Міністерство закордонних справ України

22, Київ 11:38

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

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

Mr Chairman, the EU stresses once again its support for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine, notably the urgent need to agree on a genuine and sustainable cease-fire by all parties to create the necessary conditions for the implementation of President Poroshenko's peace plan. We support the diplomatic efforts by Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France and Germany, as well as the joint Berlin Declaration of 2 July.

We remain alarmed by the further deterioration situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the continuing hostilities. The EU condemns the continuation of illegal activities by armed militants in Eastern Ukraine, including the occupation of public buildings, hostage taking and armed attacks against Ukrainian law enforcers and border guards. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve a rapid de-escalation.

The EU regrets that the requested steps set out by the European Council in its 27 June conclusions have not been adequately taken. As a result, the European Council yesterday agreed to expand the restrictive measures, with a view  to targeting entities, including from the Russian Federation, that are materially or financially supporting actions undermining or threatening Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. It tasked the Council to adopt the necessary legal instruments and to decide by the end of July on a first list of entities and persons, including from the Russian Federation, to be listed under the enhanced criteria. It also asked to consider the possibility of targeting individuals or entities who actively provide material or financial support to the Russian decision-makers responsible for the annexation of Crimea or the destabilisation of Eastern Ukraine.

The European Council requested the EIB to suspend the signature of new financing operations in the Russian Federation. Moreover, European Union Member States will coordinate their positions within the EBRD Board of Directors with a view to also suspending financing of new operations. The European Council invited the Commission to re-assess EU-Russia cooperation programmes with a view to taking a decision, on a case by case basis, on the suspension of the implementation of EU bilateral and regional cooperation programmes. However, projects dealing exclusively with cross-border cooperation and civil society will be maintained.

The European Council recalled that preparatory work on targeted measures has been undertaken so that further steps can be taken without delay. It expressed its commitment to reconvene at any time should events so require. In line with the policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the European Council requested the Commission and the EEAS to present proposals for additional measures in particular on restricting investments in Crimea and Sevastopol. The European Council also expressed its expectation that the International Financial Institutions would refrain from financing any projects that explicitly or implicitly recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Mr Chairman, the EU expresses its strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office for their efforts to facilitate meetings of the trilateral Contact Group with the participation of its representative ambassador Tagliavini. We strongly regret the lack of willingness on the side of the separatists to engage in substantive talks with the contact group on a genuine and sustainable cease-fire.

We stand ready to adopt a decision on the extension of the SMM before the summer recess and reiterate our support for the use of its full potential. We support expanding the role of the SMM within its mandate, including in regard to monitoring a possible ceasefire, and facilitation of the release of hostages and detainees. We welcome that the Chairmanship and Secretariat are looking into different means for monitoring purposes, including in the border area. The safety of the OSCE observers must remain a priority for all parties.

The European Union commends the efforts of the OSCE and its Chairmanship in Office, particularly in facilitating meetings of the Contact Group in Ukraine, and its readiness to establish a border-monitoring mission, to which the European Union and its Member States stand ready to consider a substantial contribution. Furthermore, we are ready to engage on the basis of the draft proposed by the Swiss chair on the deployment of OSCE observers to two Russian checkpoints at the Russian-Ukrainian border.

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

EU Statement on the Commemoration of Srebrenica, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to  the statement issued by the European Union in Brussels on 11 July on the commemoration of Srebrenica:

"On the nineteenth anniversary of the genocide committed in Srebrenica our thoughts are with the families who have lost loved ones, relatives and friends to this crime against humanity. This is also the day when another 175 victims will be buried in the Srebrenica Memorial and Cemetery. We join the commemorating assembly and pay the respects of the European Union on this day of pain and grief.

Today, we reconfirm the support of the European Union for the continuing efforts to establish the truth about the war crimes committed throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Srebrenica's crimes cannot be denied and perpetrators must be brought to justice. The insistence on this assures the families of the victims that their suffering is not forgotten and over time contributes to the healing the Bosnia and Herzegovina's war-torn society.

We look to those in positions of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina to lead in honouring victims and promoting reconciliation. It is essential for the establishment of a conducive social and political environment in which Bosnia and Herzegovina will be able to fulfil its European ambitions, founded on peace, stability and prosperity for all citizens."

EU Statement on the 2013 Annual Report by the Secretary General on the Implementation of OSCE Recruitment Policies, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1009, 17 липня 2014 року

The Member States of the European Union thank the Secretary General for presenting the 2013 Annual Report on the implementation of OSCE recruitment policies to the Permanent Council. We attach great value to the guiding principles of the OSCE recruitment process and we consider the information presented to us today to be very useful.

We welcome the efforts undertaken that aim to secure high standards of efficiency, competence and integrity among OSCE staff while preserving broad geographical diversity across the whole OSCE as well as improving the gender balance within the Organisation. We appreciate that the number of women staff has increased in 2013 and progress was made with regard to gender balance at the managerial level.

We take note of the fact that while contracted posts have attracted a fewer number of applications, remain attractive and have attracted a number of applications; aspects of the current secondment system are under stress and should be improved.

We value the continued efforts to seek new ideas and ways to improve recruitment practices in light of the Organisation´s changing requirements and needs. In this sense, we look forward to studying further proposals as outlined in the report, such as the standardization of procedures and practices in the recruitment of various types of personnel, or revamping the OSCE expert rosters.

We would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our concern, raised most recently during the Programme Outline discussions, at difficulties with regard to cross-cutting budgetary issues, in particular, increases in staff standard costs. At a time when significant cuts to such costs have been implemented in many participating States, we are concerned by the increase in these costs in the OSCE. We believe that preserving programmatic activities is paramount in the on-going context of limited resources available to the Organisation.

We also appreciate the speedy deployment of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, which demonstrated both the relevance and the effectiveness of the Organisation to respond swiftly to conflict situations when mandated to do so.

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

Declaration on behalf of the EU on South Sudan, Council of EU, 10 липня 2014 року

Despite all the efforts to resolve the crisis over the past six months, fighting in South Sudan has continued. Many thousands of innocent people have lost their lives. Over one and a half million have been displaced. Millions more face the risk of famine. Appalling human rights violations and crimes against humanity have taken place.

The warring parties have so far failed to make any significant progress in the IGAD-mediated peace talks. Commanders and political leaders continue to obstruct the peace process. Perpetrators of gross human rights violations are enjoying impunity. It is unacceptable that the cessation of hostilities agreements signed on 23 January and reconfirmed on 9 May continue to be breached.

The European Union is determined to do everything possible to avert further suffering of the people of South Sudan. Today, the EU has therefore decided to adopt as a first step restrictive measures against individuals responsible for obstructing the IGAD-led peace process, breaching the ceasefire and committing egregious human rights violations.

It is now time for the South Sudanese leaders to rise to the challenge and start negotiating in good faith towards a peaceful, equitable and sustainable solution. Full implementation of the ceasefire agreement and the rapid resumption of talks leading to the formation of a transitional Government of national unity is the only way the South Sudanese people can be spared further violence and famine and begin to recover from the violence and desperation of recent months.

For the people of South Sudan, peace and independence has been a prize of inestimable value, hard won after years of civil war. They expect their leaders to act with courage, conviction and honesty to break with the past and usher in a new period of peace and prosperity. The European Union will continue to stand by the South Sudanese people and those who are acting for peace.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 760, 16 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States are deeply concerned about the latest developments in parts of eastern Ukraine, including the reports of a flow of significant new quality and quantity of arms and equipment, and militants across the border from Russia to Ukraine, the reported explosion on the Russian side of the border and the reported violations of the border by Russian military aircrafts, as well as the attacks by illegal armed groups on targets in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the vicinity of the border. The increased violence and massive use of heavy and sophisticated military equipment by the illegal armed groups has led to a high number of casualties. We regret the deaths reported and condemn the shooting down of the Ukrainian military aircraft in Luhansk region on 14 July.

We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan and regarding his decision to resume security operations in eastern Ukraine, we recognise Ukraine's right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We encourage the Ukrainian authorities to maintain a measured and proportionate approach in this regard which does not endanger civilians.

The European Union calls on the Russian Federation to support the peace plan of the Ukrainian President by adopting effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment across the border into Ukraine and by using its influence on the pro-Russian armed separatists in eastern Ukraine to stop the violence and lay down their weapons.

Abiding fully and in good faith by all OSCE politico-military commitments is crucial in order to achieve tangible and lasting de-escalation of the situation, thus paving the way for a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine. Military transparency and a cooperative spirit should be maximised in order to dispel legitimate concerns and avoid miscalculations. All those concerned, and in particular the Russian Federation, should contribute to this end by, inter alia, hosting voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document, exercising restraint in carrying out military activities in the bordering areas, as well as sharing information about on-going and planned military activities in these areas via the OSCE communication channels.

We have repeated this request to the Russian Federation several times without getting any satisfactory replies, whereas we witness full transparency and cooperation by Ukraine in this respect.

As already stated last week, the kidnapping by illegal armed groups in eastern Ukraine, subsequent transfer to the territory of the Russian Federation and detention there of Ukrainian military pilot Nadiia Savchenko raises many questions with regard to Russia’s involvement in the crisis in Ukraine and its respect for its international obligations. We call for the immediate release of Ms. Savchenko.

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

EU Statement on Human Rights in Armed Forces and Women, Peace and Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 760, 16 липня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to warmly welcome today's speakers and thank them for the interesting and stimulating presentations on the issues of Human Rights in the Armed Forces and on Women, Peace and Security.

Only one week ago, at the Third Annual Discussion on its implementation, the Member States of the European Union had the excellent opportunity to reiterate our unwavering commitment and strong support for the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security and, in particular, for its role in promoting and upholding the human rights in the armed forces.

The conditions of service are an important aspect of the social and economic rights of the members of armed forces. We share the view that the respective competent authorities should take the necessary measures in order to ensure that conditions of service are duly implemented in accordance with the national law and international obligations. The involvement of parliamentarians and representative associations in determining the conditions of service is a key component of the social dialogue and the democratic control of armed forces. We look forward to discussing this in further detail tomorrow, 17 July, during the conference on Conditions of Service and Human Rights in Armed Forces.

We thank ODHIR for organising this conference and wish to express once again our sincere appreciation for its important contribution in view of strengthening the implementation of human rights commitments by participating States, in particular with regard to their armed forces members.

Mr. Chairman, The European Union and its Member States would like to express our gratitude also to the OSCE Secretariat's Gender Section and, in particular, to Ambassador Miroslava Beham, for their determined efforts to advance the Organisation's activities to strengthen the role of women in achieving peace and security. The Gender Equality Review Conference, that took place last week to mark the 10th anniversary of the OSCE Gender Action Plan, clearly demonstrated the keen interest of the representatives of participating States and the civil society in taking this task further.

We remain firmly convinced that the OSCE has an important role to play in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and related resolutions. We support therefore further efforts in view of increased involvement of women throughout the conflict cycle, as well as of the protection of women in armed conflicts, including by prevention of sexual violence.

We are pleased that the FSC was able to agree upon wording on women, peace and security in the MC decision 8/13 on SALW and SCA adopted in Kyiv and stand ready to actively contribute to its full implementation. At the same time, we encourage all participating States to consider further steps to take into account gender aspects in the implementation of the OSCE SALW commitments. The OSCE Action Plan on SALW constitutes a natural reference point for such an effort.

Equally, we welcome the increasing number of participating States providing on a voluntary basis information on the implementation of Resolution 1325 within the information exchange on the Code of Conduct. However, we would like to stress that it would be beneficial to discuss the information that has already been provided with a view of lessons learned and possible good practices for the national implementation of Resolution 1325. In this respect, we commend the initiative taken by the Gender Section to carry out a Study on National Action Plans and other relevant national strategies for the implementation of Resolution 1325.

In conclusion, we wish to reiterate our continued support for the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

EU Statement in Response to First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1008, 15 липня 2014 року

The European Union warmly welcomes First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dacic, to the Permanent Council. We thank him for presenting the priorities of the incoming Serbian Chairmanship.

Mr Minister, much has happened since your predecessor, Ivan Mrkić, addressed the Permanent Council last year in July with his Swiss colleague to jointly outline the vision of your two consecutive chairmanships. Russia's violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol which we strongly condemn and will not recognise and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine mean that we are facing the most serious crisis in Europe in many years. The crisis in and around Ukraine affects not only Ukraine, but also has profound implications for all OSCE participating States and the European security order. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles and commitments that have provided a solid cornerstone for security and stability in our area in the last almost 40 years. We welcome your commitment to maintain a strong focus on the crisis in and around Ukraine and trust that you will do your utmost to uphold and defend these established fundamental principles and commitments during your Chairmanship.

We believe the joint work plan of the Swiss and Serbian Chairmanships – with its firm commitment to the OSCE’s concept of comprehensive security and respect for OSCE norms, principles, and commitments – remains a valuable source of guidance in this regard. At the same time, the crisis in and around Ukraine and its impact on the OSCE requires us to direct our energy towards responding to this crisis and its wider implications for this organisation.

Concerning the joint work plan itself, we are pleased that it corresponds to a number of the EU’s priorities, including: 

  • promoting the comprehensive concept of security, the OSCE acquis, and the full implementation of OSCE commitments, especially, the principles and objectives enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act;
  • strengthening the OSCE’s effectiveness across the conflict cycle, achieving tangible progress in the resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and preventing new conflicts;
  • enhancing the OSCE’s politico-military commitments through their full implementation and working towards revitalising, updating, and modernising the Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building regimes in Europe;
  • further strengthening of the OSCE’s concrete work on fighting transnational threats, in particular implementation of the agreed first set of CBMs for cyberspace, development of a second set of CBMs, implementation of the agreed TNT decisions of 2012, as well as the 2005 Borders concept; 
  • further strengthening the OSCE’s work on good governance as well as relevant confidence building measures in the economic and environmental sphere including, through cooperation on sustainable water management;
  • full implementation of all commitments within the human dimension, in particular as regards fundamental freedoms such as freedom of expression, assembly and association, freedom of religion and belief, freedom both online and offline media, including the issue of safety of journalists. The prevention of torture, abolition of the death penalty, fight against all forms of discrimination (including LGBTI), and protection of human rights defenders are also important areas;
  • strengthening OSCE engagement with civil society, including youth;
  • promoting gender equality, women’s political and economic empowerment, and elimination of gender-based violence and sexual violence in conflict across the OSCE area;
  • Continuing engagement and good EU-OSCE cooperation in the area of Western Balkans;
  • enhanced cooperation with Central Asia in all dimensions, including in the context of the drawdown from Afghanistan this year;
  • working closely with the Mediterranean and Asian Partners for Cooperation, including Afghanistan, with a view to addressing contemporary security challenges including illegal migration and human trafficking.

We welcome the commitment to reappoint the special representatives on the Western Balkans and the South Caucasus and for the Transnistrian Settlement Process. We fully support efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and reconciliation. As stated in December’s General Affairs Council Conclusions, we will continue to monitor closely Serbia’s continued engagement towards visible and sustainable progress in the normalisation of relations with Kosovo[1].

Mr Minister, your Chairmanship will see the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act. The Helsinki+40 process was launched as an effort to advance work towards work the Astana vision of a security community. Russia’s actions in and around Ukraine have severely undermined this vision. Rebuilding trust by regaining respect for the original principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 now seems to be the most crucial task at hand. At the same time, we believe the Helsinki+40 process remains an opportunity to address ongoing challenges and to find common ground on the way forward. We therefore welcome your commitment to continue the process.

We share your view that there can be no lasting security and stability without respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. We remain deeply concerned by the worrying trend of these principles and commitments being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE space. In that regard we agree that the autonomous institutions play an indispenable role in assisting participating States to implement their commitments and that they must be adequately ressourced. We look forward to working closely with the incoming Serbian Chairmanship in ensuring that the institutions can continue to carry out their vital mandates. We also attach great importance to the work of OSCE field operations and are concerned by the current tendency towards downgrading field operations.

 

Mr Minister, the Republic of Serbia and the European Union enjoy an intensive relationship, particularly in light of Serbia’s path towards EU membership. We look forward to continuing our cooperation next year also as your country takes on the OSCE Chairmanship. We are confident that your Chairmanship will further enhance our relations and that Serbia will look to promote and defend the principles and commitments of this organisation.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1008, 15 липня 2014 року

Mr Chairman, the EU remains alarmed by the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the continuing hostilities. We note with the gravest concern the latest developments on the ground in eastern Ukraine, including the reports of a flow of significant new quality and quantity of arms and equipment across the border from Russia into Ukraine, the reported explosion on the Russian side of the border, and attacks by illegal armed groups on targets in eastern Ukraine, and regret the deaths reported. We recall that the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists are the root cause of the serious human rights violations and suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegal armed groups and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.

We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan. We recognise Ukraine’s right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We welcome the important role of the trilateral contact group with the participation of ambassador Tagliavini on behalf of the OSCE Chairmanship. We expect the contact group to continue its work and that substantial progress in reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable ceasefire can be made. We also welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation and their Joint Declaration of 2 July. While repeating the call for the full implementation of the steps set out by the European Council on 27 June, we regret the limited tangible progress so far.

We continue to express our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office. The SMM plays a crucial role and we look forward to the decision on the extension of the Mission’s mandate. We call for all OSCE monitors and other OSCE staff to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate.

We share the deep concern expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in connection with the continuous attacks of the separatist forces against television channels in Luhansk and Crimea which effectively endanger the safety of journalists and violate the right of people to freely receive information.

Mr Chairman, on 11 July, in view of the gravity of the situation in eastern Ukraine, the Council of the European Union expanded the list of persons subject to targeted sanctions for actions undermining Ukraine's territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, bringing the number of individuals subject to sanctions to 72. The two confiscated entities in Crimea and Sevastopol remain under asset freeze. The Council stressed that it will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation. We recall that the European Council will meet on 16 July.

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

Joint Statement to the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), 13th Session, United Nations, New York, 14 - 18 липня 2014 року

To be delivered by H.E. Ambassador Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko  on behalf of the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Samoa, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, Uruguay.

We reaffirm our commitment to developing Sustainable Development Goals and a Post-2015 Development Agenda that leaves nobody behind, places people at the centre of development, and is rooted in human rights. The future agenda should aim at tackling the root causes of structural inequalities and discrimination for all members of humankind, and to achieving gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and ending gender-based violence, throughout their life cycle, with particular attention to those living in poverty, vulnerable groups, adolescents and youth.

In order to complete the ‘unfinished business’ of the Millennium Development Goals, and building on the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and related agreements, the respect, promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all must be an essential foundation of a universally-relevant, transformative, high-impact and cost-effective sustainable development agenda across its social, economic and environmental dimensions. They are key for addressing inequality, achieving poverty eradication, educational attainment and public health outcomes, fostering productivity, labour force participation and economic growth, reaping the rewards of demographic dividends, and improving environmental management, energy, food security, water and sanitation, and easing pressures on limited resources and ecosystems.

As fundamental human rights and freedoms for all people are critical to the sustainable development of all nations, we consider that the following targets should form an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals and Post-2015 Development Agenda to be achieved by 2030:

  • Under the  proposed goal on Health:

‘Achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, including quality, comprehensive, integrated and affordable sexual and reproductive health information, education and services that include modern methods of contraception’

  • Under the proposed goal on Gender Equality:

‘Ensure the respect, promotion and protection of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all’

  • And under the proposed goal on Education:

‘Achieve universal access to comprehensive sexuality education for all young people, in and out of school’ ADD: , consistent with their evolving capacities'.

We respectfully request that this joint statement and its main contents be reflected in the report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals to the 68th Session of the General Assembly. 

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Francesco Azzarello Permanent Representative of Italy to the OPCW at the Seventy-Sixth session of the Executive Council

Mr. Chairperson,

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

(Alignment clause)

Since this is the first time I take the floor in the capacity of representative of the Presidency of the European Union, I wish to congratulate the Chair H.E. Ambassador Alvaro Marcelo Moerzinger of Uruguay and the Vice-Chairs and to assure them of our continuous support in their endeavours aiming at the successful outcome of the Executive Council activities.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his statement, which covers the various items of the agenda and provides useful guidance for our work. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

The EU welcomed the announcement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that the last remaining declared Syrian chemicals have been removed from the country, thus allowing the start of the destruction phase. This removal, although long overdue, is certainly good news. International pressure, resources provided by the international community and the concerted efforts by OPCW and the Joint OPCW-UN Mission has finally yielded results. Our special appreciation goes to OPCW Director-General Ambassador Uzumcu and his staff, as well as to the Special Coordinator Mrs Sigrid Kaag and the Joint Mission staff for their relentless efforts carried out in particularly difficult and dangerous circumstances.

The EU and its Member States have contributed in kind and with significant funds to the operation aimed at the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons. The EU wishes to express its appreciation to all the States Parties that have also contributed in kind or financially. Syria bears the responsibility for missing the deadline of 30 June 2014, that was stipulated in the Executive Council Decision EC-M-33/DEC.1 of 27 September 2013 and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118, as the target date for the complete elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. These various delays have placed additional burden on the contributing Member States, especially those that have provided commercial vessels and their escort.

In this respect, I would like to reiterate our statement at the 75th session, when we drew the attention to the decision of the Council of the European Union, dated 10 February 2014 which introduced derogation to the restrictive measures against the Syrian Arab Republic. This means that, if the Syrian Arab Republic chooses, frozen assets belonging to the Syrian Central Bank or to Syrian public entities can be paid on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the OPCW for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and for activities connected to the verification mission of the OPCW. The Syrian Arab Republic is, as a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention, responsible for meeting the costs arising in connection with the destruction of its chemicals weapons programme and the verification thereof. The Syrian Arab republic must fulfil its obligations in this regard.

The removal of the final consignment of declared material on June 23rd marked a significant step towards the complete elimination of the Syrian chemical program. There remains however much to be done.  The removed chemicals must now be destroyed according to the OPCW Executive Council Decisions, in full respect of the relevant international norms and procedures and while taking all necessary measure for the protection of the environment. The EU rests reassured that no dumping of toxic chemicals in the Mediterranean Sea or elsewhere will take place and therefore no threats to the environment or to peoples' health will occur.

We call on Syria to take the necessary action in order to ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled.  The destruction of the remaining production facilities, which has not started yet, must be completed in the shortest possible time. The Syrian authorities must provide answers to the questions arising from the discrepancies in their declarations. Syria must provide the international community with evidence to support their assurances that it has fully abandoned its chemical weapons program and ensure sufficient confidence.

We are deeply concerned about the recent allegations of the systematic use of chlorine reported by the OPCW.  The use of chlorine as a weapon is a clear breach of the Chemical Weapons Convention and of resolution 2118 of the Security Council of the United Nations. The initial report of the Fact Finding Mission lends credence to these allegations. We fully support the intention of the Director-General to have the Fact Finding Mission continue its work. The perpetrators of such horrific acts must be held accountable.

The situation in Syria continues to be extremely critical from a security and humanitarian point of view. The EU urges all parties to help revive the political track as there can be no military solution to this conflict.

Turning to the other points of the agenda, we underline that achieving the goal of universality remains one of the principal challenges. Despite the progress made since the Convention entered into force, the threat of the possible use of chemical weapons persists as long as even one State remains outside its obligations. The European Union calls upon all States not Party to ratify or accede to the Convention without delay. We encourage the Technical Secretariat to continue its efforts in this direction in a targeted and tailor-made manner, and reiterate our willingness to actively contribute to this common objective with concrete action as we have done in the past.

Verification of destruction of declared stockpiles should remain a key priority for the Organisation.  We reiterate our concern that the final extended deadline was not met and we urge the possessor States to continue with their efforts to complete destruction in the shortest time possible in accordance with the Decision of the Sixteenth Session of the Conference of States Parties on the issue of the final extended deadlines. In this context the EU notes with concern that the Russian Federation does not now expect to complete destruction of its declared stockpile by their 31 December 2015 “planned completion date” and urges the Russian Federation to provide to the Council a revised such date at the next regular session of the Council.

At the same time, in order to remain effective, the OPCW will need to adapt to its changing security environment as well as to developments in science and technology, as deliberations at the recent 21st meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board and the recommendations made by its membership, clearly show.

The European Union believes in the importance of the OPCW’s cooperation with other relevant international organisations, as the close cooperation between the UN and the OPCW in the case of the Syrian operation has vividly demonstrated.  In this context, the EU considers it essential to identify and implement lessons learned from the OPCW’s work in Syria as soon as practicable. Moreover, the added value of regular engagement and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the chemical industry and civil society ought to be fully utilized.

The European Union underlines the importance of full national implementation of the Convention and urges all States Parties to put in place and enforce all the necessary legislative and administrative measures in accordance with Article VII. The European Union remains concerned that 17 years on, a relatively high number of States Parties have yet to do so. We welcome the Technical Secretariat’s efforts to explore new ways of achieving progress in this area including education and outreach. We also wish to thank the facilitator Ambassador Zlatko Dimitroff, whose efforts aim at streamlining the assistance given to those countries in need according to their specific situation.  The EU supports such a needs-based approach and continues to contribute to further progress through extensive outreach. We recognise the often very serious competing challenges some States Parties are facing, and therefore wish to highlight again the relevant assistance available through the activities organised by the Technical Secretariat. The European Union stands ready to continue assisting in this process, not only through its voluntary financial contributions, but also through further concrete action.

Moreover, in our efforts to prevent the re-emergence of chemical weapons, all provisions of the Convention are important, including in particular those on challenge inspections and investigations of alleged use as well as verification according to Article VI. We need to ensure that the Article VI verification regime is as effective as possible by directing Article VI inspections   to the sites of the most relevance to the object and purpose of the Convention.

The European Union attaches great importance to the work carried out under Article X and in this respect we wish to thank the facilitator Mrs Sarah Broughton for her tireless efforts to bring this matter forward. We also stand ready to discuss concrete proposals put forward under Article XI, in accordance with the relevant decision taken by the Third Review Conference. We also recognize that the implementation of all articles of the Convention constitute a tangible contribution to preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons in the hands non-state actors such as terrorists and promoting chemical safety and security. 

The EU actively supports the OPCW activities regarding assistance, protection and international cooperation. These activities take place in, and are directed to, States Parties from all regional groups with particular emphasis placed on support to the OPCW’s Programme for Africa. We encourage States Parties to take advantage of the assistance provided through the funded activities, by participating in them according to their own needs.

Finally, the Member States of the European Union wish to thank the Director General for presenting the draft Programme and Budget for 2015 look forward to constructive deliberations, hoping that it will be possible for States Parties to agree on it in a timely manner.

Mr. Chairperson,

We all need to remind ourselves of the essence of the OPCW’s work: to achieve a world free of chemical weapons by destroying all existing chemical weapons and preventing their re-emergence. We should also be reminded that this endeavour is a collective one and that it can only be achieved through a cooperative and multilateral approach.

To conclude, the EU looks forward to working closely with you during this session of the Executive Council. I would like to request that this statement be circulated as an official document of this session of the Conference.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson

EU Closing Statement, OSCE Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting "Promotion of Freedom of Expression: Rights, Responsibilities, and OSCE Commitments" Vienna, 3-4 July 2014

The European Union would like to thank the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and ODIHR, for organising this meeting. We also wish to thank the panellists and those that spoke from the floor for their contributions. As we said at the outset, we welcome the timely opportunity this meeting offered to discuss issues of fundamental importance. 

Respect for the right to freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our OSCE commitments and is central to the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security. Not least in the context of the current crisis in and around Ukraine, it is clear that freedom of expression and a free flow of information are essential for peace and stability. We have spoken on this in the OSCE context on several occasions, including at this meeting, and will continue to do so.

It is with deep concern that we witness an increasing shrinking space for free expression and the exchange of ideas, both online and offline in parts of the OSCE region. We have heard of several examples of this during the meeting. Governments, in clear violation of OSCE commitments, are using a wide range of tools to ensure that critical voices are silenced or marginalised, internet and media outlets censored, disempowered, or shut down.  In turn, some of the same Governments engage in information wars and manipulate state controlled media in a manner that often fuels, within their own states, the hate speech they repeatedly claim is on the rise elsewhere.

This is not to say that the EU and its member states are perfect when it comes to freedom of expression and media freedom. Some issues in the EU have been raised by speakers at this meeting. All participating States face challenges. No state is perfect.  But we are not equally imperfect either.

Without freedom of expression and freedom of the media, an informed, active and engaged citizenry is impossible. Civil society plays an indispensable role as a watchdog and partner in ensuring the better implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We place great value on the input from non-governmental organisations at this meeting. Their interventions remind us of the gravity of the situation with regards to free expression in our region, and the urgent action that needs to be taken to address this.

We would like to highlight a number of recommendations that have been made during this meeting, and also make some additional ones:

Participating States should redouble their efforts to fully implement their OSCE commitments and other international obligations related to freedom of expression and its corollary media freedom. We greatly appreciate the work of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, and call on all participating States to issue open invitations to the Representative on Freedom of the Media and to engage constructively with her and her office.

We must recognise the enormous opportunities that the internet provides for the enjoyment of freedom of expression. The EU urges governments to ensure that their legislation and practice does not unduly restrict access to the internet, and protects the right of individuals to express themselves freely in any media of their choice. We recommend the Representative on Freedom of the Media to continue her important work in this area, including through the ground-breaking project on Open Journalism, and recommend that participating States draw on the expertise of the Representative on Freedom of the Media also in this regard. We call on all participating States that have not yet done so, to support the draft OSCE Declaration on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age, proposed by the US and co-sponsored by all EU Member States.

The role of state-driven propaganda and its impact on society and on security is very clear in our region. We maintain, as does the Representative on Freedom of the Media, that true media pluralism, which allows for a genuine public debate where all voices can be heard, is of paramount importance to peace and stability. We recommend participating States to heed the advice of the Representative on Freedom of the Media in promoting an environment where freedom of expression and media pluralism can be fully realised.

Any restriction to freedom of expression by a participating State must be fully in line with international commitments, and the application of this restriction should be subject to oversight by an independent judiciary.

As was stated in the opening session, there is a clear connection between the respect, promotion and protection of the right to freedom of expression and the protection of human rights defenders. We reiterate our support to the recently published ODIHR Guidelines on protecting human rights defenders, and call on participating States to draw on them when implementing their commitments. We recommend the current and incoming Chairmanships to examine ways to continue the important work that has been initiated on human rights defenders, including at the upcoming Ministerial Council in Basel.

As we have seen throughout this meeting, freedom of expression is a highly topical issue in the OSCE today.  We call on the current, as well as future Chairmanships, to ensure that freedom of expression and media freedom receive the attention they deserve within the OSCE, including in forthcoming discussions on strengthening our human dimension commitments.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by H.E. Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome Minister Timmermans to the OSCE Permanent Council. We very much appreciate that the Minister found time to address us this morning and share his views on the crisis in and around Ukraine and the role of the OSCE.

We will discuss the situation in Ukraine later this morning and we therefore refrain from doing so now.

Mr. Chairman, Minister Timmermans reminds us of the accomplishments of the OSCE in the past to which he is all too familiar and has contributed to himself. The OSCE applies a comprehensive concept of security. Since the 1975 Helsinki Final act, we have managed to devise mechanisms and institutions to promote better relations among states and to build security between and within States. At the same time, the OSCE has carefully crafted commitments, blueprints for promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, based on the belief that we can’t ensure security if we do not uphold these commitments. And we know of the personal commitment of minister Timmermans, in the best tradition of the OSCE, to remind us to continue to listen to our citizens, and to enable them to have the future they aspire to.

The OSCE is facing many challenges, and the crisis in and around Ukraine reminds us that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Having said that, we need to continue to improve it and its methods of work. We also have to remain flexible to cope with the challenges of the day. We thank minister Timmermans for his views and we wish him all the best for the future.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Chief Monitor, ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, back to the Permanent Council. We reiterate our strong support for the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), its leadership and its dedicated and professional staff. We believe the SMM is playing a very significant and valuable role and we stand ready to support the use of its full potential.

We acknowledge that the SMM is facing major challenges as mentioned by ambassador Apakan; first among them is the difficult security situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. The abduction in May of eight SMM monitors exemplifies the risks involved when operating in this part of Ukraine. We would like to use this occasion to express our gratitude to ambassador Apakan personally and his staff for their tireless efforts in facilitating the successful release of the abducted SMM monitors. We are aware that this was an extremely demanding task for the SMM.

We believe that the SMM is doing outstanding work, often under very complex and difficult circumstances. Ensuring the monitors’ safety is vital. In this regard, we reiterate our confidence in the security measures and operational decisions of the SMM. The SMM needs to be able to adjust quickly to the situation on the ground. Micro-management from the Permanent Council in Vienna is not desirable.

We stress the importance we attach to a continued presence of monitors in those areas where they are most needed. At the same time, we recognize that these areas are the most difficult to operate in. When the security situation allows, we look forward to a quick redeployment of a substantial number of monitors back to the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, including where the Ukrainian government has regained control.

Mr Chairman, we commend the SMM for its impartial and valuable reporting on developments on the ground, particularly in the field of security and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, and we stress the importance we attach to its ability to verify facts. We note the current limitations of reporting from the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We appreciate the reporting in regard to internally displaced persons and the close cooperation with the UNHCR in this field. We encourage the SMM to continue reporting in a timely, forthright and transparent manner and also to continue its extensive public reporting.

We reiterate our call for all OSCE monitors to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfil their mandate. We regret that the SMM has thus far had no access to Crimea where the number of reports of human rights violations is on the increase. Against this background, we appreciate the efforts of the SMM to report on the situation in Crimea based on conversations with interlocutors from Crimea, including IDP’s and representatives of the Tatar community.

We welcome the SMM’s activities with regard to dialogue facilitation at the local level, its active media strategy and outreach to the public as well as its coordination with and support to the work of the OSCE Executive Structures and its cooperation with relevant international organisations.

We recall that on 23 June, the EU Foreign Affairs Council agreed to establish a Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission to assist Ukraine in civilian security sector reform. The Council stressed the importance of coordination and coherence with other efforts, including the OSCE.  We believe the SMM and the CSDP mission will complement each other and we look forward to fruitful cooperation.

We look forward to an early decision on the extension of the SMM’s mandate. The SMM needs a reasonable planning horizon, also in order to consolidate its activities and retain or attract new staff. We welcome today’s request by Ukrainian deputy Foreign Minister Kyslytsya for an extension of the mandate.

Mr Chairman, on 27 June 2014 the European Council expressed its support for an expansion of the role of the SMM in regard to monitoring the implementation of President Poroshenko’s peace plan, a possible cease-fire and border control. We note the Russian invitation to deploy OSCE monitors at two Russian border checkpoints and stand ready to consider a draft decision to that end.

In conclusion, we wish ambassador Apakan and his staff success in their important endeavours. We believe that the SMM can play a crucial role in assisting Ukraine in overcoming the current crisis and the international community continues to rely on the efforts of ambassador Apakan and his staff. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The EU would like to inform the Permanent Council about the high-level coordination meeting in Brussels this Tuesday on international support to Ukraine. At the meeting, the European Union, Member States, Ukraine as well as other donor countries – United States, Canada, Japan, Norway, Switzerland – international organisations, including the OSCE, and International Financial Institutions discussed support for Ukraine’s economic and political stabilisation. The meeting was an important opportunity to exchange views and discuss the key short and medium term priorities for Ukraine, the relevant donor coordination structures, and the possible next steps towards a future Donors and Investors Conference to be held later in the year.

Mr Chairman, the EU remains alarmed by the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine. We reiterate our support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan.  We take note of last week’s decision to resume operations in eastern Ukraine. We welcome the Ukrainian government’s commitment to reinstate social services and restore infrastructure in the areas where the Ukrainian government has regained control. We recognise Ukraine’s right and obligation to uphold law and order on its territory and defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We recall that the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists are the root cause of the serious human rights violations and suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegal armed groups and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation. The kidnapping by militants in eastern Ukraine, subsequent transfer to the territory of the Russian Federation and detention there of Ukrainian military pilot Nadiya Savchenko raises many questions with regard to Russia’s respect for its international obligations. We call for the immediate release of Ms Savchenko.  

We welcome the important role of the trilateral contact group with the participation of ambassador Tagliavini on behalf of the OSCE Chairmanship. We hope that substantial progress in reaching an unconditional and mutually agreed sustainable ceasefire can be made following its meeting on 6 July. We also welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation and their Joint Declaration of 2 July. While repeating the call for the full implementation of the steps set out by the European Council on 27 June, we regret the limited tangible progress so far. We recall that the European Council underlined its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures. Preparatory work on targeted measures has been undertaken so that further steps can be taken without delay.

Mr Chairman, the situation in Crimea remains an issue of pressing concern and we share the assessment of the potential for escalation as presented by the HCNM earlier today. We learnt with deep regret about the recent decision to bar Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Crimean Tatars’ self-governing body the Mejlis, from entering Crimea for five years. We also express our concerns about the decision of Moscow’s Lefortovo District Court this week to extend the pre-trial arrest of Ukrainian filmmaker Oleh Sentsov who was detained along with three other Ukrainian nationals in Crimea in May on suspicion of planning alleged terrorist acts.  

We join the Representative for Freedom of the Media in condemning the attack on the editorial office of the Vesti newspaper in Kyiv on July 5 and call for a swift investigation to bring those responsible to justice.

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

EU Statement on the Violent Attack against the Human Rights Defender, Andrei Yurov, on 1 July 2014, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

The European Union condemns the violent attack against the human rights defender, Andrei Yurov, in Voronezh on 1 July. Mr Yurov was attacked by masked assailants who beat him and sprayed a liquid on his face, resulting in him sustaining first degree burns in one eye.

Mr Yurov is a member of the Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights with the President of the Russian Federation and a regular active participant at OSCE events. As the Head of the Council’s Committee for Human Rights Abroad he directly monitors human rights developments in Ukraine, including Crimea, where he has travelled extensively. On 8 May 2014 Mr. Yurov briefed OSCE delegations on the human rights situation in Crimea.

The European Union is deeply concerned that this attack may be linked to Mr Yurov’s human rights work, particularly recent work in Ukraine. The emergence of banners in Voronezh labelling local human rights defenders as traitors and fifth columnists is extremely troubling. Linked to this, the European Union reiterates its concerns at legislation in the Russian Federation requiring non-governmental organisations receiving funding from abroad and engaged in supposedly “political activities” to register as “foreign agents”. We are concerned about the use of the politically charged term “foreign agent” that encourages the stigmatisation of human rights defenders within Russian society, and prompt further abhorrent acts against them under a misguided notion of patriotism.

We welcome the launch of a criminal investigation by the local police into the incident. We call on the Russian authorities to take steps to ensure the protection of all human rights defenders in Russia in line with their OSCE commitments and encourage them to draw on the recently published OSCE/ODIHR Guidelines on Protecting Human Rights Defenders.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the High Commissioner on National Minorities, Ms. Astrid Thors, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1007, 10 липня 2014 року

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

The European Union considers the office and the mandate of the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) to be of the utmost importance for the whole concept of comprehensive security of the OSCE. This autonomous Institution is and should remain a core conflict prevention instrument for the whole OSCE area in providing early warning and seeking  early action with regard to tensions involving national minorities.

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

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

We wish to underline the importance of the central principles of the Bolzano/Bozen Recommendations on National Minorities in Inter-State relations referred to by the High Commissioner in her report, in particular that the respect for and protection of  the rights of persons belonging to national minorities is primarily the responsibility of the State where the minority resides. Any concerns in respect to minorities should be addressed with full respect for the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and good neighbourly relations.

We appreciate the HCNM’s strong engagement in regard to the crisis in and around Ukraine. These developments  have proven once again the importance and value of the HCNM. We commend her particularly for her activities regarding language issues. The rights of persons belonging to national minorities need to be fully ensured in line with the relevant international standards, including those of the Council of Europe and of the OSCE. We welcome the commitment of the government of Ukraine in this regard.

We share her concern about the precarious position of both the Crimean Tatar and the Ukrainian-speaking communities on the Crimean peninsula after its illegal annexation by the Russian Federation. We have taken particular note of the fact that the High Commissioner during her visit found no evidence of violations to the rights of Russian speakers. We note with deep concern the  reports received by the HCNM about the detentions and disappearances, about pressures to renounce Ukrainian citizenship, and about violation of the rights to freedom of religion and education rights. We call for an end to these actions that have the potential to escalate tensions in Crimea.

We welcome the High Commissioner’s good cooperation with the  authorities of the Republic of Moldova in developing an integration strategy aiming at strengthening social cohesion while simultaneously protecting and promoting the rights of persons belonging to national minorities enshrined in national  legislation. We continue to support the efforts of the HCNM to improve the situation of the Latin-script schools in the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova with a view to ensuring their normal and sustainable functioning.

As for her visit to Georgia, we appreciate her efforts to explore how the Institution can best assist the authorities in the ongoing multilingual-education reform process and the attention she paid in her reporting on negative developments in the breakaway regions.

We support the activities in the field of higher education in southern Serbia, in particular those in the Bujanovac department of Economics. We welcome that with the assistance of the HCNM the needs of the Romanian speaking communities in eastern Serbia are considered to be addressed. In this context, we reiterate the importance attached to effective implementation of legislation on the protection of persons belonging to minorities and their non-discrimnatory treatment throughout Serbia.

In her reporting on Bosnia and Herzegovina she voices concern about the intensified use of ethnocentric rhetoric in the country. The European Union shares these concerns. To fulfil justified expectations of the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina their leaders need to look beyond ethnic divisions.

We support the work done in Skopje on integrated education and call on the government to continue to work expeditiously and closely with the High Commissioner in this field.

We take note of her reporting on positive developments in Kazakhstan concerning education in a number of minority languages, including an action plan on introducing multilingual education in schools with minority languages of instruction.

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

EU Statement on Human Trafficking

1. The EU and its Member States welcome Dr. Merav Schmueli, the Israeli National Interministerial Coordinator in Trafficking in Human Beings, to this meeting of the OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group and thank her for her very informative presentation.

2. We reaffirm that addressing Trafficking in Human Beings (THB) remains a priority for us and recall that the European framework for tackling this crime is very robust. A framework that is comprehensive, human rights based, victims centred, gender specific and child sensitive. As you might know, one of the most comprehensive EU instruments concerning THB, including its external dimension for the years to come, is the EU strategy towards eradication of THB for 2012-2016, adopted in June 2012. It supports and complements the implementation of EU legislation on trafficking in human beings, namely the Directive 2011/36/EU.

3. Our opinion is that THB must continue to be seriously addressed from two different angles: as a form of organized crime but also as a human rights issue. It requires, as highlighted today in your presentation, strong political commitment and long term effort from multiple stakeholders. In this context, we see merit in coordinating mechanisms aimed at facilitating cooperation and sharing information between all relevant actors. We would be interested in hearing your views on the remaining challenges - if there are some - in your country as regards cooperation between institutional stakeholders and with actors from civil society involved in the fight against THB.

4. Concerning the role of the OSCE, we welcome the decision of the Swiss chair to nominate Ambassador Jarbussynova as the new Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (SRCTHB), and are looking forward to working with her and her staff in the coming months. We continue to support the work of the office of the SRCTHB, the Institutions and the field missions. The adoption of the addendum to the 2003 OSCE action plan, at the last Kyiv Ministerial Council, has clearly confirmed the willingness of participating States and partners for cooperation to keep THB high on the agenda of the Organisation. We welcome in particular that this renewed commitment has emphasized partnerships as one of the main pillars for combating THB. We see merit in engaging with OSCE Partners for Cooperation, in view of preventing all forms of THB, protecting victims of trafficking and contributing to better prosecution against traffickers.

5. We assume that this approach is largely shared by the Israeli authorities. We value the level of cooperation between your country and the OSCE, which has been highlighted by the participation of the SRCTHB at the international seminar for judges organised in Haifa in August 2013. We are pleased to note that the OSCE has been invited to the next seminar which will take place again in October this year. We believe that such events are useful to broaden knowledge, in particular on more recent trends, such as domestic servitude in diplomatic households, and discussions on available tools among practitioners from countries of origin, transit and destination.

6. We advocate for increasing the capacities of OSCE participating States and Partners for Cooperation in this regard, with a specific focus on law enforcement agencies, judges and prosecutors. We are convinced that the criminal justice system has a pivotal role to play in combating THB while at the same time, we are fully aware that prosecution of THB cases remains a very challenging issue that should not be isolated from a global and integrated approach, encompassing prevention of the phenomenon, protection of the victims and partnerships, including with civil society. Thank you.

Declaration by the EU on the occasion of the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Turture

On the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, we wish to reaffirm the EU's commitment to the prevention and eradication of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Torture is clearly and unequivocally prohibited under international law.

We would like to commend the efforts by many NGOs and individuals, who work tirelessly to prevent torture, alleviate the suffering of victims and mobilise public opinion on this important issue. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union offers substantial support to civil society organisations that strive for the eradication of torture and work to ensure accountability for torture and ill-treatment.

The EU calls upon all States to accede to the UN Convention against Torture and to its Optional Protocol (OPCAT) and to recognise the competence of the Committee Against Torture to receive and consider individual communications. We welcome the recent signature of the Optional Protocol by Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mongolia and its ratification by Burundi and Norway. The EU underlines the need to create and sustain National Preventive Mechanisms and to ensure their operational and financial autonomy.

The European Union expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by international mechanisms, notably the UN Special Rapporteur, the Committee Against Torture and the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and urges States to implement their recommendations.

The EU has given every support to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/156, adopted on 18 December 2013, which stresses the importance of individuals’ ability to freely contact the institutions working to prevent and combat torture and the right of torture victims to redress.

We must continue to work together to make torture a thing of the past.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 28 May 2014, the Council adopted Decision 2014/309/CFSP amending Council Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP and extends the existing measures until 1 June 2015.

 

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

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

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine

On 28 May 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/308/CFSP.

The Council Decision amends the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP.

 

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

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

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the latest developments following the abduction of three Israeli students

The EU reiterates its condemnation of the recent abduction of three Israeli students in the West Bank and calls once again for their immediate release and safe return to their families. Such acts can only undermine international efforts to encourage a resumption of peace negotiations.

The EU commends President Abbas for his unequivocal condemnation of the abduction and welcomes the cooperation of the Palestinian security services in the search for the abductees. Statements made by some Hamas leaders that glorify the perpetrators of the abduction are unacceptable.

The EU regrets the violence which has erupted in the West Bank as a result of the abduction, in particular the killing of several Palestinians, and calls on Israel to use proportionate means only to bring about the return of the abductees. We also condemn recent indiscriminate rocket fire from Gaza. We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any further escalation which will worsen the situation.

The recent events underline the urgent need for peace negotiations to resume.

EU Statement on Small Arms and Light Weapons, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 759, 2 липня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) would like to warmly welcome today's speakers Mr. Brian Montebello from Malta and Mr. Thomas Göbel from Germany and thank them for their presentations on the topical issues of strengthening export control of Small Arms and Light Weapons transported by sea as well as the outcome of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States on the UN Programme of Action on SALW.

We appreciate this opportunity to further discuss the challenges stemming from the illicit maritime trafficking of SALW as well as to welcome once again the good practice established in this regard by the former Maltese FSC Chairmanship.

Combatting illicit maritime trafficking, including through strengthened export control of SALW, is an important but also demanding task for the international community since requiring highly coordinated efforts and cooperation at both national and multilateral level. In particular, scrupulously complying with international obligations and commitments and making full use of their relevant export control provisions is of key importance. We would like therefore to commend the government of Malta for the impressive work it has realised in this respect.

In general, Europe's maritime security is a crucial domain in which all European States face significant risks and threats such as illegal migration, drug trafficking, smuggling of goods, including conventional arms and their ammunition, terrorism, maritime piracy and armed robbery at sea. Thus, individual States and the international community in general are due to redouble efforts in order to tackle these challenges and to ensure the security in the maritime domain.

To be a credible and effective partner, the European Union has also undertaken systematic efforts to put in place a comprehensive, coherent, functional and cost effective approach to maritime security which has been laid down in the EU Maritime Security Strategy adopted on 24 June 2014.

Furthermore, we are of the opinion that the discussions, initiated by the Maltese FSC Chairmanship, on maritime illicit trafficking of SALW should be continued in order to better understand how these important aspects could be reflected into the OSCE comprehensive approach to security.

Mr. Chairman,

We concur with the positive assessment of the outcome document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States (BMS-5) on the UN Programme of Action on SALW as expressed by Mr. Thomas Göbel. We welcome its adoption and are pleased that it reflects a number of issues which have been high on the EU agenda as presented, inter alia, at the FSC meeting on 28 May 2014. At the same time, we regret that other priority topics for the EU, such as ammunition, reference to UNSCR 2117, integrating stockpile management in wider SSR programmes, as well as synergies and complementarities between the UN PoA and the ATT, could not been reflected in the final text. Nevertheless, the European Union looks forward to discussing these issues at the next Biennial Meeting on the UN PoA.

We also welcome the impressive achievements of the OSCE in the implementation of the UN PoA, as outlined in the statement by the FSC Chairmanship at the BMS-5, and remain ready to actively contribute to addressing the challenges still lying ahead of us, in particular with a view to further improving the implementation of our SALW commitments and their harmonisation with relevant UN developments.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 759, 2 липня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States would like to express once again our support for the peace plan announced by the President of Ukraine. We also take note of the President of the Russian Federation’s declaration of support in principle for the peace plan and the Federation Council's decision to revoke the authorisation to use Russian armed forces on the territory of Ukraine.

We welcome the release on 26 June 2014 of the four members of the Donetsk-based monitoring team of the OSCE SMM as well as the subsequent release on 28 June of the four monitors from the Luhansk-based team. We condemn the abduction of the OSCE monitors and emphasise the leading role of the SMM in the efforts for their release. We expect further hostages detained by illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine to be released without delay.

The Conclusions of the European Council adopted on 27 June 2014 highlighted the release of hostages including all of the OSCE observers as one of four crucial steps along with agreement on a verification mechanism, monitored by the OSCE for the cease-fire and for effective border control; return to the Ukrainian authorities of three border checkpoints; and launch of substantial negotiations on the implementation of President Poroshenko's peace plan.

At the same time, we condemn the continued flow across the Russian – Ukrainian border, as reflected in reporting from the OSCE SMM, of militants and heavy weapons, including battle tanks, multiple launch rocket systems, MANPADS and mortars, and their use by pro-Russian illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine.

We urge the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups, and stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation. The return to the Ukrainian authorities of the three border checkpoints (Izvarino, Dolzanskiy, and Krasnopartizansk) is of particular importance in this regard.

In doing so, we remain firmly convinced, as reiterated during the ASRC last week, that the relevant OSCE politico-military commitments should be respected and implemented, and the OSCE instruments used fully and in good faith.

In this context, we are following closely the requests put forward by Ukraine pursuant to the relevant provisions of Chapter III of the Vienna Document and the clarifications provided by the Russian Federation. We urge the Russian Federation to constructively address this issue by, inter alia, providing additional information on its military activities in the vicinity of the state border giving rise to concern, as well as by considering voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document.

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

EU Statement on the Release of Belarusian Human Rights Defender Ales Bialiatski

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of Permanent Council to the statement on 21 June 2014 by the Spokesperson of the EU High Representative concerning the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. 

2. We welcome the release of Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski. After almost three years of imprisonment on politically motivated grounds, he can now finally rejoin his family and friends.

3. This is an important step by the Belarusian authorities and should be followed without delay by the release of all the remaining political prisoners and the reinstatement of their full civil and political rights. This could contribute to improving relations between the European Union and Belarus.

4. We call on the government of Belarus to implement in full its OSCE commitments to protect human rights defenders. We encourage them and all participating States to draw on the recently published ODIHR Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders as they seek to do this.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine

1. The EU is relieved that the monitors of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine detained by illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine have now all been released. We commend the SMM leadership for their tireless efforts in facilitating the release. We also thank the trilateral contact group and others for their role. We call for the release of all other hostages.

Mr Chairman,

2. We recall that on the 27 June the European Council  expressed its support for President Poroshenko's Peace Plan; it took note of the Russian President's declaration of support in principle of the peace plan and the Federation Council's decision to revoke the authorisation to use Russian forces to intervene militarily in Ukraine;  it expressed its regret that the cease-fire which was respected by the Ukrainian authorities has not led to the full cessation of military hostilities; it called on all parties to genuinely commit to the implementation of the peace plan and to cement the cessation of the military activities; and it also urged the Russian Federation to actively use its influence over the illegally armed groups and to stop the flow of weapons and militants across the border, in order to achieve rapid and tangible results in de-escalation.

3. Although a few positive developments have taken place, we regret the lack of progress in the implementation of the four steps outlined by the European Council on 27 June. We welcome the high-level dialogue between Ukraine, Germany, France and the Russian Federation aimed at making further progress. We also welcome the important role that the trilateral contact group is playing in this context. We recall that the European Council underlined its commitment to reconvene at any time for further significant restrictive measures.

4. We continue to express our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship-in-Office. The SMM plays a crucial role and we look forward to an early decision on the extension of the Mission’s mandate. We call for all OSCE monitors and other OSCE staff to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfill their mandate.

5. We share the concerns expressed by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in her recent statements on violations of media freedom and the appalling journalists' safety situation in eastern Ukraine, including on 30 June alone the death of Anatoliy Klyan, a cameraman with Russian Perviy Kanal;  and the illegal detention in the Luhansk region of two Ukrainian journalists from Hromadske TV. We welcome the agreement on an action plan to improve the media freedom situation in and around Ukraine, including cooperation on steps to increase journalists’ safety and professionalism, at the second meeting of Ukrainian and Russian journalists’ unions organised in Vienna on 27 June by the Representative on Freedom of the Media.

Mr. Chairman,

6. The EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement in Response to the Report of the External Auditor and the Annual Report of the Audit Committee

1. The Member States of the EU welcome to the Permanent Council Mr. Horst Erb, Senior Director of the German Federal Court of Auditors, and other representatives of the External Auditor, and the Audit Committee. We thank them for their comprehensive reports. We strongly support the work of the External Auditor and the Audit Committee which, together with the Office of the Internal Oversight, play a key role in promoting effective and efficient management at the OSCE.

2. With respect to the External Auditor’s Report, we are pleased that no weaknesses or errors pertaining to the accuracy, completeness or validity of the financial statements were found.

3. We note the External Auditor’s findings that the OSCE had a surplus of 5.9 million euros in 2013, and that the organisation’s cash situation is satisfactory.

4. We welcome the full adoption of IPSAS and agree with the External Auditor that the OSCE and its staff can rightly be proud of that achievement.

5. We encourage the Secretariat, and all the Executive Structures, to address the significant gaps identified by the External Auditor in the OSCE’s IT security arrangements.

6. We note the other recommendations and advice all of which should be addressed promptly.

7. We are in a position to adopt the draft Decision on the Financial Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2013 and the Report of the External Auditor.

8. With respect to the Annual Report of the Audit Committee, we are pleased that progress has been made in recent years in a number of areas, including the adoption by the Secretary General of the “Evaluation framework”. This needs to be implemented effectively across the OSCE. We underline that effective evaluation is essential to ensure efficient use of resources and aids the development of best practices and the process of lesson learning. We believe that performance indicators need to be introduced into budget documents to help participating States to assess the impact of programmatic activities.

9. We note the recommendation that the Secretary General presents participating States with an impact analysis of a multi-annual budget cycle. We believe that an extended budget cycle would allow for more predictability and aid effective planning. 

10. We agree with the Committee that the late approval of the 2014 Unified Budget was not in compliance with Financial Regulation 2.05 and that participating States should increase their efforts to identify and adopt a suitable solution for improving/ streamlining the budget cycle.

EU Statement in Response to the Secretary General's Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Secretary General for the Annual Evaluation Report on the Implementation of the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality. We welcome the efforts undertaken by the Secretary General during the reporting period. We also highly value the contributions made by various OSCE structures, in particular the Secretariat's Gender Section and the gender focal points in field operations, as well as the ODIHR, HCNM and RFoM.

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

3. We concur with the Secretary General that the tenth anniversary of the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality provides an excellent opportunity to examine our efforts to date and to actively identify ways to further enhance the gender equality work of the OSCE. We would like to reiterate our support for the related measures recommended by the Secretary General in the Report.

4. It remains crucial to ensure a strong and sustainable institutionalisation of gender issues in the OSCE. The EU supports measures to this effect, including developing and adopting an implementation strategy for the Gender Action Plan, strengthening the gender focal points network and gender advisor arrangements, creating a gender equality network as well as ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated in the policy, planning and decision making processes from the beginning. As recommended by the SG in his report, due account should also be given to gender mainstreaming in the context of the H+40 process.   

5. Fully implementing our gender equality commitments also means employing gender mainstreaming as an integral tool of the daily work of the OSCE. It is important to realise that gender mainstreaming is not a goal in itself. It is, in fact, a strategy of assessing the implications of any planned action for women and men. Gender mainstreaming is, therefore, a strategy to achieving gender equality. We need to make full use of this strategy in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.

6. As we all recall, the OSCE 2004 Gender Action Plan sets out priority areas such as guaranteeing equal opportunity in the economic and political spheres, combating violence against women as well as enhancing women's participation in conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction. The EU looks forward to actively engaging in further work on these and other gender issues, in particular at the Gender Equality Review Conference, to be held next week.

7. In conclusion, we would like to reaffirm our deep commitment to the OSCE work on advancing gender equality and our readiness to continue to actively contribute to this work. We thank the Secretary General once more for his report and we look forward to fruitful and substantial discussions at the Gender Equality Review Conference.

EU Statement on Latest Round of the Geneva International Discussions

1. The last round of the Geneva International Discussions took place more than two weeks ago. We reiterate our view that the Geneva International Discussions, in their agreed format, continue to be the only forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia, with the participation of all stakeholders. All participants should be committed to this process and engage constructively in its work.

2. But what happened during the talks gives rise to some concern. We regret that participants from the breakaway regions of Georgia decided to walk out of the second working group of the Geneva Discussions, quickly followed by participants from the Russian Federation.  We call upon all participants of the Geneva Discussions to remain committed to the process, so that the next round can take place as scheduled, and in a more cooperative atmosphere, on 7-8 October 2014. 

3. Mr Chair, the position of the European Union on the protracted conflict in Georgia is well known. The European Union recalls its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders and reiterates its concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) with access to the breakaway regions. The EU plays a leading role in the IPRMs within its stabilisation, normalisation and confidence-building mandate. We also reiterate our call for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations. The EU calls for resuming the effective functioning of the Gali Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) meetings, and welcomes the constructive work done within the Ergneti IPRM.

EU Statement in Response to the Address by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay

1. The European Union is delighted to welcome the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanethem Pillay, to the Permanent Council and we are pleased to be able to hear from her before she completes her term in office.

2. We appreciate the candid assessment Ms Pillay has provided of the human rights situation in the OSCE region. Protecting and promoting the rights of the individual is a responsibility for States and for communities of States, such as the OSCE and the United Nations. Effective protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms also lie at the heart of the EU’s external action and we remain convinced that there can be no lasting security and stability without respect for these basic rights. We are therefore deeply concerned by the worrying trend of human rights and fundamental freedoms being increasingly challenged in parts of the OSCE region. These challenges are best met through a combined effort, supported  by shared values. UN resolutions, and OSCE commitments and its comprehensive approach to security, embody this approach and bind us together in it. When these commitments are violated by States, they represent not simply an attack on the human rights of the individuals concerned, but also an attack on our community.

3. Human rights and the values that underpin our organisations are currently under threat in Ukraine. Illegal activities of armed separatist groups supported by Russia have led to human rights violations, including killings, abduction and torture.  Media freedom is under threat. The targeting of persons belonging to national minorities in Crimea, particularly the Crimean Tatars, is also of grave concern. These issues have all been highlighted in the valuable assessments by the autonomous OSCE Institutions and the UN Missions to Ukraine. We once again commend both the OSCE and the UN for their response to the crisis and encourage them to continue supporting the Ukrainian government in addressing it.

4. The work of the OSCE and the United Nations must be mutually re-enforcing. The UN Charter and the International Bill of Human Rights are the foundation for OSCE commitments in the human dimension. We must continue to reflect UN resolutions, particularly those agreed by consensus, in OSCE commitments, not least to support their better implementation. Unfortunately, such an approach continues to be resisted by a few participating States. Their stance calls into question both their commitment to globally agreed standards and to working together more broadly on the issues which these resolutions address.

5. Mr Chairperson, the OSCE’s autonomous institutions, its field missions and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights are significant resources at the disposal of OSCE participating States as they seek to implement their human dimension commitments. We encourage all participating States to draw on their expertise. The European Union remains concerned that some States are not engaging fully with the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and we call on them to do so. We also believe assessments by the High Commissioner and UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights issues in specific participating States and across our region, are an important reference for OSCE discussions on the implementation of our human dimension commitments. In turn, discussions in the OSCE could play a useful  role in following up the universal periodic reviews of participating States at the Human Rights Council.

6. We welcome the recent declaration signed by the Office of the High Commissioner and ODIHR, reaffirming their commitment to work closely together and their desire to enhance this cooperation. We also support the good working relationships that exist between other OSCE Institutions and the Office of the High Commissioner and expect these will continue and deepen.

7. In concluding, the European Union would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the tireless work by Ms Pillay over the last six years to protect and promote human rights globally. She has spoken up and spoken out for countless victims of human rights abuses, making their voices heard at the highest levels. She has spoken boldly and clearly on many pressing issues that continue to confront the OSCE region. These include: the persecution of human rights defenders; the ongoing practice of torture; the need to address all forms of discrimination, including gender based discrimination and discrimination against LGBTI persons; and the continued application of the death penalty. The European Union commends Ms Pillay for the courage and impartiality that has characterised her outstanding work as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She departs leaving a remarkable legacy.  We wish to express once again our deepest gratitude for her efforts, and we wish Ms Pillay all the very best in her future endeavours.

EU Statement on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

1. In view of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the European Union wishes to reaffirm its commitment to the prevention and eradication of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Torture is clearly and unequivocally prohibited under international law.

2. We would like to commend the efforts by many NGOs and individuals, who work tirelessly to prevent torture, alleviate the suffering of victims and mobilise public opinion on this important issue. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the European Union offers substantial support to civil society organisations that strive for the eradication of torture and work to ensure accountability for torture and ill-treatment.

3. The EU calls upon all States to accede to the UN Convention against Torture and to its Optional Protocol (OPCAT) and to recognise the competence of the Committee Against Torture to receive and consider individual communications. We welcome the recent signature of the Optional Protocol by Mongolia and its ratification by Norway. The EU underlines the need to create and sustain National Preventive Mechanisms and to ensure their operational and financial autonomy.

4. The EU expresses its appreciation for the work undertaken by international mechanisms, notably the UN Special Rapporteur, the Committee Against Torture and the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and urges States to implement their recommendations.

5. The EU has given every support to UN General Assembly Resolution 68/156, adopted on 18 December 2013, which stresses the importance of individuals’ ability to freely contact the institutions working to prevent and combat torture and the right of torture victims to redress.

6. The EU welcomes the focus the Swiss Chairmanship has placed this year on preventing torture and we believe consideration should be given as to how the recommendations emerging from the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting in April can be taken forward. 

7. We must continue to work together to make torture a thing of the past.

EU Opening Statement, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr. Chairperson-in-Office, Mr. Ministers,

Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. On behalf of the EU and its Member States let me start by thanking the Swiss Chairmanship and the OSCE Secretariat for their hard work over an extended period to organise this year's event. At last year's ASRC, we gathered under the theme 'Towards Helsinki+40, finding common responses to security threats and challenges'. A year later, with the crisis in Ukraine still unfolding, that now seems very distant. The security situation within the OSCE area has drastically deteriorated since we last assembled in this forum. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol which we strongly condemn and will not recognise and Russia's destabilising actions in Eastern Ukraine have seriously undermined European security. As a result, we are facing the most serious crisis in Europe in many years.

2. The crisis in Ukraine affects not only Ukraine, but also has profound implications for all OSCE participating States. What is at stake are the established fundamental principles that have provided a solid cornerstone for our area in the last almost 40 years. This is the larger issue that we need to address even as we seek to stabilise the current situation in Ukraine and secure its democratic future. Without full respect for these principles the security of all actors is likely to decrease. If international principles are not respected in the context of the situation in Ukraine, one must also ask how they will be respected in other situations.

3. It takes years to build trust. Unfortunately, it is too easy to destroy it. Over the past nearly 40 years, the CSCE and OSCE have contributed to overcoming divisions and building trust in a peaceful Europe. The Helsinki+40 process was designed to build on past achievements and advance work towards the Astana vision of a security community, a vision that has at its core the full implementation of commitments in all three dimensions and where the use, or threat of use, of force is unthinkable. Russia’s violations of the fundamental principles and commitments now seem to have taken us back to a point where rebuilding trust and regaining respect for the original principles of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 are the most crucial tasks at hand. The EU believes that the two tasks cannot be separated. Respect for international law and fundamental OSCE principles and commitments is a basic precondition for the rebuilding of trust and no precedent can be based on their violation. The Helsinki+40 process remains an opportunity to address these ongoing challenges and to find common ground on the way forward.

4. At the same time, events in Ukraine have highlighted the value of the OSCE. The efforts of the Swiss Chairmanship, including on the highest diplomatic level, the deployment of the SMM, the use of politico-military mechanisms, and the engagement of the autonomous institutions demonstrate the high degree of impartiality, flexibility, and professionalism that characterises the OSCE. The PC and FSC remain important fora for permanent dialogue. The OSCE comprehensive concept of security has yet again shown its relevance. But the past few months also make abundantly clear that the OSCE can only deliver if there is sufficient political will on all sides to fully use its tools and structures.

5. We cannot talk about OSCE’s efforts in Ukraine without expressing our deep concern about the abduction of SMM observers. This is completely unacceptable and we call for their immediate and unconditional release.

6. The crisis in Ukraine has not made the other thematic sessions on the ASRC agenda less pertinent. On the contrary, it has highlighted the need to strengthen the OSCE’s effectiveness across the conflict cycle and the need to achieve tangible progress in resolution of the protracted conflicts in Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The crisis has also shown the clear need to implement fully and in good faith as well as to update and modernise the Conventional Arms Control and Confidence and Security Building regime in Europe, including the Vienna Document 2011. Transnational threats remain key challenges and we advocate further strengthening of the OSCE’s concrete work on combatting TNTs, in particular implementation of the agreed initial set of CBMs for cyber-space, development of a second set of CBMs, and implementation of the agreed 2012 TNT decisions as well as of the 2005 Borders Concept. We look forward to discussing Afghanistan’s long-term security and stability against the backdrop of the ongoing transitions in the country, important not only for the country itself but also its impact on the region as a whole.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

7. The European Union will continue to work with all its partners towards achieving a political solution to the crisis in Ukraine, while striving to restore respect for the fundamental principles that underpin European security and stability. The EU continues to strongly support OSCE efforts to help bring peace and stability to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol. We believe the OSCE is an important part of the solution and we will continue to provide both political and material support to help it realise its full potential in supporting security in the whole OSCE area. 

EU Statement on Ensuring Security and Stability in the OSCE Region in Light of Recent Developments with Respect to Ukraine, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. The EU welcomes this special and very pertinent session. We thank the two keynote speakers for their valuable presentations. We are very pleased to have the new foreign minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, with us today at this crucial point in time for Ukraine and for the rest of Europe. Allow me to make a few points on the situation in Ukraine, the role of the OSCE and reflections on lessons learned:

2. First, let there be no doubt that what we have seen happening in Ukraine is a serious setback for peace and stability in Europe. We continue to strongly condemn the Russian Federation’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, in clear breach of international law as well as fundamental OSCE principles and commitments, and we will not recognise it.

3. The European Union welcomes Petro Poroshenko as new President of Ukraine. It supports the peace plan as a major chance for de-escalation and commends the President’s determined actions towards peace and stability in Ukraine since his inauguration, against the backdrop of increased violent activities by pro-Russia separatists in Eastern Ukraine and the daily loss of lives, in particular the recent downing of a Ukrainian military aircraft killing 49 persons near Luhansk. This is occurring despite the encouraging talks held with the participation of representatives of the Russian Federation and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, upon President Poroshenko’s initiative, as well as direct high-level contacts between Ukrainian and Russian authorities. It is now all the more important that they bring rapid and tangible results.

4. The EU calls on all sides to agree and honour a ceasefire immediately in order to stabilise the security situation, achieve a genuine de-escalation and create the necessary conditions for President Poroshenko’s peace plan to be implemented. In this regard, the EU calls on the Russian Federation to adopt effective measures to stop the continued flow of illegal fighters, arms and equipment over the border into Ukraine, to use its influence on the separatists to stop the violence and lay down their arms, to continue withdrawing and refrain from gathering troops again near the Ukrainian border and to cancel the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil. The EU also urges the Russian Federation to use its influence to ensure the immediate release of the OSCE monitors and other kidnapped persons held hostage by the armed separatists.

5. The EU will continue its efforts to assist Ukraine in overcoming the crisis and to promote growth and development in the country. We welcome the choice Ukraine has made to enter into an Association Agreement with the EU and we look forward to the signing of the economic part of the Association Agreement, including the DCFTA, this Friday. The future of Ukraine is for the Ukrainian people to decide. That is unequivocal. External pressure and violent aggression must not be used to try and prevent the free choice of the Ukrainian people. We call on all parties to respect the choices of Ukraine.

6. Secondly, throughout this crisis the OSCE has demonstrated that it can play an important and valuable role and we commend the Chairmanship the OSCE structures for acting swiftly and promptly. Within days the Human Rights Assessment Mission was deployed and the National Dialogue project launched. The Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) had people on the ground within a few hours after the decision to establish the mission. The Project Coordinator in Ukraine responded to the new demands and the heads of the three autonomous institutions all demonstrated their strong engagement in Ukraine. ODIHR organised its biggest election observation mission in recent years. Visits and inspections were conducted within the framework of the Vienna Document. We welcome the intention of President Poroshenko to continue to draw on OSCE expertise and assistance in solving this crisis, including by promoting a Ukrainian-led and -owned national dialogue involving all relevant stakeholders and all the regions of Ukraine.

7. Finally, is there a lesson learned for the future of the OSCE? This crisis has clearly shown the value of the OSCE, but it also demonstrates the vulnerability of the organisation when one participating State blatantly violates fundamental commitments and principles. The OSCE could not prevent the crisis and we should consider any lessons we should learn from that. But it is now contributing to stability and solving the crisis. We cannot carry on as if nothing has happened. We can also not move forward without rebuilding of trust, but, as we highlighted this morning, respect for fundamental OSCE principles and commitments is a basic precondition for this to happen. There is still time for Russia to reverse current developments. We believe the crisis underlines the need for the OSCE to focus on the full implementation of OSCE commitments and principles and to strengthening our capacity to respond when these commitments are challenged.

8. Mr Chairman, I hope these points and reflections may contribute to our discussion and I look forward to a fruitful and open exchange of views.

EU Statement on Transnational Threats and Challenges, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairperson, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

1. The EU and its Member States welcomed four major decisions on fighting transnational threats adopted by the OSCE in 2012, as well as last year’s decision on an initial set of confidence building measures on cyber security. These decisions, together with the 2005 OSCE Border Management Concept, provide the OSCE with a sound and comprehensive basis for the Organisation's work on fighting transnational threats.

2. Hence, our focus remains to continue to “translate political commitments agreed by the participating States into effective and sustainable programmatic action”, as put in MC Decision 4/12. In this context, we see merit in deepening our dialogue with the TNT coordinator, in particular regarding the set of recommendations listed in the report by the OSCE Secretary General on the implementation of this specific decision.

3. We welcome that the TNT Department, despite severe challenges caused by longstanding personnel vacancies, achieved a greater focus on and practical implementation of coordination among executive structures, and with OSCE Field Missions, whilst bearing in mind and respecting their respective mandates. We support its efforts to deepen strategic partnerships with other relevant international organisations (such as UNODC), regional organisations, academic institutions, civil society and the private sector, as well as its efforts to strengthen cooperation with OSCE Partners for Cooperation.

Mr Chairperson, Distinguished Delegates,

4. We emphasise that the fight against transnational threats and challenges should be done in a comprehensive and cross-dimensional manner, fully respecting OSCE commitments and principles, including those in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We believe that OSCE’s activities in the area of TNTs have a particular added value and often unique features in projects and programmes, which make use of the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security and its specific expertise and capacities.

5. We reaffirm that the OSCE can play an important role in helping the relevant authorities in capacity and institution building. This should remain a clear priority of action in the future. While doing so, we deem extremely important to strongly coordinate with other major stakeholders. Identifying the niches for the OSCE is a key challenge, and this task is primarily the responsibility of the TNT coordinator and the three heads of unit. We also insist on the necessity for the TNT Department's units to follow a realistic approach when considering any new project, in particular when they require extra-budgetary funding.

6. We reiterate our support for the work of the OSCE and its field presences. We value their activities in the field of police assistance and reform, especially when focusing on the community policing approach.

7. The OSCE has shown that it can undertake pioneering work in the field of confidence building measures to enhance cyber security. We are proud that the OSCE – genuinely fit for building confidence - is the first regional organisation that adopted such measures in a field in which there are many important challenges. The cooperation among the OSCE participating States can be a model for OSCE Partners for Cooperation and other regional organisations. By exchanging information, showing transparency and cooperating to decrease the risk of tension or conflict, participating States bring a contribution to peace and security. Both - implementation of cyber CBMs and plans to advance them - are important.

8. We fully support the UN´s main role, and, as a regional arrangement under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter, the role of the OSCE in the prevention of and fight against terrorism and we welcome the close coordination of the two organisations in this area. Times of limited resources require good co-ordination and wise planning. The comparative advantage of the OSCE’s anti-terrorism profile lies in the Organisation's comprehensive approach to security, and in its framework for multi-stakeholder dialogue, including civil society, media and the private sector. The guideline for engagement should focus on the respect of human rights and the rule of law in countering and preventing terrorism. We consider the fight against Violent Extremism and Radicalisation that Lead to Terrorism (VERLT) a very good example of the OSCE’s cross-dimensional approach.

9. Border management, which counters all TNTs, including illegal migration and trafficking in human beings, is another area where the OSCE can offer comparative advantages through its integrated approach, which aims to facilitate beneficial cross-border cooperation whilst strengthening and modernising security.  We have a unique institution in the form of the Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe that offers training to border officials from all participating States and Partners for Cooperation thereby helping to build bridges between different systems. However, its core strength lies in its focus on Central Asian borders and we believe that, as a future strategy for the college is elaborated, we should not abandon this emphasis.

Mr Chairperson,

10. The OSCE has a valuable contribution to make in the fight against transnational threats. We look forward to carrying on our joint work to improve the OSCE's effectiveness in tackling transnational and emerging threats and challenges, including those stemming from the Central Asian region, and in particular from Afghanistan. 

EU Statement on the Conflict Cycle: Lessons Learned and the Way Ahead, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference, Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

1. The EU and its Members States believe this year’s ASRC comes at a highly sensitive moment. With the violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by the Russian Federation, the OSCE region has become less secure. Strengthening the OSCE’s capacities across the conflict cycle and achieving tangible progress in the resolution of protracted conflicts are therefore essential.

2. Because of the crisis in Ukraine, we have once again witnessed the OSCE’s early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation capacities in action. The crisis has again underlined the indivisible and comprehensive nature of security. Politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects of security must be addressed equally if we are to ensure sustainable peace and stability.

3. It has also been a true test of the OSCE’s crisis management capacities. The establishment of the Special Monitoring Mission was in itself a significant achievement which confirmed that participating States are ready to use OSCE crisis management capacities, although we still need to ensure safety, free access and freedom of movement for the SMM and OSCE Institutions throughout Ukraine, including Crimea. We think that lessons learned should be collected and analysed from the deployment of the SMM and other OSCE missions in Ukraine, including the HRAM and the military inspections under the Vienna Document, to further improve OSCE capacities in conflict management.

Mr. Chairperson,

4. We commend the Secretary General, the HCNM, the Secretariat and especially the CPC, including through the field missions, for continuously developing the capabilities of the Organisation across the conflict cycle through the consistent implementation of MC Decision 3/11. Closing the gap between early warning and early action remains essential. We welcome reports to the Permanent Council by the Secretary General and by the HCNM on emerging tensions and conflicts as a useful early warning tool. We would also welcome more follow-up reporting to the PC on measures taken. Enhancing the OSCE’s role in mediation support and consolidating its post-conflict rehabilitation capabilities remain equally very important. Women, Peace, and Security, including implementing UNSCR 1325 through an OSCE-wide action plan, should also be at the top of our agenda. Finally, we believe that the added value and capacities of the OSCE field missions in addressing conflict situations should be further explored and enhanced.

Mr. Chairperson,

5. Protracted conflicts in our region pose a threat to the security of the entire OSCE area. The resolution of the existing conflicts in the OSCE area remain a top priority for the EU and our positions on these conflicts are well known. The EU supports the existing formats of negotiations and calls on all actors involved to demonstrate commitment to conflict settlement.

6. On the conflict in the Republic of Moldova, we fully support the '5+2' format and appeal to all participants in the '5+2' talks to address all three baskets in negotiations and advance discussions on the substance of the settlement, based on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. The OSCE Mission must be allowed to implement its mandate and have full access to the territory of the Republic of Moldova, including the Transnistrian region. On Georgia, we reiterate our firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and call on all parties to show commitment to the Geneva International Discussions which remain an indispensable tool for reducing tensions, addressing humanitarian needs, and implementing commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement. The persistent challenges demonstrate the need for a meaningful, cross-dimensional OSCE presence throughout Georgia. On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, we reiterate our full support for the mediation carried out by the co-Chairs of the Minsk Group and encourage the parties to make greater use of the efforts undertaken by the co-Chairs with the aim of achieving a fair and lasting settlement in accordance with international law

7. Finally, we continue to see value in organising thematic meetings at the OSCE devoted to emerging and ongoing crisis and conflict situations in the OSCE area. 

EU Statement on Arms Control and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures: Challenges and Opportunities, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

1. The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to thank the Swiss and Moldovan Chairmanships, as well as the key-note speakers, for this useful opportunity to assess the  Conventional Arms Control and confidence and security -building commitments and activities in the OSCE area especially during a period when trust and confidence in the OSCE area are severely damaged by the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian regions of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, and by the security crisis in and around Ukraine.

2. The importance of our politico-military toolbox could not be greater in the context of fast evolving and deeply disturbing crisis, which has been taking place in Ukraine over the past 4 months, since the risk of politico-military miscalculation and further escalation of violence is high.

3. The existing interlocking and mutually reinforcing  web of arms control obligations and commitments  have proven to be of importance for all OSCE participating States, so the strategic objective of their revitalisation, updating and modernisation should be maintained and further pursued, as soon as conditions allow.

4. Finding a solution in order to overcome the impasse on conventional arms control in Europe remains important for the security in the OSCE area as a whole. A modern, functional conventional arms control regime that provides verifiable transparency of armed forces would bolster the security and stability, if respected and fully implemented. The EU and its Member States support discussions on conventional arms control aimed at opening the way for committed and result-oriented negotiations.

5. The EU and its Member States have also repeatedly expressed full support for the Open Skies Treaty, as one of the pillars of the Euro-Atlantic arms control regime. With the certification of the Russian observation aircraft equipped with the digital sensor, the Treaty has entered the digital age. We look forward to the constructive and fruitful work which lies ahead of us in the Open Skies Consultative Commission. Furthermore, we reiterate our support for the pending application of Cyprus to accede to the Treaty

6. The EU and its Member States view the Vienna Document as one of the main components of the OSCE politico-military dimension. At this occasion, we would like to underline that the raison d’etre of the Vienna Document is to build regional confidence and security by implementing the commitments all OSCE participating States have made to refrain from the threat or use of force, including in relation to the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of States.

7. We believe that in such circumstances fully respecting, both in letter and in spirit, the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area remains a priority task to be pursued. At the same time there is a need to take forward the modernisation of the Vienna Document while taking stock of the experience and lessons learnt during the Ukrainian crisis, in particular regarding the risk reduction mechanism.

8. The EU and its Member States would also like to stress the importance of the comprehensive set of CSBMs built up and developed by the Forum for Security Co-operation in areas such as Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles for Conventional Ammunition, the OSCE Code of Conduct, UNSCRs 1540 and 1325, which should be fully implemented and further enhanced, including by its adaptation to recent UN developments.

EU Statement on Supporting Stability in the OSCE Area during the Ongoing Transitions in Afghanistan, OSCE Annual Security Review Conference Vienna, 24 - 26 червня 2014 року

1. The EU welcomes the fact that, for the second year in a row, the ASRC dedicates a working session to Afghanistan. This demonstrates the continuing importance of Afghanistan for the OSCE area. We want to thank Mr. James Appathurai and Ms. Sukria Barazaki for their contributions to this session.

2. On 14 June, the second round of the Afghan presidential elections was conducted. The final results are expected to be announced shortly. The upcoming change of leadership will be a key moment in the country’s ongoing transformation process, providing an opportunity to enhance long-term security and stability for Afghanistan, as well as for the region as a whole.

3. The EU has made an exceptional commitment to Afghanistan over the past twelve years and remains committed for the long-term. In that context, we would welcome the early finalisation of the Cooperation Agreement for Partnership and Development (CAPD). The EU Strategy 2014-2016 focuses on promoting peace, security and regional stability; reinforcing democracy; encouraging economic and human development; and fostering the rule of law and human rights.

4. We call on the incoming president to reach out to all Afghans and neighbouring countries to invite them to contribute to the development of a stable, prosperous and fully sovereign Afghanistan, including through intensifying engagement in the Heart of Asia process. The EU considers security to be one of the most urgent challenges for a new government. In that respect, early conclusion of the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States and the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO remains vital to ensuring a security environment conducive to economic growth and ongoing international support.

5. With regard to the further development of the Afghan National Security Forces, the EU focuses on the professionalisation of civilian policing, in close coordination with the Afghan authorities and international partners, building on the results from the ongoing EUPOL mission and with substantial support provided under the EU Development Cooperation Instrument (DCI) as well as Member States’ activities. The EU will use its engagement and instruments also to enhance political and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, to support the regional solution strategy for the reintegration of Afghan refugees, and to strengthen Afghan and regional efforts to reduce organised crime and drugs production, trafficking and demand.  

6. The security of Afghanistan is indivisible from sustainable security in the whole region of Central Asia. We therefore support regional cooperation in Central Asia. The Heart of Asia process, advancing Confidence Building Measures and enhancing trust in the Central Asia region, represents a sound example of such cooperation: both the EU and the OSCE have become part of this process. We restate our strong commitment to the region through the EU’s Border Management Programme in Central Asia (BOMCA) and Border Management in Northern Afghanistan (BOMNAF). We welcome the active participation of Afghan officials in the activities of the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, in the Patrol Programming and Leadership Project run by the OSCE office in Dushanbe, the upcoming border management project in Turkmenistan, which will also include Afghan officials, as well as the courses offered to Afghan staff at the Domodedovo Academy in Moscow. We also would like to mention the important work done by the OSCE Bishkek Academy on Afghanistan and the participation of Afghan students in the Academy’s programmes.

7. The EU encourages all participating States to consider contributing according to the relevant Ministerial Council Decisions taken in Madrid and Vilnius to the implementation of these activities and calls on the Secretariat, in close cooperation with the relevant field presences in Central Asia, to continue to identify and develop meaningful OSCE extra-budgetary projects to promote our common objectives.

EU statement on item 10, Technical assistance and capacity-building, 26 червня 2014 року

Mr. President, Madam High Commissioner,

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

The European Union would like to seize the opportunity of this last General Debate with High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay to commend her accomplishments since 2008 to further develop technical assistance and capacity building as one the means to consolidate the foundation for human rights, democracy and rule of law.

The opening of offices, the deployment of human rights advisers and technical missions has required a constant dialogue with States, regional organizations and other stakeholders. This has proved beneficial thanks to the commitment of the OHCHR staff worldwide and the solid cooperation with officials at various levels in many countries.

The growing number of requests for assistance by the OHCHR shows that its vital role is widely appreciated and recognized. We are aware that OHCHR is consequently facing challenges to find and allocate the necessary resources and hope that this can be addressed. We encourage countries from across regions to further support financially the Office. 

Technical assistance and capacity building can be useful to all. Technical and capacity building are also essential to make progress on thematic and cross-cutting issues worldwide.

The EU encourages all States to continue to see the benefit of a full cooperation with OHCHR. We encourage all to be open to technical assistance and capacity building but also, when needed, to allow OHCHR to monitor and report on human rights situation. The European Union wishes success to the incoming High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein in this particular area of work.

Thank your Mr. President

Statement on the occasion of the UNIDO Programme and Budget Committee Vienna, Agenda item 3, 4, 5 and 6, 25 - 26 червня 2014 року

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

Mr. Chairman,

2. Let me welcome you as the Chair of this 30th Session of the Programme and Budget Committee and assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the European Union's full cooperation.

3. The European Union would like to thank the Director General and his staff for the documents before the Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

4. With regard to the Director General’s Annual Report for the year 2013, we take note that work carried out by UNIDO in 2013 targets its integration as a leading partner in the post-2015 development agenda debate.

5. The European Union supports the five-pillar strategy 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. 

6. We welcome the adoption of the Lima Declaration and note in this regard that the Organization has received a cross-regional support from its Member States recognizing the role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in the eradication of poverty. We note also increasing engagement of the Organization in different valuable partnerships with organizations, institutions and different sectors of society, that catalyze development efforts. 

7. UNIDO's mandate to reduce poverty and promote environmentally sustainable industry through inclusive and sustainable industrial development can be very relevant in the context of the post-2015 development agenda. Specifically UNIDO will be able to offer its expertise in the field of industry-related inclusive economic and social development, enhancing productive capacities in a way that supports a transformation of the economy towards ISID, industry- related sustainable energy (in particular energy efficiency, but also access to clean energy) and environmental sustainability.

8. The EU sees the Organization’s particular value as the central coordinator of international industrial cooperation in the United Nations system. In this regard, the EU encourages UNIDO to continue its engagement in the post-2015 processes and other relevant dialogues to highlight the importance of inclusive and sustainable industrial development for poverty reduction.

9. 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 this Organisation. European Union's and EU MS voluntary contributions to the UNIDO's Technical Cooperation Programme totalled around USD 32 million in 2013, i. e.  18 per cent of total TC delivery in 2013.  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.

Mr. Chairman, 

10. 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.

11. We take note that the level of Technical Cooperation delivery remains high and the level of funds mobilized in 2013 reached the highest level ever attained by the Organization. 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.

12. 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.

13. 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 and in particular we urge the rigorous implementation of Decision 12 IDB 41. 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 should not result in an additional burden upon the remaining Member States.

Mr. Chairman,

14. 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.


Mr Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.  (alignment clause).

The European Union and its twenty-eight MemberStates remain deeply committed to saving lives and reducing human suffering throughout the world through principled and needs-based humanitarian aid, in line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid. Our solidarity with those in need has withstood the persisting economic hardship in much of Europe. As the world's biggest humanitarian donor collectively, we also remain committed to the effective and accountable use of our taxpayers' money in the pursuit of this goal.

In order for these funds to be put to good use and achieve maximum impact, we need a humanitarian system that is fit for purpose. We commend the improvements in the system's effectiveness through efforts of the Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and UN OCHA, whose work we strongly support. OCHA’s core tasks of humanitarian coordination and advocacy, and the collective performance and accountability of the UN multilateral system, in particular at the field level, continue to be critical for the effective and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance. We encourage the continuation of efforts to further improve the system’s effectiveness, notably through the full implementation in the field of the IASC Transformative Agenda in its key aspects of strong humanitarian leadership, strengthened coordination, and accountability.

Humanitarian needs worldwide continue to grow dramatically faster than available funding. This obliges us to do more with less, and to do better. Our current system, and to some extent even the current humanitarian paradigm, need to be adapted to this changing world. This must be done in a way that will allow to better pursue the key objective of saving lives and alleviating suffering on the basis of needs, which are basically the principles of humanity and impartiality. And whenever aid is delivered in conflict situations or complex emergencies, this must also be done in full respect of the principles of neutrality and independence.

In this reflection on adapting the humanitarian paradigm to the changing world, we believe that the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of ECOSOC can provide a valuable contribution. The segment has indeed over the past years grown into the major annual humanitarian policy forum, made all the more significant through its inclusive nature. The importance we attach to the HAS is amply demonstrated by our active and high-level participation in the segment's activities, including at the level of the EU humanitarian Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva as well as a number of senior humanitarian officials from EU capitals.

The work of ECOSOC and the General Assembly remains important also as regards the normative framework for humanitarian action. ECOSOC will this week adopt its annual humanitarian resolution, and we commend the efforts of this year's facilitators, Bangladesh and Switzerland, in arriving to a balanced text agreeable to all Delegations. In this regard, we would recommend in the coming period to jointly examine ways of further enhancing complementarities and eliminating redundancies between the humanitarian resolutions of ECOSOC and the General Assembly, in line with the reform of ECOSOC agreed last December.

Mr Chair,

Serving the needs of people in conflicts, a key theme of this year's segment, remains as acute as ever. Witness the terrible examples of Syria, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, or the many other emergencies which no longer receive sufficient attention or funding because of the above three. While there can be no humanitarian solution to conflicts of this type, while working on political solutions, it is crucial to allow humanitarians to do their work fully. The European Union urges all parties to grant unimpeded access for humanitarian aid to all the affected population, and recalls that any arbitrary denial of access constitutes a violation of international humanitarian law. Protection of the most vulnerable must be ensured in humanitarian emergencies, including refugees, as well the skyrocketing numbers of internally displaced persons. The specific needs of women, girls, boys and men must be adequately addressed. This year's segment will contribute to this reflection, as well as to reflections on enhancing humanitarian effectiveness, just like last year's segment contributed to the other two themes of the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit.

It is only logical that policy discussions taking place as part of this year's segment will be directly feeding into the World Humanitarian Summit. Preparations for the Summit have now started in earnest, and the first regional consultation took place only last week. The Summit must fully seize the opportunity to help make the humanitarian system more inclusive and accountable, and to credibly take the humanitarian debate to each of the world regions with the full involvement all stakeholders, including civil society and the affected populations. And even before this Summit, we humanitarians need to ensure adequate contributions to the 2015 processes, including SDGs, but also the post-Hyogo framework for action. We notably need to ensure that that humanitarian and development actors will make it their core task to raise the level of preparedness, build resilience and capacities for disaster risk reduction, as a very cost-effective investment as compared to emergency response, and in order to save more lives tomorrow, to paraphrase OCHA's recent report "Saving Lives Today and Tomorrow".

Mr Chair,

We wish to conclude by thanking the Secretary General for his annual report, which accurately depicts a very bleak and sobering picture of the huge humanitarian challenges facing the humanitarian community. We look forward to fruitful discussions which will hopefully help us better address these challenges, both today and tomorrow.  I thank you. 

HRC26: Draft EU statement – GD Item 6 – Universal Periodic Review (UPR), 23 червня 2014 року

At the midterm of the second cycle of the UPR, the European Union would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm its commitment and support to this important mechanism of the Human Rights Council. Since its establishment, the UPR has steadily contributed to the human rights protection and promotion at the country level throughout the world, and not less importantly to raising public awareness of the very existence of human rights The reviews bring evidence of concrete steps taken to ensure all human rights for every person, while fully achieving this important goal  still requires further stepping up of efforts by all States.

The European Union pays close attention to the degree of implementation of UPR commitments and endeavors to provide support to their implementation.  In order to avoid gaps in the process of improving the human rights record, the second cycle review should build on the outcome of the first one.  This is why we welcome the close attention paid to those recommendations that were already made under the first cycle of the UPR, but were not yet implemented.  It is of utmost importance to keep States accountable for their commitments. 

We are pleased to witness an active role of the independent National Human Rights Institutions, which provide their views on the progress made and challenges ahead.  We are encouraged by the proactive participation of civil society, in all phases of the UPR, from the preparation of the national reports, to the reviews and further to the follow up at the country level.  Their contributions are a very valuable asset.

While in many cases the relations between States and independent NGOs are exemplary, we are deeply concerned by increasingly frequent incidents of harassment, intimidation and reprisals towards civil society representatives and their organisations, related to their participation in or follow-up to the UPR process. Earlier this year, an activist was imprisoned and died in custody for merely seeking to participate in the UPR. Apparently nobody has been held accountable for her death. Since then more cases of reprisals have been reported. We strongly condemn such acts and call on States to remain vigilant so that the voices of human rights defenders continue to be heard throughout the UPR, including at this Council, in line with the existing rules and established practices. Likewise the UN must strengthen its mechanisms to tackle reprisals.

We also welcome the support provided by the OHCHR in the area of capacity-building and technical assistance.  We wish to thank the Office for its contribution regarding the UPR process, which is key for the functioning of this unique mechanism.

Finally, while recalling the Council’s President letter of 18 September 2013 on the existing UPR rules and practices, the EU would like to stress that they should be applied in a consistent manner to all States under Review, in line with one of key UPR principles, which is an equal treatment of all States.

Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Item 8, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 26th session, 10 - 27 червня 2014 року

Mr. President,

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

Alignment paragraph

Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights and the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action. In the final conference documents participants reaffirmed the continued relevance of the VDPA as a guiding document for decision makers and practitioners in their efforts to respond to today’s global human rights challenges.

The VDPA reminds us that (I quote) Special emphasis should be given to ... strengthening of a pluralistic civil society. In addition, the General Assembly underscored 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 important and indispensible role played by civil society, NGOs, Human Rights Defenders and journalists, to remind governments of their human rights obligations and to support them in their implementation. States have the responsibility to ensure that those that speak up for human rights are protected. The European Union is concerned about persistent cases of persecution of human rights defenders and condemns all acts of intimidation and violence against them. The European Union also refutes any attempts to endanger journalists in their profession or to place unjustified restrictions on free speech, whether online or offline. The promotion of the freedom of expression, of assembly and association as well as the protection of human rights defenders will continue to be a priority for the European Union.

Mr. President,

The VDPA also states that (I quote) Democracy, development, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. ... The international community should support the strengthening and promoting of democracy, development and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the entire world. The European Union will continue its efforts, domestically and around the globe, to strengthen democracy, development and human rights. In this respect, the European Union strongly condemns mock elections to confirm despotic governments and secessionist referenda that are neither free nor fair as recently seen in several countries.

Mr. President,

The VDPA 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 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. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council No 1005, 19 червня 2014 року

1. Mr Chairman, during the last week we have witnessed a further escalation of violence in some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts that is of deep concern to the European Union. In particular, we condemn the downing of a military plane killing 49 Ukrainian servicemen and crew members near the city of Luhansk on 14 June. Furthermore, we find it completely unacceptable that three tanks crossed the border from Russia into Ukraine on 12 June. Violent aggression and provocations by pro-Russian separatists continue unabated. Killings, kidnappings, intimidation, torture and ill-treatment, other human rights abuses and illegal occupation of public buildings have become everyday events. The abduction of a group of Ukrainian orphans, forcibly taken to Russia by armed groups, even if they reportedly returned to Ukraine, has taken these crimes into a new and disturbing area.

2. Responding to the recent developments, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy stated on 14 June, and I quote, “While legitimate force must always be used with restraint, there is no doubt that the Ukrainian Government has an obligation and a duty to restore order within its borders. There is equally no doubt that the armed fighters that are terrorising and disrupting the lives of citizens in Ukraine, are enjoying external support, including arms supply and reinforcement through foreign fighters. As a neighbouring State Russia bears a primary responsibility in ensuring that any such traffic and external support through its borders is immediately stopped. Any other attitude, and public ambiguity in relation to what is happening, is not compatible with Russia's international obligations within the OSCE or the UN”, end of quote.

3. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to publicly condemn the criminal acts of violence and provocations by armed pro-Russian separatists; and call upon these groups to lay down their arms, and halt their criminal activities. Russia should withdraw its support to them and stop interfering in Ukraine. We also reiterate our demand to Russia to withdraw the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil with no further delay.

4. The escalation of violence takes place against the backdrop of recent positive developments in connection with the inauguration of President Poroshenko. We commend President Poroshenko for presenting a peace plan and note the proposal of a ceasefire as a first step in the implementation of this plan. We welcome contacts between Ukraine and Russia at the highest political level. We urge the Russian Federation to contribute to facilitating an environment conducive to a peaceful settlement and to take concrete steps to that end in accordance with its commitments in the Geneva Joint Statement. We express our hope that the trilateral talks in Kyiv between Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE-Chairmanship will soon achieve results in bringing an end to the violence.

5. The EU will continue its efforts to assist Ukraine in overcoming the crisis, and in promoting growth and development. We are looking forward to the signing of the economic part of the Association Agreement with Ukraine, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.  We express our hope that a compromise will be found that will ensure the resumption of gas supply from Russia. We also expect the Russian Federation to participate in efforts to stabilise the Ukrainian economy.

6. Mr Chairman, the activities of the armed pro-Russian separatists are the root cause of the serious human suffering experienced by the civilian population in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Even though many are blocked from leaving their place of residence, the number of internally displaced persons is increasing. We are concerned by the damage to water supply facilities near Sloviansk that threatens the supply to Donetsk city and surroundings as mentioned in reports by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM).

7. We continue to strongly condemn the abductions of civilian observers from the SMM in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts that happened three weeks ago. We reiterate our call for their immediate and unconditional release and we commend the SMM leadership for their tireless efforts to this end. We urge all parties, in particular the Russian Federation, to use their influence to assist with this and to publicly call for their release at the highest political level.

8. We continue to express our strong support to the ongoing efforts of the OSCE and the Chairmanship in Office, in the de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine.  The SMM continues to play a crucial role and we look forward to the extension of the Mission’s mandate. We call for all OSCE monitors and other OSCE staff to have safe and free access throughout Ukraine to fulfill their mandate.

9. The OSCE could play an important supportive role in the continuation of an inclusive Ukrainian-led and -owned process of national dialogue with the participation of all relevant stakeholders in all regions. We are looking forward to the timely resumption of this dialogue.

10. We express our concern about the attack on the Russian Embassy in Kyiv on 15 June. While we note that the Ukrainian authorities have distanced themselves from these acts, we call on them to take all necessary measures to provide adequate protection.

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

EU statement on the Presidential Elections in Afghanistan, OSCE Permanent Council No 1005, 19 червня 2014 року

1. The EU would like to welcome  the holding of the second round of presidential elections on 14 June 2014. These elections marked a crucial development on Afghanistan’s path towards consolidating democracy and provided another opportunity for the Afghan people to decide on their own future.

2. Afghan voters have shown a remarkable determination by taking part in large numbers, including significant number of women, despite high security challenges. In this context, we strongly condemn all violent incidents perpetrated against the election process..

3. We commend the Independent Election Commission for the improvements made throughout the electoral process and encourage the IEC, when releasing the final results, to  be transparent in its tallying procedures. We urge the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission to investigate seriously all the complaints filed.

4. We highly appreciate the work done by both the EU Election Assessment Team and the OSCE Election Support Mission. We call on the Afghan authorities to make good use of their combined recommendations, to further improve the electoral process in Afghanistan.    

EU Statement in response to the Head of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, H.E. Ambassador Andrey Sorokin, OSCE Permanent Council No 1005, 19 червня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Ambassador Sorokin to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report. We support the Office’s activities in assisting Armenia to implement its OSCE commitments throughout all three dimensions and are pleased to note that the Office continues to enjoy good cooperation with the Government and with civil society.

2. We recognise the benefit of the good relationship between the Office and the police force and the role this plays in helping modernise the service. The assistance provided by the Office in developing democratic policing practices appears to be having an impact, with the community policing initiative being rolled out across the country. The opinion poll commissioned by the Office on this initiative is a useful tool in helping judge the positive impact that the projects are making. There is of course more work still to be done, including further development on improving police-public partnership and ensuring that gender equality in the police force is not just a matter of numbers.

3. We also continue to support the Office’s work, in cooperation with OSCE/ODIHR, on reforming the judiciary and the criminal justice system to ensure transparent and inclusive law making, which complements considerable EU support in this area. We also strongly support the Office’s work on good governance and the fight against corruption. In particular we welcome the Office’s assistance to the guillotine project.

4. We welcome the support given by the Office to both the Central Election Commission and civil society during the 2013 Presidential election. We agree with the Ambassador that this is part of an ongoing process to assist the Government of Armenia better meet its commitments on holding elections in line with International Standards. We therefore encourage the Office to continue to work closely with the Government and civil society to address areas of concern, particularly those raised in the 2013 ODIHR Election Observation Mission report.

5. We welcome the work of the Office in helping improve Human Rights related issues including in the area of media freedom. However, reform of Armenia’s broadcast legislation is still lagging and disappointingly this has shown no improvement. Whilst this is not within the Office’s control, it would be useful to hear how you plan to support the Government in implementing the RFoM’s recommendations in this respect? We are also concerned by a number of cases of harassment and attacks against journalists, and we also noted your expressed concern with regards to violations of the right to peaceful assembly, harassment, and undue pressure on the demonstrators during street protests in Yerevan last year. We are concerned about recent attacks and the harassment of human rights defenders, and we encourage the Armenian authorities to make use of the recently published ODIHR Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders.

6. Some of the projects and activities run by the Office seem to be development related with a debatable link to security. While not necessarily disputing the value of this work in its broad context, we have to ask ourselves whether the OSCE is the appropriate donor in all cases.

7. We note the Ambassador’s comments regarding secondments and resources. 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 would 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. There is still a focus in the PBPR on quantitative rather than qualitative data as evidence of the success of projects and activity. An indication of how activities have led to specific positive changes would be more helpful and we would urge you to include this in next year’s report.

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. 

EU Statement, General Debate under item 5, 18 червня 2014 року

Thank you Mr. President.

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its member states.

The following countries align themselves with this declaration: ….  

Let me start by reiterating the EU’s full support to the independence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office and express our sincere gratitude for their relentless efforts to fully promote and protect human rights. The EU will continue to stand against any attempts, of any kind and form, to micromanage the Office of the High Commissioner.

The EU welcomes the recent decision adopted by the General Assembly regarding the treaty bodies system reform. The treaty bodies are fundamental in the translation of universal human rights norms into practical measures for their realisation for all rights holders. Therefore, their independence, sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency are key to all efforts to promote and protect human rights. In this respect, we express our satisfaction for the efforts of the High Commissioner throughout the process. It is our understanding that only a balanced solution, which addresses cost savings and efficiency, additional meeting time on the basis of estimated burden of work as well as capacity building, can provide a credible step towards a strengthened human rights treaty body system. The EU underlines that the reform must lead to a higher level of compliance by the State Parties with their reporting obligations and better implementation of the concluding observations. 

The Special Procedures play a crucial role for the promotion and protection of human rights and their full independence is vital for the effective realization of their mandate. All States must fully cooperate with them and allow access throughout their territory. Therefore, the EU calls on all States to issue a standing invitation to Special Procedures. We regret the fact that many States do not respond to urgent actions which, in our view, amounts to lack of cooperation with the Special Procedures.

The EU remains fully committed to the UPR process, the only universal mechanism where all States are reviewed for their human rights record. The second cycle is a valuable opportunity to assess both the implementation, by each State, of the recommendations of the first cycle and the overall progress in the field of human rights.

The EU would like to express its support to both the Forum on Business and Human Rights and the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The EU will continue to encourage and contribute to the dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights. The EU has suggested that the next forum on business and human rights focuses on access to remedies.

Regarding the report of the open-ended working group on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas, the EU and its member states agree that persons living and working in rural areas meet with different challenges throughout the world. In spite of our concerns regarding substance and process of a draft Declaration, notably with regard to the number of new rights contained in the first draft proposed that do not exist under international law and the lack of legally applicable definitions and standards, the EU and its member states engaged constructively in the discussion around this issue. We take note of the recommendation of the Chairperson-Rapporteur to be entrusted with the preparation of a new text on the basis of the discussions held during the first session and informal consultations to be held and we hope that this new text might answer to our concerns, so that we can continue to engage constructively in the discussion around this issue.

Mr. President,

Accessibility for persons with disabilities as well as using communications technology, including the webcast, in order to better disseminate the work of the human rights system are of paramount importance and the EU will continue to support all efforts in this direction.

Finally, the EU reaffirms, in the strongest possible terms, its opposition to acts of reprisals against those who cooperate, have cooperated or seek to cooperate with international institutions, including with the Human Rights Council. The EU will continue to follow this issue closely and calls upon all States to address it systematically, by ensuring a safe and enabling environment, in law and practice, in which civil society can operate free from hindrance and insecurity.  

Thank you Mr. President

EU Statement on UNSCR 1540, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 758, 18 червня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) warmly welcomes to the Forum for Security Cooperation H.E. Ambassador Oh Joon, Chair of the UNSC Committee established pursuant to Resolution 1540 (2004), Mr. Terence Taylor from the UNSCR 1540 Group of Experts, and Ms. Svetlana Geleva from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. We would also like to thank them for their substantive contribution to today's Security Dialogue on the 10th anniversary of UNSCR 1540.

We would like to stress that for us, UNSCR 1540 and subsequent resolutions constitute a key element of the international non-proliferation landscape in addition to being a crucial instrument in the international counter-terrorism regime. The competence of the UN Security Council in tackling threats to international peace and security has been reaffirmed through this resolution, which is binding for all States, regardless whether they are party to non-proliferation instruments.

It is well known that the European Union has been strongly supporting national and regional efforts towards the implementation of UNSCR 1540 since its adoption, including through information sharing, enhanced cooperation with the 1540 Committee, its Group of Experts and UNODA, as well as provision of effective assistance to those States that require it.

We would also like to stress the importance of adopting national action plans. In this regard, the European Union welcomes the significant progress achieved by the 1540 Committee and its Group of Experts in accordance with the provisions of UNSCR 1540 and subsequent resolutions. As for the European Union, all Member States have reported on their 1540 implementation to the 1540 Committee and a number of them have issued national action plans. We would also like to recall our full commitment and continuous support for the 1540 Committee as its Mandate has been extended until 2021.

Regarding our partnerships, we welcome the combined efforts of the European Union and its Member States and the OSCE and believe that the cooperation should be reinforced and focused on developing practical activities. These include, inter alia, provision of assistance to participating States, at their request, for the development of national action plans, facilitating information sharing, promoting best practices and strengthening relevant multilateral information exchange networks related to UNSCR 1540 implementation.

In this context, we commend the activities and the consistent efforts of the OSCE executive structures devoted to assisting the OSCE participating States, at their request, in implementing UNSCR 1540. The impressive achievements of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as presented today by Ms. Geleva, in improving its national implementation measures, in close cooperation with and using assistance provided by relevant international organisations, including the OSCE, are a case in point.

This and other examples of fruitful cooperation reinforce our conviction that the OSCE's role and capacities dedicated to the implementation of UNSCR 1540 and related resolutions in the OSCE area need to be enhanced further and put on a sustainable basis.

In conclusion, we would like to express, once again, our gratitude to the speakers and to the Moldovan FSC Chairmanship for today's opportunity to discuss UNSCR 1540 implementation in the OSCE area.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 758, 18 червня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States are deeply concerned by the deteriorating security situation in some parts of Eastern Ukraine and, in particular, by the shooting down by pro-Russian separatists of a Ukrainian military aircraft claiming the lives of 49 servicemen.We would therefore like to draw participating States' attention to the following statement issued by the President of the European Council Mr. Herman Van Rompuy on 14 June 2014:"Today, after the downing of a military aircraft transporting 49 persons, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the Ukrainian people and Government for all the lives lost in the dramatic violence which is affecting the eastern provinces of the country and which continues to worsen.

While legitimate force must always be used with restraint, there is no doubt that the Ukrainian Government has an obligation and a duty to restore order within its borders. There is equally no doubt that the armed fighters that are terrorising and disrupting the lives of citizens in Ukraine, are enjoying external support, including arms supply and reinforcement through foreign fighters.

As a neighbouring State Russia bears a primary responsibility in ensuring that any such traffic and external support through its borders is immediately stopped. Any other attitude, and public ambiguity in relation to what is happening, is not compatible with Russia's international obligations within the OSCE or the UN."

Drawing on President Van Rompuy's statement we would like to recall that on numerous occasions we have clearly spelled out, here in Vienna, our firm conviction that the OSCE politico-military toolbox has the potential to tackle crises as complex as the one in Ukraine, if applied fully and in good faith.

Unfortunately, as evidenced by the last disturbing events in Eastern Ukraine, ranging from continuing attacks against law enforcement forces to massive kidnappings and blatant violations of the state border of Ukraine, our appeals have not produced thus far the expected effect of initiating a meaningful dialogue within the FSC.

 

We are therefore compelled to reiterate that we expect the Russian Federation to show further political will and abide by its politico-military commitments and obligations thus allowing for immediate, tangible and irreversible de-escalation of the security situation in and around Ukraine. This includes constructively engaging in bilateral and multilateral dialogue - including in the FSC - in order to address legitimate security concerns and re-establish trust and confidence in the OSCE area.

Indeed, sustained efforts are needed to start restoring trust and confidence in the OSCE area which are severely challenged by the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the continuing destabilisation in Eastern Ukraine as well as the authorisation given by the Federation Council to use armed force on Ukrainian soil; the latter is not yet revoked despite the insistent calls of Ukraine, the European Union and other OSCE participating States.In conclusion, we reiterate that the European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.

Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, follow-up and implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, UNITED NATIONS, 18 червня 2014 року

Mr. President,

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

[Alignment para].

The EU welcomes this opportunity to pay attention once again to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which remains a high priority in our human rights agenda. These phenomena run counter to the founding principles of the EU, namely respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The concept that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights is one of the fundamental principles of the European Union. All members of our societies, irrespective of their gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation, must be treated equally, in law and in practice. In this regard, we reiterate our commitment to combat racism and racial or ethnic discrimination both within the EU and throughout the world.

In the European Union, racial or 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 or xenophobic violence or 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. 

In addition, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights plays an important role by collecting, analysing and disseminating objective and comparable information about the situation in the EU.

The EU also supports a wide range of civil society organisations in their work against racism and non-discrimination through its European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights.

Mr. President,

The EU reiterates the importance of ratifying and fully implementing the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Convention constitutes the universal foundation for efforts to prevent, combat and eradicate racism and racial discrimination. All EU member states have ratified the Convention.

Furthermore, the EU remains committed to implementing the objectives and commitments undertaken at the 2001 Durban World conference on combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

We are deeply engaged in the work of the Council and its subsidiary bodies to this effect. Since our last session of the Human Rights Council in March, we participated in the session of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent in April, sharing the EU's experiences on the topic of "access to justice".

Furthermore, the EU actively and constructively engaged in the subsequent almost four weeks' of negotiations of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the DDPA to develop a draft program of activities for the International Decade for People of African Descent. The EU is strongly committed to ensuring a successful Decade, and we regret that in the end the IGWG did not succeed in finalising the draft program of activities, as it had been mandated to do.

As the negotiations on the outstanding parts of the draft program will now continue in New York, it is our hope that we can focus on issues that unite us, rather than on issues that have divided us in the past. We continue to believe that a consensual program of activities for the Decade is the best way to ensure that the Decade will be successfully implemented. The EU on its side will continue to engage constructively in the negotiations, focusing on added value and concrete improvements in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance everywhere in the world. 

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Teresa Angelatou Permanent Representative of Greece to the OPCW at the Forty Second Meeting of the Executive Council , 18 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairperson,

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

(Alignment clause)

I would like to thank the Director-General for his briefing today. I would also like to express our appreciation to the Special-Coordinator and thank her for briefing the Council today. I seize this opportunity to reiterate our appreciation and support to him, the OPCW Technical Secretariat and the OPCW‑UN Joint Mission staff and the Special-Coordinator, for their relentless efforts in bringing forward the important tasks entrusted to them, under very difficult and challenging circumstances, as the recent incident against the Fact Finding Mission staff has clearly shown.

The European Union recalls that Syria acceded to the Convention in wholly exceptional circumstances, following confirmation of the use of chemical weapons, that it has been necessary to agree special and urgent procedures for the destruction of its chemical weapons programme, and that this issue cannot be treated as “business as usual” for the Organisation and should be addressed by the Executive Council accordingly.

The European Union greatly regrets to note that the deadline agreed by the Executive Council Decisions and the United Nations Security Council resolution 2118(2013) of 30 June, for complete destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program will be missed. The responsibility for this failure clearly rests with Syria. The Executive Council must formally review the implementation of its Decisions during the 76th Session of the Council in July.

The international community has, in an unprecedented mobilization in the history of the OPCW, provided all required equipment, maritime transport and financial means for fulfilling the goals of the aforementioned decisions and resolution. Syria however has consistently failed to meet all agreed or self-imposed timelines for the destruction of the chemical stockpiles and the production/storage facilities. The European Union stresses the gravity of the situation and the severe consequences the ongoing delays have on the destruction process. Such delays continue to add to the already heavy financial burden on the countries contributing to the operation, in particular those providing commercial vessels and the maritime escort.

Notwithstanding the security situation, the European Union urges Syria to take all possible measures for completing the removal of the remaining chemicals immediately and without further delay, and in any case no later than 30 June.

In parallel, Syria should take immediate steps to physically destroy the remaining twelve chemical weapons production facilities, starting with the aircraft hangars, on which agreement seems closer, in accordance to the provisions of the Convention and the established past practice. The European Union takes note of the discussions with the Technical Secretariat and expects an early reply of the Syrian authorities enabling the Council to adopt the necessary decisions at the earliest date.

The European Union also supports the work that the Director-General and his staff are doing to help streamline and complete the data in Syria’s declarations to the OPCW, so as to ensure the accuracy and completeness of those declarations.  But until Syria accounts for all gaps and discrepancies, the international community will not have full confidence that Syria is in full compliance with its international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention and UN Security Council resolution 2118. Syria's full cooperation is expected in this regard. The European Union is looking forward to the report of the OPCW Assessment Team on this issue.

The European Union strongly condemns the attack on the 27 May against the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission, while the mission was carrying out its work concerning the alleged use of chlorine in Syria. The European Union reiterates its full support to the Mission and its mandate of establishing the facts surrounding those allegations and is looking forward to its report. The European Union also condemns unequivocally any use of these horrific weapons. Anyone found to have used chemical weapons must be held fully accountable for their crimes.

The European Union expresses its firm will that the above concerns be duly reflected in the report of the Forty-Second Meeting of the Executive Council.

In closing, Mr Chairperson, may I request that this statement be circulated as an official document of the Forty-Second Meeting of the Executive Council.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on violence against women in Pakistan, EU, 16 червня 2014 року

The EU is deeply concerned by the wide-spread violence perpetrated against women in Pakistan. The recent tragic death of Farzana Parveen, killed by her family in front of the High Court in Lahore, is a stark reminder of the barbarity of honour killings and raised outrage across Pakistan.

The EU condemns honour killings, as it condemns all acts of violence, and calls on the Government of Pakistan to take stronger action to ensure the protection of the rights of women, the physical security of all its citizens and to bring to justice those responsible for acts of violence against others.

We also trust that Pakistan will seek to end a culture of impunity and ensure that laws reflecting international legal obligations concerning the rights of all individuals, regardless of their gender, religion or social status are fully implemented.

The EU encourages Pakistan to foster gender equality and the empowerment of women, laying the foundations for equality of treatment and opportunity for women and men, including access to education and extended participation by all its citizens.

EU Statement on the ‘Elections’ in the Breakaway Region of South Ossetia in Georgia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1004, 12 червня 2014 року

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the Statement by the Spokesperson on 8 June concerning the ‘elections’ in the breakaway region of South Ossetia in Georgia:

2. "The European Union supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognised by international law. In view of the reports about the elections in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia on 8 June, we recall that the European Union does not recognise the constitutional and legal framework within which these elections have taken place."

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1004, 12 червня 2014 року

1. Mr. Chairman, following the inauguration of President Poroshenko last Saturday, we have new chances for hope. President Poroshenko has received a strong mandate to advance reforms and turn Ukraine into the modern and democratic country its citizens call for. A country where all will find their place, and different identities and minorities will be acknowledged and respected. As one step toward that, we look forward to the continuation of an inclusive, Ukrainian-led and -owned process of national dialogue with the participation of all relevant stakeholders in all regions of Ukraine and supported by the OSCE.

2. The European Union will continue its efforts to assist Ukraine in overcoming the crisis, and in promoting growth and development. Ukraine’s sovereign choices, including stronger ties with the European Union, need to be respected. It is not a zero sum game. This relationship and its strengthening can benefit not just Ukraine but all its neighbours, including the Russian Federation.

3. Recently, we have witnessed some positive international developments, notably on the margin of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, including talks between Ukraine and the Russian Federation aimed at ending violence in Ukraine. In this context, we welcome the CiO’s decision to send Ambassador Tagliavini to assist these talks. We continue to believe that we should use the full potential of the OSCE in the current situation.

4. Mr. Chairman, we hope these efforts will help address the dire and volatile situation in some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts about which we remain alarmed. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to publicly condemn the criminal acts of violence and provocations by armed pro-Russian separatists; and call upon these groups to lay down their arms, and halt their criminal activities. Russia should withdraw its support to them, stop interfering in Ukraine, and take urgent action to halt the flow of illegal arms and fighters into Ukraine across the border. We welcome that the Russian authorities have issued instructions to strengthen control at the border. At the same time, violent attacks on Ukrainian border posts continue. We also reiterate our demand to Russia to immediately withdraw the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil.

5. Ukrainian authorities have the right and responsibility to uphold law and order. We encourage the Ukrainian authorities to maintain a measured approach in pursuing operations to restore law and order.

6. Mr. Chairman, the European Union continues to strongly condemn the abductions of civilian observers from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts on 26 and 29 May. Their detention is unacceptable. We reiterate our call for their immediate and unconditional release. We ask for all parties, in particular the Russian Federation, to use their influence to assist with this and to publicly call for their release at the highest political level.

7. We continue to strongly support the Special Monitoring Mission. It is playing a crucial role in Ukraine through its impartial and valuable reporting and was given a leading role in assisting Ukrainian authorities and local communities in the implementation of the de-escalation measures of the Geneva Joint Statement.  

8. Mr. Chairman, the EU stands firm in upholding Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilize the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

9. The European Union will be at Ukraine’s side and remains ready to work with all those that share the objectives of democracy, peace, prosperity and stability.

EU Statement on the Arms Trade Treaty, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 757, 11 червня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) warmly welcomes Ms. Riona Nicholls from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Mr. Valentin Vasilenko from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and thanks them for their informative presentations on the Arms Trade Treaty and multilateral control over illegal arms supplies.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the Moldovan FSC Chairmanship for maintaining this important topic high on the Security Dialogue's agenda thus facilitating the implementation of the relevant provisions of MC Decision 8/13. We hope that this discussion, along with the discussions held under the Chairmanships of Luxembourg and Malta, will pave the way for concrete outcomes regarding the ATT's possible implications for the OSCE activities and commitments.

The European Union and its Member States, as illustrated by today's presentation, have been staunch supporters of the ATT since the beginning of the process that led to its adoption by the UNGA on 3 April 2013. Since then the EU devoted considerable efforts and resources in order to secure its early entry into force, effective implementation and universalisation. It is not our intention to further elaborate on these since we have had several opportunities to do so within the FSC.

However, we would like to reiterate our firm conviction that, once effectively and globally implemented, the ATT will serve its very purpose of bringing about more responsible and transparent international arms transfers.

We are pleased to note that most of the member states of both the EU and the OSCE have already signed or ratified the ATT thereby significantly contributing to reaching the threshold of 50 ratifications needed for its entry into force. To date, 41 OSCE participating States, out of which all 28 EU Member States, have signed the Treaty, while 24 OSCE participating States, out of which 20 EU Member States, have already deposited their instruments of ratification. Against this promising background the Treaty could be expected to enter into force by the end of this year.

As suggested by Ms. Nicholls, we look forward to the OSCE maintaining the momentum of the ATT entry into force. In this context, we encourage OSCE participating States, who have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the ATT at their earliest convenience.  

We reiterate that the OSCE can play an important role, based on its comprehensive track record in SALW issues, in the promotion and the implementation of the 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. We could consider as well whether any perceived shortfalls could be addressed by operationalising relevant provisions of this global instrument at regional level.

In this connection, we thank Mr. Vasilenko for having raised the issue of illicit arms transfers. On this specific point, we would like to indicate that, even though the ATT does not explicitly prohibit arms transfers to non-State actors, its very purpose of strengthening arms transfer control does contribute to carefully monitoring and, where relevant, possibly denying arms transfers likely to be diverted to non-State actors such as terrorist groups.

In conclusion, we would like to thank once again the speakers and the FSC Chairmanship for the opportunity to discuss an issue of special interest for the OSCE and the broader international community.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 757, 11 червня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply worried by the tense and volatile situation in Eastern Ukraine and strongly reiterate that the efforts by all sides should aim at solving the crisis politically, putting an end to violence and tensions. In this respect, we are encouraged by the efforts undertaken by the Ukrainian President towards resolution of the crisis. 

We continue to pay due attention to the expected withdrawal of Russian armed forces from the Ukrainian border to their permanent bases. Fully completing this withdrawal, while allowing for its reliable verification, can constitute a positive step towards de-escalation of the critical situation in Eastern Ukraine.

Furthermore, we reiterate that the Russian Federation should take as a matter of priority all necessary measures to stop the infiltration of armed foreign fighters, weapons and ammunition through the Ukrainian state border and have taken note of the order issued by the Russian President in this regard.

However, climate of trust and confidence should be re-established without delay by applying in good faith the whole range of OSCE politico-military instruments in their confidence-building and especially conflict-prevention function. The FSC was established to discuss implementation of existing politico-military commitments and CSBMs or negotiate additional ones. We would welcome focusing our discussion on how trust and confidence can be re-established by making full use of the FSC mandate.

To this end, we expect the Russian Federation to refrain from further threat or use of force, exercise strict restraint in carrying out military activities in the areas bordering Ukraine and provide verifiable information about on-going and planned military activities in those areas, even if they do not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document. We also reiterate our demand to the Russian Federation to immediately revoke the authorisation given by the Federation Council to use armed force on Ukrainian soil.

We call upon the Russian Federation to publicly condemn the criminal acts of armed pro-Russian separatists and exercise its influence among them to lay down their weapons, renounce violence, and immediately and unconditionally release the eight abducted monitors from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.

As recently stated by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, failure to address these questions is dangerously fuelling the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. We therefore call on the Russian Federation to seriously pursue a political solution.

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

High Level event of the President of the General Assembly on the Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post 2015 Development Agenda", 9 червня 2014 року

Excellencies

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

Firstly, I want to thank the PGA for organizing this series of high-level events. In the context of the elaboration of the future post- 2015 development agenda that will guide us in the years to come, it naturally is very pertinent to highlight the indispensable role of human rights and rule of law in any sustainable development agenda.

Let me recall our principled commitment to engage with all partners towards a post-2015 development agenda that should reinforce the international community’s commitment to sustainable development and set out a single comprehensive and coherent framework for effective delivery and results at all levels.

With regards to the specific theme of today's high level meeting, let me share the following key messages:

  • The close linkages between human rights, the rule of law and development are obvious. To phrase it in Kofi Annan's words: "The world must advance the causes of security, development and human rights together, otherwise none will succeed. Humanity will not enjoy security without development, it will not enjoy development without security, and it will not enjoy either without respect for human rights." 
  • The Millennium Declaration acknowledged this interrelation. The Rio+20 Outcome Document, the High-Level Declaration on the Rule of Law and the Special event 25 September outcome document last year expanded this. We now need to make it an integral part of the post 2015 development agenda. As the "World We Want" survey clearly showed, it is among people's top priorities for a new development agenda to be built on human rights and universal values of equality, justice and security. 
  • It will be essential to ensure that every future goal, target and indicator is consistent with existing human rights standards and principles and rule of law principles as well. The High-Level Declaration on the Rule of Law reaffirmed that human rights, the rule of law and democracy are interlinked and mutually reinforcing and that they belong to the universal and indivisible core values and principles of the United Nations. A rights-based approach, encompassing all human rights, should therefore guide the choice and formulation of goals, targets and indicators and underpin all sectors. Accountability and transparency are key in order to ensure a successful implementation. 
  • We are convinced that the rule of law and development are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing. We therefore need to focus on good governance, democracy and rule of law at all levels as enablers for development as well as important goals in their own right. Rules-based institutions, providing e.g. legal identity, access to justice, enable people to build up their lives, capitalize on economic opportunities and, hence, participate productively and peacefully in political, economic and social life. In this context, we recognize the importance of national ownership in rule of law activities. People should be empowered to claim their rights. Freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, social dialogue, and meaningful political participation are essential in this regard. 
  • The fight against poverty so far has shown that it certainly is not enough to provide certain goods and services. It is equally essential to have transparent and participatory decision-making processes and establish redress mechanisms. Publishing budgets, relying on transparent decision-making procedures, and verifying that all groups of society - especially the most marginalized ones like women or indigenous people - are able to benefit from services or are able to effectively claim their human rights, ensure better development outcomes. 
  • The rule of law provides a stable and transparent environment that is essential for economic development and investment, fighting corruption and discrimination. Transparent and reliable political, economic and social institutions deliver better opportunities for people and also prepare the ground for private sector activity. As it is widely known, the poor and vulnerable are the most likely to suffer from discrimination, lack of opportunities and economic downturn as they possess only little means to remedy or escape this situation. 
  • It is about reaching out to every human being in the fight against poverty and leaving no one behind, it is about enabling all human beings to claim human rights, build up their own lives, and to capitalize on economic opportunities. And it is about civil society, local authorities and the private sector: they should play a key role in ensuring transparency and accountability for the implementation of the future post 2015 development agenda. 
  • The EU acknowledges the work done by the UN over the years aimed at integrating and mainstreaming human rights into development. In its Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, the EU reaffirmed its commitment to the promotion and protection of all human rights, whether civil and political, or economic, social and cultural. In May this year, the EU took a further practical step towards fully integrating human rights standards and principles into its operational activities for development with the adoption of a rights-based approach for EU development cooperation. This rights-based approach will lead to an across-the-board application of human rights standards and principles to all EU development programmes. 
  • Let us all work together to create a post- 2015 development agenda that enables truly sustainable development by making human rights and rule of law guiding principles in its elaboration, which should give people, especially women, as well as marginalized and vulnerable groups, a say in policy choices and decision-making that affect them, ensuring that those responsible can be held accountable.

HRC26 – EU statement – item 2

The EU would like to thank you, Madam High Commissioner, for presenting an update to the Human Rights Council and for your exemplary proactive and vocal role during your mandate which has immensely contributed to the strengthening of the human rights pillar of the UN.   Your intensified contacts with the UNSC have significantly reinforced synergies within the UN, highlighting the interconnectedness of human rights, peace, security and development.

The EU also wishes to commend you and your Office for your leadership in bringing about the successful outcome of the treaty body system strengthening process, and looks forward to the speedy implementation of the UNGA 68/268 resolution.

We wish to underline the utmost importance of preserving the impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity of your valuable work. No State is free from human rights challenges and we all should be ready to step up our efforts. We welcome the continued focus of the Office on combatting discrimination in all its forms, including gender-based discrimination, and on human rights education, as well as its work on strengthening national capacities in the areas of rule of law, democracy and good governance, including through strengthening civil society as an important component of functioning democracies.

Madam High Commissioner,

The EU welcomes the very good work and regular reporting of the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, whose contribution is critical to the establishment of objective facts on the ground. We regret, however, that the situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions remains precarious due to illegal acts by armed separatists. The violence, threats and kidnappings, including of international observers, are unacceptable. The EU condemns these violent acts and all violations of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We call on all parties to engage in dialogue in order to find a political resolution to the crisis. We further call on all parties to take concrete steps to implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine.

We commend the readiness of Ukraine to cooperate fully with OHCHR and to draw on the expertise of regional organizations such as the Council of Europe and the OSCE in its efforts to pursue an inclusive political process that respects the rights of persons belonging to national minorities, to effectively investigate human rights violations, and to advance constitutional reform in an inclusive manner. We also welcome the holding of the presidential elections, recognized by international monitors as largely in line with international standards, and call on all parties to accept the outcome of these elections as an expression of the will of the Ukrainian people. We regret that they could not take place in the illegally annexed Autonomous Republic of Crimea and City of Sevastopol and were seriously disturbed by illegal armed groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Madam High Commissioner,

The EU is gravely concerned about gross human rights violations in South Sudan that may amount to crimes against humanity. The Council must play its part to ensure that there is accountability for these egregious violations.

The EU shares your concerns regarding developments in Thailand.  Thailand must urgently restore the legitimate democratic process and the Constitution, through credible and inclusive elections. We urge the military leadership to free all those who have been detained for political reasons and to remove censorship. We call on all parties to exercise the utmost restraint. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms must be upheld.

In the field of technical assistance and capacity-building, we encourage Bahrain to further enhance cooperation with your Office including through the establishment of a country office with full mandate. While observing a worrying trend regarding the compliance of Egypt with international human rights obligations, we look forward to finalising arrangement for an OHCHR regional office in Cairo. The EU trusts that the newly elected president Sisi and the Egyptian government will tackle the serious challenges faced by the country, among them the respect of the human rights of all Egyptian citizens, in line with international obligations and guaranteed by the new Constitution adopted last January.

Madam High Commissioner,

We share your call for a moratorium of the death penalty, with a view to its abolition, and regret that capital punishment continues to be applied in contravention of international standards.

We call for an urgent judicial review through domestic appeal instances of the sentencing to flogging and capital punishment of Meriam Ibrahim on charges of adultery and apostasy in Sudan and welcome your clear stance on this issue. The freedom of religion or belief is of paramount importance to the upholding of human rights across the world.

To conclude, we reiterate our appreciation for your work, Madam High Commissioner, over the past six years, and once again pay tribute to the tireless efforts of you and your staff to promote and protect human rights for all.

Statement in Response to the Address by Professor Christian Tomuschat, President of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, 5 червня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1003

Vienna, 5 June 2014

On behalf of those Member States of the European Union who have ratified or acceded to the 1992 Stockholm Convention we would like to thank the President of the Court of Conciliation and Arbitration for coming to the Permanent Council and for his spirited address. We congratulate you on your election to your new post as President of the Court.

We welcome your introduction on the functioning of the Court, particularly your comments on the possibilities offered by the Court to contribute to settling disputes by peaceful and diplomatic means in a sustainable and effective manner.

Although the services of the Court have never been used, it could be a potentially useful instrument of preventative diplomacy. Its mechanisms of conciliation and arbitration allow for either flexible or clear cut outcomes; and it could provide long-term sustainable solutions to gnawing problems.

In light of the turbulent times we live in, we must not forget what tools we have. We welcome the fact that 33 OSCE Participating States have acceded to or ratified the Stockholm Convention. However, signature and ratification by more states of the Stockholm Convention might contribute to the use of this instrument.

We took note of your description of the Court’s limitations and of the areas where the Court could be useful. Nevertheless, we are interested to hear concrete proposals from you on how to integrate the Court more fully into the activities of the OSCE.

We thank you again for your address. We wish you every success in your new post. Like you, Mr. President, we hope that one day the Court can contribute to the noble objectives of the OSCE in maintaining and promoting peace and security, democracy and human rights in Europe.  

EU Statement on the “Foreign Agents” Law in Russia, 5 червня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1003

Vienna, 5 June 2014

The European Union attaches great importance to the freedom of association which is clearly enshrined in many international and regional human rights instruments including OSCE commitments. It is intrinsic to any democratic society and facilitates the enjoyment of many other rights and freedoms.

We have previously expressed concern about legislation in the Russian Federation requiring non-governmental organisations receiving foreign funding and engaged in unclearly defined “political activities”  to register as “foreign agents”. For more than a year already, this legislation has led to a wave of intrusive inspections against human rights advocacy groups, and to a series of trials. According to data recently published by Human Rights Watch, since March 2013 various prosecutors’ offices and the Ministry of Justice have filed a number of administrative cases against NGOs and NGO leaders for failure to register under the “Foreign Agents” law. This has deeply affected their work and led to the voluntary closure of some of those NGOs.

In the context of this legislation, it is of concern to the EU that a Moscow court on 23 May rejected an appeal filed by Memorial, Russia’s oldest human rights organisation, winner of the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize in 2009, against a prosecutor’s order requiring it to register as a “foreign agent”. This decision is another setback for those that work hard to protect and promote human rights in Russia. Regrettably, this decision conincided with the recent Constitutional Court decision to recognise the constitutionality of the “Foreign Agents” Law.

Furthermore, we are deeply concerned to hear that Russia’s Federation Council on 28 May approved a draft amendment to the “foreign agents” law, which would see power given to the Ministry of Justice to designate NGOs as “foreign agents” if they do not register themselves, and without any judicial process. If signed into law, this amendment will further restrict the exercise of the right to freedom of association and further constrain the work of Civil Society, Human Rights Defenders  and NGOs.

Next week the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship will hold  an important high level conference in Bern on the topic of Human Rights Defenders. The conference will discuss the essential role that human rights defenders play in exposing human rights violations and advocating the respect of human rights for all. We call on the Russian Federation to ensure that its laws and practices are consistent with international standards so that those defending human rights can focus on the important function that they fulfil.

European Union, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Agenda item 6 (e): Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

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

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2014/28 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 27 May.

 

Mr Chairman,

3. At the outset, the EU would like to express its full support for the Agency and for its key verification role, and we commend the Director General and his staff for their dedicated work on this issue.

4. The EU welcomes the fact that some further progress has been achieved in the discussions between Iran and the IAEA under the Framework for Cooperation, aimed at resolving all present and past issues, and the confirmation by the Agency that Iran has implemented the seven practical measures that it agreed with the Agency in February 2014. We note that the Agency's assessment of the information, including that relating to Iran's stated need or application for the Exploding Bridge Wire detonators provided by Iran upon request, is ongoing.

5. We also note the ongoing work between the Agency and Iran, and the agreement reached on 20 May on the next five practical measures, to be implemented by Iran by 25 August, of which two are related to the possible military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme. We call on Iran to provide all the relevant information to the Agency, to address fully the substance of all of the Agency's concerns and to accelerate its cooperation with the Agency. To allay the international community's concerns about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organisations, it is essential that Iran delivers substantive progress in the near future.

 

Mr Chairman,

6. The PMD issues identified in the Director General's report of November 2011 (GOV/2011/65), which led in turn to Resolution GOV/2011/69, remain to be resolved, including access to Parchin, where construction activities are ongoing. It is essential and urgent that Iran cooperates fully with the Agency regarding PMD issues and provides the Agency with access to all the people, documents and sites requested, as well as substantial answers to the detailed questions posed regarding Parchin and the foreign expert. This would be a fundamental step forward. We fully endorse the Agency's approach of considering and acquiring an understanding of each outstanding issue in turn, of integrating all of the issues into a "system" and then assessing that system as a whole.

7. The Director General's report also contains an update on the implementation of "voluntary measures" that Iran has agreed to undertake in relation to the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). In this regard, we welcome the confirmation by the Agency that Iran has continued to implement the nuclear measures agreed under the JPA of 24 November 2013.

8. The EU strongly urges Iran to implement the Resolutions of the UN Security Council and the Resolutions of the Board of Governors that clearly require Iran to suspend all enrichment activities and heavy water related projects, including research and development, and implement the modified Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part to its Safeguards Agreement. Iran must bring into force its Additional Protocol which is a requirement under UNSC and Board of Governors resolutions. In the absence of this, and of the cooperation mentioned, the Agency is unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore is not able to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities.

 

Finally, Mr Chairman,

9. The EU's objective remains to achieve a comprehensive, negotiated, long-term settlement, which would build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear programme, while respecting Iran's legitimate rights to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in conformity with the NPT, and in full compliance with UN Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors Resolutions.The EU underlines that resolving all outstanding issues will be essential to achieve this long-term settlement. The EU fully supports the on-going diplomatic efforts led by the High Representative, together with China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue. We note that the Joint Plan of Action agreed date of 20 July is now less than two months away. We will spare no effort to achieve this goal and we call on Iran to do the same.

 

Thank you, Mr Chairman

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, 2-6 червня 2014 року

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, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia.

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. Within the EU, we focus on the legislation, but also on the implementation of international and national standards, as well as good practices. The EU has adopted new rules on public procurement and is now working on a new legislative framework for a future European Prosecutor.

4. The first EU Anti-Corruption Report was published by the European Commission in early February this year and is intended to give an assessment of how each Member State tackles corruption, how laws and policies work in practice, and it suggests how each country can step up the work against corruption.

5. We underline the merits of the on-going Review Process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and 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.

6. 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. 

7. 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.

8. 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.

9. As already mentioned at the last session of the Conference, the so-called Marrakech Compromise, concerning the participation of non-governmental organisations in the deliberations of the Implementation Review Group is in our view a small first step in the right direction and we should take further steps to include the professional experience offered by NGOs. We will engage in a constructive dialogue with other States Parties to reach this goal.

 

Mr. Chairman,

10. We regret that the expertise of 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 UNTOC WGs, UNCAC WGs, and UNCAC Implementation Review Group experts 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.

 

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 6 (c): Safeguards Implementation Report for 2013, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [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 2013 as contained in GOV/2014/27, 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 21 May.

 

Mr Chairman,

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 recognized that the implementation of Safeguards strenghtening measures under CSA provide the Agency with certain 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/safeguards 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 2013 SIR towards meeting all these aims, notably the entry into force of Comprehensive Safeguards Agreements and of 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 standardized text should be modified to reinforce the Agency’s safeguards. The EU notes that at the end of 2013 there were 44 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.

 

Mr Chairman,

8. The EU supports the development and implementation of integrated safeguards approaches allowing safeguards measures to be applied in a less prescriptive and more customised manner, thus reducing the inspection burden and allowing savings to be made. The EU welcomes the fact that the number of States where the IAEA has been able to draw the broader conclusion that all nuclear material remains in peaceful activities has risen to 63, and that State-level safeguards approaches were implemented in 53 of these States. These are significant achievements on the part of the Secretariat and on the part of the States involved, and we look forward to progress continuing to be made over the next year.

9. The EU supports the continued improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of safeguards implementation, notably through the implementation of State-level safeguards approaches. In this regard, the EU takes note with appreciation of the information on State-level safeguards objectives provided in the SIR. We also commend the Secretariat for the series of Technical Meetings held since January with Member States. We consider that those meetings enable a veryuseful exchange of views, provide clarifications to Member States on the State-level concept, and facilitate common understanding on the issues involved. We look forward to the supplementary document to be presented to the Board by the Director General in September.

10. For the most part, the SIR continues to paint a very positive picture of the results of the IAEA’s verification and evaluation 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.

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. 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. The so-called New Partnership Approach (NPA) arrangements were established between the EC and the IAEA 22 years ago and have worked well. 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 corrective actions.

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.

 

Mr. Chairman,

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 modernization of the Safeguards Analytical Laboratory in Seibersdorf. The European Union and some 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 construction of the Nuclear Material Laboratory building at Seibersdorf was completed in July 2013 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/2014/27.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Agenda Item 10: Any other business, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr. Chairman,

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

It remains a strategic priority of the EU to support peace and stability in the entire Middle East. The EU therefore reaffirms its full support for the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems in the Middle East, an objective supported ever since the Barcelona Declaration of 1995.

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

The EU remains fully committed to the objective of establishing such a zone. In that regard, we commend Ambassador Laajava and his team for their tireless efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful Conference with the participation of all States of the region, including through recent and ongoing consultations to prepare for the Conference to be convened on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between the States of the region.

We have constantly called on all parties concerned to continue to work and engage constructively with the Facilitator, the co-conveners and each other to this end

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda Item 10 Any Other Business (INC),Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

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

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Agenda Item 4: Strengthening of the Agency’s technical cooperation activities, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Vienna, 2 - 6 June 2014

Mr. Chairman,

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

2. The EU wishes to thank Director General Amano for his Report contained in document GOV/2014/21. We also thank DDG Kwaku Aning for the technical briefing held on 23 May 2014, as well as for his introductory remarks.

3. At the outset, let me take this opportunity to reiterate the longstanding and strong support of the EU and its Member States for the IAEA Technical Cooperation (TC) Programme. We fully value the role of the IAEA in promoting a responsible development of the peaceful applications of nuclear technology.

4. We would also like to commend once again the IAEA for its unceasing efforts to integrate the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets and plans within the TC Programme. We are confident that the IAEA will be able to sharpen its role in the Post-2015 UN development agenda and we encourage the Agency to continue its advocacy of the importance of science, technology and innovation in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.

5. Coming to the thematic distribution of resources, we note that the largest share of the TC Programme in 2013 was devoted to health and nutrition, addressing fundamental human needs. We also commend the Department for its focus on supporting human capacity building as a crosscutting priority of the TC Programme in each of its six technical fields.

Mr. Chairman,

6. The EU and its Member States consider the Statute of the IAEA, along with other relevant documents, such as the INFCIRC 267, as the framework for TC activities. In this regard, we will continue to back the 'one house approach' as a sound strategy to ensure a consistent application of this framework in all the phases of the TC Programme cycle. In doing this, we acknowledge the continous assistance provided by all the Major Programmes to the TC Program.

7. In more general terms, we attach great importance to efficient and effective TC management and project implementation. In particular, we would like to advocate for a greater use of Results-based Management for the planning and implementation of TC programmes and projects; greater accountability to ensure that projects have clear aims; and greater transparency in the decision-making process and in the monitoring and reporting of projects. The EU remains convinced that it is necessary to ensure a fair and well-balanced access to the TC Programme. In this sense, we would like to encourage the Secretariat in its efforts to facilitate in particular the participation of least developed countries (LDCs).

8. To this end, we would also like to reiterate our belief that the signature of Revised Supplementary Agreements (RSAs) and of Country Programme Frameworks (CPFs) should be further promoted, in order to allow a better understanding of national needs and development plans, country specific assessments and lessons learned from past cooperation, as well as to foster synergies among projects focusing on the same country. In this regard, recalling that Agency assistance should be provided only to those countries signatory to a RSA, we welcome the signature of one new Agreement in 2013. We also welcome the signature of 13 new CPFs in the same period, bringing to 91 the number of valid CPFs at the end of last year.

9. We believe that the signature of a valid CPF is a primary condition to achieve a successful outcome in TC projects and to strengthen linkages with United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). Along these lines, we welcome the efforts made by the Secretariat in promoting the UNDAF joint programming in the last few years. Our expectation is that the IAEA will continue improving the interaction with the United Nations system in order to increase leverage, efficiency, long-term sustainability and impact of TC activities. We, therefore, encourage the Agency and the TC Department to further extend their participation to joint programming with other UN organizations in the coming years.

10. In our opinion, it is also important to give priority to focused and comprehensive projects, in order to better monitor their quality, avoid duplications and make a more efficient use of the available resources. We believe that increasing the “value for money” through a systematic search for more efficiency gains is essential.

 

Mr. Chairman,

11. In welcoming the progress achieved by the TC Department in enhancing the management of the TC Programme according to the Logical Framework Approach (LFA) and through the implementation of the “two step quality review mechanism”, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate their support for those activities aimed at enhancing the project design capacity of TC stakeholders (counterparts, National Liaison Officers, Programme Management Officers and Technical Officers) in using the LFA methodology and at better applying principles, guidelines and tools for project monitoring. In this regard, we commend the Agency for its efforts in improving its distance learning and e-learning platforms, as cost-effective training and education tools.

12. We still believe that a robust application of Results-based Management will contribute to aligning projects to the planned and intended results. We are also convinced that a shared, reliable and systematic monitoring activity would certainly help in raising transparency and accountability of the TC Programme, in order to better evaluate projects according to criteria of relevance, comparative advantages, ownership, sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness. We therefore encourage the TC Department in its further efforts aimed at achieving measurable outcomes based upon verifiable indicators.

13. We believe that the evaluation conducted by the OIOS, as well as the activity of the External Auditor, represents an invaluable asset. It highlights the strengths of the TC Programme and clarifies those areas for further improvement. While appreciating the positive trend in 2013 over 2012, we strongly encourage the TC Department to continue its efforts to fully implement all OIOS recommendations. Closer coordination between the OIOS and the TC Department, along with a more intensive exchange of information with Member States on the results of all internal evaluations, will contribute to further increasing the reliability and the visibility of the TC Programme.

 

Mr. Chairman,

14. In spite of the challenging financial times faced by many Member States, we appreciate that the rate of attainment on payments was 91.9%, a figure higher than in 2012 and in line with the high average of the last decade. This shows the continued support of Member States to the TC Programme. We are pleased to note that the rate of implementation increased by 7.2% in 2013 compared to 2012. On the other hand, we note that the amount of extrabudgetary resources slightly decreased last year, mainly due to a further decline of Government cost sharing. In addition, we note with concern 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 the importance of timely and full payment of NPCs, through which countries concerned confirm their commitment to implement their TC projects.

15. We would also welcome more information from the Agency about where the amount of € 35.5 M, that was unspent in the previous years and carried over to 2013, was allocated. In addition, we would like to receive clarification on the reasons for the unallocated balance at the end of 2013, in particular on the figures contained in table 6 of the TC report for 2013 (GOV/2014/21).

16. Against this background, the EU along with its Member States proved itself to be once again a major contributor to the TC Fund providing also extra-budgetary contributions to the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative as well as additional support through relevant EU Instruments, such as the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation and the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance. We take also this opportunity to recall the initiatives supported by the European Commission in 2013, with more than €4.2M extra-budgetary contribution.

 

Mr. Chairman

17. The EU and its Member States thank the Secretariat for developing a "Strategy for the Renovation of the Agency’s Nuclear Applications Laboratories at Seibersdorf“. We note with appreciation that the Secretariat is following a modular approach using strict prioritization. This reflects the difficult financial starting point of the ReNuAL project, with more than € 20 Mio yet to be funded from extra-budgetary resources. At the same time, the strategy document suggests the potential full implications of the renovation needs beyond the € 31 Mio target budget established by the Director General. We further note that the Secretariat is seeking to realize synergies by constructing a multi-purpose laboratory building. However, given the financial challenges faced by the ReNuAL project, we encourage the Secretariat to strive for even more synergies and efficiencies and to keep the Member States informed so as to facilitate their understanding and assessment of the project’s implementation.

18. In conclusion, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate their appreciation for the Agency’s TC Programme and to reassure the Secretariat of their continued support and cooperation. With these comments, the EU takes note of Document GOV/2014/21. 

Agenda item 6 (f): Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [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 on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic.

 

Mr Chairman,

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

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

5. The EU deeply regrets that, despite this resolution, the Syrian pledge of 26 May 2011 to the Director General to respond positively and without delay to the Agency's request to resolve all outstanding questions and in addition renewed calls by the Director General, Syria, has yet to provide the necessary cooperation. The EU, once again, strongly urges Syria to fully comply with the Resolution.

6. The EU notes that, as reported in the DG's report to the September Board, the 2013 physical inventory verification had to be postponed. We look forward to receiving further information in due course on developments on this matter.

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

8. Finally, Mr Chairman, the EU requests that the Director General keeps the Board of Governors informed about this issue and maintains this item on the agenda of its meetings.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Agenda item 6 (d): Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, 2-6 червня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: [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 Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on 12 February 2013, which is an outright violation of its international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. This nuclear test represents a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

4. The EU further condemns the continuation of the DPRK’s proliferation activities and in this regard, wishes to recall 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 choose the ill-advised path of provocation and isolation, in defiance of the international community's united condemnation of its use of ballistic missile technology in April and December 2012. The EU also deplores the provocative launches of Short Range Ballistic Missiles in May 2013 and in February and March this year, as well as the test-firing of two medium range ballistic missiles on 26 March. The pursuit by the DPRK of its illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes as well as its willingness to trade ballistic missile technologies constitutes a grave challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to peace and stability in the region. In line with UNSCR 2087, and as a further step in defence of the international non-proliferation regime, the EU adopted additional autonomous restrictive measures. These measures include prohibitions on the export and import of goods and technology which could contribute to the DPRK's nuclear-related, ballistic missiles-related or other weapons of mass destruction-related programmes. Additional measures – including in the trade, transport and financial sectors - have also been taken both by the UN and autonomously by the EU. The EU last strengthened its measures on 22 April 2013 to give effect to UN Security Council Resolution 2094 (2013).

 

Mr Chairman,

6. The EU is deeply concerned about reports that the DPRK may be preparing the fourth nuclear test and would like to recall its serious concerns about the DPRK's uranium enrichment programme, and the construction of a Light Water Reactor at the Yongbyon site. We remain equally concerned that the DPRK is increasing its ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads for their missiles.

7. The DG's report of September noted that there has been new construction activity at various locations within the Yongbyon site, continued construction activities on and around the light water reactor, and buildings adjacent to the 5 MW(e) reactor building, and that trenches have been excavated in the vicinity of both reactors. At the November Board, the Director General reported that the Agency has observed, mainly through satellite imagery, activities at the Yongbyon site that were consistent with an effort to restart the 5 MW(e) reactor. All these activities clearly show that the DPRK is further developing its nuclear capabilities. This can only further increase our concerns.

8. 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.

9. The EU stresses, once again, that the DPRK is bound by its international obligations, as set out in United Nations 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.

10. Additionally, the DPRK should commit itself to the September 2005 Joint Statement and to the ultimate objective of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. In this context, the EU calls upon the DPRK to take meaningful steps towards denuclearisation and engage in credible multilateral talks, in order to work towards lasting peace and security on a nuclear-free Korean peninsula and as the best means 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.

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Adoption of the report of the Committee on the Application of Standards EU Statement, International Labour Conference 103rd session, 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

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

We support the statement of IMEC.

We would like to reiterate our view that the ILO supervisory system contributes to the promotion of universal human rights. This is important to all of us, since we are engaged in the promotion and protection of human rights, whether civil and political, economic, social and cultural.

We are seriously concerned by the situation we face today, as we see a real risk to the ILO's unique tripartite setting and its cornerstone activity of standards supervision. 

The failure to produce conclusions jeopardizes the credibility of the ILO supervisory system. It also jeopardizes freedom of association, the elimination of child labour, the fight against discrimination and the abolition of forced labour – basic human rights.

But it also affects the European Union. Some of our policies and instruments make references to the promotion of international labour standards and to the results of their supervision. The conclusions of this Committee are important to us for assessing compliance with those standards.

We attach great importance to having a functioning Conference Committee on the Application of Standards. It plays a key role in monitoring and promoting international labor standards. We need impartial supervision of the implementation of international labour standards.

We call on all constituents, in particular on the social partners, to support the standards supervisory system, and the work of the Governing Body and the Director-General in seeking a long term and lasting solution to these disputes.

Thank you chair.

European Union Statement, International Labour Conference 103rd session, Committee on the Application of Standards Bangladesh (Convention No. 81), 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you chair,

 

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

The following countries align themselves with this declaration:

The “Sustainability Compact for continuous improvements in labour rights and factory safety in the Readymade Garment and knitwear industry in Bangladesh” launched by the EU, the Government of Bangladesh and the ILO in July 2013, outlines commitments mainly related to the issues discussed by this committee, including with regard to Convention N° 81 about labour inspection.

We welcome the progress of Bangladesh in implementing several commitments under the Sustainability Compact, while sustained efforts will be needed to ensure full implementation of the Compact. We welcome the amendments to the Bangladesh Labour Act and stress the importance of implementing legislation to follow suit. We concur with the Committee of experts and encourage the Government of Bangladesh to keep the ILO informed of any further progress.

We also urge the Government to continue the "Modernization and Strengthening of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments" (DIFE) by restructuring and expanding it, by increasing the manpower and the training for labour inspectors. We encourage Bangladesh to keep the Office informed about these measures.

We welcome the proposed law titled 'Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Labour Act 2014' and we suggest that the Government keeps the ILO closely associated in this respect.

We urge the Government to address remaining shortcomings identified by the Committee of Experts in its report regarding the labour law reform, and continue implementing remaining outstanding commitments under the Sustainability Compact, including the outstanding issues with regard to inspections.

We urge the Government to carry out its commitment to support and protect trade unions. The work of the Labour inspectorate benefits from the role of trade unions, calling attention to non-compliance with labour standards. 

We stay engaged in improving labour rights and factory safety in Bangladesh, stand ready to continue, with the ILO, to assist the Bangladeshi authorities to meet the required international labour standards and express our resolve to pursue this together with all stakeholders involved in the supply chain, including (initiatives of) global buyers.

We welcome the decisive efforts of the Office to bring together the various relevant stakeholders to promote labour rights and safe workplaces in Bangladesh. We encourage the Government to avail itself of the technical assistance of the ILO in this respect.

Thank you Chair

EU Statement, International Labour Conference 103rd session, Committee on the Application of Standards Cambodia (Convention No. 87), 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

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

We attach great importance to human rights, including freedom of association, and recognise the important role played by the ILO in developing, promoting and supervising international labour standards. The European Union as well as its member States are engaged in the promotion of universal ratification and implementation of the eight ILO core labour standards.

We fully support the implementation of the eight fundamental ILO Conventions in Cambodia, which are important tools for ensuring democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights and the principles of international law. Their respect results in undeniable benefits to the development of human potential and to economic growth of each country.

Last January, we have expressed our concern on the violent demonstrations and the disproportionate and excessive use of force by the security personnel, which resulted in the loss of lives. We called on all parties involved in labour disputes to cease violence, come back to the negotiating table and use all possible peaceful means to find a solution to their differences. (local eu statement Janury 2014)

Turning to the Committee of Experts report under discussion, we urge the Government to provide the information requested by the Committee of Experts on the outcome of the investigations concerning murders of trade union leaders. (CEACR report)

We call on the Government to comply with the call of the Committee of experts in ensuring that trade union rights of workers are fully respected and that trade unionists are able to engage in their activities in a climate free of intimidation or risk. (CEACR report)

We encourage the government to indicate whether laws to ensure the independence and effectiveness of the judicial system have been adopted, as requested by the Committee of experts. (CEACR report)

We call on the Government to intensify its efforts to ensure a rapid adoption of the Trade Union Act, in full consultation with the social partners. (CEACR report)

We urge the Government to provide information on all the above to the committee of experts.

Finally, we encourage the Government to avail itself of the technical assistance of the ILO and to comply with its reporting obligations.

Thank you, Chair.

EU Statement, International Labour Conference 103rd session, Committee on the Application of Standards Belarus (Convention No. 87), 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you chair.

I speak on behalf of the European Union.

The following countries align themselves with this declaration: …

The European Union attaches great importance to its relations with Belarus, a country which neighbours the EU and to the citizens of that country, and remains gravely concerned about the lack of respect for human rights, democracy and rule of law. The EU maintains its policy of critical engagement with Belarus, intended to promote respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles in that country.

The European Union welcomes the fact that a ILO Direct Contacts Mission managed to visit Minsk and could meet with stakeholders from both governmental and non-governmental sides. However, we remain gravely concerned that the recent Direct Contacts Mission has unfortunately shown that there has been no fundamental change or significant progress in implementing the recommendations of the 2004 Commission of Inquiry. In this context, we want to recall that the failure of Belarus to implement these recommendations has led to the suspension of Belarus from the European Union Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) since 2007.

We recall that the development of bilateral relations under the Eastern Partnership is conditional on progress towards respect by Belarus for the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights. We are willing to assist Belarus to meet its obligations in this regard and will continue to closely monitor the situation in Belarus.

This case has been on the agenda of this committee for eleven times since 1997. The respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles has not improved in Belarus. We believe that freedom of expression, opinion, assembly and association are essential for a democracy.

We call on the Government of Belarus to cooperate fully with the ILO and to provide information on the follow up given to the Commission of Inquiry recommendations. Fulfilling them is essential for freedom of association.

We call on the Belarusian authorities to eliminate the obstacles to trade union registration, in particular the requirements imposed by Decree No. 2 of January 1999 on legal address and 10 per cent minimum membership requirements. These obstacles hinder the establishment and functioning of trade unions in practice.

We also call on the Government to provide the information requested by the Committee of Experts, notably concerning the refusal to authorize the holding of demonstrations and the restrictions on mass activities imposed by the Act on Mass Activities.

We urge the Government, in line with the request of the Committee of experts, to amend Presidential decree No. 24 concerning the use of foreign gratuitous aid. This is essential to ensure that workers' and employers' organisations may benefit from assistance from international organisations of workers and employers. We call on the Government to provide the information requested by the Committee.

We urge the Government to provide all the information requested by the Committee of Experts and to intensify its efforts in cooperation with all the social partners concerned to implement the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry. We also encourage the Government to avail itself of the technical assistance provided by the Office.

Thank you chair.

European Union Statement, International Labour Conference 103rd session, Committee on the Application of Standards Yemen (Convention No. 182), 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you chair.

I speak on behalf of the European Union.

The EU fully supports the implementation of the eight fundamental ILO Conventions in Yemen, which are important tools to guide the current transition period.

In this context, the EU salutes the positive conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) in January 2014, which made ambitious recommendations on rights and freedoms, in particular in the area of the rights of the child. We note with appreciation that these recommendations are in line with the conclusions of the Committee on the Application of standards, notably as regards the right to education and the prohibition of child labour and recruitment of child soldiers.

We commend the efforts undertaken by the Yemeni authorities to implement these recommendations, such as the current legislative work aimed at upgrading all relevant legislations on the rights of the child and the signing with the UN on 14 May 2014 of an action plan to bring an end to the use and recruitment of children by Government forces. We also urge the Government of Yemen to expedite the draft Child Rights Acts which establishes a minimum age for marriage of 18 years.

We call on the government of Yemen to comply with the recommendations of the Committee and, in particular, to take effective and time-bound measures to ensure that children removed from armed groups and forces and their families receive support and assistance for their rehabilitation and social integration, including reintegration into the school system or into vocational training. (CEACR Comments last paragraph)

The EU will continue supporting the authorities and all relevant partners in Yemen to ensure the effective implementation of these measures, notably through its "Juvenile Justice programme" developed jointly with UNICEF since 2009.

We encourage the Government of Yemen to avail itself of the technical cooperation activities of the ILO and other organisations as well as to comply with its reporting obligations.

Thank you chair.

International Labour Conference 103rd Session, Committee on Employment and Social protection in the Employment Policies for sustainable recovery and development, 3a) What should be the main elements of a comprehensive framework to create decent employment that would be relevant and effective for the next period, 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you Chair,

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

(Alignment)

For the next period, we consider that any framework to create decent employment should address both immediate and longer term challenges.

We agree with the Office that the road towards sustainable recovery and development requires proactive, employment centred, inclusive growth strategies and coherent policy frameworks, both at the global and national level.

In the next period, we encourage the ILO to continue carrying out employment policy reviews and diagnostics for effective policy implementation when requested by governments. We encourage the Office to strengthen its action in this area by taking into account the recommendations suggested by the evaluation carried out in 2012. These recommendations included building further knowledge through research and analysis; promoting effective institutional structure to pilot implementation of national employment policies; addressing specific capacity needs of ILO constituents; strengthening financing of employment policies and establishing strong partnerships with other key international actors.

We are also ready to share our experiences concerning employment policy reviews and we support the introduction of a peer reviews mechanism, as envisaged by the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization. Peer reviews should be voluntary and based on a sound knowledge base. They should not entail high costs for participating countries and should not duplicate work done on the monitoring of standards..

We agree with the ILO Report that there are currently gaps of knowledge that need to be addressed. We welcome the initiative of the Office to enhance its research and policy tools in relation to structural and long-term unemployment; self-employment; technology, employment and skills linkages and inequality.

 

We would also like the ILO to pay special attention to the issue of jobs for youth. For us, combating youth unemployment is a particular and immediate objective. We therefore welcome the intention of the Office to strengthen the focus on analysing what works for youth employment in the five policy areas covered by the call for action. We support the work of the Office aimed at bridging the worlds of education and training and of decent and productive work.

As regards structural developments, we encourage the ILO to pay particular attention to the implementation of the resolutions of the 102nd session of the ILC concerning  Sustainable Development, Decent Work and Green Jobs as well as employment and social protection in the new demographic context.

On a more general note, we strongly encourage the ILO to continue its important work in the capacity-building of social partners, as constructive social dialogue is an important mechanism to undertake the challenging structural reforms necessary for job-centred recovery and development.

Furthermore, we encourage the Office to continue to promote the ratification of ILO Conventions and the implementation of Recommendations related to employment. These international labour standards should guide governments and social partners in adopting active measures for promoting decent work.

Finally we support the Office’s increased engagement at international level as a means of promoting policy coherence, notably in the context of the UN High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the G20 and in cooperation with the IMF, the OECD and the WB. We suggest that it further explores routes for cooperation with the European Union in this regard.

 

Thank you Chair

1a - EU Statement on current employment challenges and the main drivers of change, Committee on Employment and Social protection in the Employment Policies for sustainable recovery and development, 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you Chair,

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

(Alignment)

We share the view that it is essential to have a clear and mutual understanding of current employment challenges as well as the long-term structural trends that are changing today’s world of work (adapted from ILO Report, Introduction).

It is encouraging to see that global activity strengthened during the second half of last year and is expected to improve further in 2014–15, However, the crisis leaves behind the legacy of fragile growth, including 202 million people unemployed worldwide at the end of 2013 with a further 404 million people to be integrated in the labour force by 2024. (adapted from Council conclusions on the social situation in the EU, March 2014 and on the 2014 Annual Growth Survey and Joint Employment Report, March 2014). (ILO report para 9, 19 and 22).

On more structural aspects, we endorse the acknowledgement of key trends and drivers of change (including globalization, demography, inequality, gender equality, transition to environmentally sustainable development) and the challenges they pose for employment in the developed and developing world, notably in terms of human capital development and better matching between skills supply and labour demand. (adapted from Council conclusions on the social situation in the EU, March 2014).

We agree that the new demographic context (ILO report para 1.2.2) has challenging economic and social implications. The demographic challenges are particularly relevant in the context of today's highly competitive global economic environment. (Social Europe- Many ways, one objective, 2014) and an optimal use of the available human resources is critical to economic growth (adapted from Social Europe- Many ways, one objective, 2014).

We welcome the particular focus of the report on youth and long term unemployment (ILO report para 23 to 29). The youth labour market situation remains critical with 74.5 million unemployed young people.  A growing number of these have lost hope and are Neither in Employment, Education or Training (GB 320, ACI youth). We further see people losing their skills and unemployment becoming increasingly structural in nature. (Council conclusions on the 2014 Annual Growth Survey and Joint Employment Report, March 2014)).

A higher level of female labour market participation is an essential source for enhancing our growth potential and to meet demographic challenges (Council conclusions on the 2014 Annual Growth Survey and Joint Employment Report, March 2014). Gender inequality, where it exists, should continue to be addressed, taking into account the need for reconciliation of work and family life.

Rising inequality is another major, including income inequality which is growing across and within Member States, particularly in the countries that witnessed the largest increases in unemployment. Effective social protection and higher employment rates will further a more competitive and cohesive Europe. Policy efforts should prioritise effective prevention to avoid further worsening of the social situation in the EU, spur human capital investments and support labour market activation. (Council conclusions on the social situation in the EU, March 2014).

We share the view of the report that there is a growing link between the environment and the world of work. Successfully managing the transition to a low carbon economy will require that job losses are minimised and opportunities for growth fully exploited in terms of jobs creation and skills development. 

We also agree that a last, but not less important employment challenge relates to skills and labour markets. Unemployment is driven mainly by negative labour demand as well as growing skills shortages and mismatches. Several trends, in particular globalisation and technological change, have led to gradual changes in labour demand. In our countries, the relative demand for high-skilled workers has generally increased, to the detriment of medium and lower-skilled workers (CC EPSCO; Joint employment report, March 2014). In the next decades the global economy will require more workers, especially with competitive professional and key competences. This will allow the economy to grow and help reduce unemployment. (CC EPSCO 22/06/2012).

In this context, we would like our discussion to focus on policies to address these trends and challenges and build on the Oslo declaration which concluded last year's European Regional meeting (adapted from GB 319 global and economic situation).

Thank you Mr./Mme. Chair.

EU Opening Statement, Committee on Employment and Social protection in the Employment Policies for sustainable recovery and development, 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

Thank you Chair

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

(alignment clause)

I would like to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as Chair of this Committee.

We thank the Office for its report and the suggested points for discussion, which provide a sound basis for our debate in the Committee.

This second discussion on the strategic objective of employment pursuant to the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization takes place six years after the eruption of the financial and economic crisis followed by the relevant policy responses. The various national labour markets find themselves in different and sometimes difficult situations.

Despite encouraging signs as regards economic activity, the world of work has to face major short term employment challenges with 202 million people without jobs across the globe by the end of last year and 404 million more to be in the labour force in ten years (ILO report para 9, 19 and 22).

This discussion therefore provides a worthwhile opportunity for the ILOto review action taken by the member states and by the Office in support of its constituents to assess the effectiveness of the responses so far, and consider options for the future.

We share the views regarding the main areas of focus underlined in the Report and the need to create targeted and coordinated policies in order to address challenges of the labour markets, such as youth and long term unemployment, skills mismatches, informal employment, in-work poverty and income insecurity, even in the post crisis era for both employees and enterprises. (European Council Conclusions – 19/20 December 2013).

We also share the view that social dialogue is a key element to the building of consensus, which is essential in developing these policies and undertaking the challenging structural reforms necessary for job-centered recovery and development.

We would further like to stress the link of the discussion we are opening with the definition of priorities and organisational changes in the ILO. Indeed, the aim of this discussion would be to further define and if need be, adjust priorities for the ILO, so that it best serves its constituents in the field of employment.

We consider that integrated and holistic approach is key to effectively address employment challenges. We expect that the introduction of the eight area of critical importance should have an added value in this regard and provide a platform for the Office to focus inter-disciplinary expertise and broad-based intra-Office cooperation on a number of priority areas identified in this report.

We look forward to the Chair guiding our work in the Committee and to working together with other governments, with employers’ and workers’ representatives to fulfill our tasks, and we will put all our effort in contributing to a fruitful discussion.

We are looking forward to concrete, pragmatic, action oriented and realistic conclusions to help us to restore confidence in growth and jobs.

EU Opening Statement, EU Statement Committee on the Transition from the informal to the formal economy, 28 травня - 12 червня 2014 року

International Labour Conference
103rd session

 (28 May-12 June 2014)

EU Statement

Committee on the Transition from the informal to the formal economy

EU Opening statement

Thank you chair,

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Firstly, I would like to congratulate Mr.    / Ms … on his / her appointment as chair of this Committee and wish him / her much success and luck in guiding our deliberations.

We are looking forward to actively contributing to the item on the transition from the informal to the formal economy of the agenda of the 103rd International Labour Conference and thank the Office for the high-quality report and the derived Proposed Conclusions that constitute a sound basis for our forthcoming discussions.  

The Preamble of the Proposed Conclusions underlines very well that the transition from the informal to the formal economy has important implications for the workforce, the labour market, the national social protection systems, working conditions, inclusive development and sustainability of enterprises and fair competition in national and international markets. The EU is promoting the Decent Work agenda to ensure rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen social dialogue on work related issues.

We believe that the conclusions contain many relevant aspects that should be included in a Recommendation, concerning in particular the extension of rights at work and social protection. Nevertheless, we will have a number of suggestions to ameliorate the text as it stands now, while some terms and parts of the proposed conclusions might still need technical clarification and require further discussion among our group. We might also wish to make proposals aiming at changes in the structure of the document that would allow taking into account the diversity of the phenomenon of informal economy. In any case, it is our firm commitment to contribute to the Committee discussions in a constructive way, aiming at compromise where- and whenever possible.

We would like to emphasize that we consider the proposed instrument also relevant to the EU and its member states. We are (permanently) exposed to problems of informality versus formality, among these, at present, most prominently, significant non-declaration of work; we are convinced that leaving such problems unsolved, possibly together with similar others, would have negative short- and long-term effects on our societies and their institutions, and therefore we are continuously working on avoiding such developments through adaptation of legislation as well as providing incentives to economic actors aiming at minimizing informality. The EU has taken steps to reiterate the importance of transforming informal or undeclared work into regular employment, with a view of stepping up job creation and encouraging labour demand. Specifically, the EU Commission has proposed in April 2014 to launch a European platform to enhance cooperation in the prevention and deterrence of undeclared work through improved cooperation between Member States enforcement authorities. Accordingly, we will seek that the text of the future instrument also covers those aspects of informality in the EU and its MemberStates, and provides helpful guidance to overcoming those.

The starting point for any formalization process needs to be an analysis and increased understanding of drivers behind informality, the characteristics of the actors and economic units in the informal economy, as well as possible incentives for formalisation. 

In the framework of EU development cooperation, the EU has particularly focused on the informal economy given its size and importance in developing countries and its close links with poverty reduction (Council Conclusions 21 June 2007).  In this regard, the EU encourages consistent policies adapted to the different country contexts, to support gradual transition from the informal to the formal economy, without jeopardising the only means of livelihood for millions of people.

We are looking forward to the Office's valuable guidance of common our work in the Committee, we expect to have fruitful, trusting and productive discussions, to be ready for compromise, and to cooperate with other governments, with employers' and workers' representatives in our common goal of developing a new instrument in 2015 that will later unfold its relevance to all of us.

Thank you chair.    

EU statement on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, 28 травня 2014 року

The European Union would like to recall the declaration by the High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, issued on 16 May 2014 in Brussels:

"On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, I wish to reaffirm the EU's commitment to equality and non-discrimination.

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. Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are an unacceptable infringement of human rights.

Notwithstanding positive examples of strengthened non-discrimination measures, sexual orientation and gender identity continue to be used to justify serious human rights violations around the world. In some countries, sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex are criminalised and are liable to be punished with imprisonment or even with the death penalty. In other countries governments actively seek to limit freedom of assembly, association and expression of LGBTI persons. This is a source of concern for the EU.

The EU's Foreign Ministers adopted the LGBTI Guidelines on 24 June 2013 and we campaign tirelessly for the respect of human rights, irrespective of sexual orientation and gender identity. We raise the issue of equal rights for LGBTI persons whenever necessary in our contacts with third countries and in international fora, we speak out through public statements, and we work with our Delegations to argue the case for justice and human rights. Through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, the EU supports LGBTI human rights defenders across the world."

The report of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the "State of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in Europe" mentions widespread homophobia and intolerance towards LGBT persons. It also highlights worrying developments in the Member States including restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly over LGBT persons. These are among the main challenges faced in Europe with regard to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. He recommends ensuring the equal application of human rights standards to LGBT persons in all Council of Europe Member States, to combat stereotyping, discrimination and hate crime motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity and to set measures to ensure freedom of expression and assembly for LGBT persons.

The EU welcomes these recommendations. We also value the work of the Commissioner for Human Rights in this field and the caselaw of the European Court on Human Rights with regard to the non-discrimination of LGBT persons.

We reaffirm our commitment to support CoE's actions aiming at combating all forms of discrimination on any grounds, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity and strengthen cooperation between the two organisations on the basis of complementarity, as expressed in the EU priorities for cooperation with the Council of Europe in 2014-2015, adopted by the Council of Ministers of the EU on 18 November 2013. Cooperation could be focused on implementation of the CM recommendation (2010)5, with due regard to  2013 EU LGBTI Guidelines. The EU reiterates its readiness to offer the methodology of its Agency for Fundamental Rights used for the 2012 online survey, for all relevant CoE activities. 

EU statement on the arbitrary detentions of more than 30 civil society and political activists in Belarus, 28 травня 2014 року

The European Union would like to recall the declaration by the Spokesperson of the High Representative Catherine Ashton on behalf of the European Union on the arbitrary detentions of more than 30 civil society and political activists in Belarus, issued on 16 May 2014 in Brussels:

"We are concerned about the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of several dozens of representatives of civil society and opposition organisations in the run up to the World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus. We condemn the use of administrative detention by the Belarusian authorities as an instrument aimed at creating pressure, fear and uncertainty among the young generation of people in Belarus.

We urge the authorities of Belarus to immediately stop these actions and to release all those unjustly detained, dropping all charges against them. We also reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.

The EU's readiness to further develop relations with Belarus remains conditional on concrete steps in Belarus towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law." 

Draft EU statement, UNSC Debate 1267/1989, 1373, 1540 Committees, 28 травня 2014 року

Mr. President,

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

Thank you very much for organising this annual briefing.

Let me start by expressing our appreciation to the Committees’ Chairs for their extensive updates and summary of the actions and initiatives that they have taken.

This year has already seen several events to mark the 10th anniversary of the adoption of UNSCR1540.  This has included a Security Council Debate on 10 April, and an open debate on 7 May.  We strongly support these initiatives: outreach is an essential part of our work – to raise awareness of the challenge and our response, and garner broad political support. 

UNSCR1540 is often viewed through the lens of counter-terrorism, but it is more than that.  Proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security. The threat of terrorism and the risk that non State actors may acquire, develop, traffic in or use nuclear chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery remains high. Therefore, it is a duty of all States of the world to fight against this threat. Full implementation of UNSCR 1540 is not simply a legal requirement: it is incumbent upon us all, and in all of our interests. 

We therefore applaud the Committee's efforts at matchmaking between donors and those who seek support.  We will redouble our efforts to play our part in helping partners implement UNSCR1540.  For example, we have adopted an EU Council Decision in support of the practical implementation of Resolution 1540 and signed an agreement with UNODA as the implementing agency; and a large component of the EU's CBRN Centers of Excellence initiative is devoted to support National Action Plans on UNSCR1540.

Universal reporting under UNSCR1540 is within reach, and I hope that this year, which marks the 10th anniversary of UNSCR1540, we will achieve that goal.

Finally, we support the recommendations that were agreed in the 2013 Annual Review, including the sharing of effective practices, developing a "living network" of points of contact, and interacting with civil society and private sectors as well as with parliamentarians.  We hope that these recommendations can be implemented quickly.

 

Mr President,

The terrorist threat we face continues to evolve, with more active terrorist groups than before.  In 2013, there were nearly 10,000 terrorist attacks, resulting in almost 18000 deaths, and over 32,000 injuries.  Terrorism remains a threat to global peace and security.

UNSCR1267 and 1373 Resolutions are therefore still as pertinent and important as ever.  They play a crucial role in our security.  This has been underlined in the recent Report of the SG on the Activities of the United Nations system in implementing the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

We remain committed to the idea that the scourge of terrorism can only be overcome by measures which adhere to the highest human rights standards, and are in full compliance with the Rule of Law.  Terrorism needs to be fought as a crime by the law and within the law with full respect to fundamental rights.

We welcome the fact that the Security Council has taken significant steps to further reinforce fair and clear procedures for UN sanctions. We commend the Ombudsperson’s work and reiterate our support to her unwavering efforts.  We reiterate our call upon all Member States to extend full cooperation with the Office of the Ombudsperson in each and every case. The upcoming discussions in the Council in June on the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee provide an excellent opportunity to further advance those procedures and strengthen the effectiveness of the Committee and the work of the Ombudsperson.

 

Mr. President,

We welcome the work of the 1373 Committee, in particular the vast array of CT endeavours and activities. In the period of concern, we have participated with great interest in a number of events focused on countering the financing of terrorism as well as preventing terrorist travel, such as the high-level open briefing on 25 April on preventing the misuse of travel documents by terrorists, traveller identification management and document security.  This is a crucial issue, in particular as many countries are faced with the growing threat of increasing flow of international recruits to terrorist organization, including foreign fighters. These foreign fighters can pose an acute terrorist threat on their return to their home countries.  Sharing information and best practices on detecting and preventing people from travelling abroad to fight is vital and we strongly support further work in this area.

We warmly welcome resolution 2129, renewing CTED's mandate.  The resolution calls on the Committee and CTED to be more active against violent extremism and focus on prevention in response to the global terrorist threat. Communities, civil society, and other partners should be involved in finding solutions. The resolution also highlights the positive role victims of terrorism and women can play in the process.

Finally, it is worth drawing attention to UNSCR2133, the first resolution dedicated to the issue of kidnapping for ransom.  Building on the commitments in 1373, this resolution calls upon all Member States to take action to prevent terrorists from benefiting directly or indirectly from ransom payments or from political concessions, and to work together to secure the safe release of hostages.

 

Mr. President,

I would like to conclude my intervention by underlining that our resolve to defeat terrorism and CBRN proliferation must never weaken or falter. We remain committed to working with the three UNSC committees: their work must remain a priority for the UN and its MemberStates.

I thank you. 

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, 28 травня 2014 року

EUROPEAN UNION

 

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 755

Vienna, 28 May 2014

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union and its Member States took note of statements by the Ukrainian delegation on the security situation in and around Ukraine and of the report on the UK-led Vienna Document inspection in Ukraine.

The EU reiterates that the successful holding of the Presidential elections in Ukraine constitutes a major step towards the objective of de-escalating tensions. In this context, we welcome the statements by the Russian Federation indicating that the election result will be respected.

Further efforts are needed in order to start restoring trust and confidence in the OSCE area against the backdrop of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, continuing destabilisation in Eastern Ukraine as well as the authorisation given by the Federation Council to use armed force on Ukrainian soil; the latter is not yet revoked despite the insistent calls of Ukraine, the European Union and other OSCE participating States.

Hence, lasting and reliable de-escalation of the situation in and around Ukraine can only be achieved if there is political will to fully implement relevant multilateral commitments and obligations.

In concrete terms, we found both the information related to the military exercise "Aviadarts-2014" provided by the Russian Federation at the FSC meeting last week and the refusal to answer additional questions, in particular those put forward by Ukraine in its Vienna Document Chapter III notification, unsatisfactory and not conducive to alleviating legitimate security concerns. We therefore expect the Russian Federation to demonstrate adequate level of transparency and provide satisfactory information and clarifications to this end.

In the same vein, we took note of statements by the Russian leadership with regard to the return of Russian troops, deployed in the vicinity of Ukraine's border, back to their permanent bases. Although still raising questions, this decision could be seen as a concrete step by the Russian Federation towards de-escalation of the politicomilitary situation in and around Ukraine if verified and fully implemented.

However, we remain deeply concerned about SALW and heavy weapons being possessed and used by illegal separatists groups to further destabilise the situation in Eastern Ukraine. In this context, we took note of statements by the Ukrainian authorities on attempts of several groups of armed militants, escorting weapons and ammunition from the territory of the Russian Federation, to illegally cross the state border of Ukraine, as well as on violations of the airspace of Ukraine. We urge the Russian Federation to take the necessary measures to prevent further incidents and violations of the state border which is crucial for de-escalating the situation on the ground in the wake of the Presidential elections.

The European Union firmly reaffirms its support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.

EU Statement on "Fighting Illicit Trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons", 28 травня 2014 року

EUROPEAN UNION

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 755

Vienna, 28 May 2014

EU Statement on "Fighting Illicit Trafficking of Small Arms and

Light Weapons"

 

The European Union (EU) welcomes Mr. Sho Morimoto from the US State Department and Mr. Ivan Zverzhanovski, SEESAC Coordinator, and thanks them for sharing with us their rich professional expertise and information on fighting illicit trafficking of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW).

Only one week ago, we had the excellent opportunity to reiterate, in the broader context of disarmament, our conviction that the last OSCE MC decision dedicated to SALW and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA), adopted in December 2013 in Kyiv, represents a very good basis for taking forward both the full implementation and the improvement of the OSCE commitments and norms.

In particular, we would like to stress our continued support for strengthened implementation of the existing OSCE commitments in the areas of SALW, SCA and conventional weapons, ensuring their coherence and complementarity with the UN framework, and exploring enhanced ways for their assessment and update. We welcome the ongoing FSC work and look forward to the timely adoption of decisions upholding the respective provisions of MC decision 8/13. To that end, full advantage of valuable tools such as the SALW Informal Group of Friends and the 2013

Comparative study on SALW should be taken in order to allow the OSCE to effectively assume its security tasks and maintain its role at the forefront of the international efforts in combatting illicit SALW trafficking.

 

We furthermore welcome and support the development of voluntary OSCE guidelines for Compiling National Reports on SALW exports to/imports from other participating States which we find a useful tool in helping OSCE participating States live up to their SALW commitments, in particular those under the OSCE Document on SALW.

The OSCE has a long and productive record of practical activities, involving both the Secretariat and the field missions, such as the implementation of assistance projects on SALW and SCA, which goes hand in hand with the improvement of its normative basis.

In this context, we highly appreciate the sustained efforts of the US government and the countries of the South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of SALW (SEESAC) and their determination to actively contribute to curbing the illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and SCA at both national and regional level.

The European Union, for its part, is allocating substantial resources, within its Strategy on SALW, to support concrete activities in the field of SALW control in the OSCE area and in particular in the region of South Eastern Europe where we welcome and promote international cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and other main actors. In practical terms, the EU is supporting SEESAC activities through dedicated Council Decisions, the last one having been adopted on 9 December 2013. Equally, these activities are strongly supported, including through the provision of financial means, by the EU Member States.

Mr Chairman, let me reiterate the particular importance we pay to the full implementation of the UN Programme of Action on SALW (PoA) and the OSCE Document on SALW and other relevant commitments. In this respect, we encourage the FSC to take an active role in the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States to Consider the Implementation of the UN Programme of Action on SALW (BMS5).

The European Union and its Members States are currently coordinating their efforts aimed at contributing to the success of the BMS5 to take place on 16-20 June 2014 in New York. To that end, the European Union has submitted working paper which highlights, inter alia, the following priorities: development of best practises and provision of assistance on stockpile security to prevent the diversion of legal SALW and their ammunition to illicit markets; improving the tracing of illicit SALW in conflict and post-conflict contexts in order to stem the inflow of illicit weapons into conflict zones; opportunities and challenges arising from new technologies for the effective marking, record-keeping, tracing and securing of SALW; continued international cooperation and assistance for the successful implementation of the UN PoA; and, taking into account the relationship of UN PoA commitments with the ATT.

In conclusion, we would like to thank once again the speakers for their valuable contributions as well as the FSC Chairmanship for having included this topical issue in the FSC Security Dialogue agenda.

EU statement on the Chairmanship of Azerbaijan of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, 28 травня 2014 року

The EU congratulates the Republic of Azerbaijan on its assumption of the Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers for the first time since becoming a member of the Organization.

The EU welcomes priorities presented by Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov in Vienna on 6 May and Azerbaijan’s intention to invest its efforts in furthering the objectives of the Council of Europe around its three key pillars. The EU stands ready to support Azerbaijan in these endeavours.

The Chairmanship provides a particular opportunity for each MemberState to make progress in the field of human rights, democracy and rule of law. In this context, we expect Azerbaijan to uphold Council of Europe standards and values subscribed to by members, notably those with regard to freedom of expression, assembly and association as well as the independence of the judiciary.

The recently launched Council of Europe Action Plan for Azerbaijan provides for practical steps in this regard and we look forward to its implementation.

The EU wishes Azerbaijan during its Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers full success in fostering dialogue and political action, building on the Council of Europe mission to preserve human rights, democracy and rule of law in Europe. 

EU Statement Committee on Strengthening Action to end Forced Labour First sitting - EU Opening statement

Thank you chair,

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

I would like to begin by congratulating you on your appointment as Chair of this Committee.

We thank the Office for the excellent report and the high-quality proposed texts of instruments.

We stress the importance of this standard setting discussion relating to core labour standards and to Human Rights Instruments.

Despite the adoption of the Forced Labour Convention n. 29 over eighty years ago and its almost universal ratification, the practice still exists, albeit in different forms to those that provoked such concern in the early twentieth century. According to the most recent ILO estimates, at least 20.9 million people are victims of forced labour globally, over 800.000 of which are estimated to be found in the European region. In addition, new practices have emerged such as trafficking in human beings for forced labour.

In this context, we welcome the intent to address the existing implementation gaps and ensure coherence in international law in order to effectively eradicate forced labour in all its forms. On substance, we very much welcome this opportunity to advance prevention of forced labour and trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation as well as protection and compensation of victims of forced labour.

The provisions of the proposed instruments echo the principles provided in our legislation and policies, as the European Union is founded on universal values of human rights and dignity, freedom, equality and solidarity. The outcome of this discussion will also be particularly important to us, as our policies actively promote the ratification and effective implementation of the core labour standards. Many of our international agreements further refer to them.

In this standard setting discussion, we consider it is appropriate to focus on fundamental principles and provide adequate protection while striving to ensure wide acceptance. We believe that key approaches and principles must be promoted, such as gender and child-sensitive approach, focus on preventive measures, protection of victims from intimidation and re-victimisation as well as appropriate support and assistance to victims.

We look forward to the Chair and to the Office guiding our work and to working together with other governments, employers’ and workers’ representatives to fulfill our tasks in the Committee, and we will put all our effort into contributing to a fruitful discussion.


Thank you Chair.

Declaration on behalf of the European Union on the situation in Lybia, 24 травня 2014 року

Libya is at a highly critical stage in its transition which it can successfully face through a constructive political engagement based on nationally agreed principles in order to achieve the goals of the 17 February revolution: fostering the rule of law, the respect of human rights and the welfare of its citizens. Otherwise it could face the threat of chaos, fragmentation, violence and terrorism.

The EU is deeply concerned by repeated acts of violence, and calls on all sides to refrain from the use of force and to address differences by political means.

The EU emphasizes the importance of an inclusive Libyan political dialogue and encourages all parties to actively cooperate with the United Nations Special Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), in particular to reach an agreement on a political roadmap for the transition process. The UN has a central role to play in coordinating international efforts in support of the political process on the ground.

In this framework, we call on all parties to create an environment conducive for holding parliamentary elections as soon as possible.

The process leading to a peaceful transition of power should be based upon broad consensus, avoiding any step that could hamper this process.

The EU reiterates its condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and expresses support for the fight against terrorism with full respect of human rights and rule of law.

The EU remains committed to a united, democratic and prosperous Libya and will continue to facilitate dialogue and reconciliation as key to the stabilization process, in the national interest of Libya and in the interest of the security of the Maghreb, the Sahel, as well as the Mediterranean region at large.

EU Statement in Reply to the Report by the Head of the OSCE Centre in Bishkek, H.E. Ambassador Sergey Kapinos, and by the Director of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Mr Pál Dunay, 22 травня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1001

Vienna, 22 May 2014

 

The EU warmly welcomes Ambassador Kapinos back to the Permanent Council and thanks him for his comprehensive report. We would like to extend a warm welcome also to Mr Pál Dunay in his capacity as new Director of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek.

 

We see that last year’s refocus of the work at the Centre in Bishkek (CiB) is already paying off; the identification of five strategic priority areas is leading to more efficient support in the implementation of OSCE commitments in Kyrgyzstan. The EU will continue to support the emerging Parliamentary system in the country, which is unique in the region.

The EU appreciates the ongoing political dialogue in Kyrgyzstan comprising Government, civil society and International Organisations. This comprehensive network, with a prominent role of the OSCE-UN-EU troika format, should also be used to foster the implementation of National Action Plans. The outreach into provinces conducted by the Centre of Bishkek is the right approach to ensure inclusiveness in this dialogue. In this regard, we welcome the work of the centre throughout the whole country, in particular in the South. The EU considers the improvement of inter-ethnic relations on the basis of the rule of law and respect for human rights to be a prerequisite for the peaceful and sustainable development of Kyrgyzstan.

The recent reshuffle of the Kyrgyz Government took place under the democratic constitution. We consider last year’s comprehensive reform agenda as an important basis for further democratic development of the country. Emphasis now needs to be put on implementation.

The EU agrees that transnational threats, and in particular border security, will remain a priority within the Politico-Military Dimension. Developments during last year have shown a clear need to make progress on border delimitation and demarcation, as well as on the implementation of integrated border management and we welcome increased coordination with the Office in Tajikistan on this issue. Countering terrorism is also a key component of the CiB's work. The EU welcomes every effort by the Centre in Bishkek to support Governmental and other initiatives, such as the ‘peace messengers’, to provide early-warning and conflict prevention. The involvement of youth councils is an effective approach to achieve sustainability of these activities. Regarding CiB's policing activities: the Police Matters Programme should be further optimised, including a close co-ordination with the concept and activities of the Community Security Initiative (CSI); CSI is a flagship programme, to which we attach high importance. In particular, the work on human rights and multi-ethnic policing is crucial. CSI is being further supported by multi-annual EU and Member State funding. It will be important to focus on increased transparency and engaged and active management of the programme in the coming year. In this context, we welcome the recent appointment of a new Head of CSI and trust that the programme will now get back on track to achieve greater impact on the ground.

In the Economic and Environmental Dimension, the EU welcomes the efforts of the Centre in Bishkek to support the Kyrgyz Government and institutions on countering corruption and money laundering, including implementing FATF recommendations. We particularly appreciate the CiB’s activities on promoting transparency and good governance, including local self-governance. We welcome further focus on land use and water management, preventing conflicts both within and across borders.

As for the Human Dimension, we appreciate ongoing engagement by the Centre in Bishkek - partially together with ODIHR - in supporting Kyrgyz authorities to progress on improving the judicial and criminal justice system. The Human Dimension is a key priority for the EU. We would like to encourage the Kyrgyz authorities to further proceed with the ongoing reforms, with particular emphasis on torture prevention. We welcome the establishment of an independent National Preventive Mechanism and its participation in the Memorandum of Understanding on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, sponsored by the Centre in Bishkek. We regard the development of a coherent legislative framework on population and voter registration system to be important in view of upcoming Parliamentary and Presidential Elections. We hope that the Kyrgyz authorities will continue to consult the Centre in Bishkek and ODIHR on draft legislation.

We appreciate the contribution of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek to promoting regional cooperation and academic networking – we would like to encourage Director Dunay and his team to proceed with this successful and forward looking scientific approach that founded the high reputation of the Academy.

In conclusion, the EU would like to recall its commitment and support to consolidate democratic and socio-economic reforms in Kyrgyzstan. We thank Ambassador Kapinos and Director Dunay once more for their valuable contribution to the reform processes in the country and wish both every success in their activities.

 

EU Statement on the Floods in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, 22 травня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1001

Vienna, 22 May 2014

 

The European Union and its Member States express their sympathy and solidarity with Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia with respect to the recent flooding. We also express our condolences to the families of the deceased.

In response to the situation, we began providing immediate assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism which has been activated upon the request of the countries concerned.

A total of 19 EU Member States offered assistance through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, such as motor boats, helicopters and high-capacity pumps and deployed nearly 400 relief workers to the affected countries. Two EU Civil Protection teams were deployed over the weekend to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to help with the coordination of relief efforts.

We also welcome the significant amount of assistance and support civil society groups in our Member States are offering as acts of solidarity.

The European Commission's Emergency Response Coordination Centre (ERCC) is in constant contact with the affected countries and with participating states in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, matching the incoming offers for assistance with needs on the ground. The EU will support the reconstruction efforts in the affected areas.

We also welcome and appreciate the assistance provided to the affected countries by the OSCE.

At these difficult moments, the people of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia can rely on the solidarity and continued help from their friends and partners in the European Union.

EU Statement on the Arbitrary Detention of More than 30 Civil Society and Political Activists in Belarus, 22 травня 2014 року

The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement of the EU High Representative on 16 May 2014 concerning the arbitrary detention of more than 30 civil society and political activists in Belarus, in which the following remarks were made.

The European Union is concerned about the harassment, arbitrary arrest and detention of several dozens of representatives of civil society and opposition organisations in the run up to, and at the beginning of the World Ice Hockey Championship in Belarus. We condemn the use of administrative detention by the Belarusian authorities as an instrument aimed at creating pressure, fear and uncertainty among the young generation of people in Belarus.

We urge the authorities of Belarus to immediately stop these actions and to release all those unjustly detained, dropping all charges against them. We also reiterate our call for the immediate and unconditional release and rehabilitation of all political prisoners.

The EU's readiness to further develop relations with Belarus remains conditional on concrete steps in Belarus towards democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Statement on the occasion of the Forty-Fifth Session of Working Group A, CTBTO Preparatory Commission, European Union, 22 травня 2014 року

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [Alignment Clause: "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, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.")]

 

Mr Chairman,

2. Let me begin by assuring you of the EU’s full support and cooperation. We thank you and the PTS for preparing this meeting, and the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports.

 

Mr Chairman,

3. The EU and its Member States commend the PTS for the work done in preparing the initial draft of the 2015 Programme and Budget Proposals as presented in the informal briefing held on 9 April, which reflects requests from States Signatories. We greatly appreciate the outline and explanation by the PTS of major aspects of the Draft Programme and Budget at this briefing.

We believe that the budget will benefit from an ongoing and intensified dialogue between the PTS and States Signatories on this matter.

We welcome in this regard the informal consultations organised by the Chairman of Working Group A.

4. The EU and its Member States welcome the fact that the PTS bases its initial proposals of the 2015 Programme and Budget on its Midterm Strategy: 2014- 2017 (MTS) as well as on Working Group B guidance.

We express our appreciation for the elaboration of the MTS which prioritises the strategic activities and objectives of the PTS in line with its mandate.

In particular, we appreciate that it comprehensively describes activities, both in the field of verification and non-verification, while taking into account the guidelines of the State Signatories.

5. The EU and its Member States express concern about the staffing situation in the PTS. We recognise that it was necessary to address the high number of consultants, as was requested by State Signatories, and to improve the employment terms for temporary staff members. However, the high number of positions currently unfilled and the lengthy recruitment process are challenging the ability of the PTS to fulfil its mandated tasks. We urge the Secretariat to address these issues without delay.

6. Furthermore, as the OSI-operability is of great importance, in particular in the post-IFE14 period, the EU underlines that the necessary financial and staff resources for logistical capacities should be made available to ensure that the OSI Division is able to implement the lessons learned.

7. We thank the PTS for the valuable efforts made in terms of identifying cost-savings and increasing efficiencies. We would welcome further progress in this regard. We reiterate our support for a programme driven budget which allows for an adequately funded PTS that has the resources to effectively and efficiently carry out the mandate of the Preparatory Commission, in particular with a view to protecting and sustaining key IMS and IDC areas of the CTBTO. In this regard we welcome the information that the IMS Stations on Juan Fernandez Island have been re-installed in accordance with the Decision of the Preparatory Commission.

8. The EU and its Member States commend the PTS on the efforts made towards understanding full life cycle costs for sustainment activities. We encourage further analysis of all life cycle costs for the IMS, including equipment, staffing and travel, so that the PTS and States Signatories can effectively plan ahead, while taking into account any resource constraints.

9. The EU and its Member States note that costs related to Post Certification Activities (PCA) represent 17.2 percent of the overall budget. We are aware that PCA related costs are increasing with the growing number and age of certified facilities. We share the concern of the Advisory Group concerning the statement in the Draft Programme and Budget that "voluntary contributions are needed to sustain the current level of mandated operations in Major Programme 2 under a Zero Real Growth budget", and would welcome further clarification. We look forward to being informed about the findings of the internal review of PCA costs.

10. We welcome the reported higher collection rates of assessed contributions for 2013 and 2014. Nevertheless, the EU reminds all States Signatories to pay their assessed contributions to the Commission on time and in full. It is also important that the PTS avoids incurring costs due to customs and taxes being levied on it, and therefore we call on States that have not yet done so to conclude facility agreements with the PTS.

11. The EU and its Member States commend the PTS on the successful launch of the IPSAS-compliant ERP system. We would like to be informed about experiences with the new system and its benefits to improve efficient and cost effective budgeting.

12. The EU and its Member States would like to get more clarity in the future concerning the costs and funding of big CTBTO outreach activities and events that are spread across various expenditures throughout different Major Programmes.

13. The EU is pleased to contribute to the realisation of the Preparatory Commission's programmes and activities on a voluntary basis. The EU has provided such voluntary support since 2006, which now exceeds 15 million Euros. We look forward to continuing this collaborative effort.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

EU Statement on the Presidential Elections in Ukraine, 22 травня 2014 року

Three days before the Presidential elections in Ukraine, the EU once again expresses its strong support for holding free and fair elections. These elections will provide a unique opportunity for all Ukrainian citizens from all regions and political constituencies to express their views about Ukraine’s future, freely, peacefully and democratically. They will allow the Ukrainian people to choose their own future. We regret that voting cannot take place on the illegally annexed Crimean peninsula, but welcome that citizens from this area can vote in other parts of Ukraine. We call for their right to participate in the election process to be fully respected and facilitated. We welcome the good progress made in organising these elections as reported by ODIHR.

Attempts by anyone to hamper the election process, to delegitimise the holding of these elections or to prejudge the outcome are unacceptable. We note with concern reports about occupation of election commission premises and intimidation of members of District Election Commissions by armed groups in some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We recall that the EU will pay particular attention to all parties’ attitude and behaviour towards the holding of free and fair elections when deciding about possible future measures.

We recognize the important role of the ODIHR and OSCE/PA election observers and appreciate the excellent work by the long-term observers and experts in preparing for what will be one of the largest ever ODIHR Election Observation Mission. We rely on their impartial observations and on the conclusions of the independent ODIHR Election Observation Mission. We once again underline that safety and access for the many observers before and during the elections will be of crucial importance.

SEU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, 22 травня 2014 року

The recent developments in parts of Ukraine are of deep concern to us. Kidnappings, torture and killings continued in a number of places in Eastern Ukraine. Journalists, local leaders and ordinary citizens have been abducted by armed groups who have created a climate of fear and intimidation. Crime is on the rise and in some places the situation is chaotic and volatile as also reported by the Special Monitoring Mission. Instead of de-escalation, which was the aim of the Geneva Joint Statement, we have experienced the opposite.

Against this background, it is encouraging that the Ukrainian Government has begun an ambitious national dialogue. We welcome the first meetings of the Ukrainian-led and -owned national dialogue that took place in Kiev, Kharkiv and Mykolaiv. These meetings, which are supported by the OSCE, have provided an important platform for constructive discussions on issues of importance for the future of Ukraine, first of all topics relevant to the constitutional reform process. We welcome the wide spectrum of participants and the inclusive nature of the national dialogue. The national dialogue is further testimony to Ukraine’s commitment to the Geneva Joint Declaration. We look forward to the continuation of an inclusive national dialogue in all regions of Ukraine. We continue to call on the Russian Federation to take effective steps with regard to fulfilling the commitments taken in Geneva.

We warmly welcome the Ukrainian Parliament’s adoption yesterday of an important ‘Memorandum on Mutual Understanding and Peace’, calling for national unity and reconciliation.

We thank the Chairmanship for organizing Monday’s briefing on human rights in Ukraine. The briefing by ODIHR, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Representative on Freedom of the Media and the UN Assistant Secretary General, Ivan Simonovic, presented an impartial and bleak picture of the situation in Crimea and in some parts of Eastern Ukraine. It confirmed what we and other international actors monitoring the situation have been saying all along. That there was and still is no imminent threat to the Russian speaking population. And that it is the destabilisation of Ukraine by Russia and armed groups that has led to increased human rights violations and a more precarious situation for ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Tatars in Crimea. We regret that the Russian Federation refuses to recognize the realities on the ground and accuses impartial and independent institutions of being biased without providing any evidence.

We encourage all stakeholders to make full use of and implement the recommendations of the Human Rights Assessment Mission in Ukraine, including by drawing on the experience and advice of the OSCE’s institutions.  We stand ready to provide assistance to the Ukrainian authorities.

We remain preoccupied by the situation in Crimea, including in regard to human rights and rights of persons belonging to minorities. We deeply regret that the Crimean Tatars were banned from commemorating the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Tatars in Simferopol on 18 May. The banning of this event does not contribute to building trust and confidence among the communities in Crimea.

The rights of persons belonging to national minorities need to be fully ensured in line with the relevant standards of the Council of Europe and of the OSCE.  

We remain deeply worried about the media freedom situation in Ukraine as outlined by the Representative on Freedom of the Media in her many press releases. We welcome Monday’s meeting and signing of a Memorandum between representatives from the Russian Union of Journalists, Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine, and the National Union of the Journalists of Ukraine organised by the Representative on Freedom of the Media. We believe such meetings are of crucial importance and we appreciate the agreement reached on steps to improve the safety of journalists, promote professional, ethical standards and build solidarity.

The EU continues to commend the work undertaken by the OSCE in Ukraine. The OSCE and the Chairmanship are playing an important and valuable role in promoting stability and contributing to a solution to the crisis. We express our strong support to these efforts and to the OSCE staff and observers that are doing an excellent job, sometimes under very difficult conditions. 

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

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Teresa Angelatou Permanent Representative of Greece to the OPCW at the Forty First Meeting of the Executive Council, 22 травня 2014 року

Mr. Chairperson,

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

Since this is the first Executive Council meeting under its new composition, I wish to congratulate the Chair H.E. Ambassador Alvaro Marcelo Moerzinger of Uruguay and the Vice-Chairs and to assure them of our continuous support in their endeavors aiming at the successful outcome of the Executive Council activities.

I would also like to thank the Director-General for his briefing today. We will never be tired of expressing our appreciation and continuous support for his relentless efforts, as well as those of the OPCW staff and of the Joint Mission, in taking forward the important tasks entrusted to them, under very difficult and challenging circumstances.

The European Union regrets to note that it has been nearly a month since the last operation to remove chemicals from Syria on 24 April. The EU notes that Syria has now started preparations for the removal of the last remaining chemicals and has destroyed the remaining declared quantities of isopropanol. The EU expects this final transhipment to be completed at the earliest practicable date. However, the EU must also note that all the agreed, or self-imposed timelines for the removal of both Priority I and Priority II chemicals from Syria have long been missed. We therefore greatly regret, but foresee that the deadline agreed by the Executive Council Decisions and the UNSC resolution 2118 of 30 June, now looks impossible to meet. The responsibility for this situation clearly rests with Syria.

The European Union reiterates its serious concern regarding the negative impact of the ongoing delays on the destruction process and on the ever increasing financial burden on being placed on the countries contributing to the operation, particularly those providing commercial vessels and the maritime escort.

Notwithstanding the security situation, Syria should immediately proceed to the removal of the remaining chemicals. In parallel, Syria should take immediate steps to physically destroy the remaining twelve chemical weapons production facilities, starting with the aircraft hangars, on which agreement seems within reach, according to the provisions of the Convention and past practice.

The EU also supports the work that the Director General and his staff are doing to streamline and complete the data in Syria’s declarations to the OPCW, so as to ensure the accuracy and completeness of those declarations and to resolve any and all discrepancies. Syria's full cooperation is expected in this regard.

Mr. Chairperson,

The EU reiterates its serious concern regarding the allegations of recent use of chemicals in Syria and expresses support to the Fact Finding Mission set up by OPCW to establish the facts surrounding these allegations and is looking forward to its report. The EU condemns unequivocally any use of these horrific weapons. Anyone found to have used chemical weapons must be held fully accountable for their crimes.

The European Union expresses its wish that the above concerns be duly reflected in the report of the 41st Meeting of the Executive Council.

In closing, Mr. Chairperson, may I request that this statement be circulated as an official document of the 41st Meeting of the Executive Council.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

Statement in support of Cyprus' membership in the Wassenaar Arrangement on the occasion of the Wassenaar Arrangement General Working Group Meeting, 21-22 травня 2014 року

Vienna, 21-22 May 2014

Mr Chairman,

I am taking the floor on behalf of the European Union and its Member States (alignment formula).

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.- Its adherence to fully effective export controls.

Cyprus meets all of these criteria.

We are firmly convinced that Members of the Wassenaar Arrangement should remain focussed on those four criteria - and those criteria only - when 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.

Thank you.

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 13th session, 20 травня 2014 року

Madame Chair,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. We take this opportunity to express our support to the Forum as an important venue for the promotion of dialogue between governments, representatives of indigenous peoples and the UN system. We welcome the active discussions during this session of the Permanent Forum and the valuable inputs provided by all participants and look forward to a continued active dialogue in the coming days.

Madame Chair,

The respect for human rights and equality are core principles of the European Union and its global action includes combating discrimination and exclusion. The EU strategic Framework and Action Plan on human rights and democracy, adopted in 2012, reiterates the EU commitment to the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, particularly in the context of combating discrimination. The EU seeks to integrate human rights into all aspects of its external policies, and prioritizes the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples across the globe.

We reaffirm our support to the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which marked a significant milestone for all of us – member states and indigenous peoples. As we have noted previously, the Declaration is an important instrument for promoting human rights. However, the realization of the Declaration rests upon on the determination and continued commitment to the implementation of its objectives. We encourage all efforts to achieve the objectives of the Declaration so as to ensure full respect for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Last year, on August 9, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton paid tribute to the enormous contribution that the traditions and knowledge of indigenous peoples have made to the world's cultural heritage, but also to defenders of indigenous peoples' rights, who in many countries are exposed to particular risks and acute repression, as shown by a number of international reports, including those by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

The EU action on indigenous issues includes financial support. The EU has incorporated the cooperation with and assistance to indigenous peoples as part of its broader development agenda. The EU continues to support civil society organisations working on indigenous issues, in particular through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). In addition to local funding to various projects, in 2013 the EIDHR funding helped support the International Labour Organisation in advancing the implementation of Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in countries which have ratified it. Furthermore, in 2013 the EU also launched a call for project proposals under the subject "Combating discrimination against indigenous peoples" under EIDHR.

The EU has, in the context of its Strategic Framework on Human Rights, undertaken to review and further develop EU policy relative to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also with a view to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

We also note the importance of indigenous issues and the engagement of indigenous peoples in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.

Madame Chair,

We would like to express the support of the EU for the three core UN mechanisms addressing indigenous issues and rights: the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples; the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  Through their discussions and recommendations they help guide our steps to tackle the challenges faced by indigenous peoples. We would like to take the opportunity to express our particular thanks to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr James Anaya, for his commitment to the improvement of the situation of indigenous peoples throughout his mandate. We also appreciate highly the work of Mr Anaya in increasing the coherence and systematic cooperation between the three UN indigenous mechanisms. We welcome the appointment of Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz as the new UN Special Rapporteur and look forward to future cooperation with her.

We also welcome the initiative taken by the Forum to further enhance its methods of work, including through means to better focus its outcomes and enhanced alignment with other UN institutions and bodies.

Madame Chair,

In 2011, the General Assembly decided to convene a high-level GA plenary meeting to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The General Assembly unanimously agreed upon the modalities of the Conference in its resolution 66/296 in September 2012. We reiterate our full support to the Conference and reaffirm our call for the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and civil society. We recall, in this regard, the commitment of the General Assembly – which we strongly share - to ensure consultations with the MemberStates and representatives of indigenous peoples to ensure a meaningful and inclusive process.

We therefore fully support the proposal of the President of the General Assembly to appoint two state representatives and two representatives of indigenous peoples as his advisors for the negotiation process of the Conference outcome, which is consistent with the decisions taken by the General Assembly regarding WCIP. We express our concern regarding the delay in the preparations for the GA high-level meeting and urge the PGA to take prompt decisions and action in this regard, including by organizing an informal interactive hearing with representatives of indigenous peoples and other stakeholders, as reaffirmed by the President of the GA in the Forum discussions last week.

We join colleagues in underlining the importance of the successful realization of the World Conference. We believe that it should make a strong contribution to the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Madame Chair,

Significant advances with regard to indigenous peoples’ rights have been made during the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. We welcome the progress made in the achievement of its goal and objectives, but also urge the Department of Economic and Social Affairs to make use of the existing mechanisms to ensure that those objectives that have not yet been achieved in the second decade will be achieved within a reasonable time.

Thank you.

Progress Report “WHO’s response and role as the health cluster lead in meeting the growing demands of health in humanitarian emergencies“, 19-24 травня 2014 року

European Union

Statement

WHO

67th World Health Assembly

Madam Director General, Excellencies, distinguished colleagues,

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

The EU commends WHO for the significant progress made in implementing the resolution WHA65.20.

We welcome the enhancement of WHO’s preparedness and surge capacity at all organisational levels, including the Emergency Response Framework, stand-by mechanisms and on-call surge teams, allowing WHO to respond consistently and rapidly when needed. We further encourage WHO to ensure that its internal procedures, including speedy temporary recruitment, are fit for a rapid WHO response.

We recognise and welcome the measures undertaken in line with the IASC Transformative Agenda to strengthen WHO's global cluster lead role,  emergency response capacity, and  enhanced global and country level leadership,  as implemented in recent and current crisis situations such as; Syria, Mali, Philippines and the Central African Republic. Enhanced cluster coordination should result in targeted, prioritized and swift aid delivery.

 The Humanitarian Health Cluster performance should be further strengthened at all levels in line with the results of its strategic review, including common needs assessment, strategic planning and decision making. WHO’s humanitarian actions should ideally facilitate and support continuity with long-term development activities. In this regard, enhanced resilience efforts are key.

One of the most challenging humanitarian issues of today is the growing number of violent acts against health care personnel, transports and facilities in conflict-driven emergencies, which dramatically limit access to health care for entire communities. With this in mind, we encourage WHO to continue to co-operate with the ICRC in implementing the "Health Care in Danger" –initiative, and with other relevant actors.

Given the increasing gap between humanitarian needs and financing, we call upon donors to voluntary contribute to WHO's humanitarian activities in 2014-2015 biennium, in order to support the implementation of WHO's Emergency Response Framework. We would welcome up-to-date information on humanitarian funds received by WHO from different resources, including UN pooled funds.

To conclude, we wish to recognise the significant overall progress made by WHO in implementation of the resolution 65.20, and we encourage WHO to continue its global humanitarian work as well as performance in the field. We also encourage WHO to begin measuring the health results of the reform work and include it in its future reporting. 

Thank you.

67th World Health Assembly, Agenda item 16.1, Implementation of the International Health Regulations, 19-24 травня 2014 року

Thank you Madam Chair,

I am speaking on behalf of the EU and its member states.

Aligning paragraph

We thank the Secretariat for the comprehensive report that takes into particular account the recommendations issued by the review committee.

We are witnessing the emergence or re-emergence of health threats with multiple outbreaks in various regions of the world, such as Ebola, MERS-Coronavirus, polio as well as the persistent threat of pandemic influenza. It is therefore of foremost importance to implement fully the International Health Regulations. The EU and its Member States commend the Secretariat for its work and involvement at various levels, in response to these events.

The EU and its Member States are highly committed to the full implementation of the International Health Regulations. The recent EU Decision on Serious Cross-Border Threats to Health supports the implementation of the International Health Regulations towards strengthened preparedness and response.

In this regard, all international initiatives to strengthen the implementation of the International Health Regulations are welcome.  As for example, the recent Global Health Security Agenda  launched by the United States, which aims at stimulating further international cooperation on the International Health Regulations and promoting the reinforcement  of implementation tools. Furthermore, the EU and its Member States recognize that WHO is crucial for coordinating international efforts in this field.

The implementation of the International Health Regulations is a key element for long term preparedness and response as well as a key component of health system strengthening. As stated by the International Health Regulations review committee in its 5th recommendation, the maintaining of internal capacity and sustainability in the Member States, and also of the Secretariat, to conclusively cope with long term public health emergency situations is crucial.

The EU and its Member States encourage the Secretariat to intensify work on implementing the 2012 Resolution on the International Health Regulations, especially by strengthening the capacity of the WHO, in order to fulfill its mission, to assist State Parties in the most urgent areas of implementation.

Finally, the EU and its Member States welcome the technical briefing organized by the WHO Secretariat during this Assembly, which calls for a renewed commitment of Member States to implement the International Health Regulations.  

WHO, 67th World Health Assembly, Agenda item 3, General Debate, 19-24 травня 2014 року

Ministers, Madame Director General, distinguished colleagues,

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

We thank you, Dr. Chan, for your comprehensive report and we welcome the focus of the debate on health and climate. The world is experiencing higher risks and severity of climate change-related phenomena such as extreme weather events, floods or droughts, which have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths. Climate change is expected to further affect food productivity, air quality, water quantity and quality, and the distribution of plants and animal species and subsequently viruses. These changes are already affecting health and are likely to continue to do so. To add further, these health effects will likely fall disproportionately on the very young, the old, the sick and all those in vulnerable situations and less able to adapt. Climate change has the potential to worsen health inequalities within and among countries. We need to continue to find ways to mitigate and adapt to the changing environment.

This is a global issue and it requires a global response. We need to step up international action and international coordination in risk reduction, prevention, preparedness and response to the health effects of climate change. In this spirit, WHO needs to continue to exercise its role and mandate and keep a sharp focus on the health and climate change discussion. 

Let me take this opportunity to share with this Assembly a vision of a 21st century WHO.

We see WHO as a leading force to ensure that health plays a central role in the post-2015 development agenda. The new agenda should aim at ensuring basic living standards for all without any discrimination based on any grounds such as sex, race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, ethnic or social origin, religion or belief, political or any other opinion. Ensuring equitable and non-discriminatory access to affordable health services for everybody in all regions, especially for those most at risk, should therefore be a key element.

Working towards Universal Health Coverage; further building on the results of the MDGs; effectively implementing the NCDs agenda; or engaging with other sectors to maximise healthy lives are key elements in our post-2015 discussions. These will definitively help us towards the realisation of the right to health and to globally improved health outcomes. We need WHO’s leadership to guide us towards that end.

We need to ensure that WHO is equipped to address the increasingly complex health challenges facing us today. WHO needs to be flexible and ready to respond to persisting well-known health problems, as well as to emerging public health threats, and to humanitarian crises. Strengthened health systems, essential population level public health services, a strong and well-trained health workforce and effective regulatory systems for medical products are crucial elements for the health and well-being of our populations.

The EU and its Member States also attribute great importance to the successful implementation of the international health regulations, especially in the current context of new virus outbreaks (Ebola, MERS) and the unfortunate recent resurgence of polio virus.  We are also deeply concerned about the ongoing humanitarian crises notably in Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as the devastating effects of hurricane Haiyan in the Philippines. We recognize WHO's enhanced leadership within the Humanitarian health cluster.

However, to achieve this vision of an efficient, responsive, objective, transparent and accountable organization we need to press on with the reform. Firstly, at this stage, we all need to continue working within the agreed financial framework to ensure better alignment. And Secondly, the EU and its MS would like to see greater progress on the governance reform, especially in relation to engagement with non-state actors. It is imperative that WHO is in a position to play its leading role in enabling the many different actors to contribute actively and effectively to the health of all. Being ready to collaborate closely with partners beyond the health sector, and with the broadest possible range of actors, whilst protecting WHO from any undue influence or conflicts of interests is, in our opinion, a pre-requisite for the implementation of successful health policies. 

You can be assured that the EU and its Member States have always been, and remain, committed to this reform.

In conclusion, we look forward to a fruitful and successful Assembly. We need to be resolute and stick to the WHO's core mandate to contribute to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health as one of the fundamental rights of every human being. Using this as our leading principle will enable us to meet the present and future global health challenges.

Thank you.

Follow-up to the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, 19-24 травня 2014 року

67th World Health Assembly

(19-24 May 2014)

EU Statement

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

 

Chairperson,

The EU welcomes the leadership which WHO is showing in response to the burden of NCDs at global, regional and country level. A few months before the United Nations General Assembly’s comprehensive review and assessment of the progress achieved, we note that significant progress has been made in the implementation of the global NCD action plan 2008-2013.

The EU supports the adoption by this Assembly of the nine action plan indicators, and the terms of reference for the global coordination mechanism as recently finalized by the second formal meeting of the Member States, as well as the proposal of terms of reference of the UN NCD Task Force requested by the ECOSOC . We thank the Secretariat for the presentation of the GCM work plan 2014-2015, especially given the significant time constraints.  Very appropriately, the work plan covers issues where action was called for by the 2011 Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.

We also find the WHO submission of the report on the work of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force helpful to further emphasize that an effective NCD response requires action across the UN organization as a whole. We recommend that ECOSOC adopts the Terms of Reference for the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force

The EU wants WHO to continue to be the global leader of the NCD response while it is also clear that sustainable results in NCD prevention and control can only be achieved through commitment and action across all sectors, both at the international and national levels.  This work requires a secretariat with adequate financial and human resources and needs to take a visionary approach to the challenge of NCDs.

Finally, engaging with non-State actors, including NGOs and businesses, is expected to tap into the potential for all partners to make a significant contribution to reduce the NCD burden. At the same time, WHO and public health must be protected from undue influence by any form of real, perceived or potential conflict of interest and in line with the ongoing discussion on the WHO's engagement with Non State Actors.

 

Madame Chair,

The 66th World Health Assembly adopted the new Global action plan for the prevention and control of NCDs taking us to 2020. We think that, with the additional measures to be adopted by this Assembly, a complete and comprehensive "NCDs package" is ready to be presented to the UN General Assembly review which will serve to guide the global response to NCDs.

The EU looks forward to being an active and constructive partner in taking the NCD agenda further.

Thank you

EU Statement on the Syrian Refugee Impact on Jordan, 16 травня 2014 року

OSCE Mediterranean Contact Group

Vienna, 16 May 2014

1. The European Union and its Member States would like to thank the Serbian Chair for convening this Mediterranean Contact Group meeting. We would also like to thank Ambassador Nawaf Wasfi Tell and Mr Amin Awad for their informative and sobering presentations today.

2. Mr. Chairman, we see today some of the highest levels of forced displacement since the early 1990s. Most of the newly displaced persons come from Syria and we commend and express our support and appreciation to those countries hosting Syrian refugees, such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt. We continue to advocate for an open border policy with neighbouring countries.

3. The issue of displacement cuts across all dimensions and across the entire conflict cycle. It is a consequence of conflict and/or human rights abuses, it can precipitate conflicts, it can complicate the resolution of conflicts, and it can lead to chronic human rights abuses. In terms of human rights protection, there can be little doubt that displaced persons are some of the most vulnerable populations. We consider that the OSCE can complement the UN’s leading role in this field, both in terms of respect for the human rights of refugees and IDPs, and their needs for protection, and because of the obvious link with security.

4. There is also a need to comply fully with the wide spectrum of OSCE commitments relating to internal displacement, which relate to prevention, durable solutions, voluntary return and reintegration, protracted displacement, the right to nationality, and various causes of displacement including ethnic cleansing, mass expulsions and other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. 

5. The EU reiterates that there can only be a political solution to the conflict in Syria and underscores the importance of reinvigorating the Geneva process. The humanitarian disaster caused by the conflict in Syria has impacted millions of Syrians. According to the UN-OCHA, more than 9 million Syrians are in need of assistance inside the country, in addition to the more than 2.7 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

6. The EU with its Member States is the largest donor in the region with a total of over €2.8 billion mobilised to respond to humanitarian and development needs. This figure includes €615 million from the Commission's humanitarian aid budget as well as more than €1.4 billion in humanitarian assistance from Member States. In-kind assistance has also been provided to Turkey and Jordan through the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism. The Commission's humanitarian aid is helping people within Syria as well as refugees in neighbouring countries, in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Assistance is channelled through mandated and professional international organizations (UN agencies, humanitarian INGOs and the ICRC/IFRC family), in accordance with the humanitarian principles; aid is provided to all those in need, irrespective of their creed or political affiliation. The EU has repeatedly urged all parties to the conflict to ensure safe, unhindered and immediate access to all people in need, including across conflict lines and borders.

7. Three years into the Syrian conflict, Jordan endures hosting almost 600 000 Syrian refugees (registered with UNHCR). Nevertheless, this number is probably higher as many Syrians chose not to register on arrival. Overall, only 20% of Syrian refugees are estimated to reside in the camps, the remaining 80% live in non-camp settings, mainly within host communities in rented accommodation and improvised shelters. Informal tented settlements are on the rise, throughout the country. Refugees' living conditions have deteriorated and higher support is needed as they are reaching Jordan with increasingly depleted assets, after several displacements inside Syria.

8. Jordan is under strain: community resources, infrastructure and social services are overstretched, especially in the health and education sectors. Jordan's scarce natural resources (particularly water) are under severe pressure due to the massive influx of refugees. This, together with the growing rental costs and the competition for jobs, has raised tensions between the refugee and host populations, particularly in Northern governorates.

9. The EU, acknowledging the severe impact of the crisis, has provided over the last three years more than 240 million euros of humanitarian and development aid to Jordan, in support of the refugees and the host communities. We all have a key responsibility as major donors to the crisis to maintain appropriate levels of support.

10. The EU notes the UN appeals for Syria remain seriously underfunded and calls for the international community to consider what more it can do to meet the remaining funding gap. This must include longer-term planning and financial commitments which link relief and development. With increasing needs and limited resources, effective donor coordination is ever more important to ensure maximum impact of assistance on the ground.

11. Mr. Chairman, Jordan is facing immense challenges as a result of the crisis and the massive influx of refugees. Helping our strategic partner meet the needs of the refugees is not only a matter of solidarity; it is also in everybody's interest, in order to promote stability in the region and avoid further destabilisation. Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Déclaration de l'UE sur le Haut-Karabagh, 15 травня 2014 року

Conseil Permanent de l’OSCE N 1000

Vienne, 15 Mai 2014

1. L’Union européenne appuie pleinement la déclaration des co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk du 12 mai dernier, à l’occasion du vingtième anniversaire de l’accord de cessez-le-feu entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan. Comme le soulignent les co-Présidents, cet accord a mis fin à une guerre ouverte mais n’a pas résolu le conflit. L’absence de règlement final se fait durement ressentir avant tout pour les populations.

2. L'Union européenne reste vivement préoccupée par les rapports d’incidents armés récurrents le long de la ligne de front et la persistance d’un nombre élevé de victimes mortelles. Nous condamnons tout usage de la force et appelons les parties concernées à éviter toute action de nature à alimenter les tensions. A cette fin, nous appelons les parties au strict respect du cessez-le-feu auquel elles se sont engagées, à mettre fin aux incursions de part et d’autre de la ligne de contact et à observer une retenue aussi bien sur le terrain que dans leurs déclarations publiques. L’Union européenne appelle les parties à des efforts et des mesures de confiance supplémentaires pour renforcer le cessez-le-feu et conforter le processus de paix.

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

4. L’Union européenne réitère son soutien à l’ensemble des principes, sans exception, proposés par les Présidents de la République française, des Etats-Unis et de la Fédération de Russie dans leurs déclarations de 2009 à 2013. Dans le contexte de la reprise, en novembre dernier, du dialogue au plus haut niveau, nous appuyons l’appel des co-présidents aux parties à engager des négociations constructives et de bonne foi débouchant sur un accord de paix.

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

6. L’Union européenne salue à cette occasion le travail réalisé, parfois dans des conditions de sécurité difficiles, par le Représentant personnel de la Présidence en exercice, l’Ambassadeur Kasprzyk, et son équipe. L’Union européenne attache la plus grande importance à la poursuite sans entrave de leurs activités de surveillance du cessez-le-feu sur la ligne de contact et le long de la frontière entre l’Arménie et l’Azerbaïdjan.

EU Statement on the Death Penalty in Belarus, 15 травня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1000

Vienna, 15 May 2014

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement of the Spokesperson of the High Representative on 14 May:

2. "We strongly condemn the recent execution of Hryhoriy Yuzepchuk, who was sentenced to death in April 2013. This is already the second execution of death penalty in Belarus this year.

3. We are conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which he was convicted. The European Union opposes capital punishment 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. We urge Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition."

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/265/CFSP amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 12 травня 2014 року

On 12 May 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/265/CFSP.

The Council Decision amends the listing criteria to target people undermining stability in Ukraine or obstructing international organisations in Ukraine and provides a legal basis for asset freezes on entities in Crimea and Sevastopol which have been confiscated, or entities which have benefited from such confiscation. In addition, the Decision expands the list of persons, entities and bodies subject to restrictive measures as set out in the Annex to Decision 2014/145/CFSP.

Statement on the occasion of 23rd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, 12-16 травня 2014 року

Vienna, 12-16 May 2014

Opening Statement

 

Check against delivery

 

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, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein, Norway, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Andorra, San Marino and Georgia.

2. Let me start by welcoming you, Mr. Chairman, as Chair of this 23rd 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.

3. Before moving on to other matters, I would like to express the EU's shock and deep sadness over the brutal murder of two friends. Clément Gorrissen, a French citizen, and Simon Davis, a British citizen, were killed in Galkayo, Somalia on 7 April 2014. Their murder was a tragic reminder of the threat that we all face from crime and terrorism. Clément and Simon were taking part in the UNODC’s excellent work in East Africa, their work and those of their colleagues is helping to deliver a better future for Somalia. The EU condemns this atrocious act in the strongest terms.

 

Mr Chairman,

4. Even in the face of this heinous and cowardly attack, an essential principle for the EU remains the promotion and protection of fundamental rights for all. Human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights are at the heart of everything we do. 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.

 

Mr Chairman,

5. We welcome the topic of this year’s thematic discussion on international cooperation in criminal matters. Continued globalisation has enabled people and ideas to travel beyond national borders with greater ease than ever before. This positive exchange also necessitates, now more than ever, intensified comprehensive international cooperation between Member States and their judicial authorities. In this context, continued technical assistance and capacity building is necessary, not least to meet the growing challenges posed by cybercrime.

6. The investigation and prosecution of crimes can involve suspects, witnesses, evidence or assets located outside the territory of the State that is conducting the investigation and/or prosecution. International cooperation in criminal matters in accordance with international obligations and national laws is therefore a cornerstone of our continued efforts to end impunity. The thematic discussion will provide us with an excellent opportunity to take stock of lessons learned and challenges faced.

7. The international legal framework, including UNTOC and UNCAC, provides a basis for international cooperation, including extradition and mutual legal assistance. However, gaps may exist in relation to international cooperation in criminal matters and we therefore also look forward to reviewing this issue and to exploring the need for various means of addressing gaps that are identified.

8. The EU concluded agreements on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition with some third countries, enhancing cooperation between EU Member States and those third countries complementing bilateral agreements of EU Member States. The EU Member States also implement relevant UN conventions, including UNTOC and UNCAC, as well as conventions of the Council of Europe. Among EU Member States, mutual legal assistance and extradition instruments are being progressively replaced by instruments in the EU legislation, such as the European arrest warrant, confiscation orders, joint investigation teams, which improved and simplified judicial procedures designed to surrender people for the purpose of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence, or the mutual recognition of confiscation orders.

9. The recently agreed EU Policy Cycle 2014-2017 contains a number of key priorities in the fight against organised and serious crime for the period 2014-2017. These priorities are to disrupt organised criminal groups involved in illegal immigration and human trafficking, to combat cybercrime and trafficking in firearms, to reduce production of synthetic drugs in the EU and to reduce drug trafficking to the EU.

10. The EU established special cooperation mechanisms such as Eurojust as a body promoting cooperation and coordination between the competent judicial authorities in the EU countries involved in investigations and prosecutions of serious cross-border criminal cases, and networks of practitioners such as the European Judicial Network and the European network of contact points in respect of persons responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, which facilitate direct contacts between judicial authorities in EU countries in their relevant areas of expertise.

 

Mr Chairman,

11. Turning to the wider agenda of this week’s Commission, we would underline that in addressing such a wide and diverse range of issues, it is important to ensure a consistent and coherent approach. In this regard, 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.

Mr Chairman,

12. Trafficking in persons is a global, cross-cutting issue which affects all regions and countries of the globe. It has a devastating impact on the humans who are victims of it.

13. Trafficking in persons is a heinous violation of human rights, particularly those of women and children. Trafficking today is a huge and growing business making it one of the most lucrative illicit activities globally. This is money we know will sooner or later be used to fund other forms of criminal activity, such as illicit drug trafficking and trade with small arms.

14. 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 through the Inter Agency Coordination Against Trafficking (ICAT) group.

15. The EU has been engaged in the fight against the smuggling of migrants, both from the perspective of its internal policies, but also through its external cooperation action, and is fully committed in addressing irregular migration and in the fight against networks of smugglers who take advantage of migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection have access to appropriate procedures and assistance.

 

Mr Chairman,

16. The first EU Anti-Corruption Report was published by the European Commission in early February this year and is intended to give an assessment of how each Member State tackles corruption, how laws and policies work in practice, and it suggests how each country can step up the work against corruption.

17. 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.

18. 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. A new EU Directive on confiscation was adopted in March 2014. It will give more far-reaching powers to the police and judicial authorities, while fully respecting fundamental rights. The cooperation between EU Member States in this area has drastically improved after the establishment of national Asset Recovery Offices.

19. The prevention of money laundering is another key tool to impede the infiltration of organised crime in the economy. The revised international standards of the FATF and strengthening the cooperation between Financial Intelligence Units are very important in this regard.

20. The EU spares no effort to help return misappropriated assets to their rightful 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 release frozen 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.

 

Mr Chairman,

21. 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. The EU attaches great importance to the universal adherence to, and full implementation of all international Counter-Terrorism Conventions and Protocols. 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.

 

Mr Chairman,

22. International efforts have contributed to a dramatic decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia. However, we have to remain very vigilant and engaged. Few piracy leaders have been arrested, and many sailors are kept hostage under atrocious circumstances. The root causes of piracy remain. Therefore, 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.

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 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, in 2014.

 

Mr Chairman,

25. The EU would like also to express its concern regarding counterfeiting goods as a growing global issue, in particular, fraudulent medicines, have severe consequences, as a public health risk, with those affected suffering serious health consequences or even death, and as a safety threat due to their substandard nature.

 

Mr Chairman,

26. Environmental crime was the topic of last year's thematic debate, and the developments since that debate have highlighted the importance of the issue, notably in the area of wildlife crime. In recent months, high-profile events in Paris, London, Berlin and Brussels took place to raise awareness and to ensure high-level political commitment to fight wildlife crime more effectively. The European Commission has just concluded a stakeholder consultation on the need to review the approach against wildlife trafficking, both within the EU and internationally.

27. International cooperation in the fight against poaching in Africa is of critical importance. Organised crime is strongly involved in the trafficking of endangered species. Therefore, implementing the political commitments we have taken, including those resulting from the resolution we adopted last year on wildlife crime at the CCPCJ, is essential.

 

Mr Chairman,

28. 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.

 

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Statement on the occasion of 23rd session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, 12-16 травня 2014 року

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

Check against delivery

 

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, Iceland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro*, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

2. Transnational organised crime is a threat to human security, including peace, human rights, democratic governance, coherence of societies, the rule of law, socioeconomic development, international trade and economic competition.

3. 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.

4. 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 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.

5. 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,

6. We take note of progress made by all the current Working Groups established by the Conference of the Parties, in particular the Working Group on the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol. 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.

7. In October 2012, the European Union adopted a new Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016. The Strategy sets out priorities for combating this serious crime in an integrated and multidisciplinary way, including measures that are victim-centred, gender-sensitive, in the best interests of the child and follows a human rights approach.

8. 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.

9. On the matter of the mechanism for the review of implementation of the UNTOC, we strongly support the on-going informal consultations aimed at facilitating the elaboration of an implementation review proposal in view of the seventh Conference of the Parties. Also in the light of the experience gained within the framework of the UNCAC, we recognise the need to strengthen information sharing in respect of implementation of the Convention and the Protocols to measure effectively the implementation of these international legal instruments in order for States parties to make better use of them, as well as to identify technical assistance needs. We are open to continuing discussions while at the same time reiterating that any outcome should reflect the principles of transparency, inclusiveness, efficiency, impartiality, and cost-effectiveness.

 

Mr. Chairman,

10. 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.

11. Within the EU, we focus on legislation, but also on the implementation of international and national standards, as well as good practices. The EU has adopted new rules on public procurement.

12. The first EU Anti-Corruption Report was published by the European Commission in early February this year and is intended to give an assessment of how each Member State tackles corruption, how laws and policies work in practice, and it suggests how each country can step up the work against corruption.

13. We welcome 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.

14. 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.

15. We regret that the expertise of 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. We believe that at future sessions of the Conferences of the Parties to UNTOC and UNCAC we should take further steps to include the experience offered by NGOs. We will engage in a constructive dialogue with other States Parties to reach this goal.

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, 14 травня 2014 року

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 754
Vienna, 14 May 2014

The European Union and its Member States took note of the report on the Benelux-led Vienna Document inspection and of statements by Ukraine giving a comprehensive picture of the politico-military aspects of the alarming security situation in and around Ukraine, including unusual Russian military activities along the borders with Ukraine, and in the Ukrainian region of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Just two days ago, on 12 May, the EU Council firmly reaffirmed its support for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and called upon the Russian Federation to do likewise. The EU will not recognise 11 May's nor any future illegitimate and illegal "referenda".

The European Union reiterates its demand to the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops from the Ukrainian border and immediately revoke the mandate of the Federation Council to use force on Ukrainian soil.

It is high time for the Russian Federation to allow verification of the announced, including by President Putin, withdrawal of Russian troops from the areas bordering Ukraine by, inter alia, offering additional Vienna Document visits and inspections.

In this context, we keep urging the Russian Federation to provide for highest standards of military transparency in order to restore trust and confidence in the OSCE area which have been severely damaged by its illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Maximising genuine security dialogue and cooperation within the FSC, as well as joint FSC-PC meetings, requires all participating States, and in particular the Russian Federation to adhere to the spirit as well the letter of all relevant politico-military commitments and obligations.

We still see as priority areas in this respect commitments related to refraining from the threat or use of force, exercising strict restraint in carrying out military activities in the areas bordering Ukraine and providing verifiable information about on-going and planned military activities in those areas, even if they do not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document.

Furthermore, we are concerned about SALW and heavy weapons being possessed and used by illegal armed groups in Ukraine. We would like therefore to remind all participating States of their existing commitments laid down, inter alia in the OSCE Document on SALW and the OSCE Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers, to combat illicit trafficking of SALW and exercise due restraint in the transfer of conventional arms and related technology with a view to preventing the destabilising accumulation and uncontrolled spread of arms.

We encourage all participating States to make full use of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments and to further support continued Vienna Document activities which are an important means to enhance military transparency as well as a strong confidence- and security-building measure by its self.

The European Union reconfirms its full commitment to the Joint Geneva Statement of 17 April and reiterates that it must be fully implemented. We welcome the efforts undertaken so far by the Ukrainian authorities to implement the Geneva Agreement and call on the Russian Federation to take effective steps to fulfil their commitments made in Geneva. It is urgent that the Russian Federation calls upon the armed separatists to lay down their weapons and to vacate the buildings they illegally occupy.

In the same vein, on 12 May the EU Council encouraged Ukraine to immediately develop a national disarmament programme together with OSCE specialists targeting all illegally armed groups throughout the country and to end all illegal occupation of public buildings and squares.

To conclude, the European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it.

Déclaration de l'UE en réponse à l'intervention de Mme Gherman, vice-premier ministre et ministre des affaires étrangères de la République de Moldavie, 8 травня 2014 року

Madame la Ministre,

1. L’Union européenne vous souhaite la bienvenue et vous remercie d’avoir partagé avec nous votre vision de l’avenir de la République de Moldavie et, plus largement, de la situation en Europe en ces temps critiques.

2. Les succès de la République de Moldavie dans son rapprochement avec l’Union européenne sont impressionnants. Nous saluons la participation très active de votre pays au Partenariat oriental. L’action résolue de votre gouvernement a permis de parapher l’Accord d’association entre l’UE et la République de Moldavie, qui prévoit aussi l'établissement d’une zone de libre-échange approfondi et complet. Il sera signé au plus tard au mois de juin de cette année et nous nous réjouissons de sa mise en œuvre provisoire et de son entrée en vigueur dès que possible.  Nous félicitons votre gouvernement d’avoir pris le soin  d’inviter  Tiraspol aux préparatifs de ces évolutions importantes et nous espérons que ses représentants  y prendront part, car cela est dans l’intérêt évident des habitants de cette région.

3. Les citoyens de la République de Moldavie dotés d’un passeport biométrique, bénéficient déjà, depuis une semaine, d’un régime sans visa pour des courts séjours dans l’Union européenne et nous nous en félicitons. Bien de défis restent encore à relever, mais cela se fera avec notre soutien, y compris financier. Nous attendons des effets bénéfiques sur la modernisation de l’économie moldave, désormais ouverte sur notre marché commun, le plus grand du monde, ainsi que  sur l’attractivité du pays aux yeux des investisseurs. Nous espérons que tous les décideurs politiques et économiques, dans toutes les régions du pays, sauront reconnaître les opportunités qui s’offrent à eux et qu’ils auront à cœur de poursuivre résolument les réformes, notamment en matière de lutte contre la corruption.

 

Madame la Ministre,

4. Nous avons entendu vos inquiétudes au sujet des effets de la crise en Ukraine pour la sécurité de votre pays. Nous les partageons et estimons dans ces conditions qu’il est crucial que les activités de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie se poursuivent sans entraves. Les membres de la Mission doivent bénéficier d’un accès complet à tout le territoire de la République de Moldavie, y compris dans la région de Transnistrie, ainsi qu’au dépôt d’armes russe à Cobasna, pour nous assurer à tous, de manière neutre et objective, qu’il n’y a pas de propagation de l’instabilité dans la région.

 

Madame la Ministre,

5. Dans cet environnement mouvant, vous le savez, l’Union européenne est plus que jamais attachée à la poursuite et à l’aboutissement des discussions au format 5+2, le seul qui soit à même de garantir la transparence et la légitimité nécessaires pour une solution durable, respectant la souveraineté et l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie. Un tel règlement du conflit dans la République de Moldavie serait une avancée majeure pour la stabilité et la sécurité dans la région, mais aussi pour la prospérité et la sécurité de tous les résidents de votre pays. L’Union européenne soutiendra activement, y compris financièrement, la mise en œuvre d’un tel accord.

6. Le format 5+2 doit être soutenu par tous ses participants, qui devraient s’engager à réduire les tensions dans toute la région. Il est très dommage que la réunion dans le format 5+2, prévue à Vienne en avril, ait dû être reportée par un regrettable retour de Tiraspol à la pratique de conditionnement de sa participation. Nous appelons  à organiser cette réunion sans délai et sans préconditions (comme prévu les 5 et 6 juin), et à mener un dialogue actif, dans un esprit de coopération, dans le but d’amener des progrès tangibles pour le règlement du conflit en République de Moldavie. Nous attendons des progrès sur les trois corbeilles, notamment sur les aspects politiques, institutionnels et de sécurité de la troisième corbeille, dans le respect de la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de ce pays.

7. Nous réitérons notre préoccupation  par la situation des écoles dispensant un enseignement en alphabet latin dans la région de Transnistrie.  Nous estimons que les divergences politiques ne doivent pas empêcher les enfants d’être scolarisés dans la langue de leur choix. Il est important que Tiraspol - qui n’est pas en charge de l’administration de ces écoles - cesse d’entraver leur activité. Il est essentiel de mettre fin à toute mesure qui peut créer des tensions et d’assurer leur fonctionnement de manière normale et durable.

8. Nous sommes  très inquiets par les tentatives récentes de Tiraspol de remettre en cause le droit de propriété des fermiers  résidant dans les villages administrés par Chisinau sur la rive gauche du Dniestr.

9. Les entraves à la liberté de circulation, à l’ouverture des ponts sur le Dniestr et aux contacts entre les citoyens des deux rives sont des questions qui demandent des réponses et des actes conjoints depuis trop longtemps. Il en est de même des incidents dans la zone de sécurité, dont plus rien ne justifie la militarisation, ou encore des engagements de retrait des forces restantes de la Fédération russe sur le territoire de la République de Moldavie. Un travail important de démilitarisation concernant toutes les forces militaires dans la région, dans la transparence et en renforçant la confiance mutuelle, reste à accomplir avec un rôle important à jouer pour l’OSCE et sa mission en République de Moldavie, qui bénéficient de notre soutien sans faille. Les tentatives de Tiraspol de restreindre  la capacité des membres de la Mission à accomplir leur mandat dans la République de Moldavie sont très inquiétantes. Nous appelons tous les participants dans les négociations dans le format 5+2  à utiliser leur influence pour stopper ces entraves à  l’accomplissement du mandat de la Mission.

10. Pour conclure, Madame la Ministre, laissez-moi vous remercier encore une fois de votre présence aujourd’hui à Vienne et vous réaffirmer notre soutien pour l’action que vous menez.

EU Statement Following the Appointment of the New Director of ODIHR, 8 травня 2014 року

1. The European Union would like to take this opportunity to once again express our deep gratitude to Ambassador Lenarčič, for his excellent performance and the dedicated service he has provided to the OSCE as the Director of ODIHR over the last six years. ODIHR remains an enormous asset available to the participating States and the EU attaches great importance to its work. We commend Ambassador Lenarčič for his excellent stewardship of this institution.

2. We welcome the appointment of Mr Michael Link as the new Director of ODIHR. He assumes this position during a period when our organisation is facing significant challenges, and when the expert, professional and independent role that ODIHR exercise will remain extremely important. We wish Mr Link every success and want to assure him that he can count on our full support. 

 
Déclaration de l'UE en réponse à l'intervention de Mme Gherman, vice-premier ministre et ministre des affaires étrangères de la République de Moldavie, 8 травня 2014 року

Madame la Ministre,

1. L’Union européenne vous souhaite la bienvenue et vous remercie d’avoir partagé avec nous votre vision de l’avenir de la République de Moldavie et, plus largement, de la situation en Europe en ces temps critiques.

2. Les succès de la République de Moldavie dans son rapprochement avec l’Union européenne sont impressionnants. Nous saluons la participation très active de votre pays au Partenariat oriental. L’action résolue de votre gouvernement a permis de parapher l’Accord d’association entre l’UE et la République de Moldavie, qui prévoit aussi l'établissement d’une zone de libre-échange approfondi et complet. Il sera signé au plus tard au mois de juin de cette année et nous nous réjouissons de sa mise en œuvre provisoire et de son entrée en vigueur dès que possible.  Nous félicitons votre gouvernement d’avoir pris le soin  d’inviter  Tiraspol aux préparatifs de ces évolutions importantes et nous espérons que ses représentants  y prendront part, car cela est dans l’intérêt évident des habitants de cette région.

3. Les citoyens de la République de Moldavie dotés d’un passeport biométrique, bénéficient déjà, depuis une semaine, d’un régime sans visa pour des courts séjours dans l’Union européenne et nous nous en félicitons. Bien de défis restent encore à relever, mais cela se fera avec notre soutien, y compris financier. Nous attendons des effets bénéfiques sur la modernisation de l’économie moldave, désormais ouverte sur notre marché commun, le plus grand du monde, ainsi que  sur l’attractivité du pays aux yeux des investisseurs. Nous espérons que tous les décideurs politiques et économiques, dans toutes les régions du pays, sauront reconnaître les opportunités qui s’offrent à eux et qu’ils auront à cœur de poursuivre résolument les réformes, notamment en matière de lutte contre la corruption.

Madame la Ministre,

4. Nous avons entendu vos inquiétudes au sujet des effets de la crise en Ukraine pour la sécurité de votre pays. Nous les partageons et estimons dans ces conditions qu’il est crucial que les activités de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie se poursuivent sans entraves. Les membres de la Mission doivent bénéficier d’un accès complet à tout le territoire de la République de Moldavie, y compris dans la région de Transnistrie, ainsi qu’au dépôt d’armes russe à Cobasna, pour nous assurer à tous, de manière neutre et objective, qu’il n’y a pas de propagation de l’instabilité dans la région.

Madame la Ministre,

5. Dans cet environnement mouvant, vous le savez, l’Union européenne est plus que jamais attachée à la poursuite et à l’aboutissement des discussions au format 5+2, le seul qui soit à même de garantir la transparence et la légitimité nécessaires pour une solution durable, respectant la souveraineté et l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie. Un tel règlement du conflit dans la République de Moldavie serait une avancée majeure pour la stabilité et la sécurité dans la région, mais aussi pour la prospérité et la sécurité de tous les résidents de votre pays. L’Union européenne soutiendra activement, y compris financièrement, la mise en œuvre d’un tel accord.

6. Le format 5+2 doit être soutenu par tous ses participants, qui devraient s’engager à réduire les tensions dans toute la région. Il est très dommage que la réunion dans le format 5+2, prévue à Vienne en avril, ait dû être reportée par un regrettable retour de Tiraspol à la pratique de conditionnement de sa participation. Nous appelons  à organiser cette réunion sans délai et sans préconditions (comme prévu les 5 et 6 juin), et à mener un dialogue actif, dans un esprit de coopération, dans le but d’amener des progrès tangibles pour le règlement du conflit en République de Moldavie. Nous attendons des progrès sur les trois corbeilles, notamment sur les aspects politiques, institutionnels et de sécurité de la troisième corbeille, dans le respect de la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de ce pays.

7. Nous réitérons notre préoccupation  par la situation des écoles dispensant un enseignement en alphabet latin dans la région de Transnistrie.  Nous estimons que les divergences politiques ne doivent pas empêcher les enfants d’être scolarisés dans la langue de leur choix. Il est important que Tiraspol - qui n’est pas en charge de l’administration de ces écoles - cesse d’entraver leur activité. Il est essentiel de mettre fin à toute mesure qui peut créer des tensions et d’assurer leur fonctionnement de manière normale et durable.

8. Nous sommes  très inquiets par les tentatives récentes de Tiraspol de remettre en cause le droit de propriété des fermiers  résidant dans les villages administrés par Chisinau sur la rive gauche du Dniestr.

9. Les entraves à la liberté de circulation, à l’ouverture des ponts sur le Dniestr et aux contacts entre les citoyens des deux rives sont des questions qui demandent des réponses et des actes conjoints depuis trop longtemps. Il en est de même des incidents dans la zone de sécurité, dont plus rien ne justifie la militarisation, ou encore des engagements de retrait des forces restantes de la Fédération russe sur le territoire de la République de Moldavie. Un travail important de démilitarisation concernant toutes les forces militaires dans la région, dans la transparence et en renforçant la confiance mutuelle, reste à accomplir avec un rôle important à jouer pour l’OSCE et sa mission en République de Moldavie, qui bénéficient de notre soutien sans faille. Les tentatives de Tiraspol de restreindre  la capacité des membres de la Mission à accomplir leur mandat dans la République de Moldavie sont très inquiétantes. Nous appelons tous les participants dans les négociations dans le format 5+2  à utiliser leur influence pour stopper ces entraves à  l’accomplissement du mandat de la Mission.

10. Pour conclure, Madame la Ministre, laissez-moi vous remercier encore une fois de votre présence aujourd’hui à Vienne et vous réaffirmer notre soutien pour l’action que vous menez.

EU Statement on the Occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 8 травня 2014 року

  1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the declaration by the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, issued 3 May 2014 in Brussels:
  2. “On the 21st anniversary of World Press Freedom day, the EU reiterates that free, diverse and independent media constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society by facilitating the free flow of information and ideas, and by ensuring transparency and accountability.
  3. The EU calls upon all governments to abide by international norms and to put an end to the intimidation, harassment, censorship and arbitrary detention of journalists and to impunity. Efforts to protect journalists should not be limited to those formally recognised as such, but should also cover support staff and others who use new media to reach a mass audience.
  4. The EU will soon adopt the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. The aim of those guidelines is to address unjustified restrictions on freedom of expression, promote media freedom and provide valuable guidance to EU officials and staff across the globe.” 
  5. Technological innovations in information technology and communications have created new ways of promoting freedom of expression but have also brought new challenges. The EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified restrictions on the internet and other new media. All human rights that exist offline must also be protected online, in particular the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
  6. Mr Chairperson, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the European Union would like to commend those throughout the OSCE area who exercise their right to freedom of expression in the face of restrictions that violate our common media freedom commitments. We urge all participating States to uphold these commitments, and take renewed steps towards their full implementation.
  7. We take this opportunity to express our strong appreciation and support for the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatović, and her team for their tireless work in advocating and promoting media freedom and freedom of expression, as well as assisting us, the participating States, in meeting our commitments. We continue to firmly stand by the Representative on Freedom of the Media in the exercise of her mandate, and welcome the recent event on Open Journalism, as well as the release of the updated OSCE Guidelines on Safety of Journalists - both very topical issues today.
  8. Ensuring freedom of the media, a free flow of information and safety for journalists is all the more important in a crisis situation. Currently, we see a wave of violence, abductions and threats targeting journalists in Eastern Ukraine, following similar developments in Crimea. The whereabouts of some of the abducted journalists are still unknown. We see the illegal taking over of broadcasting stations and TV channels, and the use of Russian state owned media for propaganda purposes, creating a climate of fear and hatred, and thereby contributing to an escalation of the situation. Internally in Russia, we see the space for free media and free expression shrinking, as Russian aggression abroad make Russia increasingly isolated internationally. Recent amendments to the Information Law, including restrictive requirements for bloggers, as well as the new amendments to the penal code,  are extremely worrying examples of this. We strongly urge the Russian Federation to abide by its commitments and bring its laws and practices into accordance with international standards.
  9. Mr Chairperson, freedom of expression and freedom of the media constitute cornerstones of a democratic society. We reaffirm our determination to continue to promote freedom of expression and freedom of the media, online as well as offline, including safety of journalists, within the OSCE area.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, 7 травня 2014 року

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 753

Vienna, 7 May 2014

The European Union and its Member States took note of the reports on Vienna Document verification activities in Ukraine, as well of the statement by Ukraine on the worrying security situation and continuing unusual Russian military activities. We would also like to refer to our statement on the same subject delivered at the Joint FSC PC meeting on 30 April 2014.

But first and foremost, we would like to express our deep sorrow for the many deaths and injured in the recent events in Odessa and convey sincere condolences to the families of all those victims of blind violence. The facts which led to this tragic loss of so many human lives must now be established in an independent investigation and those responsible for these criminal acts brought to justice. The EU urges everyone to exercise utmost restraint and not to exploit this tragedy to fuel more hatred, division and senseless violence.

Returning to the politico-military situation around Ukraine, we are compelled to reiterate our dissatisfaction with the repeated and consistent refusal of the Russian Federation to cooperate in good faith on the basis of its OSCE politico-military commitments, with a view to dispelling serious and legitimate security concerns over its unusual military activities along the border with Ukraine and in Crimea. We remain of the firm opinion that all relevant politicomilitary tools and settings, including Joint FSC PC meetings, should be used to bring about immediate de-escalation of the situation.

In this context, we reiterate our demand to the Russian Federation to withdraw its troops from the areas bordering Ukraine and immediately revoke the mandate of the Federation Council to use military force on Ukrainian soil.

Furthermore, we continue to urge the Russian Federation to demonstrate the highest standards of military transparency. There are no other multilaterally agreed mechanisms to verify military activities and facts on the ground; for example we would wish to confirm the supposed withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders that was recently published on the Ministry of Defence website. In this respect, we continue to urge the Russian Federation to facilitate verification as we remain wholly unconvinced by the arguments put forward to reject the suggestion for additional Vienna Document visits and inspections.

We feel that there is much for the Russian Federation to do in order to unequivocally demonstrate its application, not only in letter but also in spirit, of the broad range of confidence- and security-building and conventional arms control commitments that could begin to restore trust and confidence. In addition to voluntary verification measures, this includes exercising strict restraint in carrying out military activities in the areas bordering Ukraine and providing verifiable information about on-going and planned military activities in those areas, even if they do not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document. In the same vein, we encourage all participating States to make full use of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments and to further support continued Vienna Document activities.

The European Union welcomes the release of all members of the unarmed OSCE Vienna Document inspection mission from Germany, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, and the Czech Republic as well as their Ukrainian escort team who had altogether been held hostage in Sloviansk. We are grateful to all those who have contributed to this positive development, in particular the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission. This should now be followed by the release of all other hostages held by illegal armed groups in Eastern Ukraine.

The European Union reiterates its strong support for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, and calls upon the Russian Federation to do so as well. We also reiterate our condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. We once again urge the Russian Federation to immediately commence meaningful and constructive dialogue on its unusual military activities and use all appropriate politico-military tools to significantly de-escalate tension and reduce the grave risk of miscalculation.

EU Statement on the Assumption of the Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation by the Republic of Moldovaб 7 травня 2014 року

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 753

Vienna, 7 May 2014

The European Union (EU) and its Member States welcome H.E. Natalia Gherman, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of the Republic of Moldova, and are grateful to her for having presented the FSC Chairmanship's programme and objectives during the second trimester of 2014.

We would like to take this occasion to sincerely thank the outgoing Chairmanship Malta for its determination and tireless efforts to advance the Forum's work during the first trimester of 2014 and, especially, for having given prominent attention to the security challenges in the Mediterranean region thus having actively upheld our commitment to the Mediterranean Partners. We wish Monaco every success as a new member of the FSC Troika and thank Luxembourg, which is leaving the Troika, for their efforts and commitment over the past year.

The outgoing Maltese Chairmanship had fully assumed the unexpected and highly demanding task to deal with one of the most serious challenges to the security in the OSCE area, since the establishment of the FSC in 1992, that is the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and the ensuing escalation of the military situation around Ukraine.

We extend our sincere appreciation to the Swiss and Maltese Chairmanships for their consistent and resolute efforts to secure the necessary conditions in order to allow, in line with the very purpose of the FSC, for constructive 
dialogue and eventually consultations among OSCE participating States in view of addressing legitimate security concerns stemming from the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Unfortunately, since the beginning of the crisis we have been witnessing continued refusal of the Russian Federation to engage in a meaningful dialogue in the FSC and to cooperate in dispelling concerns under the terms of the Vienna Document relevant provisions, including the Chapter III risk reduction mechanism. The latter's unprecedented repeated activation by several OSCE participating States is a telling testimony to the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to fully apply the existing Confidence- and Security-Building and Conventional Arms Control commitments and arrangements to substantially decrease tensions on the ground.

Hence, making full use of the OSCE politico-military acquis, not only in letter but also in spirit, by all participating States and especially by the Russian Federation, remains for us the FSC's top priority under the current
circumstances and decisive step towards normalisation of the security situation around Ukraine.

At the same time, we are ready to actively engage, when appropriate, in consultations within the FSC and the Helsinki+40 framework on the implementation, update and modernisation of the OSCE politico-military instruments,including the Vienna Document, however reflection is required on the lessons drawn from the crisis in Ukraine.

Madam Minister, 

We share your view that it is the right moment to reconfirm our agreed commitments. It is imperative indeed to continue enhancing the ongoing work on a broad range of issues dealt with by the FSC and its working bodies. In
this respect, we believe that the MC decision 8/13 represents a very good basis for further reducing the risks related to the illicit spread and destabilising accumulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition. We are therefore ready to make all efforts to put in practice its provisions in order to strengthen norms and activities in this area through improved implementation and increased coherence with the UN framework, taking also into account the upcoming Fifth Biennial Meeting of States of the UN Programme of Action.
In particular, we stress the need to continue discussing ways to review and update the OSCE SALW-commitments in the light, inter alia, of important recently adopted UN documents such as the ATT, UNSCR 2117 on SALW, as
well as UNSCR 2106 and 2122 on women, peace and security. We wish to 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. We would also like to explore the possible role of the OSCE in promoting the ATT in order to secure its early entry into force and to maximise its effectiveness.

With regard to other important FSC issues, we remain convinced that the OSCE's role and capacities devoted to implementation of UNSCR 1540 and related resolutions in the OSCE area need to be further enhanced. It will be
also important to further promote the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security and its full implementation. In this respect we look forward to constructive and fruitful Third Annual Discussion on the Implementation of the Code of Conduct to be held on 9 July 2014.

We welcome also the rich and well balanced agenda of initiatives envisaged by the Moldovan FSC Chairmanship within the framework of the Security Dialogue which maintains the necessary degree of flexibility, and here we
agree once again with your assessment, Madam Minister, in order to allow for discussion of both FSC core issues and key challenges to the security in Europe such as the current crisis in and around Ukraine.

Your Excellency,

On a different note, the European Union strongly supports the continuation and conclusion of the discussions in the "5+2" format with due respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova. We appeal to all
of the participants in the "5+2" format, the only means for ensuring the transparency and legitimacy necessary for a lasting solution, to act in a spirit of openness and co-operation so as to permit progress on substantive issues.
We call on the participants to consider political, institutional and security questions as well as other baskets.
Let us thank you once again, Madam Minister, and ensure you in our full support for the Moldovan FSC Chairmanship's work and efforts to steer participating States throughout an extremely challenging period. We wish you and your team every success in your important professional endeavours.

Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Programme and Budget Committee, 5 травня 2014 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.]

2. The EU would like to thank the Deputy Director General for Administration and her staff for the informative Workshop on Financial and Administrative Matters on 16 April and for the other briefings on the documents for the Programme and Budget Committee. 3. At the outset, we would like to reiterate our firm commitment to a wellfunctioning and appropriately resourced IAEA.

Mr Chairman, I would like to make the following comments on the documents before us today.

Draft Budget Update for 2015

4. The EU Member States can support the draft Budget Update which respects the decision taken regarding a ‘zero real growth’ budget for 2015.

We commend the Agency for the clear way in which the budget information is presented in the document.

5. We welcome the initiatives to identify and implement efficiency savings, and look forward to receiving the expected report on efficiencies. We encourage the Secretariat to address the need to reduce staff costs, including staff compensation costs, given that this is the largest share of the overall budget. We also encourage the Secretariat to engage proactively with the International Civil Service Commission so that the ICSC takes into account the impact of rising staff costs on the IAEA budget. In addition, we take note that travel expenses are the second largest cost driver of the Agency. We, therefore, encourage the Secretariat to increase its efforts to make further savings in this regard.

6. The EU and its Member States welcome the inclusion in the Major Capital Investment Plan for 2015-2023 of the ReNuAl project. The Nuclear Sciences and Applications Laboratories in Seibersdorf represent an important aspect of the IAEA’s work. We note that major parts of the project remain unfunded and we would therefore like to receive more information about the Secretariat’s plans to assure its funding. We are looking forward to the briefing by the Secretariat scheduled for 22 May.

7. The MCIP for 2015-2023 also includes the project to "Develop and Implement Safeguards Approaches for a Spent Fuel Encapsulation Plant and Geological Repository in Finland and Sweden (EPGR)". We note that within the framework of the Member States' Safeguards Support Programmes, considerable development work is ongoing in this area under the Joint Task ASTOR, which currently involves, in addition to the Secretariat, 8 EU Member States, 3 other IAEA Member States and Euratom. We consider that this is important pioneering work, and that it is therefore essential it is taken forward in a timely manner. We would welcome more information from the Secretariat about its plans on funding sources, including from the regular budget, for the EPGR project. 8. With regard to the implementation of the Joint Plan of Action (JPA), the EU takes note that the financial implications for 2015 are still unknown and that the DG will reassess the resource implications and report to the Board of Governors as necessary.

Financial Situation/ Financial Statements and External Audit 2013

Mr Chairman

9. 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 2013 and we welcome the increase indicated therein in voluntary contributions. However we would like to express our concern regarding the significantly increased amount of outstanding assessed contributions to the regular budget and to underline the requirement that financial contributions should be paid in full and on time. Also, we would like to draw attention to the unfunded employee benefit liabilities, in particular the After Service Health Insurance.

10. We would like to thank the External Auditor for the audit of the IAEA for 2013, and note that he has given an unqualified opinion of the Agency’s accounts. We would welcome further information from the Secretariat on how it intends to take forward the implementation of the Auditor’s recommendations. We take note and support the recommendation of the External Auditor that the Agency may examine its procedure for transferring savings from budgetary appropriations to MCIF and report in greater detail to the Member States on the funding of the MCIF including savings from budgetary appropriations, and that the examination should be focussed on ensuring that there is sufficient authorisation from the Agency’s Governing Bodies to make such transfers, including under Regulation 7.02 (b) (4). In this regard, we take note of the transfer of 2013 Regular Budget unused appropriations to the reserve for the MCIF, as stated in Annex A4 of the Financial Statements. We would like to stress that such decisions should be subject to the maximum transparency. We hope that reduction of the dependency on consultants by continuous investment in in-house expertise will positively impact knowledge management and decrease expenses on external specialists. We strongly encourage the Agency to increase the percentage of female employees. We look forward to the recommended benefit assessment study to identify the impact of AIPS business processes on the staffing requirement.

Internal Audit Report

Mr Chairman

11. We welcome the 2013 Internal Audit Activity report and the clear way in which findings are presented. We fully support the independence of the OIOS as outlined in its Charter. We support the recommendation to adopt an accountability policy to ensure the clear accountability of managers for programmatic objectives, to increase the achievement of results of programmes, policies and operations and to promote further transparency and integrity. And, underlining the importance of the Agency’s activities in nuclear security, we encourage implementation of recommendations to strengthen budget and project management. Regarding Technical Cooperation, we welcome all measures to improve overall efficiency and effectiveness of projects. We note the considerable number of outstanding recommendations from previous years and we would once again urge the Agency to increase its efforts to implement these recommendations in a timely manner. Furthermore, we welcome the invitation by the Internal Auditor to Member States to propose suggestions for topics to be considered for the 2015 Internal Audit Plan.

Programme Evaluation Report

12. We take note of the 2013 Programme Evaluation Report, and particularly would like to commend the Agency for the high standards of performance of the Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC). The work of the IEC is important and highly valued by Member States. Many of the recommendations deal with the improvement of performance monitoring and the strengthening of outcomes and impact assessment, which we consider to be vital for all the Agency’s activities. We look forward to being informed about the implementation of the recommendations.

Programme Support Costs and AIPS

Mr Chairman

13. We note the reports on Programme Support Costs and on the Agencywide Information System for Programme Support (AIPS). We are particularly pleased to note the progress in the implementation of AIPS which apparently is already creating positive effects. We appreciate the transparent way in which the Secretariat is providing relevant information.

Conclusion

14. With these comments, we take note of the proposed Budget update for 2015 and other documents before us.

Statement on behalf of the European Union delivered by H.E. Teresa Angelatou Permanent Representative of Greece to the OPCW at the 40th Meeting of the Executive Council

Mr. Chairperson,

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

(Alignment clause)

Since this is the last Executive Council meeting under its present composition I wish to express our deep appreciation to the Chair H.E. Ambassador Olexander Horin of Ukraine for the excellent way that he has guided the work of the Council. Our appreciation also goes to the other members of the Bureau for their own valuable contribution to the activities of the Council.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his briefing today. I would also wish to express our appreciation and continuous support to his relentless efforts as well as those of OPCW staff and of the Joint Team in taking forward the important mission entrusted to them, under very difficult and challenging circumstances.

The European Union takes note of the progress made particularly during the last part of April, but also wishes to record frustration over the fact that 8% of the chemicals are still in the country. Considering that all agreed timelines for the removal of both Priority I and Priority II chemicals from Syria have long been missed, the European Union wishes to draw attention to the negative impact of the ongoing delays on the timetable for the overall removal and destruction process, which also have implications for the security of Syria’s chemical agents and impose an increasing financial burden on the countries contributing to the operation, particularly those providing commercial vessels and maritime escort.

Syria needs to take all necessary steps to remove immediately the remaining chemicals from its soil, including preparatory action such as packaging, decanting and loading as required. Syria should also proceed to the destruction of the remaining isopropanol stocks and to take immediate steps to physically destroy the remaining twelve chemical weapons production facilities according to the provisions of the Convention and past practice.

Mr. Chairperson,

The EU expresses serious concern regarding the allegations of recent use of chemicals in Syria and in the context of its Strategy on Weapons of Mass Destruction condemns unequivocally any use of these horrific weapons and calls for all measure to be taken against the repetition of such incidents. The EU supports the Fact Finding Mission set up by OPCW to establish the facts surrounding these allegations and is looking forward to its report.

The European Union expresses their wish that the above concerns be duly reflected in the report of the 40th Meeting of the Executive Council and request that this statement be circulated as an official document of the 40th Meeting of the Executive Council.

Thank you Mr. Chairperson.

Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 3 травня 2014 року

On the 21th anniversary of World Press Freedom day, the EU reiterates that free, diverse and independent media constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society by facilitating the free flow of information and ideas, and by ensuring transparency and accountability.

The EU calls upon all governments to abide by international norms and to put an end to the intimidation, harassment, censorship and arbitrary detention of journalists and to impunity. Efforts to protect journalists should not be limited to those formally recognised as such, but should also cover support staff and others who use new media to reach a mass audience.

Technological innovations in information technology and communications have created new ways of promoting freedom of expression but have also brought new challenges. The EU is firmly opposed to any unjustified restrictions on the internet and other new media. All human rights that exist offline must also be protected online, in particular the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The EU will soon adopt the EU Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline. The aim of those guidelines is to address unjustified restrictions on freedom of expression, promote media freedom and provide valuable guidance to EU officials and staff across the globe. 

EU Statement in Response to the United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), H.E. Ján Kubiš, 30 квітня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 998

Vienna, 30 April 2014

1. The European Union warmly welcomes H.E. Ján Kubiš, UN Special Representative for Afghanistan and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), back to the Permanent Council. Your Excellency, we thank you for your presentation on the presidential elections in Afghanistan, the current situation in the country, and the role of the OSCE in relation to Afghanistan.

2. The European Union pays tribute to the Afghan people’s determination and commitment to democracy. The achievement of holding elections under the difficult circumstances that face Afghanistan should not be underestimated. Afghan institutions took the lead in organising the electoral process and security, which empowered close to 7 million Afghans to cast their votes, almost twice as many as in 2009.

3. Following the invitation by Afghanistan, the EU deployed an election assessment team led by Thijs Berman, Member of the European Parliament. At the same time, the European Union once more wishes to express its appreciation for the work carried out by the OSCE/ODIHR Election Support Team under challenging circumstances.

4. Now that the preliminary results of the elections were released on 26 April and the final results will be announced on 14 May after the adjudication of appeals, it is important for Afghan institutions to deliver on their commitments to the Afghan people and make sure that the second round of elections takes place in an inclusive, transparent and credible way that will lead to a legitimate outcome. The EU will continue to engage actively with all relevant stakeholders throughout the process.

5. We value the work done by the OSCE in support of Afghanistan and the important role it plays in promoting regional stability and inclusive sustainable development in the whole of the Central Asian Region. In this context, we welcome the active participation of Afghan officials in the activities of the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, and their participation in the Patrol Programming and Leadership Project run by the OSCE Office in Dushanbe.

6. The EU remains committed to supporting Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future prosperity and security.

7. Finally, we thank once again H.E. Mr. Kubiš for meeting with us here today and we would like to assure him of our continued full support. 

EU Statement on the Death Penalty in Belarus, 30 квітня 2014 року

OSCE Permanent Council Nr 998

Vienna, 30 April 2014

1. Mr Chairman, the European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement by the EU High Representative Ashton, on 22 April 2014, on the latest execution in Belarus:

2. "The High Representative strongly condemns the execution of Pavel Selyun, who was sentenced to death in June 2013. The High Representative is conscious of the serious nature of the crimes for which he was convicted. However, she does not believe that capital punishment can ever be justified. The European Union opposes capital punishment under all circumstances. The death penalty is considered to be a cruel and inhuman punishment, which fails to act as a deterrent and represents an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity.

3. The High Representative 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."

Statement on behalf of the European Union, 29 квітня 2014 року

Statement on behalf of the European Union

By

H.E. Thomas Mayr-Harting

Head of Delegation

Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations

 

at the Security Council Open Debate

on “the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question"

United Nations

New York

29 April 2014

 

Check against delivery

Mr President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. [Alignment paragraph]

Mr President,

The European Union is extremely concerned at recent developments related to the peace process, which are putting into question the continued negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians beyond the original deadline of 29 April 2014.

The EU reiterates its full support to the US-brokered peace efforts and calls on both parties to remain focused on negotiations and on the unprecedented benefits which peace can bring. Negotiations are the best way forward. The extensive efforts deployed in recent months must not go to waste.

We call on all sides to exercise maximum restraint and to avoid any action which may further undermine peace efforts and the viability of a two-state solution.

The EU has consistently supported intra-Palestinian reconciliation but on clear and certain terms. We reiterate that such reconciliation should take place behind President Abbas in line with the principles set out in his speech of 4 May 2011.

The EU expects any new government to uphold the principle of non-violence, to remain committed to achieving a two-state solution and to a negotiated a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accepting previous agreements and obligations, including Israel's legitimate right to exist. Reconciliation on these terms is an important element for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two-state solution and a lasting peace.

The EU welcomes the prospect of genuine democratic elections for all Palestinians. The fact that President Abbas will remain fully in charge of the negotiation process and have a mandate to negotiate in the name of all Palestinians provides further assurance that the peace negotiations can and must proceed.

Mr President,

The EU is convinced that there can only be a political solution to the conflict in Syria. Unfortunately, the regime's constant obstruction has led to the failure of the two first rounds of the negotiations in Geneva. The Geneva process needs to be resumed without delay. We call on the Syrian regime to accept the Geneva Communiqué and to show a clear commitment to the negotiation agenda and the method of work, in particular treating in parallel the issues of terrorism and transition. We recall that the Opposition delegation, led by the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SOC) has already accepted these conditions.

The European Union deeply regrets the declaration by the Syrian regime that they will organize presidential elections on 3 June 2014. Any elections in Syria should only take place within the framework of the Geneva Communiqué of 2012, which was enshrined by this Council in resolution 2118 and 2139 and which the Syrian government has to respect in all its elements. Elections organised by the regime outside this framework, conducted in the midst of conflict, only in regime-controlled areas and with millions of Syrians displaced from their homes would be a parody of democracy, have no credibility whatsoever, and undermine efforts to reach a political solution.

Mr. President,

The European Union is gravely concerned about the disastrous and deteriorating human rights situation in Syria and strongly condemns all violations and abuses of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by government forces, pro-government militias, terrorist and other non-state armed groups. We are also outraged by the continued barrel bombings of civilian areas by the regime and its use of starvation sieges as a tactic of war. There can be no impunity for severe violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law. The EU calls on the Security Council to urgently address the prevailing culture of impunity and refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The EU deplores the lack of progress on the implementation of the UNSC resolution 2139 which was confirmed by the latest report of the Secretary General. We call on all parties to immediately and without further delay comply with the resolution. We recognise the primary responsibility of the regime for maintaining numerous areas under siege as well as excessive administrative and other obstacles to effective aid delivery, especially to non-regime held areas. Continued withholding of consent to basic relief operations, across borders and across the lines of conflict, is arbitrary and unjustified. The EU calls upon the Security Council to take further measures if non-compliance continues.

We are also concerned with cases of forced surrender, labelled as local ceasefires, imposed by the regime through starvation sieges and we are increasingly concerned with the worsening plight of all vulnerable groups, and ethnic and religious minorities, noting that Christians are increasingly targeted by extremist groups. We call on all parties, in particular the Syrian regime, to ensure the protection of the civilian population and calls on all parties to the conflict to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.

Mr. President,

The EU reiterates the call to the Syrian regime to fulfil its obligations to have its chemical weapons arsenal, including the production facilities, destroyed by the end of June 2014. All outstanding questions surrounding Syria’s declaration must be addressed. We also stress once again that those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Rif Damascus on August 21, 2013 must be held accountable.

The European Union is highly concerned about recent and renewed media reports alleging the use of chlorine gas against the Syrian population. We underline that any use of a toxic chemical for purposes other than those explicitly permitted under the Chemical Weapons Convention, constitutes a chemical weapons use, i.e. a violation of Article I of the Convention. The perpetrators of any such breach must be held accountable.

Mr President,

The EU commends once again those neighbouring countries, notably Lebanon and Jordan, which continue to keep their borders open and provide safe haven for refugees from Syria, including Palestinians. We will continue to support the government and host communities of Syria's neighbouring countries to manage the flow of refugees and build up their resilience.

The EU is committed to the unity, stability, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Lebanon, and reiterates its continued commitment to contribute to meeting Lebanon's growing needs in face of the current challenges, and to support the implementation of its reform agenda.

We welcome all efforts by the international community to support and stabilize the country at this critical juncture, including the International Support Group for Lebanon in which the EU and some of its member states play an active role.

We also welcome the formation of the new government led by Prime Minister Salam and we encourage it to act without delay in tackling the existing challenges for Lebanon and renewing strong and proactive governance in all sectors, maintaining peace and security in Lebanon including by the reassertion of a policy of dissociation from the Syrian conflict, upholding the spirit of the Baabda Declaration and the culture of dialogue, complying with its international obligations, and ensuring the continuity of Lebanon’s institutions by the timely preparation and execution of this year’s presidential and parliamentary elections in accordance with the Constitution.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/238/CFSP implementing Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, 28 квітня 2014 року

On 28 April 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/238/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.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States, 28 квітня 2014 року

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 Open Debate on

“Maintenance of international peace and security: security sector reform"

United Nations

New York

 

28 April 2014 

 

Mr. President,

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

[Alignment paragraph]

It is a pleasure and a privilege for us to participate in this debate on Security Sector Reform and we thank you for providing a useful concept note to this end. We equally wish to acknowledge the presence of the Secretary-General and thank him for his briefing and the recommendations put forward in his report. The European Union welcomes the SG report [and the adoption of the resolution today – pending UNSC outcome] which makes a strong case for a strengthened UN role in support of nationally owned SSR efforts.

Mr President,

The European Union has a long-standing experience of supporting SSR programmes in response to the needs of conflict and post-conflict countries, of those in a transition stage or developing countries at large. In doing so, we have at our disposal a wide range of instruments:  diplomacy, crisis response, development and security policies. Allow me to take briefly review our engagement on SSR activities.

Most of the EU civilian and military crisis management missions and operations deployed worldwide have an SSR component. The European Union is training, monitoring and advising police, justice and military institutions and their personnel in countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Afghanistan, DRC, Mali and Somalia. From a development cooperation angle, over the period 2001-2009, the EU disbursed approximately 1 billion EUR, targeting justice and security sector reform worldwide. This number multiplies if we consider the overall interventions through the crisis response and CSDP missions mentioned earlier.

Additionally, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, and more specifically its crisis response measures, has become a key instrument to operate in the security-development nexus and to enable a more timely EU response. Under this instrument, the European Union is providing SSR-related support inter alia in the Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea-Conakry, Libya, Niger, Mali and Myanmar, to name just a few countries. 

Mr President,

The European Union's main approach to Security Sector Reform is to assist partner Governments to provide effective, legitimate and accountable security and justice services to their citizens, in a manner that is consistent with democratic norms, principles of the rule of law and good governance and respect for human rights. The EU shares the view that SSR should be part of a “comprehensive approach”. Such an approach should cover on the wide-ranging conflict prevention, peacebuilding, peacekeeping and state building agendas, but also taking a whole-of-society approach, recognising interconnections with economic revenue management, youth employment, access and quality of public services and effective oversight and governance.

Furthermore, the 2007 Council Conclusions on 'security and development' underlined the great importance of building SSR capacity in regional organisations, as a means to promote ownership. Our support to building African Union capacities in security sector reform is a case in point. Our regional focus is moreover strengthened through the development of targeted regional strategies (for example in Sahel or in Horn of Africa), where the EU tries to support the tackling of security related challenges in a comprehensive manner, committing all relevant instruments at its disposal.

Mr President,

It is with pride that I can say that the EU has worked in the area of SSR for over almost ten years. We have learned many lessons and we continue to evaluate our support to justice and security sector reform. Among the lessons we have learned are the need for a more strategic, comprehensive and coordinated approach, a better knowledge of the local context, clear objectives, concrete and measurable benchmarks for assessing progress and a better balance between ensuring service delivery outcomes and building state capacity. SSR is politically and institutionally a complex process that may take a generation or more to fully take root. In this regard, we would like to underline the need for preserving the results achieved through an appropriate follow up and for ensuring a smooth transition.   Therefore, we ensure that our short-term engagement as part of the Common Security and Defence Policy is accompanied by long-term measures.

We therefore support the Secretary-General in his approach to underline the need for better balance between service delivery - ensuring people's security, and safety - and long-term institution and capacity building. Engagement with local non-state actors, the need for dialogue between national authorities, communities and civil society on security related challenges, as well as effective monitoring by democratic oversight institutions are also important elements that the SG report has highlighted. Special attention should be paid to the participation of women and marginalized groups (persons with disabilities, minorities, migrants etc.) in planning, leading and implementing security sector reforms.

Summing up, current trends and experience acquired converge on the value of local ownership and the need for coordinated support of different actors and instruments. We couldn't agree more!

We also support the activities of the UN Group of Friends of SSR which serves as a valuable vehicle to facilitate inclusive dialogue, to foster further progress in developing the UN's comprehensive approach to SSR within the UN system and to building synergies between UN, EU and other international organisations, regional actors and stakeholders.

Mr President,

Aside from the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations and the PBC, SSR should also be regularly placed on the agenda of the Council and be given appropriate consideration in the mandate of peacekeeping operations. We thank you for your leadership in doing so. The issue is highly relevant to the business of this body, especially when it comes to a successful transition and exit for peacekeeping operations and to building and sustaining peace.

I thank you.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with the Council Decision 2014/212/CFSP amending Decision 2013/183/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea., 14 квітня 2014 року

On 14 April 2014, the Council adopted Council Decision 2014/212/CFSP amending Decision 2013/183/CFSP. The Council Decision amends the list of persons and entities, as set out in Annexes I and II to Decision 2013/183/CFSP.