active role.

5. We welcome the consensus for a strong engagement of the NGOs in all debates. We also support the proposal of a formal civil society hearing prior to UNGASS, the outcomes of which should contribute to the UNGASS processes.

6. As far as the draft agenda of UNGASS 2016 is concerned, we support the proposal to have a three-day Special Session and 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.

7. 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, namely civil society and scientific community.

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

Mr. Chairman,

9. The EU and its Member States believe that the outcome document of the high level workshops to be discussed at UNGASS 2016 should consequently include the following recommendations:

a. UN Conventions which provide the international legal framework for addressing the drugs phenomenon and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are the cornerstone of the global response to the world drug problem. The drug control treaties must be acknowledged and respected in developing and implementing national drug policies and laws, as well as regional and international programmes;

b. the key objective of the international drug control system is to protect public health, to protect citizens against social and societal damage caused by drug use to tackle marginalization and stigmatization and to contribute to reintegration in society. In this sense, dependant drug users should be considered as people who need treatment and care. These objectives can be achieved by improving the implementation of provisions agreed upon the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem;

c. an effective drug policy should be based on a global and a balanced approach, comprising drug demand reduction, including prevention, treatment, risk and harm reduction and care, and drug supply reduction, including prevention and dissuasion and disruption of drug-related crime as well as international cooperation;

d. the initiatives of developing methods aiming to achieve experience based knowledge and evidence in order to attain a measurable reduction in illicit supply and demand of drugs as well as drug related harm should be welcomed and supported, if these initiatives are undertaken in line with the principles of an integrated and balanced strategy to counter the drug problem, international law and common and shared responsibility;

e. the new challenges such as the spread of non-scheduled new psychoactive substances for the purpose of consumption by humans, the use of new technologies in drug trafficking and related money-laundering, and the growing use of substitute or alternative precursor chemicals used to replace traditional precursors under international control must be addressed internationally under the framework of international drug control policies;

f. civil society, including the scientific community, has much to offer and can facilitate the works of policymakers and represents a valuable asset in terms of their field knowledge, resources and commitment. Therefore their meaningful participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug demand reduction policies should be promoted and encouraged;

g. there is a need for full implementation of the relevant international legal instruments related to the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to life, and the inherent dignity of all individuals, when addressing the world drug problem, assessing current policies and elaborating national and international solutions;

h. from the perspective of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the absolute priority is the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including for drug-related crimes, as well as the abolition of other practices which are not in line with the principles of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights;

i. there is an urgent need for improving access to and availability of controlled medicines, and avoiding unnecessary obstacles to access to essential medicines, as a result of the response to illicit drug trafficking, by looking at possible obstacles within the framework of the Conventions, by supporting the development of health systems, and stressing WHO's important role to strengthen health system capacity globally;

j. drug demand reduction should be based universally on effective, targeted and efficient evidence-based programs and best practices in prevention, early detection and intervention, access without discrimination to treatment, therapeutic plan, risk and harm reduction services, social reintegration and recovery; whenever new methods or approaches are tested in order to gain evidence on the effectiveness of such new services human rights and the protection of human dignity shall be duly respected;

k. the general requirements of best practice are high level of coverage, easy access to services, continuity of care over different settings, and patient satisfaction;

l. the drug problem has a gender dimension that must be highlighted both regarding drug demand and supply reduction;

m. national drug strategies should guarantee access to prevention, risk and harm reduction, diagnosis, treatment, care, support services relating to blood-borne diseases associated with drug use but not limited to HIV and viral hepatitis for dependent drug users, taking into account the humanitarian interventions outlined in the technical guidance documents of WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS;

n. facilitating access to research, evaluation and monitoring findings is vital to ensure that well-informed decisions are made on priority measures to be taken and interventions to be implemented;

o. These findings are required to provide policymakers and the professionals working in the drugs field with solid information on evidence-based interventions and best practices in the diverse and complex field of drug use;

p. the application of contemporary practices based on the principles of “restorative justice” and “alternatives to coercive sanctions” will bring significant benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, in both public health and society as a whole;

q. strengthening of international cooperation to prevent and counter drug- related organised crime, including drug trafficking, should be promoted by:

- intelligence-sharing and the exchange of best practices;

- strengthening counter-narcotics capacity and developing expertise of origin and transit countries;

- working with international partners to tackle drug trafficking;

- implementation of law enforcement and judicial cooperation mechanisms and mutual legal assistance instruments applicable to drug trafficking and related crimes;

- promoting closer cooperation between existing law enforcement coordination centres and platforms;

- further developing of multi-disciplinary training and awareness activities at national, regional and international level;

- improving the technical capacity of Judges, Public Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Officials in the field of drugs as well as creating, strengthening and developing the mechanisms for the identification, freezing, seizure and confiscation of property obtained through or derived from drug trafficking and related crimes;

r. alternative development measures should be promoted as a long term approach to tackle the root causes of drug crop cultivation such as poverty, weak statehood, lack of food security, poor infrastructure and limited access to sales markets for licit products, lack of access to land, lack of technical capacity to grow alternative crops, local conflicts and violence;

s. alternative development proves to be successful and sustainable if the corresponding programs are non-conditional, non-discriminating and, if eradication is scheduled, properly sequenced;

t. there is a need for strengthening of cooperation between financial institutions, regional banks, development organizations and UN specialized agencies so that alternative development becomes part of the sustainable development agenda.

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

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Statement on the occasion of the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union1.

2. Let me start by welcoming you, Ambassador, as Chair of the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which takes place one year before UNGASS, and which dedicates almost 4 days to the special segment on UNGASS preparations. We are confident that under your able guidance, we will successfully accomplish our work. I would like to assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the full cooperation of the European Union in carrying out your work.

3. We played an active part in the mid-term review, which took place last year, and we will continue providing active contribution to deliberations this year. Our contribution will be guided by the principles that are essential for the EU and its Member States, in particular respect for human rights, maintaining a balanced, comprehensive, and evidence-based approach and an integrated gender perspective, as well as ensuring an active role for civil society. We underline that the three international drug control conventions, as well as international human rights law continue to provide the cornerstone for addressing the world drug phenomenon.

4. Since 2009, much progress has been made to address the world drug situation, but the problem is not solved. Too many people still lose their lives; too many people suffer from the consequences of drug abuse or trafficking. No country or region is immune to this problem.

5. Within the CND special segment on UNGASS, we should have an open debate on challenges and appropriate solutions taking into consideration different policy options at national and regional level and ensuring coherence and success at global level through full respect for human rights, international law, the three international drug control conventions, and relevant political documents, such as the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. In this regard, it is important to note that the international drug conventions are focused on public health, are human rights centred, and flexible.

6. The EU is committed to contribute to this debate in line with the principles enshrined in the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020.

7. An essential principle for the EU is the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights. The EU is opposed to the use of measures of any kind that are not respectful of the human being. In this regard, we oppose the death penalty in all cases and without exception including for drug-related offences, and we are consistently calling for its universal abolition. We call upon states that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing it.

8. The EU Drugs Strategy fully respects the three International Drug Control Conventions, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and UN political documents, such as the UN Political Declaration and Action Plan on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, the UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, and the Joint Ministerial Statement of 2014.

9. Evidence shows that a strict balance between drug demand and drug supply interventions is vital to ensure the effective implementation of the international drug control system. In this regard, in order to avoid drug interventions having limited impacts, and sometimes unintended consequences, we should consolidate the evidence base of our policies.

10. We consider that demand reduction policies, to be effective, should cover a range of equally important and mutually reinforcing evidence based measures such as prevention, early detection and intervention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and recovery.

11. The EU Drugs Strategy underlines the importance to raise awareness about the risk of using illicit drugs, as well as new psychoactive substances, within the scope of existing prevention programmes. Prevention measures should include early detection and intervention, promotion of healthy lifestyles and targeted prevention directed also at families and communities.

12. We support risk and harm reduction as one of the mutually reinforcing health interventions in the context of an integrated health care approach. Both our experience and the objective, regular evaluation of the outcome and impact of our policies, have proved that in Europe, risk and harm reduction interventions have been successful, by helping reduce the spread of infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis) and the number of drug-related deaths.

13. Evidence has made risk and harm reduction a principle that is accepted by all 28 MS of the EU and enshrined in our common drug strategy. Risk and harm reduction measures are also successfully implemented by many other countries around the world and we hope to see this more widely acknowledged.

14. There are other important issues that must be carefully considered while addressing drug demand: the spread of new psychoactive substances, the misuse of and dependence on prescribed medicines, the need to increase focus on drug-use related harms (e.g. morbidity, mortality and co-morbidity, HIV, Hepatitis C), the need to boost evidence gathering, research, sharing and introduction of best practice and standards in order to expand and develop demand reduction interventions and services in each country.

15. With regard to supply reduction, which is one of the main pillars of the EU Plan of Action, we reaffirm the need to contribute to a disruption of the illicit drugs market and a measurable reduction of the availability of illicit drugs and to continue to prevent the diversion of drug precursors.

16. We reaffirm the need to enhance capacity-building and strengthen the measures in place to combat money laundering and improve judicial cooperation within a comprehensive approach to dismantle criminal organisations, and to better align legislations and practices, with full respect of human rights. In this regard, the European Union underlines the importance of the full and universal implementation of the UNTOC and the Protocols thereto as well as of the UNCAC.

17. Stronger interregional exchange of information and international cooperation, such as in the framework of the FATF, is necessary to facilitate the confiscation of proceeds of drug-related organised crime and criminal asset recovery and for hindering the use of tax havens by criminal organizations.

18. We consider it a priority to enhance development-oriented approaches to tackle the root causes of illicit drug cultivation in the long term, implement measures of rural development, strengthen governance and institutions, improve access to legal markets and infrastructures and to promote the participation of local communities. Therefore, multilateral and bilateral development agencies should be encouraged to participate in the design and implementation of alternative development policies and projects. The EU is very active in this field and funded and implemented successful projects in several countries.

19. We remain concerned by the latest negative trends mentioned in the INCB Report, including the rapid emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances. 4

20. We stand ready to work with the international community to tackle the emergence and rapid spread across the world of those new psychoactive substances which are posing a serious threat to public health and therefore are a source of great concern.

21. Sharing information and best practices, acknowledging and recognising evidence at international level is essential, as is international cooperation.

22. The EU reiterates the active and meaningful involvement of civil society, including scientific community, non-governmental organisations as well as young people, people using drugs and clients of drug related services in the development and implementation of drugs policies at national, EU and international level. Within the review process of the world drug policy we underline the important role of civil society and of the scientific community in providing relevant evidence to policy-makers.

23. The European Union and its Member States are also long standing strategic partners and supporters of UNODC drug projects and programmes, which are focused on both demand and supply reduction measures. In terms of supply reduction, we support the projects and programmes in the fields of law enforcement capacity-building, criminal justice system reform, implementation of UNTOC and UNCAC, border management, anticorruption, maritime security and alternative development.

24. The EU submitted two draft resolutions:

-L.5 Promoting the role of drug analysis laboratories worldwide and reaffirming the importance of the quality of the analysis of such laboratories;

-L.6 Promoting interventions on production of young people and children with particular reference to the sale of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances over the internet.

We would be grateful for the support of the Member States for these draft resolutions.

Mr. Chairman,

25. We are fully committed to taking part in the preparations for UNGASS 2016, and we will deliver a separate statement on UNGASS preparations later today. We will address other agenda items at appropriate times.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 6c: International Narcotics Control Board – Part I, Statement on the occasion of 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Mr. Chairman,

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

2. The EU would like to thank the International Narcotics Control Board for its 2014 Annual Report, containing its analysis of the drug control situation worldwide.

3. The European Union is firmly opposed to the use of the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances. We very much appreciate that the report in its foreword addresses the issue of death penalty and encourages those States which retain and continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences to consider abolishing the death penalty for such offences. We are of the opinion, that it is a duty of the INCB to tackle this issue and to express its objective evaluation.

4. We appreciate that the Report underlines the respect for human rights norms and has a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach in addressing the world drug problem. This Report highlights that the ultimate goal of the drug control conventions is to ensure the health and welfare of mankind.

5. The issue of availability of intentionally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes is a key topic for the CND. We appreciate that the INCB Report confirms the importance ensuring that controlled substances are available for medical and scientific purposes, while reaffirming the importance of tackling the illicit production of, and trafficking in drugs.  We highlight the importance of the drug control system, in particular the scheduling. However various inefficiencies in dealing with scheduling requirements imposed by the three drug control conventions may result in decreased clinical use of controlled substances. In this respect we agree with the Board that the situation could be substantially improved through corrective action by States parties to address the regulatory, attitudinal, knowledge-related, economic and procurement-related problems identified as the main causes of inadequate availability of opioids. We welcome that the INCB collects the data on availability of drugs for medical and scientific purposes.

6. We share the view expressed in the INCB Report that socioeconomic aspects as poverty, food insecurity, economic inequality, social exclusion, are some of the factors that have an impact on both the supply and demand sides of the world drug problem, affect the interaction between both sides, and are important drivers of the drug phenomenon.

7. We have to express our concerns on the latest negative trends mentioned in the Report, including the rapid emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances. The UNODC early warning advisory on NPS identified 388 unique substances on 1 October 2014, as 11 percent increase from the 248 substances reported in 2013. The EU's Early Warning System identified 101 substances in 2014 in Europe, the number has doubled in the last 4 years. Some of these substances may have disappeared from the market in the meantime, but they could be quickly substituted. The lack of data is a problem when discussing NPS. According to UNODC, no scientific articles are available for over 50% of known NPS. However, existing evidence such as that assessed by the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence shows that some new psychoactive substances present a substantial risk to public health. More information is crucial to determine the potential harm of new psychoactive substances and to take evidence-based decisions in order to protect public health. We commend the work of the INCB’s NPS Task Force and the UNODC Global SMART programme for their efforts on this important issue.

8. The EU is committed to bilateral and regional cooperation at a political level, such as the Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the EU; increased judicial cooperation and; developing a shared evidence-base, including through cooperation between the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and other national and regional observatories. We will continue to further strengthen such dialogue and cooperation with third countries and international organisations in a comprehensive and balanced manner.

9. The EU underlines that international drug control must be carried out in conformity with the UN Charter and with full respect for human rights. The EU is committed to ensuring that the protection of human rights is fully integrated in our political dialogue with third countries as well as in the implementation and delivery of relevant technical cooperation programs and projects in the field of drugs, funded by the European Union and its Member States.

10. The EU encourages the active and meaningful participation and involvement of civil society, including non-governmental organisations and the scientific community, as well as young people, people who use drugs, and clients of drug-related services, in the formulation, development and implementation of drugs policies at national, EU and international level.

Mr. Chairman,

11. The EU also takes on board the need to raise awareness about the risk of using new psychoactive substances, as well as illicit drugs, within the scope of existing prevention programmes. Prevention measures should include early detection and intervention, promotion of healthy lifestyles and targeted prevention (i.e. selective and indicated) directed also at families, schools and communities.

12. We are committed to investing in effective risk and harm reduction measures aimed at substantially reducing the number of direct and indirect drug-related deaths and infectious blood-borne diseases associated with drug use, including, but not limited to, HIV and viral hepatitis as well as sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.

13. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I would now like to hand over to my colleague from the European Union, who will complete this statement by speaking on the subject of precursor control.

EU Statement on the Abduction by Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer

Six months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the border with Russia. His abduction and continuing detention constitute a violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

In addition to his illegal detention, Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive appropriate legal aid. We are particularly disturbed about Russia's demand that he undergoes a psychiatric examination, the details and reasoning of which remain unknown.

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

EU Statement at the Opening Session, OSCE 25th Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting, Vienna, 3 - 4 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the 25th Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting (AIAM). Since our last AIAM the crisis in and around Ukraine continues to raise concerns about the European security situation.

We take this occasion to reiterate once again that the only way out of the crisis is a

sustainable political solution which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We strongly support the Package of Measures adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk and urge all sides to implement fully and without delay the Minsk agreements. Full cessation of the hostilities, strict and comprehensive compliance with the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons as agreed to in Minsk are of vital importance.

Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine challenge the security system, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, thus making clear that security and stability in Europe cannot be taken for granted. Additionally, Russia’s actions in and around Ukraine have put into question key elements of the conventional arms control (CAC) and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) regimes in Europe.

The Russian aggressiveness in Ukraine while raising concerns also underscores the potential value of CSBM and CAC agreements when countries comply with their commitments and obligations and implement them fully and in good faith. In particular, the crisis in and around Ukraine is yet another reminder of the urgent need to modernise the Vienna Document so that it better addresses the current European security environment.

We recall that the very purpose of the Vienna Document is to build confidence and security to give 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 and sovereignty of States. The importance of such instruments could not be greater in the context of fast evolving and deeply disturbing events in Ukraine.

The 25th AIAM comes a few months after the Basel Ministerial Council where for a third consecutive year no consensus has been reached with regard to the draft decision on Issues Relevant to the FSC, missing thereby an opportunity to underscore and give further impetus to the process of revitalisation, updating and modernisation of CSBM and CAC regimes. Nonetheless, we still consider enduring commitments on CAC and CSBM regimes as set out in Astana, Vilnius and other relevant OSCE documents, to be not only a valid basis for the FSC’s work in 2015 but also in need of further progression.

We believe that in such circumstances respecting and modernising the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area is an urgent task to be pursued in a priority manner. Hence, this year's AIAM has the potential to enlighten us on the way ahead and we are looking forward to a constructive debate among delegations, guided by the moderators' inspiring Food-for-Thought papers and supplemented by practical examples of implementation.

We would also like to reiterate our readiness to pursue both a pragmatic and forward looking approach in the process of modernisation of the Vienna Document on CSBMs with the aim of ensuring increased military stability, transparency and predictability for all participating States and to rebuild confidence lost during the ongoing crisis. In this context, it is our firm opinion that lessons should be learned in view of alleviating Vienna Document's possible shortfalls in addressing crisis situations.

We look forward to a fruitful 25th AIAM under the Chairmanships of the Hungary and Ireland within the framework of FSC Decision 7/14, and to beneficial discussions among delegations.

We would like to ask you Mr Chairman to attach this statement to the journal of AIAM.

Agenda item 5a: Strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems,Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2 - 6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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 would like to commend the Director General, the Secretariat and the Department of Technical Cooperation for preparing the proposal for a Technical Cooperation Project on “Strengthening Africa’s Regional Capacity for the Diagnosis of Emerging or Re-emerging Zoonotic Diseases, Including Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and Establishing Early Warning Systems” as contained in document GOV/2015/11.

3. The EU and its Member States welcome the participation of the IAEA, within its mandate and through its TC Programme, in the global effort called for by the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In this regard, we would like to express our appreciation for the activities conducted so far by the Agency in order to strengthen the capacities of countries in the region for rapid and effective EVD diagnosis by means of nuclear-derived diagnostic assay techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

4. The EU and its Member States have so far pledged around €1.2 billion to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We would also like to mention that [today/tomorrow] [on 3 March], the EU, together with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations, is holding a major international conference on Ebola in Brussels.

5. The EU welcomes further efforts and initiatives, such as The Global Health Security Agenda, aimed at enhancing the overall capacity for an early diagnosis of zoonotic diseases under adequate biosafety conditions, and at improving national and regional mechanisms for disease prevention and control, as in the case of the proposed TC project.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6d: 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, 2 - 6 березня 2015 року

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/2015/15 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 25 February.

Madam Chair,

3. The EU fully supports the on-going diplomatic efforts by the E3/EU + 3, to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue. We welcome the confirmation in the DG's report that Iran has continued to implement the measures required of it under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). We note the expiry of the extended JPA on 30 June 2015, and the commitment by all parties to reach a comprehensive solution within the agreed timeframe.

4. The EU continues to support fully the Agency in its efforts under the Framework for Cooperation (FfC). During the talks on 7 and 24 February between the DG and the Iranian Foreign Minister, and the DG and the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister respectively, there was agreement on the importance of continuing the dialogue between the Agency and Iran at all levels. We note that the DG also stressed the need to resolve, as soon as possible, all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme.

Madam Chair,

5. The EU deeply regrets that there has been no progress regarding the resolution of possible military dimensions since the DG's previous report: Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the two outstanding practical measures in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation, relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations; and, despite invitations to Iran by the Agency on several occasions to propose new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, Iran has not proposed any new measures.

6. The EU continues to share the Agency’s concern, highlighted in the report that the activities at the Parchin site are likely to have 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 at the Parchin site. The EU once again urges Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and to make rapid and substantive progress on all outstanding issues under the Framework for Cooperation, including by the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran, as requested by the Agency.

Madam Chair,

7. The EU fully endorses 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. As stated before, we welcome the confirmation in the report that once the Agency has established an understanding of the whole picture concerning all issues contained in the Annex to GOV/2011/ 65, the Director General will report on the Agency's assessment to the Board of Governors.

8. 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, as confirmed in the DG's latest report, 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, Madam Chair,

9. 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 essential and urgent 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, Madam Chair.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne sur la Tunisie, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. Monsieur le Président, à l’ occasion de la première réunion du Groupe de Contact avec les pays partenaires de la méditerranée, l’Union européenne veut saisir l’occasion pour féliciter sincèrement la Tunisie pour le progrès accomplis depuis les élections présidentielles et la formation du nouveau gouvernement.

2. L’UE salue l’engagement démocratique et le sens de responsabilité du peuple tunisien, de l’ensemble de la classe politique et de la société civile, qui ont su préserver un esprit de dialogue visant á assurer le succès de ce processus.

3. A cet égard, nous rappelons les déclarations de l’ Haute-Représentante de l’UE pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Madame Mogherini à l’occasion de sa récente visite en Tunisie. « Le chemin parcouru par la Tunisie en 2014 est sans précédent. Cet exemple peut inspirer et susciter ailleurs l’espoir de plus de liberté et de démocratie. L’UE est décidée à soutenir les Tunisiens dans la poursuite de leurs objectifs: consolider les acquis démocratiques, assurer la sécurité dans le respect des libertés fondamentales, et entreprendre les réformes socio-économiques nécessaires pour faire de la Tunisie un pays plus prospère et plus juste».

4. La Tunisie, monsieur le Président, peut compter sur le soutien de L’Union européenne pour continuer les réformes et renforcer le Partenariat privilégié UE-Tunisie.

EU Statement on Combatting Terrorism in the Mediterranean Region, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. The EU strongly condemns the recent attacks carried out by terrorist groups and individuals, including the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the attacks in the Libyan town of Guba and Tripoli, as well as the murder of 21 Egyptian nationals in Libya. We express our condolences to the families of the numerous victims. Those who have committed these attacks must be held accountable for their crimes.

2. The EU is concerned by evidence of increased activity of terrorist and extremist groups in Libya and recognizes the potential threat that these groups present to the country, region and the EU. The HRVP Mogherini underlined in her statement on 20February, that "Terrorism in Libya can only be defeated through the political and institutional determination of a united Libyan government. The Libyan parties should not miss this last chance, as the window of opportunity is rapidly closing." The EU is convinced that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya. We reiterate our support for the ongoing UN-led talks and the efforts made by the UN Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León.

3. As decided by the European Council on 9 February, the EU's external action will be stepped up, as a matter of urgency, on countering terrorism in particular in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa. Counter-terrorism will be mainstreamed fully into EU foreign policy.

4. In this regard, the EU will be implementing several initiatives in the course of 2015, such as capacity-building projects and activities, which will be launched with interested Middle Eastern and North African countries. They will address issues such as law enforcement, criminal justice and security sector reform, including crisis infrastructure, crisis and emergency response, border control and aviation security. Further, counter-terrorism action plans with Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Jordan will be developed, including on measures to dissuade and disrupt foreign terrorist fighters' travel as well as to manage their return.

5. We need to put more emphasis on the prevention of terrorism, in particular countering radicalisation, on recruitment, equipment and financing of terrorism, and address underlying factors that provide opportunities for terrorist groups to flourish.

6. In this context, the EU reiterates its strong support to the declarations made at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel on foreign terrorist fighters and kidnapping for ransom, as well as relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, and calls on all countries to take the necessary measures to ensure their swift implementation with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

7. We will continue working together with the international community, including all Mediterranean partners, and recall our continued support for the OSCE's role in the global fight against terrorism. 

EU Statement in Response to the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, Dr. Rubina Möhring and Dr. Mansour El-Ganady, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. Warm welcome to our Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, and to Dr Rubina Möhring of Reporters without Borders and Dr Mansour El-Ganady to this meeting. We are pleased that representatives of civil society and of the media are participating in our meeting. We also thank the RFoM for her engagement on the issues of today’s agenda: her voice for freedom of expression is more needed than ever.

2. The appalling attacks in Paris and Copenhagen are an assault on our core values, including the fundamental right to freedom of expression and of the media. The international solidarity shown to France, and to Denmark, in these difficult times show that the protection of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression can be a uniting force. We were brutally reminded that terrorism is a global threat. No country in the world can ignore the risks of violent extremism.

3. We live in a global world, where local phenomena easily cross border. We can, and must work together to counter violent extremism and stand up for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy. We must all take action to ensure an open public debate and a free flow of information and ideas, where differences are resolved by arguments and counter arguments, rather through violence and repression.

4. Respecting, promoting and protecting the right of every individual to freedom of expression must not be seen in contradiction to values of tolerance and the prevention of radicalisation. Instead, freedom of expression is a vehicle for achieving inclusive societies. Free media can play a crucial role in promoting tolerance and countering extremist ideas that may lead to violence and radicalisation. EU responses to radicalisation pay particular attention to the role of the media as a key factor in enhancing dialogue with relevant partners and stakeholders. Fostering media literacy and crucial thinking among youth is an important aspect in the prevention of radicalization. In our partner countries, the EU supports initiatives, including improving the media and education capacities to counter radicalising ideologies.

5. When under attack, it can be tempting to restrict freedom of expression and of the media. Such restrictions of rights must, however, never put into jeopardy the right itself. This has been underlined repeatedly by the UN Human Rights Council. We are, ourselves, struggling with these issues, and find the input and support of the RFoM particularly useful in this regard. We also look forward hearing the views of our partners.

EU Statement on Reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the endorsement by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 23 February of the Written Commitments to undertake institutional, political, economic, and social reforms. This is a first, important step, in order to regain momentum in the reform process.

2. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini addressed the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the endorsement of the Written Commitment and underlined that this is an historical opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

3. The European Union underlines the need to maintain this positive momentum  and calls upon the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with early development of an initial agenda for reforms, including on issues related to economic and social measures, a functioning market economy, strengthening the rule of law and the process of reconciliation, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a deepening administrative capacity and so to improve the efficiency of institutions at all levels.

4. The implementation of the initial reform agenda by Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to be key. The European Union stands ready to continue supporting reforms and progress and reaffirms its commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on recent developments in the Nadia Savchenko case.

2. The abduction, illegal transfer to and illegal detention in Russia of Nadia Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is unacceptable. We are extremely concerned about the health of Nadia Savchenko after 75 days of hunger strike to protest the terms of her illegal detention.

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia, as also foreseen in the package of measures agreed in Minsk. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. 

EU Statement on Russia's Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union strongly condemns the terrorist attack that killed at least four persons in Kharkiv on 22 February. This was an atrocious attack on a peaceful march commemorating the anniversary of the events of February 2014. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

2. Mr Chairman, full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all signatories remains the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as confirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2202. We welcome the Normandy format ministerial meeting held in Paris on 24 February 2015 and support efforts in this format to work on implementation of the Minsk agreements.

3. We strongly condemn that the attacks by Russia-backed separatists have continued in parts of eastern Ukraine, notably in Debaltseve, despite agreement on a ceasefire. The SMM’s consistent reports of ceasefire violations near Mariupol, as well as in other areas, are also of great concern. We call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments made and to stop the inflow of fighters and military equipment from Russia. Further attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory in eastern Ukraine will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict.

4. Full respect for the ceasefire is a basic precondition for the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements as outlined in the 'package’ of 12 February. We continue to note the many observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. We hope that the signing of a plan of withdrawal of heavy weapons will soon result in further progress on the ground as foreseen in the Minsk package. But we note the comments of the Chief Monitor, in his latest report on implementation of the package, on the continued need for the SMM to receive detailed information to support implementation. We call on all signatories to provide the SMM with the support and information needed to fulfil its task under the Minsk package, including what heavy weapons they have, where these weapons are now, which routes will be used for the withdrawal and where they will be located after the withdrawal. We note with particular concern that the so-called LPR has so far only expressed an intention to comply with its undertakings in Minsk. We regret that one signatory, the Russian Federation, has not yet replied to the letter of Ambassador Apakan of 13 February. We further regret the unhelpful and unfounded criticism of the SMM by the Russian Foreign Ministry in its statement of 25 February.

5. We also expect an immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE and disarmament of all illegal groups. We welcome the latest exchange of detainees as a first step towards the release of all detainees as also foreseen in the Minsk package. As part of this process, we urge Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian citizens illegally held in Russia.

6. We recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that, as we discussed earlier today, a so-called ‘humanitarian convoy’ from Russia has recently again entered Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. Mr Chairman, the SMM has a vital role to play in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The EU reiterates its support for an extension of the SMM’s mandate, and stands ready to further support it, including through financial and operational contributions. We are concerned about the frequent reports of SMM monitors being denied access and threatened by separatists. We call on all sides to ensure security and safety and unrestricted access for SMM monitors. We also call for unrestricted access for the SMM UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia.

8. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role. We also reiterate our support for the efforts of the Chairmanship. We have noted previous statements by the Chair and believe that acts such as those committed by the Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve deserve a very strong condemnation.

9. 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 in Response to the Report by the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, Mr Paul Picard, back to the Permanent Council. We thank him for his report.

2. Despite its, unfortunately, very limited mandate and small size, the Mission continues to make observations at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints that provide the ever growing body of evidence of far-reaching and ongoing support for the separatists being provided from Russia, and Russia’s deliberate de-stabilisation of eastern Ukraine. We note the regular reports of a high number of people crossing the border wearing military-style clothes. And we note the reported transfers of ambulances and “Cargo 200” lorries through the checkpoints, indicating the return to Russia of military personnel killed in action.

3. We note the reports of Russian so-called humanitarian convoys crossing the border at the Donetsk checkpoint without inspection by Ukrainian authorities, including the latest on 20 February that arrived without prior notice. These convoys continue without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. We recall that the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

4. We regret that Russian officials, fully aware of the limited mandate of the mission, continue to suggest that the mission’s reports confirm that no Russian troops or military equipment cross the border. We know that this is not true.

5. Mr Chairman, recent developments have once again underlined the importance of border monitoring which is closely interlinked with ceasefire monitoring. Border monitoring is especially important in view of reports about the continuing influx of military equipment and personnel entering Ukraine from Russia. We would like to reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state 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 package includes a commitment to re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border. We likewise recall that the Minsk-Protocol called for effective monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE.

6. We therefore continue to call for a significant expansion of the Observer Mission to all border crossings not currently under the control of the Ukrainian Government as well as full monitoring of the areas between border crossings. This should be supported and coordinated with border monitoring on the Ukrainian side of the border by the SMM.

7. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation continues to prevent a meaningful expansion of the Observer Mission. We likewise regret that the Russia-backed separatists continue to prevent the SMM from gaining full access to the border. We once again call upon Russia to bring its influence to bear upon the separatists to ensure a full implementation of the commitments assumed under the Minsk agreements.

8. We call on Russia to provide, without delay, the Mission’s members with the appropriate privileges and immunities.

9. We once again thank Mr Picard and his staff for their excellent work. We wish Mr Picard every success in his future endeavours. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report of the OSCE Head of Mission to Serbia, Ambassador Burkhard, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The EU and its Member States would like to welcome Ambassador Burkhard to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report, which provides detailed insight into the activities of the Mission across its mandate, with clarity where the opportunities and challenges lie.

2. Since Ambassador Burkhard’s last report there have been positive developments for Serbia and in the region, including the agreement in Brussels two weeks ago on the judiciary in the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, and the start of Serbia’s Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE. Serbia’s continued commitment to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue - notwithstanding a slowing of progress in the 2014 due to elections on both sides - has helped ensure its recent reinvigoration, and we look forward to progress in completing the implementation of the normalisation agreement of April 2013, as well as in reaching and implementing further agreements in the near future. We encourage Serbia to continue to coordinate with ODHIR to address the recommendations in ODHIR’s final report on the March 2014 parliamentary elections, as well as outstanding issues from the ODHIR report on the 2012 elections.

3. Mr Chairperson, we welcome that the Government of Aleksandar Vučić has renewed Serbia’s commitment to economic and political reforms, and 2014 saw considerable activity in that regard. We look forward to the opening of Chapters for Serbia’s EU accession as soon as the necessary conditions are in place, particularly Chapters 23 and 24, which will tackle the core issues of rule of law and fundamental rights and Chapter 35 which is linked to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. But we note Ambassador Burkhard’s concern that the Government has not consulted widely or inclusively enough on the new laws and reforms, and we encourage Serbia to adapt its approach accordingly as it tackles future reforms. These remain particularly important in the areas of anti-corruption, the fight against organised crime, the economy, public administration and ensuring an effective, independent judiciary.

4. Serbia will also need to refocus its efforts in ensuring that the implementation of new media legislation contributes to the full enjoyment of freedom of expression and allows independent media to thrive. In that regard we note that the European Commission progress report on Serbia found conditions for the exercise of freedom of expression to be deteriorating. It is therefore important for the Mission to work on media freedom and freedom of expression issues as a priority, while fully respecting the mandate and autonomy of the Representative for the Freedom of Media. We welcome the steps that have been taken by the government of Serbia to improve dialogue and cooperation with the Representative.

5. Mr Chairperson, the OSCE Mission to Serbia continues to add considerable value in assisting Serbia to consolidate reforms, which help it move along the path towards EU integration. We welcome the niche projects that the Mission is implementing in a number of sectors, and the positive impact stemming from these. We also welcome the Mission’s focus on regional cooperation – a priority of the Serbian Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, for example the regional approach to organised crime with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. We would be interested in hearing Ambassador Burkhard’s view on how Missions in the region can facilitate further cooperation, and in what specific areas – for example foreign terrorist fighters and illegal immigration.

6. We welcome the Mission’s continuing engagement with national minorities, especially through its presence on the ground in south and south-west Serbia. We fully support the Mission’s intention to focus on implementation and reform of legislation relating to national minorities during this mandate, and underline the importance of upholding international standards for the non-discriminatory treatment of persons belonging to national minorities and protection of vulnerable groups throughout Serbia and protection of their rights. We regret that negotiations in south Serbia between ethnic Albanian leaders and the central government on the seven point Common Agenda have stalled and underline the continuing importance we attach to making progress on the Agenda. We welcome that the Pride Parade took place without major incident on 28 September, which was an important milestone in ensuring the protection of all minorities in Serbia.

7. Mr Chairperson, we underline that for all field operations effective evaluation is essential to ensuring the efficient use of resources, and that their activities remain results oriented and add value. We note the efforts of the Mission to Serbia to focus on results and follow-up, and we encourage the Mission to increase these efforts, to ensure that all activities and reporting are representative of a culture of evaluation and lessons implementation in the Mission. To that end, we would be grateful if Ambassador Burkhard could highlight some of the key impacts of the Mission’s programmatic work during the reporting period.

8. Finally, we once again commend the work of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić in his first two months as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage Serbia to use the rest of its Chairmanship to continue to promote peace, security, reconciliation and implementation of OSCE commitments across the OSCE region, and we trust that the Serbian Chairmanship will lead by example. Serbia can expect the continued support of the EU and its Member States in that regard.

EU Statement on UNSC Resolution 1325 implementation, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 781, Vienna, 25 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Mrs. Karin Nordmeyer and Ambassador Miroslava Beham to the FSC and thank them for the interesting and comprehensive presentations. This exchange of views illustrates once again the unique cross-dimensionality of the Women, Peace and Security-agenda and gender perspectives as a crucial component of security. We are convinced that security dialogues of this kind are needed in order to improve the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the OSCE area.

We therefore welcome continued discussion among participating States in line with relevant OSCE commitments undertaken by all participating States, inter alia, in Vilnius, Kyiv and Basel. In our view, one of the focus areas for this continued interest is the voluntary reporting on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325 as part of the information exchange on the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

As all EU Member States have voluntarily committed to such an enhanced reporting we call on participating States to consider acceptance and concrete implementation of this initiative. However, we would like to reiterate 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.

We welcome the recent OSCE Study on National Action Plans on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325. Its analysis and recommendations provide a useful tool for the OSCE to consider further possibilities and action for implementing UNSCR 1325.

One of the areas where the goals and principles of UNSCR 1325 should be firmly anchored is OSCE-led mediation efforts. We are looking forward to an exchange of views on how the OSCE could improve its activities in this regard.

We are pleased that the FSC was able to agree upon the importance of including Women, Peace and Security in the MC decision 10/14 on SALW and SCA adopted in Basel 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 all politico-military commitments.

The European Union is committed to the full implementation of UNSCR 1325. We have adopted a Comprehensive Approach to the EU implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 in 2008, as well as a set of indicators to monitor progress of implementation in 2010. Actions have already been undertaken by the EU to promote women's equal and full participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The EU also supports the inclusion of gender experts in mediation efforts. In 2015 we will refresh the EU indicators to improve their effectiveness and we will proceed to our third reporting cycle. We would be ready therefore to share relevant experience, in particular on the concrete implementation follow up tools that have been adopted by the EU Council during the last years.

We are convinced that UNSCR 1325 with its cross dimensional nature has an important role to play in all dimensions of the OSCE work – especially in the politicomilitary dimension - and needs to be implemented in a holistic and comprehensive manner. As a regional security organisation the OSCE has a major part to play in this regard. In particular, we would like to express our support for the upcoming OSCEUN regional consultation in Vilnius to discuss the progress of UNSCR 1325 implementation in the OSCE area.

Furthermore, we wish to reiterate our support to the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. We also look forward to meaningful discussions on an Addendum to the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, as tasked by the Basel Ministerial Council. Additionally, we underline the importance of implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and other OSCE commitments on these issues.

Finally, we would like to thank once again our quest speakers. We look forward to next discussions on issues related to Women, Peace and Security in the FSC.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 781, Vienna, 25 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. Full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution of the crisis which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. In this context we welcome the adoption of UNSCR 2202. The EU also welcomes the latest meeting of the foreign ministers in the Normandy format with a view of ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Minsk agreements.

We note that the ceasefire is largely holding. At the same time, we note with deep concern that despite the ceasefire in place fighting persists in several areas in Donetsk and to a lesser extent in Luhansk region due to continued attacks by the separatists militarily supported by Russia. We strongly condemn the actions by the Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve which are a clear violation of the ceasefire and call upon all sides to stop the hostilities without delay.

The European Union keeps noting evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia's responsibility. Russia and the separatists have to immediately and fully implement the commitments agreed to in Minsk, starting with the respect of the ceasefire.

Only words matched with deeds will in the end bring real hopes of a political solution to this conflict. The European Union stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue. We call for immediate access of the SMM to assume their monitoring and verification functions in and around Debaltseve and to any other site the Mission needs to go.

Enabling SMM to carry out their tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, remains of crucial importance for the successful implementation of the Minsk agreements.

In this context, we recall the urgency of making full use, both in letter and spirit, of the OSCE politico-military instruments in order to ensure a tangible contribution to the peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine through cooperative dialogue and increased level of military transparency and stability, especially in the areas along the state border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We reiterate the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its border and permanent monitoring by the OSCE. We call on the Russian Federation to respect this. We welcome the initial exchange of prisoners which took place on the 21 February in line with the Package of Measures adopted on 12 February.

We draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 20 February in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition  of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

Agenda item 3: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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 would like to thank the Secretariat for the technical briefing on 17 February on the Nuclear Safety Review 2015.

3. Nuclear safety is of particular importance for the European Union, where 131 nuclear power plants are in operation, together with many other nuclear installations. On the basis of nuclear stress tests carried out on nuclear power plants in 2011 and 2012, of the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and of the safety requirements of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association and the IAEA, the EU amended its Nuclear Safety Directive in 2014, confirming its commitment to continuously improve nuclear safety of all nuclear installations.

4. The EU and its Member States acknowledge the central role of the Agency in strengthening the global nuclear safety and security framework and we welcome the Agency’s holistic approach to this.

5. We continue to support the Director General in encouraging all Member States to become Contracting Parties to the Conventions related to Nuclear Safety. If they have not yet done so, we urge all countries operating a nuclear power plant or embarking on a nuclear programme to become Contracting Parties to these  Conventions, and in particular to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention without delay. We encourage Contracting Parties and the IAEA Secretariat to promote full participation in the peer review process of these Conventions.

6. The Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety have just held a Diplomatic Conference to consider the proposal by Switzerland to amend Article 18 of the Convention. The ambition of the EU and its Member States was to reach consensus on the introduction of the high-level nuclear safety objective contained in this proposal in the provisions of the Convention. The EU and its Member States participated very actively in the discussions over the last year, which resulted in the adoption by consensus of principles for the implementation of the objective of the Convention on Nuclear Safety to prevent accidents and to mitigate radiological consequences. Through the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety adopted on 9 February 2015, the Contracting Parties have committed to ensuring that new nuclear power plants are designed and constructed following more stringent safety objectives and to periodically review and continuously improve the safety of existing plants through necessary safety upgrades. We will give serious attention to the implementation of the Declaration by all Contracting Parties, in particular during the next review meetings of the Convention.

7. We recall the request made to the IAEA Director General by the Diplomatic Conference to transmit the Declaration to the Commission on Safety Standards for the consideration, with the four Safety Standards Committees under its aegis, of the technical elements contained therein with a view to incorporating them as appropriate into the relevant IAEA Safety Standards.

8. We look forward to the publication in 2015 of the IAEA’s Comprehensive Report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This will be an important document in the process of drawing lessons learned from the accident. The EU and its Member States have provided both in-kind and financial support to this important work.

9. We also continue to look forward to an evaluation by the Secretariat on how effective all activities under the Nuclear Safety Action Plan have been in improving nuclear safety.

10. We welcome the further strengthening of the IAEA Safety Standards during the reporting period, in particular through the revision of the six Safety Requirements submitted to this Board. We recommend the adoption of these Safety Standards and their prompt publication by the Secretariat.

11. We urge all IAEA Member States to make full use of the Safety Standards, and to undertake self-assessments and request targeted training, as appropriate. The EU and its Member States take full advantage of the Agency’s Safety Peer Review Missions, and we encourage all IAEA Member States to request such missions, in particular the IRRS and OSART missions, and to develop effective Severe Accident Management Guidelines, as proposed by the IAEA.

12. Managing the safety aspects of ageing research reactors in operation is an increasing challenge. It is of the utmost importance that periodic safety reviews are carried out on these reactors to identify and implement safety improvements.

13. We welcome the Agency’s focus on external hazards in site evaluation for nuclear installations, and encourage all States considering the construction of a new NPP to request the Agency's Site and External Events Design review service without delay.

14. Under the EU Directive on radiation protection, EU Member States are developing national action plans. The IAEA International Basic Safety Standards, which were co-sponsored by the European Commission, served as a helpful reference document to adopt this Directive in 2013.

15. We welcome the continued interest in, and the support for, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and its Supplementary Guidance on their Import and Export. We thank the IAEA for the organisation of a successful Open-ended Meeting in October 2014 to Develop Internationally Harmonized Guidance for Implementing the Recommendations of the Code in Relation to the Long-Term Management of Disused Radioactive Sources. We recall the consensus of the 166 representatives from 73 Member States expressed during this meeting to support the approach and the proposed format of the draft guidance on the management of disused sources. The representatives had further recommended that the Secretariat submits this report to the Board of Governors for its information and direction on the way forward. However, the guidance was not put on the agenda of this Board. We would like the Secretariat to provide some clarifications on its plan for the finalization and adoption of the draft guidance.

16. EU–IAEA collaboration in Radioactive Waste Management, including disused sealed sources, in spent nuclear fuel management, and in decommissioning and remediation programmes, was reinforced in 2014 by a 1.2 million Euro cooperation agreement signed by both parties. We continue to call on the IAEA to work on harmonising trans-border issues concerning scrap metal containing radioactive material.

17. As many Member States are still building their regulatory infrastructure and are requesting assistance and additional support, the EU has prioritised assistance to Nuclear Regulators and Technical Safety Organisations through its Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. Through this instrument we will support third countries with 224 million Euro over the period 2014 to 2020.

18. The EU and its Member States will continue to work towards improving nuclear safety, including through our support to the Agency.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6e: Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

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 update on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic.

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, Madam Chair, 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, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 8: Any Other Business (INC), Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6c: Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

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 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. The DPRK's continued development of its nuclear weapons programme, coupled with threats to conduct a fourth nuclear test in violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions represent 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 nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in violation on UN Security Resolutions. The EU also deplores the DPRK's continuous provocative launches of Short Range Missiles, the most recent of which took place in February 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.

Madam Chair,

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 the Agency has observed, through satellite imagery, ongoing activities at various locations within the Yongbyon site, which 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, Madam Chair, 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, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 8: Any other business - Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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 NPT 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 dest 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, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 4: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications: Nuclear technology review 2015, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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 would like to commend the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the draft report on the Nuclear Technology Review 2015 (GOV/2015/8 and GOV/2015/8Corr.1). The EU also thanks the Secretariat for the technical briefing organised on 17 February. Taking this Report into account, we would like to highlight a few areas of activity for particular comment.

3. We welcome the activities of the Agency to foster the applications of radiation and nuclear related techniques to eradicate poverty and hunger worldwide, including through its technical cooperation program, hence contributing to the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda. These include (i) improving soil management and land resources and water management, (ii) increasing crop and livestock production through breeding, nutrition and disease control, (iii) encouraging the use of digital imaging technology for cancer diagnostic, (iv) controlling insect pests and harmful algal toxins and (v) safely irradiating food products to reduce their spoilage. Many of these activities contribute to sustainable food security while mitigating climate change by reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

4. The EU also commends the Agency in aiding the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases, especially after the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa. Through its Technical Cooperation programme, the Agency contributed to tackle these major challenges, by helping countries to develop or strengthen national and regional capacities and networking in the application of rapid nuclear-derived diagnostic techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The EU would welcome an update of the Agency Programmes for the upcoming years.

5. As the Director General recently recalled, each country is free to decide whether or not to include nuclear power as part of its own energy mix. The EU notes that the IAEA document “Climate Change and Nuclear Power” (2014) states that nuclear power is one of the low carbon technologies that can contribute to reducing Green House Gas emissions. This message is consistent with the communication from the European Commission entitled “a policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030”.

6. Effective knowledge management and capacity building, through coordination of teaching and training, are key elements in the performance and safety of nuclear programmes. We welcome the International Conference on human resources and capacity building organised by the Agency in May 2014 and we commend the creation of the International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR) designation programme, for which some members of the EU shall soon apply. The EU continues to sponsor the work of associations and networks such as the “European Nuclear Education Network” (ENEN) or the “European Human Resources Observatory in the Nuclear Energy Sector”, open to the public since 2011. In October 2014, the second report on the “situation of human resources in the nuclear energy sector at the EU and international levels” was published. The EU also highlights the importance of promoting capacity building for newcomers and for countries wishing to expand their nuclear programmes by making them effective actors.

7. The EU appreciates the efforts made by countries planning to introduce nuclear power or to extend their domestic nuclear programmes to implement Safety Standards. We commend the countries that have hosted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission (INIR) in 2014, and encourage all newcomer countries to use IAEA review services such as INIR, Site and External Events Design (SEED) and Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS). In the light of the post-Fukushima accident, we welcome the International Conference organised by the Agency in cooperation with the European Technical Safety Organisations Network in October 2014.

8. We welcome the efforts of the Secretariat to set up a LEU Bank in Kazakhstan and we are looking forward to the early conclusion of the Host State Agreement. The EU has contributed 20 million and pledged up to another 5 million to this project.

9. In 2011, the European Union adopted a Directive strengthening the framework for responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, including a requirement for peer reviews. Since then, the European Union, its national regulators and industrial actors have worked together with the IAEA, helping to develop the integrated review service for radioactive waste and spent fuel management, decommissioning and remediation (called ARTEMIS). Several EU Member States have volunteered to be a candidate for the first peer reviews. In this context, the European Union will continue contributing to efforts in this field, encouraging others to follow.

10. The EU would like to recall its concern about the Nuclear Energy (NE) Series Document publication procedures, so as to ensure the strict compliance of these documents with IAEA Safety Standards. We welcome the upcoming updated publication procedure of NE Series documents.

11. The European Union and its Member States have already a significant level of decommissioning experience, yet we believe further work is needed to better understand the techno-economic, safety, resources and knowledge management dimensions of decommissioning programmes. We are keen therefore to step up cooperation with our international partners in this field, and have conveyed this message to the Agency.

Finally Madam Chair,

12. The EU would like to share its concern about the difficulties observed in recent years in the supply of medical radioisotopes. Our institutions have undertaken several initiatives to improve the security of supply, including a European Observatory jointly established by the European Commission and industry representatives. Despite all the efforts, the current supply arrangements remain fragile because of possible unplanned outages of the production reactors and processing facilities. Therefore we call on all Member States, Regulators, the industry and the international organisations such as the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency and the IAEA to continue their efforts so as to ensure a sustainable supply of radioisotopes, applying proven robust and reliable nuclear reactor production methods and/or by exploring alternative technologies.

13. With these comments we take note of the draft report on the “Nuclear Technology review” as contained in GOV/2015/8 and GOV/2015/8/Corr.1.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 780, Vienna, 18 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. Implementation of the Minsk Package offers a way forward to a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful resolution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

We note that the ceasefire, which entered into force on 15 February, has been largely holding, as reported by the OSCE SMM, despite a number of incidents in some areas of eastern Ukraine. We remain extremely concerned about the continued fighting in and around Debaltseve where Russian-backed separatists are attempting to take control.

Moreover, we deeply regret that the SMM monitors have not been let through checkpoints near Debaltseve and Mariupol and were thus not able to report from there. This is unacceptable.

We urge all sides to the conflict to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Package and to carry out its measures without delay, in particular to stop their military operations, to observe a comprehensive ceasefire in all areas, including in Debaltseve, and to withdraw their heavy weaponry. All sides should refrain from actions that would hinder the full implementation of the Minsk Package. In this context, the European Union keeps noting evidence, including through SMM observations, of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia's responsibility in this regard.

We commend the urgent measures taken by the SMM in order to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and to adapt and adjust to the requirements of the Minsk Package in line with its mandate. There is indeed an urgent need to act now to enable the SMM to carry out its tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.

We continue to highly appreciate the timely and detailed reporting of the SMM of the security situation on the ground. We call on all parties to ensure secure and unrestricted access for the SMM's monitors and UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the areas along the state border with Russia. Special attention should also be given to gain immediate access to the Debaltseve area taking into account the precarious situation and present lack of situational awareness.

At this crucial moment, we recall once again the urgency of making full use of all multilateral instruments at hand, including these under the OSCE politico-military dimension of security, in view of supporting the efforts towards peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine by ensuring military transparency and stability, especially in the areas along the state border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We furthermore reiterate our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 15 February in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We reiterate our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We recall that the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on European Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 780, Vienna, 18 лютого 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to warmly welcome Mr Robert Bell, Senior Representative of the Secretary of Defence in Europe, to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank him for the insightful presentation of the US' views on European security.

There is no doubt that the European security is inseparably linked to the overall strategic landscape the only elements of which we can be sure of being, as stated by the EU High Representative a few days ago in Munich, complexity, conflictuality, interdependence. Europe’s security environment is evolving significantly, rapidly and dramatically. The crises around us, such as those in our immediate and wider neighbourhood are becoming more complex and more intense.

In this light, the security in Europe, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, is facing today the most serious crisis after the end of the “Cold War”. Trust and confidence have been profoundly challenged and undermined by Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine.

The adherence to and full implementation of all Helsinki principles and OSCE commitments in good faith, by all participating States and without exceptions, remain valid as the cornerstone of European security. Political will and result-orientated and cooperative actions are needed to reverse the negative trend of eroding trust that can be overcome only by restoring respect for the basic principles of the OSCE and by genuine, open dialogue.

In this context, we welcome all efforts to restore peace and security in and around Ukraine on the basis of the respect for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The agreement reached in Minsk on 12 February is a very important step in the right direction. However, its full implementation is even more important for restoring sustainable peace and stability on the ground.

European Union's response to the security challenges in Europe has been measured and firm, using a large toolbox of instruments ranging from political, economic, financial and technical support to action under EU's Common Security and Defence Policy.

However, little can be achieved alone. Close and systematic cooperation with the United Nations and other relevant international and regional organisations, in particular the OSCE, is the key to provide effective and sustainable responses to the rapidly evolving both in number and complexity security challenges we are facing today.

Especially, the strong transatlantic relationship remains of fundamental importance. The practical cooperation between EU and NATO has expanded significantly in the past few years, within the agreed framework of their strategic partnership and respecting the decision making autonomy of each organisation.

The cooperation with partner countries and their support for the EU crisis management efforts also remains of primary importance for us. In 2014, fifteen partner countries, among which twelve OSCE participating States, participated and deployed personnel in ten CSDP missions and operations.

Mr Chairman, the current security situation in Europe has underlined once again the value of the OSCE concept of comprehensive security. It has clearly shown that there can be no lasting security and stability without full respect for and strict implementation of all OSCE commitments across the three dimensions of security.

In this respect, we reiterate our strong belief that enduring commitments underlined by all participating States in Astana and Vilnius to revitalise, update and modernize the conventional arms control and confidence- and security-building regimes, in particular the Vienna Document, for ensuring stability, transparency and predictability should be pursued in a priority manner with the overall objective of enhancing the OSCE's conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities as well as the implementation of existing CSBMs. We support and will welcome revitalising the dialogue in this respect within both the OSCE and other relevant fora.

We remain convinced that lasting security in and for Europe can only be achieved through a collaborative effort of all participating states and a genuine commitment to the instruments of cooperative security

In conclusion, we thank once again the speaker as well as the FSC Chairmanship for having scheduled this important and timely discussion under the Security Dialogue agenda item.

EU Statement on the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1040, Vienna, 17 лютого 2015 року

The European Union condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this weekend’s attacks against a peaceful public gathering about freedom of expression as well as a synagogue in Copenhagen, killing two persons and leaving five police officers injured. Once again Europe is shocked by another brutal terrorist attack targeted at our fundamental values and freedoms. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Sympathy and solidarity have been expressed by leaders from around the world to the Danish people.

This is an attack on all open and free societies, on freedom of expression and on freedom of religion or belief. We will not be intimidated. We stand united with Denmark in upholding freedom of expression. We condemn all attempts to silence open public debate and all attacks on the Jewish community. It is a cornerstone of democratic societies that differences are resolved by arguments and counter arguments, and not through violence. The European Union will continue to promote these values, including within the OSCE.

The Candidate Countries the FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ICELAND+ and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, and the EFTA countries LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, GEORGIA, ANDORRA and MONACO align themselves with this statement.

* The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

EU Statement in response to OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ambassador Apakan, CiO Special Representative Ambassador Tagliavini, and ODIHR Director Link, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1040, Vienna, 17 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union thanks the speakers for their timely appearance before the Permanent Council. We welcome the start of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine as part of the “package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” agreed in Minsk on 12 February. We note from today’s briefing by Ambassador Apakan and from reports of the Special Monitoring Mission the assessment that the ceasefire is largely holding. However, we are extremely concerned about ceasefire violations in certain areas, in particular in and around Debaltseve where heavy fighting is continuing and Russian-backed separatists are attempting to take control. We urge the separatists to immediately halt attacks. We deeply regret that the separatists have denied SMM access to Debaltseve. This is unacceptable. The ceasefire must be respected throughout the area of conflict. Statements by representatives of the separatists that the ceasefire arrangement does not include Debaltseve are not in accordance with the agreement reached in Minsk. We expect Russia to exert its influence on the separatists to fully live up to their commitments made.

2. The Minsk package offers a way forward to a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful resolution to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, in full respect of international law and OSCE principles. It is based on the full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, as was declared by the Heads of State and Government. We urge all sides to adhere strictly to the provisions of the package and to carry out its measures without delay. All parties should refrain from actions that would hinder the full implementation of the Minsk package. In this context, we note the many SMM observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia’s responsibility. In this context, we recall that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its borders remains essential, as reiterated in Minsk. We likewise recall that the Minsk protocol calls for continuous monitoring of the border by the OSCE.

3. The SMM has a vital role to play in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk package. We commend Ambassador Apakan and his staff for responding quickly and for enhancing the SMM’s capacity in eastern parts of Ukraine. We call on all signatories to take action in line with the letter of Ambassador Apakan dated 13 February. That includes providing security and safety and unrestricted access for the monitors and UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. There is an urgent need to act now to enable the SMM to carry out its tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine. We note the request to participating States for additional specialized staff and equipment. We urge all participating states to respond quickly and generously. Rest assured that the EU will continue to strongly support the SMM. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide qualified staff, appropriate equipment and financial contributions.

4. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE-chairmanship. We commend Ambassador Tagliavini for her tireless efforts in facilitating the negotiations in Minsk. The Trilateral Contact Group must play an essential role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk package.

5. We welcome the comments made by ODIHR director Link and ODIHR’s stated readiness to monitor local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We underline the importance we attach to local elections based on Ukrainian law and OSCE standards.

6. We recall that the “package of Measures” agreed in Minsk calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on Sunday, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. 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.

Revised EU statement: Special Committee on the Charter, 17 лютого 2015 року

Mr Chair,

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

[Alignment Clause]

At the outset, we would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident in your ability to guide the Special Committee in its deliberations. We also take this opportunity to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting.

Mr Chair,

General Assembly resolution 69/122 of 10 December 2014 requests the Special Committee to continue its consideration of a number of proposals and issues.

With regard to the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”, we continue to firmly believe that sanctions remain an important instrument, under the Charter, for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security.

We recognize that the sanctions regimes adopted by the UN Security Council in recent years represent a shift from comprehensive to targeted sanctions and to this end continue to demonstrate that sanctions can be instituted in a targeted way to increase their efficiency and attain the agreed objectives while minimising their impact upon the well-being of the civilian population as well as upon third parties.

In this regard we note that the Secretary General in his report A/69/119 on the “Implementation of provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions” informs us that neither the General Assembly, nor the Economic and Social Council found it necessary in 2013 to take any action related to economic problems arising from sanctions affecting third States. The Secretariat also highlighted that no State had appealed to the UN for remedy and relief from economic problems relating to sanctions since 2003.

In the light of the findings of this report, we continue to hold the view that it is no longer relevant to study the question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions by the Special Committee. It should certainly not be a matter of priority for this Committee, as we do not see any concrete issues that would merit discussion.

We therefore suggest that the Charter Committee should reconsider whether to include in its agenda each year the item in paragraph 3(b) of Resolution 69/122, which addresses the effect of sanctions on third states. We are of the view that this item should not be considered by the Charter Committee more often than every three years.

Likewise, we also note that other items identified in the report of last year's session have been discussed for several years, but without any substantial progress or any likely agreement on concrete measures to be implemented.

More broadly, the European Union and its Member States continue to urge the implementation of the 2006 decision on reforming the working methods of the Special Committee, as also reflected by paragraph 3 (e) of resolution 69/122 of the General Assembly. This is indeed, as stipulated in this provision, a priority issue and we should work together to explore ways and means to achieve a better use of resources and of the meetings of the Committee. This could be done by reviewing all existing agenda items, looking into the usefulness of further discussing them, taking into account their continued relevance and the likelihood of reaching a consensus in the future, before examining proposals for new items, or by re-examining the duration of the sessions of the Committee.

We reiterate our readiness to engage constructively in this process.

On the question of an appropriate commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Charter, referred to in paragraph 5 of UNGA Resolution 69/122, we would appreciate any information that the UN Secretariat may provide in this regard.

Finally Mr. Chair, regarding the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council, we welcome the progress and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to reduce the backlog in the preparation of those two publications. We express our gratitude to the States which have made voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertory, and to the trust fund for the updating of the Repertoire, and encourage other Member States to do likewise.

I thank you, Mr Chair.

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, General Debate, UN, 17 лютого 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

[Alignment paragraph]

Let me first thank the President of the General Assembly and the Deputy Secretary-General for addressing this committee today. Their presence is also testimony to the fact that peacekeeping remains a flagship activity of the United Nations. It is an important tool paving the way for longer-term stability and development of countries emerging from a crisis.

Indeed, 2015 offers a great opportunity to shape the future of the global peace and security architecture. Over the years, the EU and its Member States have made important contributions to the guidance of UN peacekeeping, including through constant engagement in this committee. We continue to have a great interest in making UN peacekeeping even more effective and efficient. We are confident that the parallel reviews of peace operations, peacebuilding and SC resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security will provide strategic and operational recommendations that would be read in synergy.

Welcoming the increased attention given to the role of regional organisations in peacekeeping, the European Union will continue to look for ways to enhance our support to UN Peacekeeping. The EU welcomes the regional consultations conducted by the SG's panel for the review of peace operations and we look forward to an open and transparent consultation process. In view of the panel consultations in Brussels this week, the EU has internally agreed on a set of common priorities to be shared with the panel.

Madam Chair,

The protection of civilians remains one of the crucial dimensions of peacekeeping and often decisive for the success and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping operations. Failures and successes of the past must serve as lessons for the future. UN peace operations should play a critical role in assisting the host states in the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, as they are often in the frontline when a state is unable or unwilling to protect civilians from the risk of atrocity crimes. In this context, UN peace operations need to be staffed and equipped in a way that allows UN personnel to better interact with the local population and civil society organisations, including women’s rights based groups, with the overarching aim of responding to warning signals and reducing the risk of atrocity crimes. The implementation of the Human Rights up Front initiative should make a positive contribution in this regard.

We need to focus further on the implementation of PoC mandates by the missions on the ground. In order to succeed, peacekeeping operations need to be equipped with clear, coherent, concise and achievable mandates. The mitigation of civilian harm should be an integral part of UN peace operations' mandates. Thereafter, mandates must be translated into solid concepts of operations and operational guidelines.

At the same time, for the effective implementation of mandates, operations need to be equipped with the tools to address both the root causes of crises and their most visible consequences. While the minimum use of force is highly desirable, it should never become an obstacle for peacekeepers to protect civilians under threat of physical violence. Different levels of threat must be met with the appropriate and commensurate use of force, as necessary. Recognizing that more work needs to be done to develop a comprehensive approach to the protection of civilians, we welcome the work already undertaken by the Secretariat and look forward to the finalization of the PoC policy paper.

In cases where international efforts fail and atrocity crimes are committed, accountability is crucial. UN peace operations should be equipped and staffed with the capability and expertise to assist in transparent investigations and support the collection of evidence in a professional manner. The EU is committed to assisting states to strengthen their national judicial and correctional systems to allow them to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of atrocity crimes. The EU is also a steadfast supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC). While the primary responsibility for bringing offenders to justice lies with states themselves, the ICC should exercise its jurisdiction where national authorities are unable or unwilling to genuinely prosecute the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Given the magnitude of sexual and gender based crimes in times of conflict, the EU appreciates the action taken by the Chief prosecutor of the ICC to combat impunity for such crimes. Closer cooperation between the ICC and missions in the field is of vital importance - when a peace operation is to be deployed in an ICC situation country, its mandate should authorize it to facilitate or assist the ICC, including by assisting authorities in the protection of witnesses and the arrest and surrender of individuals subject to arrest warrants issued by the Court.

Madam Chair,

Recognising the dangerous context in which peacekeepers and other UN personnel carry out their work, we pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the service of the UN. The EU has led efforts to agree on a resolution concerning the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and the protection of UN personnel and will continue working in support of this goal.

Searching for measures to increase the safety and security of the UN personnel on the ground remains of critical importance, made even more pressing by the recent increase in number of targeted attacks against peacekeepers. In this context, the better integration of modern technology and intelligence capabilities into peace operations should continue to be pursued. It can help improve the situational awareness of troops in real time, thus contributing to the implementation of the missions' mandate, to the protection of civilians and to the security of the UN personnel on the ground. At the same time, technology alone can not bring about solutions and increased effects. Instead, the coherent merge of modern technology with relevant methods put at disposal of well prepared and trained staff, will be imperative in the pursuit of enhanced operational output. We look forward to a comprehensive report of the expert panel on technology and innovation.

Secondly, efforts to mainstream gender aspects into peace operations need to be strengthened, including by integrating a gender perspective in the training of military, police and civilian staff in peacekeeping operations. We welcome the UN's resolve in preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse and emphasize the key role senior mission leadership plays in ensuring accountability.

We have to ensure that women are better and fully represented in peacekeeping forces and in leading peace operations. Women should play a meaningful and prominent role in all phases of peace processes and we hope that the gender dimension is fully integrated in review of peace operations and that its recommendations are consistent with those stemming from the parallel Global Study on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325.

Thirdly, no child should be involved in conflicts, actively as a soldier or passively as a victim or as a sex slave. In line with relevant UNSC resolutions, aspects related to children and armed conflicts must to be addressed in the mandates of relevant peace operations. When needed, the presence of child protection officers among mission staff needs to be ensured. We welcome in this respect the adoption of UNSCR 2143 last year on children and armed conflict. 

Madam Chair,

Regional and sub-regional organisations play an increasingly important role in international peace and security. Better coordination of efforts between the UN and such organizations should be pursued to ensure that the distribution of objectives and tasks among organisations maximises the impact on the ground. In this context, and while observing the decision-making processes of each organisation, coordinated planning and strong cooperation when developing mandates is important.

The EU remains a loyal UN partner, not only by supporting the UN peace operations, but also by deploying its own EU operations within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy. We look forward to further cooperation. The recent examples of CAR, Mali and DRC clearly underline the added value of common approaches between the EU, the UN and the AU, and the interest of strong trilateral cooperation.

While peacekeeping operations must remain flexible so as to respond to changing realities on the ground, the partnership with regional and sub-regional organizations should - when appropriate - be considered as part of the mandate discussions, in consultation with the host country, and together with feasible and realistic exit strategies. Particular attention should be paid to the support that could be provided in addressing the rapid response gaps, especially at the launch of UN peacekeeping operations.

Madam Chair,

With a new historical peak for the peacekeeping budget, we need to ensure that increasing resources are used in a more effective and efficient way and in an accountable and transparent manner and that relevant procedures are thoroughly scrutinised to this end.

Particular attention should be paid to the organisation of logistical and administrative support both at UNHQ and in the field. Whereas there is a well identified need for more rapidly-deployable, dynamic and versatile operations, some administrative processes both in New York and on the ground remain cumbersome and labour-intensive, slowing down operations and hampering effectiveness and mandate implementation. While this committee remains committed to considering these issues, we equally hope that the high-level independent panel on peace operations will take stock of the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, particularly with respect to the improvement of logistics, procurement and human resources, bearing in mind the necessity of containing costs while taking full advantage of the potential of existing facilities.

In addition, demands made for independent and objective assessments of operations could be taken into account. Performance monitoring should feed into the decision-making process, improving flexibility and adaptability to developments in the field. Local populations can play an important role in identifying the local perception of progress and success of peace operations. Internal accountability is also key and a policy of zero tolerance towards criminal activities, harassment and abuses by staff should be promoted. Transparent investigations and the proper mechanisms to implement disciplinary measures are equally essential.

Madam Chair,

Even the most successful peace operations cannot substitute for the political process. Peace operations can create the conditions for political processes to prosper. Preventive efforts, using tools like SG´s good offices, mediation efforts and concentrated at an early stage of a conflict, should make the most efficient use of human, political and financial resources. Strengthening police, justice and corrections institutions are crucial measures to safeguard the rule of law and create the necessary preconditions for lasting peace. Political process and dialogue should be promoted before, during and after any violent conflict and we stand ready to support the UN in this regard.

At the same time, promoting respect for human rights remains an essential part of conflict prevention and peacekeeping. This should continue to be reflected in the mandates and peace operations should be staffed with a sufficient number of experts on international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. In this respect, we welcome the progress made in implementing the Human Rights due diligence policy.

Madam Chair,

The EU and its Member States consider it important to continue to address evolving challenges of peacekeeping in the context of the C34. We must ensure that the Special Committee is able to produce relevant and meaningful strategic guidance on peacekeeping operations based on consensus. Looking ahead towards consultations during this substantive session, we look forward to constructive and substantial negotiations with our partners within the C34.

I thank you.

EU Statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violation of OSCE Principles, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1039, Vienna, 12 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that an agreement has been reached in Minsk today. The European Council of Heads of State and Government will meet later today to discuss this issue. We underline there can be no alternative to a negotiated settlement which respects the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The agreement reached will need to be fully implemented, and no action should be taken in the next days that would run contrary to the spirit of the agreement and make its implementation more difficult.

2. Mr Chairman, discussions in Minsk have taken place against the backdrop of a severe escalation of hostilities in parts of eastern Ukraine and an alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation. We continue to strongly condemn the Russian-backed separatists’ offensive. We express our deep concern about the expansion of hostilities to new areas far from the so-called line of contact as we witnessed in Kramatorsk last Tuesday. Indiscriminate shelling of heavily populated areas in Kramatorsk resulted in many killed and wounded.

3. The fighting provoked by the continued separatist offensive, notably around Debaltseve and other strategically important areas, as reported by the SMM, is causing human suffering. Shelling of civilians, wherever it happens, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. We once again commend the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) for its valuable and objective reports that continue to provide a unique insight into the hostilities, even though the monitors are experiencing more restrictions on their freedom of movement than usual. We note the many observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia's responsibility. In this context, we recall that re-establishing Ukrainian control of its borders remains essential.

4. 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 in Response to the Chairpersons of the Three Committees, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1039, Vienna, 12 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Chairs of the three committees for their presentations. We acknowledge that the situation in and around Ukraine inevitably will continue to influence discussions in the committees this year.

2. We congratulate Ambassador Istrate on his new position as Chair of the Security Committee. Our priority here remains the implementation of the OSCE's transnational threats (TNTs) related decisions, including the 2005 Borders Concept. This should be done in close cooperation with other relevant international stakeholders such as UNODC. We welcome the priority given to counter-terrorism this year. We look forward to appropriate follow-up on the Basel Declarations on foreign terrorist fighters and kidnapping for ransom, including in the Security Committee through voluntary reporting. In this reg