Міністерство закордонних справ України

4, Київ 01:43

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 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 26 березня 2015 року

The European Union would like to draw attention to the declaration made by the High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on 21 March on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination:

“Today, we celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

This year we also celebrate the 50th anniversary of the adoption the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination. The convention is the bedrock for the worldwide fight against racial discrimination. And as such it continues to remind us that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and that any assumptions or beliefs to the contrary are wrong and morally false. This is why the convention should be universally ratified and implemented.

Racial discrimination, incitement to discrimination, hatred or violence directed at persons due to their belonging to a certain ethnicity or religious group, and acts of violence motivated by racism and xenophobia strike at the very heart of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms and should never be tolerated.

Vigorous measures for preventing and combating all forms and manifestations of racism, and xenophobia are indispensable for the building of safe, inclusive and pluralist societies, based on the values of diversity, tolerance and mutual respect. These shall include not only effective legal responses, but also preventive measures that promote social inclusion and equality of all members of society.

In all its strengthened efforts to eliminate racial discrimination, the EU will continue its cooperation with partner countries as well as international organisations, such as the United Nations, Council of Europe and the OSCE, and relevant civil society organisations. EU Actions will pay particular attention to all persons who are made the most vulnerable through cumulative and multiple forms of discrimination.

Now more than ever there is a need for the world community to take determined and effective measures at national, regional, and international levels to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.”

Draft EU Statement, Commemorative Meeting of the General Assembly for the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 25 березня 2015 року

Mr President,

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

[Alignment clause]

At the World Conference Against Racism in 2001, the EU joined the international community in acknowledging that: "slavery and the slave trade, including the transatlantic slave trade, were appalling tragedies in the history of humanity not only because of their abhorrent barbarism but also in terms of their magnitude, organized nature and especially their negation of the essence of the victims." The Conference further acknowledged that "slavery and the slave trade are a crime against humanity and should always have been so, especially the transatlantic slave trade, and are among the major sources and manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and that Africans and people of African descent, Asians and people of Asian descent and indigenous peoples were victims of these acts and continue to be victims of their consequences."

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to establish a Permanent Memorial in the grounds of the United Nations to honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and [today] we have witnessed the unveiling of the memorial "The Ark of Return" [by the Haitian-American architect Rodney Leon].  The memorial will remind us of the tragic legacy of the slave trade and the need to continue the fight against racism and prejudice.

We would like to acknowledge the work of the Committee of interested States and the generous voluntary contributions from Member States, complemented by funding from foundations and private individuals. A particular word of praise is due to the Chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee, Mr Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations, for his leadership and commitment to bring this project to a successful conclusion as well as the dedication of all members of the Permanent Memorial Committee.

Mr President,

No effort should be spared to raise the awareness of, educate and inform current and future generations about the causes, consequences and lessons of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. In this context we want to acknowledge the work carried out by UNESCO and the UN Department of Public Information.

Mr President,

This international day contributes to the remembrance of the millions of persons who suffered from transatlantic slave trade. This day should also help us to remember that despite its prohibition, slavery and slavery-like practices - in the form of trafficking of persons and other forms of modern slavery - persist and constitute flagrant violations of human rights.  The lessons of the past should urge us to address this slave trade of our time, including by addressing roots causes such combating discrimination on any grounds. We owe it to the women, men, girls and boys who, as we speak here, are being kept against their will and exploited in appalling conditions. Every victim of modern slavery is one victim too many.

We now have legal instruments such as the Palermo Protocol aimed at the prevention of trafficking in persons, protection of its victims and prosecution of its perpetrators. Further steps need to be taken towards their full implementation.

Mr President,

The memorial and this day should be a reminder of a time where human beings were treated as commodities that were openly traded, but also the victorious fight from oppression to freedom, a quest for universal human rights, guided by the belief in human dignity and in the equality of all human beings. 

Thank you.

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

Mr. President,

I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the EU and its MemberStates.

The Candidate Countries ….align themselves with this statement.

I want to thank today´s briefers and in particular SRSG Zerrougui whom we reassure our continued strong support. We also want to thank the French Presidency of the Council for organizing today's debate.

Mr. President,

The fact that 51 out of the 59 listed parties in last year's report of the Secretary- General are non-state armed actors exemplifies the high relevance of today's debate- namely how we deal with children victims of non-state armed groups. The various conflicts that we face today and that involve non-state armed groups bring unspeakable suffering for children. Just to name two examples: Boko Haram's appalling atrocities, including on children, demonstrated by the abduction of around 276 girls in Chibok. These girls have been subjected to abuses including physical and psychological violence, forced labour; forced participation in military operations, forced marriage to their captors, and sexual abuse, including rape. In Syria and Iraq, ISIL/Da'esh is committing barbaric acts against children, recruiting them into its armed units, forcing them to participate in executions; and subjecting them to various forms of physical and psychological violence and abuse, including cruel and degrading treatment, sexual violence and rape.

It is the responsibility of us all to ensure that all children are able to attend school and to grow up free from fear and violence, no matter where they live. In this regard we must not forget the responsibility for States themselves to protect their populations, including children, from atrocity crimes. We need to intensify our efforts to address abuses and violations committed by non-state armed groups against children with a series of measures. For example, we need to:

-Facilitate the adoption of action plans and more importantly work towards their effective implementation. So far, only 12 action plans have been concluded with non-state armed groups. In order to implement them it is essential that Member States allow unconditional access for the UN to non-State armed groups for the purpose of ending and preventing violations and abuses against children. In addition, child protection provisions, including those relating to the release and reintegration of children, need to be addressed in peace negotiations.

-Ensure accountability: 25 non-state armed groups have been listed for at least 5 years and are therefore considered persistent perpetrators. Fighting impunity needs to be part and parcel of our actions and whereas the primary responsibility lies with states, the ICC has an essential role to play in this regard.

-Better protect schools against attacks and deter their military use in accordance with international law. We welcome the Council's decision in resolution 2143 to request enhanced monitoring of and reporting on the military use of schools.

We also need to:

-Include child protection in military training and standard operating procedures, undertake targeted and operational training of UN troop and police contingents and ensure the inclusion of child protection provisions in the mandates of peace operations.

-Address the worrisome pattern of abduction of children. One measure in this regard would be to add abductions as a new trigger for listing. Recent abductions in Nigeria, Iraq and South Sudan are just some examples for the need to act more decisively in this area.

-Give priority to combatting sexual and gender based violence committed against children, including violations committed by non-state armed groups.

-Ensure effective reintegration in order to prevent re-recruitment by armed groups.

Mr. President,

The EU and its MemberStates have made considerable strides to address the issue in a comprehensive way. Let me name just a few recent measures:

We have strengthened our capacity on child protection through regular training for our staff and are currently finalising our pre-deployment child protection training module for civilian and military personnel. The EU is working with ILO and UNICEF on a project to reintegrate former child combatants in Somalia. We also support the ”Geneva Call" project reviewing and promoting the implementation of so-called Deeds of Commitment for non-state actors. And soon the EU will launch a 9.3 million Euro call for proposals for conflict prevention and peace- building prioritising actions on child combatants and child victims.

Mr. President,

In closing, I also want to underline our strong support for the UN campaign "Children, not Soldiers" which sees its first anniversary this month and which the EU and its memberStates have strongly supported from its inception. Looking ahead, this summer will mark the 10th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1612, which established the Council's working group on children and armed conflict. This will be a good opportunity to take stock on what has been achieved and what challenges still lie ahead.

Thank you.

CONCLUDING STATEMENT, OSCE Serbian Chairmanship Conference on “Protection of Safety and Integrity of Journalists in the OSCE Region”, Belgrade, 26-27 березня 2015 року

DRAFT

This statement is being made on behalf of…

The co-sponsors of this statement commend the Serbian Chairmanship for organising this conference. It has provided a timely reminder of how threats to the safety of those in the media are an attack on freedom of expression and can have a chilling effect on democracy.

We express our gratitude and admiration to the journalists and civil society representatives that have contributed ideas and shared their experiences of the difficulties that they encounter.  Their participation has enhanced our appreciation of the scale of the challenge but also provided examples of best practice that can contribute to the improved implementation of OSCE commitments.

We emphasise our resolve to promote the full implementation of existing OSCE commitments on freedom of expression including those related to the safety of journalists.  We believe that we can further strengthen OSCE commitments, and in this regard should look to initiatives in other multilateral fora, and reflect the principles agreed in texts such as UNGA Resolution 68/163 of 18 December 2013 as well as the Human Rights Council Resolution A/HRC/27/5 adopted on 25 September 2014 within our own OSCE commitments. 

The participating States have mandated the Representative on Freedom of the Media to “observe media developments and to advocate and promote full compliance with the OSCE’s principles and commitments regarding freedom of expression and free media”. We affirm our full support for the professional, impartial and determined manner in which the Representative and her team exercise this function.

Societies around the world are strengthened and enriched by free speech. No one should face murder, violence, intimidation or harassment for exercising his or her right to freedom of expression. The proposal for a draft Ministerial Decision on the Right to Freedom of Expression tabled by over forty participating States prior to the Basel Ministerial Council advocated concrete commitments in support of this principle as well as other proposals to promote freedom of expression, including by members of the media. We encourage the Serbian Chairmanship to build on the momentum generated by the Basel draft as they prepare for the Belgrade Ministerial Council.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 784, 25 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States would like to convey our appreciation and gratitude to the Mongolian Chairmanship for the professional and dedicated way in which it has handled the FSC activities during its term. We will elaborate further on the work done during the first trimester on the occasion of the assumption of the FSC Chairmanship by Montenegro in April 2015.

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted in February 2015.

Only the full implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution to the crisis which must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

We welcome the general decline in violence, including in the use of heavy weapons, in most locations in Donbas. At the same time, we remain seriously disturbed by SMM reports of continuing intensive fighting in several areas, especially in the vicinity of the village of Shyrokyne and Donetsk airport. We join the CIO and OSCE Chief Monitor's call on all sides to strictly respect the ceasefire and all provisions of the Minsk Package of Measures as well as to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and access of the OSCE monitors to Shyrokyne.

We note also that the SMM continues to observe heavy weapons in both Donetsk and Luhansk regions, including within the security zone. This is unacceptable. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. Any attempts to gain territorial advantages will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

We urge the Russian Federation to exert its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments. While noting some progress in facilitating the implementation of the SMM monitoring and verification activities, we remain deeply concerned about none of the signatories of the Minsk Package of Measures having yet provided the SMM with baseline information that would allow for systematic verification of the withdrawal of heavy weapons.

Moreover, SMM continues to experience serious restrictions to its freedom of movement. In this respect, we welcome the information provided by the Ukrainian delegation at last week's FSC meeting that individual cases of restrictions to the SMM freedom of movement are dealt with by the Ukrainian authorities.

We strongly urge all parties, in particular the pro-Russian separatists, to grant SMM safe, unconditional and unfettered access to the areas under their control as well as to provide the SMM with the requested baseline information.

Mr Chairman,

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 19 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We draw attention that the Minsk Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the conflict area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

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

HRC28 - Item 10 (General Debate)– Technical assistance and capacity building

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

[alignment para]

The European Union reiterates its strong support for High Commissioner and his Office, and pays tribute to their valuable work in the areas of technical assistance and capacity building. These are an important means to consolidate the foundation for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in a constant dialogue with States, regional organisations and other stakeholders

We value the important role of the OHCHR Human Rights Mission in Ukraine deployed on the invitation of the Government of Ukraine since March 2014. Its enhanced work now includes technical cooperation which is extremely valuable. Evaluating and reporting on the current and developing human rights situation in the whole of the country, particularly in the eastern regions of Ukraine and Crimea, and providing support to the Government of Ukraine in the promotion and protection of human rights is of high importance.  

We commend the Government of Mali for its efforts towards the re-establishment of constitutional order. We encourage it to focus on accountability for human rights violations as a fundamental step towards national reconciliation. In this context, we encourage the Government to intensify its efforts to combat impunity to co-operate with the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into war crimes in the country in order to bring all perpetrators of human rights violations before an independent and impartial court.

We appreciate the full cooperation by the Central African Republic with international mechanisms, but remain gravely concerned about the volatility of the security situation and persisting human rights abuses in the country. We call on all parties to immediately end violent attacks against the population and reiterate that all who perpetrate such acts will be brought to justice. We reiterate our support to the Independent Expert, and call on the authorities to continue to extend full cooperation to this important mechanism.

We note with satisfaction the cooperation of Guinea with UN human rights mechanisms, and encourage the authorities to intensify their efforts in ensuring that the elections to be held in 2015 are conducted in a free, peaceful and transparent manner and that security conditions fully respect human rights and democratic standards. We urge the authorities to take all necessary measures to bring to justice those responsible for the human rights violations and abuses committed in September 2009.

Thank you, Mr. President

Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Item 8, 24 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

(aligning paragraph)

More than twenty years after its adoption, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action remains as relevant as ever in guiding our efforts in responding to today’s global human rights challenges. The VDPA contributed greatly to the protection of human rights through the encouragement of institutional development. Most importantly, in this respect, it laid the groundwork for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

We thank the High Commissioner, his predecessors and his staff for more than two decades of untiring efforts in the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and reaffirm, that the European Union attaches the highest importance to OHCHR’s operational independence. The High Commissioner’s effectiveness in fulfilling his mandate to promote and protect human rights for all requires him to be independent and politically impartial. The European Union therefore cannot and will not support any attempt to interfere with OHCHR’s operational independence. The European Union is also committed to contribute to the resources needed for effective fulfilment of OHCHR’s mandate.

Mr. President,

The VDPA reminds us that – and I quote – “Special emphasis should be given to [...] strengthening of a pluralistic civil society.” In addition, the General Assembly emphasised that the VDPA had to be translated into action inter alia by non-governmental organizations. The European Union fully endorses the VDPA’s emphasis on the indispensable role played by civil society, NGOs, Human Rights Defenders and journalists, as well as NHRIs and other stakeholders, to remind governments of their human rights obligations, to highlight violations of human rights and to support them in their implementation. Civil society reflects the plurality of voices that is the bedrock for any open and democratic society.

It is therefore a development of great concern to the European Union, that by a number of governments, systematic action is being taken to suppress the legitimate activities of civil society, NGOs, human rights defenders and journalists. The European Union is seriously concerned about recent and on-going activities in several countries that aim at suppressing the activities of NGOs. Attempts to outlaw NGOs, by way of legislation that runs counter to international human rights obligations, or by way of sham or arbitrary judicial proceedings, make a mockery of the rule of law and fly in the face of any open and democratic society that is committed to upholding the human rights of its citizens.

The European Union also rejects any attempts by some states to limit the space for civil society by pressuring NGOs or other civil society representatives who speak out on their countries dire human rights situation. We equally condemn all attempts to prevent their citizens from cooperating with UN human rights mechanisms, or to intimidate or punish them. Cooperating with the UN is every persons’ right. It is the obligation of all states to protect these individuals and other human rights defenders from harassment, intimidation and other forms of reprisals. 

Mr. President,

The VDPA also affirmed the universality of human rights. Not disregarding the importance of history, culture and religion it nevertheless states very clearly, that it is - I quote - the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Against this background, the European Union laments repeated efforts by some to undermine the principle of universality with cultural relativism. Values or cultural specificities, or any other concept, cannot relieve States from their obligation to protect all human rights of all persons in their jurisdiction. In this context it is also important to highlight what should be self-evident: that human rights protection is not afforded to groups, beliefs or ideologies but to human beings – whatever their race, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion or migration status. The European Union will continue its efforts to promote and protect the universality of human rights in the Human Rights Council and elsewhere.


I thank you. 

Item 9 - Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 28th Session, 24 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

[Alignment clause]

Mr. President,

Once more the European Union would like to reiterate its commitment to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. These phenomena run counter to the founding principles of the EU which are indeed common values to all EU Member States. They include the respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

The principle that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights lies at the core of the founding principles of the EU. All members of our societies, irrespective of their gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation or gender identity must be treated equally in law and in practice. Racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance undermine those principles and are challenges which the international community must face together.

No country or region in the world is immune to this scourge. Both the EU and its Member States are committed to prevent and to fight discrimination on any grounds and have adopted a strong legal and policy framework to that effect.

The European Union has an extensive arsenal of policy and legislative instruments in place to

prevent and to fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. The EU has also adopted legislation which bans incitement to racist or xenophobic violence or hatred. Particular attention is given to victims of discrimination granting them a broad set of rights, including access to justice, compensation and restoration, as well as the right to receive appropriate information, support and protection.

In addition, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights plays an important role in monitoring the situation in the EU when it comes to racism, related tolerance, or unequal treatment of ethnic minorities.

Mr. President,

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). All EU Member States have ratified and implemented this convention. We hereby call upon all Member States of the UN to do so.  It is our firm conviction that the ICERD provides the adequate framework to address all forms of racial discrimination. We do not see a lack of complementary standards but a need for its full and effective implementation. As stated by the High Commissioner [1] the legal protection esteeming from the Convention "cannot be allowed to give way in the face of political pressure to fan the flames of hatred".

Furthermore, the EU remains fully committed to the primary objectives and commitments undertaken at the 2001 Durban World Conference.

Mr. President,

2015 marks the start of the International Decade of people of African Descent which we hope will be used to create further political and practical momentum towards fulfilling our international commitments.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council No 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that the ceasefire continues to be largely respected. However, the situation remains fragile and instances of ceasefire violations still occur, including in and around Donetsk airport and east of Mariupol as reported by the SMM. The ceasefire must be fully observed. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict. We repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments.

2. We are encouraged by the SMM's reports of a general decline in the use of heavy weapons. But we reiterate that for the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the Minsk package, the SMM must receive the necessary baseline information. At the same time, we are concerned by the daily reports on restrictions on SMM access and freedom of movement by third parties. We call on all sides to provide the baseline information and to guarantee the security, safety and unconditional access for SMM monitors that would allow the urgently needed verification of withdrawals of heavy weapons foreseen in the Minsk package.

3. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. Full implementation of all aspects of the agreements by all signatories remains the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution. Any solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups as foreseen in the Minsk documents. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over the state border with Russia remains essential.

4. We recall that in keeping with the commitments of the Minsk package all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine should be released. We note with concern that SMM reports that detainees are being used to recover remains at Donetsk airport and call for these detainees to be released. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadiya Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegaly detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. We note with concern that Ms. Savchenko has resumed her hunger strike to protest her illegal detention and underline that Russia bears a responsibility for her very fragile health.

5. The provisions of the Minsk agreements concerning the political process are also of major importance and require swift and sustained progress. We are studying the two resolutions and amendments to the law on interim self-governance status adopted this week by the Ukrainian Parliament and their impact on the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. All steps in the direction of the full implementation of the Minsk Agreements are to be welcomed. All signatories of the Minsk Agreements share the responsibility to ensure a full and transparent fulfilment of agreed steps.

6. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package foresees that humanitarian aid will be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

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

EU Statement on Russia’s Illegal Annexation of Crimea, OSCE Permanent Council No 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to recall the Declaration by the High Representative of 16 March on behalf of the European Union:

2. “One year on from the holding of the illegal and illegitimate "referendum" and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation, the European Union remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

3. The European Union does not recognise and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law. The illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation is also a direct challenge to international security, with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states.

4. The European Union will remain committed to fully implement its non-recognition policy, including through restrictive measures. The EU calls again on UN Member States to consider similar non-recognition measures in line with the UNGA Resolution 68/262.

5. The EU reaffirms its deep concern at the continuous military build-up and deterioration of the human rights situation in the Crimean peninsula, including the denial of free speech and the persecution of persons belonging to minorities. The European Union reiterates its call to provide international human rights actors with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.”

6. Mr Chairman, the OSCE has an important role to play in Crimea. We reiterate that the SMM as well as the PCU should be given access to the whole of Ukraine, including Crimea.

7. The autonomous OSCE institutions must also have full and unimpeded access to all parts of Ukraine, including Crimea. In this context, we welcome ODIHR’s readiness to monitor the human rights situation in Crimea in continuation of the Human Rights Assessment Mission conducted jointly with the High Commissioner on National Minorities in March last year. Comprehensive international monitoring of the human rights situation in Crimea by the OSCE institutions, including of the situation of the Crimean Tatars and also drawing on reports from civil society and IDPs, is essential, given reports about the deteriorating human rights situation, including arrests, arbitrary detention and deportation of activists, and the denial of the right to free expression, and the right to peaceful assembly.

8. We share the concerns of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media over the repression of free media and independent voices we continue to witness in Crimea. As a most recent case, we join the Representative in calling on the de facto authorities in Crimea to immediately release Natalya Kokorina, a journalist and editor who was detained last week.

Mr Chairperson,

9. The OSCE was founded on the principles of dialogue and a respect for peace and stability, based on territorial integrity and sovereignty. We call on Russia to show through its actions a clear commitment to these agreed principles and commitments and we deplore the attempts, as happened yesterday in the Forum for Security Cooperation, to justify and legitimise the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Universal Periodic Review, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 28th Session, (2-27 March 2015), EU Statement

Mr. President,

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

Alignment paragraph

Let me start by reiterating the EU's support for the UPR, a truly universal mechanism which has the potential to make a difference on the ground.  The principles of the UPR are applicable to all Member States without discrimination, and the universality of the process remains a salient feature of its success.

The preparation for the second cycle of UPR reviews through the implementation of accepted recommendations in the first cycle has had a positive as well as a mobilizing effect on both governments and civil society.  We are pleased to note that a growing number of States have decided to present a mid-term report on a voluntary basis. We welcome this practice as a contribution to a more transparent process and a continuous, regular and meaningful dialogue. At the same time, we underline the importance of and strongly encourage the practice of each State to keep a continuous focus on the implementation of the recommendations.

We recognise the importance of providing technical assistance in order to help States in the implementation of recommendations. While noting that implementation plans are done on a voluntary basis, we believe that they are useful tools for dialogue and cooperation between the States providing and the States receiving technical assistance related to the implementation of the accepted UPR recommendations.

We are pleased to witness an active role of independent National Human Rights Institutions in the UPR process. Those institutions which are in full compliance with the Paris Principles are able to intervene immediately following the State under Review. We are encouraged by their participation, which enables them to provide their views on the progress made and challenges ahead. 

Independent NGOs are contributing in a significant way by speaking out and documenting human rights violations on the ground. We would like to commend the active involvement of civil society in the UPR process, which has given a further impetus to this important mechanism. While in many cases the relations between States and independent NGOs are exemplary, we remain concerned by reported incidents of harassment, intimidation and reprisals towards civil society representatives and their organisations, and continue to defend NGOs´ legitimate participation.

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

EU Statement on the death penalty in the USA, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. It is with deep regret that the EU has learnt of the execution of Mr Cecil Clayton on the 17th March in the State of Missouri.

2. Mr. Clayton suffered the loss of part of his brain in an accident years before the commission of his crime, which led to several mental disorders. There is evidence indicating that his mental capacities were seriously impaired.

3. The EU strongly believes that the execution of persons suffering from an intellectual disability or mental illness is contrary to the minimum standards set forth in several international human rights instruments as well as being prohibited by the US Constitution.

4. The EU is opposed to the use of capital punishment under all circumstances and aims at its universal abolition, seeking a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its universal abolition, in line with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution adopted in December 2014, which reaffirms its Resolutions of 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2012. The EU believes that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity and to the progressive development of human rights.

EU Statement in response to Deputy Foreign Minister, H.E. David Dondua, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1046, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes Deputy Foreign Minister David Dondua to the Permanent Council. Mr. Deputy Minister, we thank you for your comprehensive and timely address.  

2. The European Union and Georgia enjoy a strong relationship, which has been significantly enhanced through the signing of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement in June 2014. The Agreement, provisionally applied since September, allows us to move ahead with deeper political association and economic integration.

3. In this context, the reform agenda in such vital areas as economy, rule of law and judiciary is key, as is fostering a political climate with respect for opposition and cross-party dialogue. Sustainable implementation of these reforms will transform and modernise Georgia, to the benefit of all its citizens. 

4. The EU remains committed to strengthening the security of the whole OSCE region. We believe that it is essential that we achieve tangible progress towards the resolution of the protracted conflicts. We welcome that the latest round of the Geneva International Discussions took place this week, on 17-18 March.

5. [PP on outcome of discussions]

6. Recent actions by the Russian Federation have substantially harmed the constructive spirit of the discussions. The signature by the Russian Federation of a so-called “Treaty on Alliance and Integration” with Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia is yet another step that goes against ongoing efforts to strengthen security and stability in the region.

7. Like the previous agreements signed between the Russian Federation and the two Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, this so-called treaty – which includes references to a transfer of powers in some areas – clearly violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, principles of international law and the international commitments taken by the Russian Federation, including the 12 August 2008 Agreement and its Implementing Measures of 8 September 2008 and has no legal standing.

8. Furthermore, the signature of this document on the very day of the 31st round of Geneva International Discussions creates circumstances that do not foster a constructive climate for efforts to improve the security and humanitarian situation on the ground.

9. We express our grave concern about the military exercises launched on 5 March by the Russian Federation in Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. These actions violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, within its internationally recognised borders and contradict OSCE commitments, principles of international law and international commitments of the Russian Federation. The EU has repeatedly underlined its concern about the continued Russian military and security presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions. We reiterate our call on Russia to fulfil its international obligations, including with regard to providing access for humanitarian organisations and the EUMM to the breakaway regions.

10. We note with profound concern the potential implications of the continued deployment of fences and other obstacles at different locations along and beyond the Administrative Boundary Line.

11. We recall that any actions undermining the security and stability on the ground must be avoided. We encourage all participants to use the Geneva International Discussions constructively.

12. Our position in support of the territorial integrity of Georgia is well known. In this spirit, we remain committed to support conflict resolution in Georgia, through the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, and through the Geneva International Discussions that need the active and constructive commitment of all participants on all relevant issues.

13. In light of recent developments we however stress once again that the Geneva International Discussions remain the best forum to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia.

EU Statement in Response to the Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, H.E. Ambassador Janina Hřebíčková, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1045, 19 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome H.E. Ambassador Janina Hřebíčková, Head of the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, to the Permanent Council. We thank Ambassador Hřebíčková for her report, outlining the highlights of the Mission's work in the reporting period and identifying priorities for its future work.

2. The EU welcomes the progress Montenegro has made in the EU accession negotiations and in pursuing its ambitious internal reforms agenda. The European Union encourages Montenegro to keep the positive momentum and ensure multi- party support for the reform process.

3. The EU emphasizes the importance of continuing efforts in the area of the rule of law, in particular in the fight against corruption and organised crime, the judiciary and fundamental rights, as well as on law enforcement, trafficking in human beings, cyber security, anti-terrorism and anti-money laundering. Effective implementation of recently adopted laws in the prevention and fight against corruption will help to achieve concrete results. We commend the OSCE Mission for its valuable support to these matters.

4. Further efforts are needed to guarantee freedom of expression and of the media, including safety of journalists. We welcome the cooperation of Montenegro and the Mission with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović in this regard and on strengthening media self-regulation. 

5. Constructive political dialogue between all political parties in Parliament is important to ensure trust in the electoral process and in state institutions.  While new electoral legislation already fulfils several OSCE/ODIHR recommendations, we encourage the implementation of all recommendations.

6. We welcome the Mission's intention to focus on a cross-programmatic and cross-dimensional approach in order to encourage a broader participation of civil society in the overall reform process in the country. Civil society can continue to contribute considerably to this process

7. As a future chair of the Forum for Security Co-operation, Montenegro will have the opportunity to contribute to further strengthening OSCE commitments in the politico-military dimension and supporting their full implementation and modernisation.

8. We commend the Mission’s support in the area of demilitarisation. The MONDEM Programme is an extra-budgetary project financed by the European Union, many EU Member States as well as other OSCE participating States. It has been extended until the end of 2016, and we hope that additional donor funds will be secured in order to implement the still outstanding components.

9. The European Union values Montenegro’s constructive and active approach towards regional co-operation and stability in the Western Balkans. We recognize the important role the Mission plays in assisting Montenegro to consolidate key reforms as well as in strengthening cooperation among the field missions and other international actors in the region. We commend the Mission's efforts to focus on main priorities as well as on results and follow-up, and we encourage further efficient use of resources also on the basis of effective evaluation. In this regard we invite Ambassador Hřebíčková to highlight some concrete examples of the key impacts of the Mission in this reporting period. 

10. We appreciate the host country's readiness to join the efforts on the implementation of priorities and commitments across all three dimensions and wish the Mission further success in its future work based on this fruitful cooperation.

11. Finally, we thank you, Ambassador, for your presentation and assure you and your team of our continued support.

CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Statement on the occasion of the Twenty Fourth Session of Working Group A and B, 20 березня 2015 року

Mr Chairman,

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

2. The EU wishes to thank the Executive Secretary for his opening remarks and the Chairs of Working Group A and Working Group B, as well as the PTS, for preparing this meeting. We look forward continuing discussions on the priorities of the CTBTO for 2015.

Mr Chairman,

3. The EU welcomes this joint meeting of Working Group A and B as an excellent opportunity to generate a useful dialogue among States Signatories and the PTS on the implementation of CTBTO priorities in 2015, and to provide the Secretariat with guidance on the preparation of the initial draft 2016 and Biennial Programme

and Budget Proposals. We believe that programme and budget related matters, as well as the implementation of the 2015 priorities will benefit from a continued dialogue between States Signatories and the PTS.

4. The EU and its Member States appreciate the intention and efforts of the Chairperson of the WGA to hold open-ended informal consultations on the major aspects of the annual and biennial budget, as well as on the multiyear funding modality. In this regard, we would like to reiterate our support for introducing biennial budgeting, with annual appropriation allowing for some adjustments and an intermediary report on implementation. Such a decision should also be taken in the light of a comprehensive legal analysis by the PTS as to how this decision would articulate with the provisions of the Treaty and the Resolution establishing the Preparatory Commission that provide for the adoption of annual programs and budgets. We also regard the creation of multi-year funds as an interesting possibility for activities of a multi-year nature. Recommendations by the Advisory Group and WGA, especially regarding to the modifications in the Financial Rules and Regulations needed for the introduction of biennial budgeting and multi-year funding, should also serve as an important input to the consultations on budgetary matters and to the whole process of preparation of programmatic and budgetary decisions to be taken by the Preparatory Commission in 2015.

5. As the EU and its Member States have stressed before, future budgets of the Organisation should be sustainable and programme driven, and they should also reflect the current climate of budgetary austerity. While acknowledging the endeavours of the PTS in this field so far, we would welcome further initiatives and modalities which lead to a more efficient global cost management of the CTBTO. We encourage the Secretariat to continue looking for possible further savings and efficiency gains.

6. The Midterm Strategy: 2014-2017 (MTS) should continue to guide the preparation of the programme and budget proposals for the upcoming years. In this regard, the EU and its Member States would appreciate further assessment of the resources required to implement the priorities identified in the MTS, including for the 2016 programme and budget and the subsequent year, in particular in the light of preparations of the first biennial budget of this Organisation.

7. The EU and its Member States were pleased to note that the measures to put in practice the IPSAS-compliant Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system were among the significant accomplishments of the PTS in 2014. As we underlined in our previous statements, we believe that the IPSAS-ERP system should provide additional transparency on financial information to States Signatories and should lead to more efficiency gains for the PTS. In this context, we would welcome the continuation of regular updates to States Signatories concerning the functioning and the benefits of this system.

Mr Chairman,

8. The EU would like to commend the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff and all international experts involved in the Integrated Field Exercise 14 for a job well done in the conduct of the Exercise. We also express our gratitude to Jordan for hosting the IFE and, in doing so, once again demonstrating its strong and long-standing support to the CTBT. The EU looks forward to the OSI Workshop- 22, to be held consecutively in Israel in April and in Austria in June, for the proper and effective analysis of the lessons learnt and for drawing important conclusions for the development of the CTBTO verification regime in the future. The EU has demonstrated its commitment to the IFE14 by providing relevant technical expertise, equipment and financial resources.

9. We also believe that after this IFE a long term solution needs to be found to the issue of the CTBTO's Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF). We noted the report of the PTS on the Status of and Options for the Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility and possible options proposed for solution of this issue

published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1312. We call on the PTS, as well as other potential stakeholders, to find an efficient and cost effective solution to this matter as soon as possible. We have been informed that constructive talks are taking place in this regard.

Mr Chairman,

10. The EU and its Member States attach great importance to the longterm sustainability of a cost effective and financially viable verification regime. We therefore encourage WGB to further prioritise its proposals in order of technical importance and urgency. This would enable WGA to better understand the technical challenges to, and the requirements for the balanced development of the IMS, IDC and OSI components of the verification regime, and to make informed decisions on where budget resources should be focused.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Item 5 Human Rights Bodies and mechanisms, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL, 28th session , EU Statement, General Debate, 2 – 27 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

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

(Alignment paragraph)

The EU is fully committed to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and lends its full support to the multilateral human rights system with the United Nations at its core.

The EU reiterates its full support to the independence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and his Office and expresses its sincere gratitude for the efforts to promote and protect human rights worldwide. The EU shares the assessment of the High Commissioner expressed during the last interactive dialogue with Member States that the continued strength and independence of the Office and its work to assist States in promoting human rights is vital to the interest of the people of our world. The EU will continue to support the Office and stand against any attempts to undermine its independence.

The EU notes the recently announced initiative by High Commissioner to reorganize the management of his Office with a view to make it more effective in protecting and promoting human rights. We expect that the announced reform will further demonstrate the ability of the Office to adapt to increasing expectations and responsibilities, showing the continued relevance of human rights mechanisms and country-level engagement.

The EU takes note with interest of the report on the 21st annual meeting of special rapporteurs, representatives, independent experts and working groups of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council that provides a detailed account of the activities of and challenges faced by the Special Procedures while exercising their mandates. The Special Procedures constitute one of the most important mechanisms of the Human Rights Council for the promotion and protection of human rights. Their full independence is the cornerstone for the effective realization of their mandate. The EU and its Member States remain concerned about the resourcing of the mandate holders and calls for the allocation of adequate resources to this mechanism. 

The EU shares the mandate holders’ appreciation for the increasing number of standing invitations being issued by Member States. At the same time, the EU is concerned that several mandate holders reported on cases of intimidation and reprisals against witnesses and interlocutors willing to engage with them before, during and after country visits. The EU concurs with the view of the mandate holders that there is an urgent need to develop a systematic approach to the issue, including by identifying more effective and rapid mechanisms in situations where protection gaps exist and by establishing a high level mechanism to respond to States that engage in reprisals.

The Universal Periodic Review is a unique mechanism for improving human rights situations on the ground. Objectivity and impartiality are amongst its major assets and these values should remain at the core of this mechanism. The second cycle of the UPR enables countries to identify both achievements and remaining challenges in the field of human rights thus allowing them to recommit to their human rights obligations. The EU reiterates its strong commitment to the UPR and encourages all States to fully cooperate with this mechanism. We also note the crucial role that technical assistance and capacity building can play in the implementation of the recommendations received during the UPR process and highly appreciate the valuable support provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in this area.

The treaty bodies lie at the heart of the international human rights protection system. They play an indispensable role in ensuring that universal human rights norms are being fully and effectively implemented in practice. The EU has therefore been supportive of the General Assembly resolution 68/268 on strengthening the UN treaty bodies. We are convinced that its comprehensive implementation by all relevant stakeholders will pave the way towards a more sustainable, effective and efficient treaty body system.

Last but not least, the EU would like to emphasize the paramount importance of mainstreaming human rights throughout all areas of work of the United Nations, including in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.

Thank you.

EU Statement on European Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 783, 18 березня 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to welcome Ambassador Alexander Grushko, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO, and Major-General Yevgeni Ilyin, Deputy Chief of the Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation in the Russian Ministry of Defence, to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank them for their presentations.

From the outset, let us recall the EU High Representative's speech at the UN Security Council of 9 March where the European Union's commitment and support to multilateralism were strongly reiterated. Need for cooperation has grown proportionally to the increasing complexity of threats to unprecedented level. The new global order will thus be multilateral, the High Representative stated, or it will not be.

Against the global background of growing complexity and interdependence, the security in Europe, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, is facing one of the most serious crises since the end of the Cold War.

Russia's actions in and around Ukraine, ranging from the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the active military support for the separatists in eastern Ukraine, have directly challenged international security with grave implications for the international legal order that protects the unity and sovereignty of all states. In the year of the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act we see with great disappointment that key Helsinki principles are being violated by Russia.

One year after the illegal and illegitimate referendum and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation the European Union remains fully committed to Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We do not recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia and once again condemn this violation of international law. The European Union reaffirms its deep concern at the continuous Russian military build-up in the Crimean peninsula.

It is therefore more important than ever that Russia recommit itself to the principles in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris and the Astana vision of a free, democratic, common and indivisible Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok, rooted in agreed principles, shared commitments and common goals. Recent developments in the OSCE region underline the validity of the OSCE concept of comprehensive and co-operative security. We need to revert to our common commitment to ensure full respect for, and implementation of, these core principles and commitments that we have undertaken in the politico-military dimension, the economic and environmental dimension, and the human dimension, notably in the areas of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We repeat our call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements by all signatories as the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. In this context, we regret that Russia once again has not agreed to the necessary expansion of the Border Observation Mission at two Russian border checkpoints. We reiterate that reestablishing Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains essential.

The provisions concerning the political process included in the Minsk Agreements are also important parts in their entire implementation. We take note of the presentation of the new Russian Military Doctrine and remain open to discuss it further, for instance at a possible High-Level Military Doctrine Seminar.

Furthermore, we emphasise the importance of strengthening and modernising the obligations and commitments in the field of conventional arms control and CSBMs. These instruments should be brought into conformity with the current military and security conditions. We consider therefore that a modern, functional conventional arms control regime that provides stability and predictability would bolster the security of the whole OSCE area. In relation to this topic, the Member States of the European Union noted with regret the decision by the Russian Federation to “suspend their participation in the Joint Consultative Group per 11 March 2015”. This is another step by the Russian Federation that undermines the viability and validity of the existing conventional arms control and CSBMs regimes in the OSCE area.

In conclusion, we reiterate our firm belief that lasting security in and for Europe can only be achieved through a collaborative effort of all participating States and a genuine commitment to the instruments of cooperative security. We still count on Russia's political willingness to engage in constructive dialogue on European security.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 783, 18 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted in February 2015 in Minsk. We welcome the overall decrease of active fighting along the line of contact and in particular the general decline in the use of heavy weapons in almost all locations, as observed by the SMM, which is an indication that at least some of the withdrawal of heavy weapons may be genuine. This remains however to be duly monitored and verified by the SMM.

At the same time, we note with growing concern that heavy fighting continues in strategic hotspots such as Donetsk airport and the area east of Mariupol. We strongly condemn in this regard the Russia-backed separatists' offensive in the area of Shyrokyne to which the SMM is consistently denied access. We recall that any attempts to gain territorial advantages will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution. We urge the Russian Federation to exert its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments. Persistent restrictions of the SMM access to the security zone as well as continuing presence of heavy weapons in areas controlled by the separatists give rise to serious concern and are unacceptable. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

We remind that the strict, comprehensive and sustainable compliance with the ceasefire regime and the verifiable withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential for the successful implementation of the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk. We therefore strongly urge all sides to provide the SMM with the requested heavy weapons baseline information and necessary security guarantees as well as to ensure unconditional and unfettered SMM access to the areas under their control.

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing full Ukrainian control over its state border with Russia remains of paramount importance.

Furthermore, we draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that further Russian so called humanitarian convoys entered Ukrainian territory on 13 and 15 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

We take note of the information circulated by the Russian Federation under reference number CBM/RU/15/0034/F41/O about the large-scale combat readiness inspections taking place in the Northern and Western Military Districts of the Russian Federation.

We remain concerned however about Russia's military exercises conducted in areas adjacent to Ukraine as well as the continuous Russian military build-up in the Ukrainian region of Crimea. We recall therefore that exercising strict restraint in carrying out and sharing information about on-going and planned military activities in the bordering areas with Ukraine, even if they do not fall under the provisions of the Vienna Document, would be important steps towards rebuilding security, trust and confidence in the region severely affected by the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by Russia.

One year on from the holding of the illegal and illegitimate referendum and the subsequent illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation the European Union remains fully committed to Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The European Union does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this act of violation of international law. The European Union will remain committed to fully implement, including through restrictive measures, its policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation.

EU Statement in Response to Mr. Kim Yong-hyun and Ambassador Fred Tanner, OSCE Asian Contact Group Meeting, 13 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes Mr. KIM Yong-hyun and Ambassador Fred Tanner to this first Meeting in 2015 of the OSCE Contact Group with the Asian Partners for Co-operation. We thank both of them for their engaging presentations.

2. The relationship between the European Union and the Republic of Korea encompasses, in a comprehensive manner, political, trade and security cooperation. The 2010 Free Trade Agreement, the 2010 Framework Agreement and the 2014 Framework Participation Agreement for Korean Participation in EU Crisis Management Operations bear testimony to the ever-developing and deepening nature of our bilateral relationship.

3. The European Union welcomes the Republic of Korea’s continuous strong commitment to international security, and its active involvement in the UN and other international and regional organisations, including with the OSCE. In this respect, the European Union reiterates its support for the Republic of Korea’s trust-building policy and its North East Asia Peace and Cooperation Initiative.

4. The European Union reiterates that it shares the objective of a nuclear-free stable and peaceful Korean Peninsula. The illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its decision to cease all cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency remain a matter of grave concern to the European Union and a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

5. The European Union has called upon the DPRK to re-engage on a credible basis with the international community and in particular the members of the Six-Party Talks by taking meaningful steps towards denuclearization. The EU continues to urge the DPRK to address the grave human rights abuses in the country and, to that end, constructively engage with the international community.

6. In conclusion, we would like to reiterate that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening its cooperation with the Republic of Korea and our Asian Partners, including through the OSCE, wherever this organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security in order to better confront current and emerging challenges both regionally and globally. In this respect, we look forward to the 2015 OSCE Asian Conference that will take place in Seoul, the Republic of Korea and we express our willingness to actively contribute to a successful outcome.

7. Finally, we continue to note with appreciation the generous contribution of our Asian Partners to OSCE extra budgetary projects, in particular their financial support to the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine or to the Border Management Staff College, which eased their establishment and continuation of activity.

HC/SG Thematic Reports, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 28th Session, 13 березня 2015 року

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The full text of this statement will be posted on the extranet.

(alignment para)

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

The EU would like to commend the High Commissioner’s report on the rights of the child and the summary of the panel discussion on accelerating global efforts to end violence against children. The rights of the child are an integral part of EU’s fundamental rights policy and we are strongly committed to eliminating all forms of violence against children. We fully concur with the High Commissioner’s conclusions that a sustainable, equitable and broad-based investment in the rights of children is crucial for the full and comprehensive realization of States’ international obligations to implement the rights of the child. We note with great interest that the report of the Secretary-General on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights focuses on the importance of social protection floors and how they can contribute to the enjoyment of minimum essential levels of those rights by reducing poverty and inequality, in particular children, persons with disabilities and older persons. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Beijing declaration, the EU remains comitted to overcome the persistent challenges which many women still face to fully enjoy their economic, social and cultural rights. We note that States have ultimate responsibility for the implementation of national social protection floors. For the EU, coordination of the social protection systems, has been one of the pillars of the European integration process and we fully concur that human rights norms and social protection floors complement each other. These systems guarantee access to several services that are vital to the preservation of human dignity.

The EU welcomes the comments and clarification provided by the Secretary General regarding the report of the JIU on the review of management and administration of the office. We note that the Secretary General clarifies that there is no legislative basis to support a separation between the High Commissioner and his Office. Both function as one single unit, with an independent mandate. Likewise, we highlight the Secretary General's assessment that existing governance arrangements, as established by the General Assembly, strike an appropriate balance between independence and accountability.

The EU welcomes the summary of the panel discussion on history teaching and memorialization processes. The EU favours multi-perspective history teaching and agrees that a human rights-based approach to history teaching and memorialization processes is important to further mutual understanding and ensure the non-recurrence of serious human rights violations. We stress that history teaching and the memorialization of historical events must not be used as an instrument of ideological manipulation and propaganda, but as a means towards greater understanding of all viewpoints and truth.

Regarding the outcome of the panel discussion on protection of the family, the EU would like to underscore that the recognition of the different forms and compositions of families in our societies, is imperative in order to be able to fully understand and respond to their needs. We must also recognise that every individual within the family needs and is entitled to protection and support and that States bear the primary responsibility to ensure that these individual rights within the family are adequately catered for and protected.

Mr President,

The EU welcomes the summary report on the panel discussion on the promotion and protection of the right to privacy. We reiterate that any limitation to the right to privacy must be based on accessible, transparent, clear, comprehensive and non-discriminatory laws and limited to what is necessary and proportionate for safeguarding the public interest in a democratic society.

The EU underlines that all individuals enjoy the right to freedom of religion or belief, and that it is the States obligation to guarantee protection against acts of violence against any ethnic and religious minorities. The EU is concerned with the increasing number of instances of violence and discrimination against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities in various countries. Freedom of religion or belief must be protected everywhere and it applies equally to all persons, without supporting any specific religion or belief.

Thank you.

EU statement on Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association and the Rule of Law in Tajikistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union is becoming increasingly alarmed by the reduced space available for peaceful alternative political views to be publicly expressed in Tajikistan.  We fear that the current tendency to restrict open debate, including through the blocking of websites, risks driving alternative views underground, with the risk that those denied a legitimate political outlet for their opinions turn to more radical or extreme solutions. Several events have occurred recently that raise questions and concerns. 

2. The ODIHR preliminary conclusions noted that the March Parliamentary elections took place in a restricted political space. In that context, it is striking that the Islamic Revival Party, Central Asia’s only legal Islamic party, no longer has a voice in Parliament. 

3. We strongly condemn the killing of opposition politician and founder of Group 24, Mr Umarili Quvvatov, in Istanbul on 5 March and offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. We are confident that the Turkish authorities will conduct a full and transparent investigation, and bring the culprits to justice.

4. The European Union is concerned that the detention and conviction of opposition figures in Tajikistan, such as former Minister of Industry Zaid Saidov, may be politically motivated.

5. We welcome the fact that the sentence for bribery and fraud that was handed down to human rights lawyer and Social Democratic Party Deputy Director, Mr Sukhrat Kudratov, has been reduced on appeal. However we continue to question the motivation for his prosecution, and the timing and circumstances of his initial arrest. We fear that the example of Mr Kudratov’s prosecution may prove detrimental to the freedom and impartiality of Tajikistan’s legal profession. 

6. We welcome the statement made by the Tajik delegation at the Permanent Council last week concerning the government’s intention to continue to work with ODIHR in the future. We urge the Tajik authorities to fully respect their OSCE and UN commitments with regard to freedom of expression, freedom of association and the rule of law. 

EU statement on the occasion of International Women’s Day, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. 2015 marks a particularly important year for women's rights and gender equality. As we celebrate 40 years since the first world conference on the status of women (Mexico 1975), 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and 15 years since resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security we note advancements made and highlight gaps in many areas requiring political will and resources.

2. The EU remains at the forefront on promoting gender equality. Progress on women's rights is progress on human rights and it leads to smart politics and economics. Societies prosper when women are given an equal chance to participate freely in political, social and economic life. Therefore, we must ensure that women’s rights and lives do not depend on arbitrary decisions, lack of access to justice or biased governance institutions. Combating all forms of violence against women and girls remains a crucial endeavour. When discussing women's rights and gender equality, the role of men and boys must not be underestimated.

3. In the OSCE we look forward to meaningful discussions on an Addendum to the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, as tasked by the Basel Ministerial Council. Additionally, we underline the importance of implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and other OSCE commitments on these issues. We also wish to highlight the importance of implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and we support continued discussions on the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on the implementation of UNSCR 1325. Preventing sexual violence in conflict is another important area where the OSCE should be more engaged.

4. The International Women’s Day provides a good reminder to all of us of the work which remains to be done in promoting and advancing gender equality. The EU will continue steadfast in its endeavours to place gender equality, human rights and empowerment of women and girls at the forefront of the global agenda. 

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. Mr Chairman, we remain extremely concerned that Nadia Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, who was kidnapped in Ukraine and transferred to Russia, continues to be illegally detained. Nadia Savchenko remains seriously ill and her life is at risk, after having been on a hunger strike for more than 80 days. We underline that Russia bears a responsibility for her very fragile health. We call on Russia to urgently release Nadia Savchenko.. Also in keeping with the commitments of the Minsk package, all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine should be released.

2. We welcome that ODIHR representatives attended the court hearing on 25 February and we would be interested to hear their observations. We encourage ODIHR to continue monitoring the trial of Ms. Savchenko.

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of ODIHR, Mr Georg Michael Link, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States welcome Director Link back to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report.

2. In light of the immediate human rights, democracy and security challenges facing our region, the expert, professional and impartial role of ODIHR is as important as ever and we reiterate our full support for its excellent work. Many participating States have benefitted from ODIHR's advice on their path to democratic reform and their support in implementing commitments. Participating States must do their part to enable ODIHR to fulfill its mandate it has been entrusted with, including through provision of the necessary human and financial resources.

3. Responding to the crisis in and around Ukraine has rightly been high on the agenda of ODIHR. We commend ODIHR for its ongoing and intense engagement in Ukraine under challenging circumstances, including the Human Rights Assessment Mission Report and its two election observation missions last year. These activities are an important contribution to efforts to resolve this crisis. We welcome your readiness to deploy observers to specific areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to monitor local elections based on Ukrainian law and OSCE standards. We also commend ODIHR’s readiness to conduct a "Human Rights Assessment Mission" to the illegally annexed Crimea. Comprehensive international monitoring of the human rights situation in Crimea is essential, given the deeply worrying reports we receive of developments following the Russian illegal annexation. Drawing on reports from civil society and IDPs can be a good first step in this regard. It is crucial that ODIHR enjoys full and unimpeded access and full cooperation by all sides. This also applies to ODIHR's proposal to monitor the trial of Nadia Savchenko, following the attendance of ODIHR representatives at her court hearing on 25 February, and we urge the Russian Federation to enable a comprehensive monitoring.

4. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are at the heart of the OSCE's comprehensive approach to security. Security and stability are only possible when human rights and fundamental freedoms are fully respected, protected and strengthened. We attach the utmost importance to this dimension of the OSCE's work, and we are concerned about worrying negative trends in the implementation of our common commitments that have been taken on as obligations by all participating States.

5.  ODIHR adds value in many areas and is rightly seen as an international standard setter in election observation. We take this opportunity to reiterate our strong support for the professionalism, independence and impartiality of ODIHR’s election observation work. The scope of ODIHR’s activities is extensive and its guidelines and advice are rooted in international standards. The Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders published last year, as well as the recent ODIHR/Venice Commission joint Guidelines on Freedom of Association, are valuable tools and we call on all participating States to make use of these to improve the implementation of OSCE commitments. We encourage ODIHR's ongoing work on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief and hope that activities will be enhanced with the recruitment of a Policy Adviser in this area. Much remains to be done to enhance the inclusion of Roma and Sinti as described by you, Director Link, this morning. We support ODIHR's strong engagement with civil society and call for their active participation in the wider work of the OSCE.

6. In conclusion, we would like to take this opportunity to express our full appreciation for the work performed by you, Ambassador Link, and your staff, and assure you of the EU's continued support. 

EU statement in response to the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Didier Reynders, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

Mr Deputy Prime Minister,

1. It is a great pleasure for the European Union to welcome you in the Permanent Council of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We have listened with interest to your priorities and activities as Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and we thank you for your presentation.

Mr Chairman,

2. Deputy Prime Minister Reynders has shared with us a number of reflections on the context in which we work today. It is indeed important to keep reminding ourselves where we have come from in order to determine where we have to go.

3. European security has been jeopardised over the past year following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and its actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine. The wider implications of Russia’s violations of basic OSCE principles represent a significant challenge. It is important for the European Union, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe, that has valuable expertise to offer, to achieve complementarity and synergy to avoid duplication in our continuing efforts to de-escalate the crisis and seek an urgently needed sustainable political solution. We reiterate that any solution must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. In this regard, we also reiterate our concern on the situation in Crimea. Disturbing reports indicate that several groups opposed to the annexation face severe pressure, including Crimean Tatars.

4. The OSCE and the Council of Europe share common values and principles. Belgium’s Chairmanship of the Council of Europe provides an opportunity to build on existing efforts to strengthen the coherence and coordination of both organisations, especially in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law. We appreciate the continuous dialogue and practical cooperation that takes place between our two organisations. We should reinforce these joint efforts, at the political and strategic level; between representatives of both organisations; as well as on the ground in countries where our organisations and the European Union are active in supporting progress and reform. We also particularly support the Belgian efforts in taking forward the ongoing reform of the Council of Europe in particular the attempts to further strengthen the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, promote the implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and to make the Court more efficient.

5. The OSCE and the Council of Europe already cooperate in a number of areas. We very much value our close cooperation on human rights issues. We also welcome the joint work on combatting trafficking in human beings. We further welcome the close cooperation in the field of election observation and assistance. The partnerships involving OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission reinforce the individual work of our respective organisations. We also welcome the jointly prepared new guidelines by ODIHR and the Venice Commission on the Legal Personality of Religious and Belief Communities and on Freedom of Association.

6. One of the priorities of the EU in the Council of Europe is the fight against intolerance and hate speech. Today, more than ever, while standing up for freedom of expression, it is of utmost importance to actively combat hate speech that can lead to violent extremism and radicalisation. Recent terrorist attacks in our partner countries, as well as in Paris, Copenhagen, and last year in Brussels, have demonstrated that violent extremism is a global threat. Also within the OSCE we are determined to adopt a comprehensive approach to preventing and countering violent extremism and radicalisation that lead to terrorism, while upholding human rights, including the fundamental rights to freedom of expression, and the rule of law. Cooperation between our institutions could enhance the discussion and positively contribute to tackling this issue. In this respect, the EU welcomes the Belgian initiative to organise on 8th of May a high level conference on ‘Tolerance trumps hate’ in Brussels, which could feed in the upcoming OSCE Security Days Conference.

7. We welcome the work of the Council of Europe on counter-terrorism, in particular the Action Plan on Terrorism, as well as on the issue of foreign terrorist fighters, and look forward to the Additional Protocol to the CoE Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, which is currently being negotiated. We see substantial scope for synergies between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in the field of radicalisation. A strong CoE participation in the upcoming OSCE counter-terrorism conference on countering the incitement of foreign terrorist fighters and preventing their recruitment and departure would be useful.

8. Regarding the fight against cyber-crime, the Council of Europe is clearly in the lead with its Budapest Convention, which we fully support. The OSCE, on the other hand, is very active in the field of cyber security, where a first set of Confidence-Building Measures has been adopted and is being implemented and where a second set of CBM’s will hopefully be agreed this year.

9. We continue to believe that cooperation could be further pursued between the OSCE and the Council of Europe in other areas where joint work has already proven productive, including Freedom of Media, human rights education, improving the situation of Roma and Sinti, and combating discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

10. We will continue to work to make better use of the comparative advantages for an improved efficiency of both the OSCE and the Council of Europe, whilst fully respecting mandates and avoiding duplication. In doing so, the European Union looks forward to continuing to work with the very able and dedicated Belgian team here in Vienna.

11. I would like to once again sincerely thank Minister Reynders for sharing his ideas on the OSCE and the Council of Europe and we wish him every success in the future.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1044, 12 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that the ceasefire continues to be largely respected and the number of ceasefire violations has been reduced.  However, the situation continues to be fragile and instances of ceasefire violations occur, including in and around Donetsk airport and east of Mariupol, where the situation is of particular concern and where heavy weapons are being used. We are also seriously concerned that despite the declared ceasefire, there are further casualties almost on a daily basis. The ceasefire must be fully observed. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict. We repeat our call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments.

2. We note the many SMM observations of significant movements of convoys of heavy weapons from both sides of the line of contact. We are encouraged by the reduction in the use of heavy weapons along most of the line of contact. We reiterate that for the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the Minsk package, the SMM must receive the necessary baseline information. The SMM must have free access to fully monitor these movements and the storage of heavy weapons. Without baseline information and unhindered access there is a risk that heavy weapons might be relocated or hidden away and used in a new military build-up. We note for instance the SMM observation that a number of heavy weapons were hidden in a “LPR”-controlled coal mine.

3. We repeat our call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk Agreements by all signatories as the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. Full respect for the ceasefire regime and a verified withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential steps in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements. We once again call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE monitoring as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for a substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. In this context, we regret that Russia once again has not agreed to the necessary expansion of the Border Observation Mission at two Russian border checkpoints. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. The provisions concerning the political process included in the Minsk Agreements are also important parts in their entire implementation.

4. We welcome continuous efforts made in the Normandy format, including the oversight mechanism at the level of Political directors and Vice-ministers, to ensure full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

5. Mr Chairman, we attach great importance to the SMM that is playing a vital role on the ground and we reiterate our strong support to the SMM. [We welcome today’s decision on the extension of the SMM mandate and the expansion of the ceiling to 1000 monitors / We look forward to adopting a decision on extension of the mandate, including an expansion of the ceiling to 1000 monitors]. We stand ready to continue our support, including through financial and operational contributions. At the informal EU foreign ministers meeting last Friday, a discussion on how best to support the SMM took place with the presence of the OSCE Secretary General.  A key issue remains to ensure full and free access to the SMM to independently monitor and verify developments, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. The restrictions on movement are extensive in many places. For instance the SMM recently reported that they had no access whatsoever in the south of the Donetsk region controlled by the “DPR”. The safety and security of monitors is of paramount importance. The harassment, threats and warning shots they experience is unacceptable and must stop. We also note the continuing “jamming” of the UAVs.

6. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

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

Statement on occasion of the 44th Session of Working Group B, CTBTO Preparatory Commission, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

Mr Chairman,

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

2. Let me begin by thanking Dr Hein Haak for his dedication and invaluable work in steering the activities of this Working Group. The European Union would also like to congratulate Dr Joachim Schulze, on his election to the Chairmanship of Working Group B and wish him all the success in carrying out his important responsibilities as Chair of this subsidiary body of the Preparatory Commission. I can assure him of the EU’s full support and cooperation. The EU expresses its appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports, and you, Mr Chairmen, and the PTS for preparing this meeting.

3. The Integrated Field Exercise 2014 was the largest and the most technologicaly advanced simulated on-site inspection exercise ever conducted by the CTBTO. The EU expresses its gratitude to Jordan for hosting this Exercise and, in so doing, once again demonstrating its strong and long-standing support to the CTBT. The IFE14 marked a key milestone in the development of the CTBTO verification regime and was a major step for further advancing towards OSI operational readiness. We commend the Executive Secretary, the PTS staff and all international experts involved for a job well done. The successful Exercise will help us with the promotion of the ratifications of the Treaty. It also demonstrated the organisation’s ability to effectively monitor the compliance with the Treaty.

4. The EU attaches particular importance to the thorough evaluation of the Exercise. We noted the report on the preparation and conduct of the 2014 Integrated Field Exercise, published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1311. In this context, we look forward to the reports from the evaluation process and expect the detailed technical and highlevel findings to play a leading role in shaping the future OSI action plan which would focus on the priority actions needed to further develop operational OSI capabilities. The approach used in the Build-up Exercises and the IFE14 itself provides a solid basis for the future evaluation of OSI exercises. We welcome the development of the Evaluation Information Management System and encourage the PTS to develop this system further, learning the lessons from its application during the IFE14. We would also encourage a training and knowledge management plan where experiences from those who participated as inspectors of the Exercise can be recorded and used to shape future training cycles.

5. The EU thanks the PTS for its document CTBT/PTS/INF.1312 which updates States Signatories on the current status of the CTBTO's Equipment Storage and Maintenance Facility (ESMF) and encourages it to continue exploring all options to find an efficient and cost effective solution to this matter as soon as possible. We have been informed that constructive talks are taking place in this regard. We believe that a long-term solution needs to be found to this issue taking into account the unique requirements of the OSI Division, such as radionuclide calibration, testing and training of staff and rapid deployment.

6. It is of the utmost importance that the investments already made in the CTBTO verification regime are protected and sustained, that the installations under way are completed, and the stations built are certified. We have noted the installation and certification programme in 2015 and 2016 and are entirely supportive of the proposal. In addition, we are very pleased to learn that Ecuador and CTBTO have recently concluded a facility agreement. This fully opens the way to the establishment of two additional IMS stations, namely infrasound station IS20 and radionuclide station RN24, on the Galapagos Islands. We also noted the report on the status of PTS work on the IMS stations and radionuclide laboratories published in document CTBT/PTS/INF.142/Rev.36 and the progress reported therein, and encourage further efforts in improving the International Monitoring System. Thanks to this progress, it is now harder than ever for any State to conduct a nuclear explosive test without being detected by the International Monitoring System.

7. Station reliability continues to be essential. We highlight the importance of the efforts for the re-establishment of the hydro-acoustic station HA04 near Crozet Islands.

8. The EU supports efforts that lead to increased data availability, and we call on State Signatories to provide data to the CTBTO from all the installed stations that they host. We believe that all tools that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

9. We are pleased at the progress being made towards moving the IDC from Phase 5a to 5b and we look forward to working together on this subject. Regarding delays of delivery in IDC Reviewed Products, we encourage the PTS to continue to ensure that the quality and timeliness of the Reviewed Products are upheld, given these are a core part of the verification regime. In this context, we welcome the news that PTS is recruiting additional staff. Finally, we would also encourage preparation for Global Communications Infrastructure 3 (GCI3), and look forward to discussing this topic at the 45th session of WGB.

10. The EU emphasises the importance of security of supply of radiomedical isotopes, and acknowledges at the same time the need of minimising the interference of xenon radioisotope releases with global radioactive monitoring activity. We encourage the PTS to work closely with States Signatories and other International Organisations, in particular the IAEA, on this subject. We also encourage expert participation of all States at the upcoming 5th Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production Conference (WOSMIP), to be held in Brussels (Belgium) in May 2015.

11. The upcoming Science and Technology 2015 Conference will be an important milestone in further building and strengthening the CTBTO’s relationship with the scientific and research community. We look forward to the participation of a broad community of scientists, technologists, academics, representatives to the CTBTO's policy-making organs and agencies involved in research and development in areas relevant to the Treaty’s verification regime.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

12. I would like to confirm that the EU will continue to strive towards strengthening of the verification regime of the CTBTO, to build support for the universalisation of the CTBT and to further enhance the prospects for the entry into force.

Thank you Mr Chairman.

EU Statement on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 782, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome today's speakers Mr Thomas Göbel from the Federal Foreign Ministry of Germany and Dr Niklas Schörnig from the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt and thank them for their enlightening presentations on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS). We are also grateful to the Mongolian Chairmanship for having brought once again the issue of new technologies to the FSC agenda.

Discussions like this are useful indeed as they help reach a better understanding of an issue of great complexity, including of its politico-military, legal, ethical and humanitarian aspects. Important questions, though, still remain. For instance, alongside their comparative military advantages LAWS raise numerous questions such as their compatibility with international human rights law and humanitarian law as well as their possible impact on arms control regimes.

We welcome therefore discussions in the framework of the UN Certain Conventional Weapons Convention and look forward to the Informal Meeting of Experts on LAWS in April in Geneva with a view to further enhancing our common understanding of this important issue.

Coming back to the FSC day-to-day work, we are of the opinion that MC decision 10/14 provides a good basis for boosting relevant OSCE norms and activities, including in the field of SALW and conventional arms control, through improved implementation and increased coherence and complementarity with commitments related to the UN framework.

In this respect, the European Union recalls that the Arms Trade Treaty, which entered into force on 24 December 2014, is a landmark in the international security agenda and needs to gain universality and full implementation. We see an important role for the OSCE to this end on the basis of the provisions of MC decision 10/14.

In conclusion, we would like to once again express our gratitude to today's speakers for their contribution to achieving a harmonised approach to an important matter.

EU Statement in Response to H.E. Mr Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1043, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes H.E. Edward Nalbandian to the Permanent Council today and thanks him for his presentation.

2. Your Excellency, your visit comes at a time when we are confronted with the most serious challenge to European security in decades. Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine have seriously violated the basic OSCE principles and commitments.

3. The EU remains committed to strengthening the security of the whole OSCE region. We believe that it is essential that we achieve tangible progress towards the resolution of the protracted conflicts. In this context, the situation in the South Caucasus remains of great concern and has direct implications for the security and stability of the whole region.

4. We therefore strongly support a peaceful resolution to the long standing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to step-up their efforts to conduct comprehensive negotiations to find a lasting settlement. We support the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs in trying to find a peaceful resolution of the conflict. We join the call of the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group, reiterated by President Hollande at the Paris summit, in encouraging both sides to make progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement and to prepare the populations for peace. We note with interest the recent statement by the Minsk Co-Chairs which referred to potential next steps towards a settlement, as well as preparations for a future presidential meeting later this year.

5. We would further encourage the parties involved to take steps which will contribute to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, including through confidence-building measures in support of and fully complementary with the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. On this basis, the EU has been supporting and promoting such confidence-building measures across the conflict divide and we invite the parties to also cooperate with the EUSR. We would encourage all sides to continue to discuss with the International Committee of the Red Cross issues related to persons who were missing as a result of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. We call upon both Armenia and Azerbaijan to fulfil their commitments undertaken in the framework of the Minsk Group, to show readiness to compromise and engage in dialogue, and to refrain from any rhetoric or action that could heighten tension.

6. In this context we remain concerned about the serious incidents along the Line of Contact and along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We urge the sides to redouble their efforts to avoid such incidents in the future. We also reiterate the call of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries on both sides to settle pending humanitarian issues. We reiterate our support for the regular monitoring activities of the Personal Representative of the CiO, Ambassador Kasprzyk and his team, the HLPG, and for efforts to put in place a mechanism to investigate incidents along the front lines.

7. We would also like to encourage Armenia to continue to cooperate with the OSCE, including through the Office in Yerevan, which is providing valuable assistance to Armenia to implement its OSCE commitments. 

8. The EU notes the progress achieved in implementing reforms, while at the same time encouraging Armenia to accelerate reforms in specific areas, notably democracy and the rule of law, anti-corruption, human rights and fundamental freedoms, constitutional and judicial reforms. We would also like to draw attention to the important role of civil society and the need for reform of the electoral system. The EU is concerned about recent pressure on prominent members of the opposition in Armenia, and hopes that the government and opposition parties can work together productively to strengthen Armenia’s democratic institutions. In this regard we encourage the Government of Armenia to continue to work with ODIHR to address the issues raised in their election observation reports. We also reiterate our concern over the lack of results in the investigation of the March 2008 events.

9. The EU also wishes to stress the need to assure freedom of expression and of the media and reiterates its concern regarding cases of harassment and attacks against journalists, issues which have also been raised by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

10. We look forward to further developing our relationship with Armenia, including through launching negotiations on a new EU-Armenia agreement. The EU will continue to help Armenia implement the political and economic reforms the people of Armenia desire.

11. In conclusion, we would like to thank H.E. Edward Nalbandian for his address to the Permanent Council today.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 782, Vienna, 11 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. We stress that only the full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution of the crisis which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

We note reports by the SMM that the ceasefire is largely holding with the exception of some areas in the Donetsk region, notably in and around Donetsk airport, east of Mariupol and north of Debaltseve. In this context, we are deeply concerned by the SMM assessment that fighting near Mariupol could be part of the Russia-backed separatists' attempts to take control over this strategically important port city. We recall that any such attempts will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

Reports from the SMM of continued obstructions to its freedom of movement, including of several instances in which the SMM was prevented from monitoring and verifying the withdrawal of heavy weapons and of serious threats to SMM observers give rise to  grave concern and are unacceptable.

We remind once again that the strict, comprehensive and sustainable compliance with the ceasefire regime and the verifiable withdrawal of heavy weapons are essential for the successful implementation of the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk. The SMM was entrusted under the Minsk agreements to play a crucial role in this respect. We therefore strongly urge all sides to fully cooperate with the SMM to fulfil their tasks and mandate, including by providing the requested baseline information that would allow the SMM to monitor and verify the withdrawal of heavy weapons, ensuring unconditional and unrestricted access of the SMM to the areas under their control as well as providing the SMM personnel with the necessary security guarantees.

We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian- Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains of paramount importance.

Furthermore, we note the continued presence of heavy military equipment in areas

controlled by the separatists. We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard.

Only words matched with deeds will in the end bring real hopes of a political solution to this conflict. The European Union stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue. We draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 4 March in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

Mr Chairman,

We have closely followed the discussion, including at last week's AIAM, on the recent Vienna Document inspections to Russia. We have noted with concern the reports about flight restrictions applied by the Russian side during the inspections. Despite the explanations provided to this effect by Russia, we remain unconvinced that, under such circumstances, the genuine purpose of the inspections that is to alleviate security concerns stemming from Russian unusual military activities along the border with Ukraine has been met.

Cooperative spirit and good faith have no alternative in rebuilding trust and confidence

greatly affected by crisis situations. We note as a positive example in this context developments on the demining in the village of Kominternove which supports the security and safety of civilians and the process of confidence building. In a complementary sense, we strongly appeal to all participating States to make full use, both in letter and spirit, of the OSCE politico-military toolbox.

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

Federation to do likewise.

Third United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Statement of the European Union and its Member States

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

[alignment clause to be added – once statement is agreed among EU28, it is sent around to candidate and other partner countries for alignment]

We are approaching the end of a long and fruitful negotiation process.

The Hyogo Framework for Action agreed 10 years ago has been instrumental in supporting global, regional and national efforts for disaster risk reduction.

It is now time to set the world on a clear course for enhanced disaster resilience. We must keep high our ambition for the post-2015 Framework for Action as a key element for sustainable development.

This is what the Sendai conference needs to aim at. It is our collective responsibility.

The post 2015 framework should be universal and based on shared responsibility. The EU is ready to play its full part in such a new global partnership, together with all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.

It also needs to demonstrate our strong commitment to risk management and vulnerability reduction as critical components of human rights protection, poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies. But this is also a more cost-effective use of our funds: every euro invested in disaster risk reduction saves between four and seven euros of disaster response.

In international cooperation, development and humanitarian aid we have taken concrete measures to increase coordination, thus ensuring capacity-building and making resilience a priority in our work in all third countries most vulnerable to natural hazards.

At EU level, last year we revised our civil protection legislation with a very strong focus on preparedness and prevention policy and action. We are committed to the development of risk and risk management capability assessments. We have also integrated risk management measures in a number of key EU policies and financial instruments.

At this stage of the negotiations, we would like to convey the following main observations:

Firstly, the focus on effective implementation will be vital for the success of the new framework.  This should take place mostly at the country level, although national efforts can be reinforced also through cooperation and partnerships at regional and global levels. In this regard, regional inter-governmental organisations should play an important role to support efforts to implement the new framework.

We would like to reiterate the importance of the new framework of delivering results and measuring progress; to this end the EU has been supporting action-oriented targets linked to the priorities of action.

Transparency and accountability will be important as well as good governance, at all levels, as well as a comprehensive monitoring of all actions, which will be needed to ensure an effective use of resources and a greater focus on impact.

Secondly, we support a strong focus on the integration of disaster risk management within all national development policies, economic and financial strategies, research programmes, and multilateral and bilateral assistance programmes. In order to implement planned measures effectively and efficiently, the local and community level has to play a pivotal role in all parts of the disaster management cycle.

It is also crucial to ensure a joint approach with climate change adaptation and a strengthened focus on reducing the underlying risk drivers and building the resilience of ecosystems.

Thirdly, it is vital that the new framework addresses vulnerabilities and needs and harnesses the potential of civil society. It should also integrate gender, age, and disabilities for a more inclusive disaster risk management.

Fourthly, we have been advocating in the course of negotiations for a framework factoring in conflict and fragility, technological risks, emerging risks, and global shocks and stresses such as food and nutrition insecurity and epidemics.

Fifthly, we support the need for a more effective investment in disaster risk management. The new framework should also clearly emphasise the contribution of disaster risk management to innovation, job creation and sustainable growth

The mobilisation of all resources as well as their effective use will be vital for the successful implementation of the framework. We need to make sure that the Financing for Development negotiation track set for July, in Addis Ababa remains the main forum to settle these issues.

Finally, several concomitant milestone events will take place in the next months  leading to global frameworks that will define our collective priorities for years to come. The succession of, inter alia, the Sendai Conference, the July Addis Conference, the September Post-2015 Summit and the December Paris Climate Conference, as well as the World Humanitarian Summit next year offer the international community a great opportunity to ensure a coherent international framework for action.

This should be further reflected at operational level and will involve coordinated action and advocacy to partners and stakeholders across these processes.

All countries have shared challenges in the face of disasters and the Member States of the EU are not spared. Ownership at appropriate levels will be of key importance for the implementation of the framework.

The EU and its Member States are determined to continue playing an active role in the implementation of the new framework and stand ready to engage in an open and constructive dialogue with all partners and stakeholders. 

EU statement on the Ratification by Mongolia of Two Key Human Rights Conventions, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to the statement issued by the spokesperson for the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini on 20 February regarding the ratification by Mongolia of two key human rights conventions:

2. "Mongolia's recent ratification of both the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is an important step in promoting and respecting human rights at the international, regional and domestic level. The EU stands ready to assist Mongolia in the full implementation of these key human rights instruments.”

3. The EU calls upon states that have not yet done so to consider signing, ratifying or acceding to the Optional Protocol and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance as a matter of priority.

4. Although all OSCE participating States have now ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, much remains to be done in terms of making its provisions a reality. We therefore hope the issue of torture will remain high on the OSCE's agenda.

EU statement on ODIHR/VENICE Commission Guidelines on Freedom of Association, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw attention to the launch in Geneva today of the guidelines on Freedom of Association developed jointly by ODIHR and the Venice Commission.  We pay tribute to the excellent work done by the group of experts that prepared the guidelines. 

2. We very much welcome these guidelines and see them as an important and timely contribution in a context where international standards and commitments in relation to freedom of association are increasingly being undermined.

3. The right to the Freedom of Association is an essential prerequisite to any democratic society and facilitates the fulfilment of many other rights including freedom of expression.  But there has been a disturbing trend in some OSCE participating States that has seen the space for independent civil society restricted by legislation and policies that impede and control the enjoyment of freedom of association.  The consideration and enactment of laws that restrict access to foreign funding for NGOs and label them as foreign agents is one the most worrying examples of such restrictive measures.

4. We therefore welcome the inclusion in the joint guidelines of a set of guiding principles and note that they recall important obligations including states’ duty to not only protect, but also to facilitate the exercise of freedom of association. The guiding principles also highlight the importance of associations being free to seek, receive and use resources.

5. Mr Chairman,

The European Union recognises that the joint guidelines are neither legally binding nor negotiated by consensus. They are however rooted in OSCE commitments and international law and standards. It is in that spirit that we encourage all participating States to welcome such documents as a source of reference, guidance and practical advice to aid the implementation of our common commitments.

6. In conclusion, we recall the draft Ministerial Council Decision on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and the Freedom of Association in the OSCE Area that we tabled prior to the Basel Ministerial Council meeting.  We were pleased that the draft received the co-sponsorship of over 40 participating States and will continue to promote the adoption of a decision on this topic. These joint guidelines are an important addition to our draft initiative. We look forward to further discussing these issues at the first Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting next month.

EU statement on the murder of Boris Nemtsov, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union strongly condemns the brutal murder of Boris Nemtsov, the former Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, former Governor of Nizhny Novgorod and one of the leaders of Russia's liberal opposition. He was killed just before a demonstration which he was organising against the effects of the economic crisis and the conflict in and around Ukraine. In the event, the planned demonstration became a commemorative march which attracted tens of thousands of Russians who marched through Moscow in a show of protest.

2. Boris Nemtsov was a strong advocate for a modern, prosperous and democratic Russian Federation, open to the world. Our thoughts are with his family and friends and the Russian people.

3. The EU urges the Russian authorities to conduct a full, rapid and transparent investigation into this assassination, bringing the culprits swiftly to justice. We would appreciate if the Russian delegation could provide the Permanent Council with regular updates on the investigation of the murder.

EU statement on the Abduction by Russian Federation of an Estonian Police Officer, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. Exactly six months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the Estonian-Russian border. His abduction and continuing illegal detention in Lefortovo prison constitute a clear and grave violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

2. The EU remains seriously concerned about the conduct of the court proceedings in respect of Mr Kohver. His illegal pre-trial detention has been extended until 5 April. Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive appropriate legal aid by the attorney appointed by Russian authorities. We are particularly disturbed about the order of an unfounded psychiatric examination, the details of which still remain unknown.

3. Despite repeated requests, the Russian authorities have failed to resolve the issue. We call once again on the Russian Federation to act according to its international obligations and release Mr Eston Kohver immediately and guarantee his safe return to Estonia.

EU statement on recent political developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union expresses its deep concern at the current political situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The latest political developments raise serious issues such as the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedom of media, which are core values of any democratic society and are at the heart of the EU and its accession process.

2. We call on all political actors to act responsibly and cooperate, in good faith, to overcome the current impasse, restart a political dialogue, and restore trust in the institutions. In the interest of their citizens, the country’s leaders must now act and focus together on the strategic priorities of the country.

3. The EU is deeply concerned at indications of wide-spread illegal surveillance of citizens, including civil society and journalists, as the Representative on Freedom of the Media has also expressed. We join the calls for the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to ensure that the content and substance of the allegations are fully and transparently investigated, with full regard for due process and the principle of presumption of innocence.

4. Finally, the EU draws the attention to recurring incidents of hate speech in the media in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The EU is very concerned about the further deteriorating situation as regards freedom of expression and of media in the country.

EU statement on the Parliamentary Elections in Tajikistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union takes note of the preliminary findings and conclusions of the OSCE/ODIHR, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament's International Election Observation Mission to the Tajikistan Parliamentary Elections of 1 March 2015.

2. The strong turnout in the election demonstrates the commitment of the people of Tajikistan to the democratic process. Nevertheless, the preliminary conclusions of the election observers state that the 1 March parliamentary elections took place in a restricted political space and failed to provide a level playing field for candidates.

3. Although the government had expressed its ambition to hold democratic elections, and some improvements were made to the electoral law, restrictions on the right to stand, freedoms of expression and assembly, and access to media limited the opportunity to make a free and informed choice.

4. The EU welcomes the will of the Tajikistani authorities to have a large presence of national and international observers. 

5. We call on the Tajik authorities to effectively address the restrictions and irregularities mentioned in the OSCE/ODIHR preliminary statement. The EU stands ready to assist Tajikistan in its efforts to bring the election process into line with OSCE commitments and other international standards for democratic elections.

EU Statement on Russia’s Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. We welcome reports by the Special Monitoring Mission that the ceasefire is being largely respected in most areas along the line of contact. Full respect for the ceasefire is a basic precondition for the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements as outlined in the Minsk package of 12 February. We regret instances of ceasefire violations, including near Mariupol and Donetsk airport. We note SMM’s assessment that attacks on government controlled towns east of Mariupol may indicate an attempt to test the eastern defences of the city. We reiterate that any attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory will be a clear breach of the Minsk agreements and seriously undermine all efforts promoting a sustainable political solution.

2. The SMM has observed movement of some heavy weapons from both sides of the line of contact. In this context, we deeply regret that the SMM has not received the baseline information that would allow the SMM to verify a withdrawal in line with the provisions of the Minsk package. Without this there is a risk that heavy weapons might be relocated and be included in a new military build-up. Therefore, the SMM must continue to insist on receiving this information which we call on the parties to provide without delay. Even if heavy weapons are withdrawn outside the ‘security zone’, verification must be ensured. We note with regret that Russia has still not replied to the letter of Ambassador Apakan of 13 February. Attempts by Russia and the separatists to have the SMM confirming a withdrawal, without giving the SMM the information and unconditional access to verify this, are clearly unacceptable.

3. We continue to note the continued presence of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists.  We call for the immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE as well as disarmament of all illegal groups. We underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We call for the full implementation of all aspects of the Minsk agreements by all signatories, including substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We reiterate that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border remains essential. We underline that there is a close link between sanctions and the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

4. We reiterate our strong support for the SMM. Its role has become even more vital as we rely on the SMM to facilitate the implementation of key aspects of the Minsk agreements. We need a robust SMM working at full capacity and with full and free access to independently monitor and verify developments, without any external pressure, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. We call on all sides to provide security and safety and access for SMM monitors. We reiterate our support for an extension of SMM’s mandate and look forward to an early decision on extension. The EU stands ready to further support the SMM, including through financial and operational contributions. The SMM is a collective OSCE endeavor and this should be fully reflected in the funding arrangement.

5. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship.

6. Mr Chairman, we continue to closely follow the media coverage of the crisis in and around Ukraine. We are very concerned about the use of propaganda in Russian state-owned media outlets that fuel hatred and extremism. The ongoing information war must stop. We share the concern expressed by the Representative on Freedom of the Media in regard to limitations on Russian media outlets and on some Russian journalists working in Ukraine. We note the observation of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights about continuing attacks on journalists in Ukraine, in particularly in eastern areas controlled by armed groups and in Crimea. The death of a Ukrainian photojournalist in the Donetsk region on 28 February is another stark reminder of the alarming security situation for journalists covering the conflict.

7. In its ninth report, the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine again presents the outstanding and emerging human rights challenges in the eastern regions of Ukraine, and in illegally annexed Crimea, as well as other parts of the country. We note the observation that in areas controlled by the separatists “parallel structures” have been established and the break down in law and order in these areas accommodates persistent violations of the rights of civilians, including abductions, arbitrary detention, beatings and alleged torture. We also note that the situation in Crimea continues to be characterised by systematic human rights violations affecting mostly Crimean Tartars and those who opposed the so-called March “referendum”.

8. Mr Chairman, we recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that so-called humanitarian convoys from Russia continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

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

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1042, 5 березня 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to draw the attention of the Permanent Council to yesterday’s statement by High Representative Federica Mogherini on the continued detention of Nadiya Savchenko: 

2. `Today, a Moscow court rejected another appeal from Nadiya Savchenko against her illegal detention by the Russian Federation, introduced in reference to her immunity as a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a decision earlier today in Strasbourg by an overwhelming majority calling for her urgent release.

3. Ms Savchenko has now been on hunger strike for 82 days. After such an extended period of time, she faces permanent damage to her health, or death. The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has called again for her urgent release to preserve her life.

4. Once again, I add my voice to all of those calling on the Russian authorities to urgently release Ms Savchenko on humanitarian grounds. I also call for the release of Oleh Sentsov and all other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens.  This would be in keeping with the recently agreed "Package of measures for the implementation of the Minsk agreements" and the commitment to release all hostages and detained persons related to the conflict in Ukraine’

Problem of the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Statement on the occasion of the Special segment on the preparations for the UNGA Special Session on the World Drug Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

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

2. UNGASS 2016 will be a prominent platform and a very useful opportunity for the international community to take stock of the achievements of the international drug control system to date, to elaborate on the immense challenges that remain in the global, local and national response to the world drug problem and to find workable, operational and sustainable solutions for the longer term within the framework of the international treaties.

3. The EU strongly believes that UNGASS should not be a mere replica of the High Level Review of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action carried out in March 2014. Of course, the 2014 Joint Ministerial Statement shall serve as a very important basis for the debate, but we should seize the opportunity to discuss within UNGASS 2016 challenges that remain and possible solutions that respond to the evolving nature of the problem.

4. We appreciate the efforts undertaken to guarantee an inclusive preparatory process leading to UNGASS 2016 and emphasise the need to ensure the most effective involvement of all relevant UN agencies and bodies, in particular dealing with public health, human rights, development and security both in the preparations for and during UNGASS 2016 itself. GA Resolution 69/200 invites all relevant UN agencies and bodies to contribute fully to the preparations for UNGASS and we welcome their active role.

5. We welcome the consensus for a strong engagement of the NGOs in all debates. We also support the proposal of a formal civil society hearing prior to UNGASS, the outcomes of which should contribute to the UNGASS processes.

6. As far as the draft agenda of UNGASS 2016 is concerned, we support the proposal to have a three-day Special Session and to focus on achievements and challenges in addressing the world drug problem, in the framework of a more effective implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

7. We welcome the idea to organise High Level Workshops during the UNGASS 2016 in parallel to the high level general debate and the suggestion that these workshops should be interactive, including involvement of all stakeholder, namely civil society and scientific community.

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

Mr. Chairman,

9. The EU and its Member States believe that the outcome document of the high level workshops to be discussed at UNGASS 2016 should consequently include the following recommendations:

a. UN Conventions which provide the international legal framework for addressing the drugs phenomenon and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights are the cornerstone of the global response to the world drug problem. The drug control treaties must be acknowledged and respected in developing and implementing national drug policies and laws, as well as regional and international programmes;

b. the key objective of the international drug control system is to protect public health, to protect citizens against social and societal damage caused by drug use to tackle marginalization and stigmatization and to contribute to reintegration in society. In this sense, dependant drug users should be considered as people who need treatment and care. These objectives can be achieved by improving the implementation of provisions agreed upon the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem;

c. an effective drug policy should be based on a global and a balanced approach, comprising drug demand reduction, including prevention, treatment, risk and harm reduction and care, and drug supply reduction, including prevention and dissuasion and disruption of drug-related crime as well as international cooperation;

d. the initiatives of developing methods aiming to achieve experience based knowledge and evidence in order to attain a measurable reduction in illicit supply and demand of drugs as well as drug related harm should be welcomed and supported, if these initiatives are undertaken in line with the principles of an integrated and balanced strategy to counter the drug problem, international law and common and shared responsibility;

e. the new challenges such as the spread of non-scheduled new psychoactive substances for the purpose of consumption by humans, the use of new technologies in drug trafficking and related money-laundering, and the growing use of substitute or alternative precursor chemicals used to replace traditional precursors under international control must be addressed internationally under the framework of international drug control policies;

f. civil society, including the scientific community, has much to offer and can facilitate the works of policymakers and represents a valuable asset in terms of their field knowledge, resources and commitment. Therefore their meaningful participation in the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug demand reduction policies should be promoted and encouraged;

g. there is a need for full implementation of the relevant international legal instruments related to the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to life, and the inherent dignity of all individuals, when addressing the world drug problem, assessing current policies and elaborating national and international solutions;

h. from the perspective of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the absolute priority is the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including for drug-related crimes, as well as the abolition of other practices which are not in line with the principles of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights;

i. there is an urgent need for improving access to and availability of controlled medicines, and avoiding unnecessary obstacles to access to essential medicines, as a result of the response to illicit drug trafficking, by looking at possible obstacles within the framework of the Conventions, by supporting the development of health systems, and stressing WHO's important role to strengthen health system capacity globally;

j. drug demand reduction should be based universally on effective, targeted and efficient evidence-based programs and best practices in prevention, early detection and intervention, access without discrimination to treatment, therapeutic plan, risk and harm reduction services, social reintegration and recovery; whenever new methods or approaches are tested in order to gain evidence on the effectiveness of such new services human rights and the protection of human dignity shall be duly respected;

k. the general requirements of best practice are high level of coverage, easy access to services, continuity of care over different settings, and patient satisfaction;

l. the drug problem has a gender dimension that must be highlighted both regarding drug demand and supply reduction;

m. national drug strategies should guarantee access to prevention, risk and harm reduction, diagnosis, treatment, care, support services relating to blood-borne diseases associated with drug use but not limited to HIV and viral hepatitis for dependent drug users, taking into account the humanitarian interventions outlined in the technical guidance documents of WHO, UNODC and UNAIDS;

n. facilitating access to research, evaluation and monitoring findings is vital to ensure that well-informed decisions are made on priority measures to be taken and interventions to be implemented;

o. These findings are required to provide policymakers and the professionals working in the drugs field with solid information on evidence-based interventions and best practices in the diverse and complex field of drug use;

p. the application of contemporary practices based on the principles of “restorative justice” and “alternatives to coercive sanctions” will bring significant benefits in terms of cost-effectiveness, in both public health and society as a whole;

q. strengthening of international cooperation to prevent and counter drug- related organised crime, including drug trafficking, should be promoted by:

- intelligence-sharing and the exchange of best practices;

- strengthening counter-narcotics capacity and developing expertise of origin and transit countries;

- working with international partners to tackle drug trafficking;

- implementation of law enforcement and judicial cooperation mechanisms and mutual legal assistance instruments applicable to drug trafficking and related crimes;

- promoting closer cooperation between existing law enforcement coordination centres and platforms;

- further developing of multi-disciplinary training and awareness activities at national, regional and international level;

- improving the technical capacity of Judges, Public Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Officials in the field of drugs as well as creating, strengthening and developing the mechanisms for the identification, freezing, seizure and confiscation of property obtained through or derived from drug trafficking and related crimes;

r. alternative development measures should be promoted as a long term approach to tackle the root causes of drug crop cultivation such as poverty, weak statehood, lack of food security, poor infrastructure and limited access to sales markets for licit products, lack of access to land, lack of technical capacity to grow alternative crops, local conflicts and violence;

s. alternative development proves to be successful and sustainable if the corresponding programs are non-conditional, non-discriminating and, if eradication is scheduled, properly sequenced;

t. there is a need for strengthening of cooperation between financial institutions, regional banks, development organizations and UN specialized agencies so that alternative development becomes part of the sustainable development agenda.

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

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Statement on the occasion of the 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Mr. Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union1.

2. Let me start by welcoming you, Ambassador, as Chair of the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which takes place one year before UNGASS, and which dedicates almost 4 days to the special segment on UNGASS preparations. We are confident that under your able guidance, we will successfully accomplish our work. I would like to assure you and the other members of the Bureau of the full cooperation of the European Union in carrying out your work.

3. We played an active part in the mid-term review, which took place last year, and we will continue providing active contribution to deliberations this year. Our contribution will be guided by the principles that are essential for the EU and its Member States, in particular respect for human rights, maintaining a balanced, comprehensive, and evidence-based approach and an integrated gender perspective, as well as ensuring an active role for civil society. We underline that the three international drug control conventions, as well as international human rights law continue to provide the cornerstone for addressing the world drug phenomenon.

4. Since 2009, much progress has been made to address the world drug situation, but the problem is not solved. Too many people still lose their lives; too many people suffer from the consequences of drug abuse or trafficking. No country or region is immune to this problem.

5. Within the CND special segment on UNGASS, we should have an open debate on challenges and appropriate solutions taking into consideration different policy options at national and regional level and ensuring coherence and success at global level through full respect for human rights, international law, the three international drug control conventions, and relevant political documents, such as the Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS. In this regard, it is important to note that the international drug conventions are focused on public health, are human rights centred, and flexible.

6. The EU is committed to contribute to this debate in line with the principles enshrined in the EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020.

7. An essential principle for the EU is the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, solidarity, the rule of law and human rights. The EU is opposed to the use of measures of any kind that are not respectful of the human being. In this regard, we oppose the death penalty in all cases and without exception including for drug-related offences, and we are consistently calling for its universal abolition. We call upon states that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing it.

8. The EU Drugs Strategy fully respects the three International Drug Control Conventions, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and UN political documents, such as the UN Political Declaration and Action Plan on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, the UN Political Declaration on HIV/AIDS, and the Joint Ministerial Statement of 2014.

9. Evidence shows that a strict balance between drug demand and drug supply interventions is vital to ensure the effective implementation of the international drug control system. In this regard, in order to avoid drug interventions having limited impacts, and sometimes unintended consequences, we should consolidate the evidence base of our policies.

10. We consider that demand reduction policies, to be effective, should cover a range of equally important and mutually reinforcing evidence based measures such as prevention, early detection and intervention, risk and harm reduction, treatment, rehabilitation, social reintegration and recovery.

11. The EU Drugs Strategy underlines the importance to raise awareness about the risk of using illicit drugs, as well as new psychoactive substances, within the scope of existing prevention programmes. Prevention measures should include early detection and intervention, promotion of healthy lifestyles and targeted prevention directed also at families and communities.

12. We support risk and harm reduction as one of the mutually reinforcing health interventions in the context of an integrated health care approach. Both our experience and the objective, regular evaluation of the outcome and impact of our policies, have proved that in Europe, risk and harm reduction interventions have been successful, by helping reduce the spread of infectious diseases (HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, tuberculosis) and the number of drug-related deaths.

13. Evidence has made risk and harm reduction a principle that is accepted by all 28 MS of the EU and enshrined in our common drug strategy. Risk and harm reduction measures are also successfully implemented by many other countries around the world and we hope to see this more widely acknowledged.

14. There are other important issues that must be carefully considered while addressing drug demand: the spread of new psychoactive substances, the misuse of and dependence on prescribed medicines, the need to increase focus on drug-use related harms (e.g. morbidity, mortality and co-morbidity, HIV, Hepatitis C), the need to boost evidence gathering, research, sharing and introduction of best practice and standards in order to expand and develop demand reduction interventions and services in each country.

15. With regard to supply reduction, which is one of the main pillars of the EU Plan of Action, we reaffirm the need to contribute to a disruption of the illicit drugs market and a measurable reduction of the availability of illicit drugs and to continue to prevent the diversion of drug precursors.

16. We reaffirm the need to enhance capacity-building and strengthen the measures in place to combat money laundering and improve judicial cooperation within a comprehensive approach to dismantle criminal organisations, and to better align legislations and practices, with full respect of human rights. In this regard, the European Union underlines the importance of the full and universal implementation of the UNTOC and the Protocols thereto as well as of the UNCAC.

17. Stronger interregional exchange of information and international cooperation, such as in the framework of the FATF, is necessary to facilitate the confiscation of proceeds of drug-related organised crime and criminal asset recovery and for hindering the use of tax havens by criminal organizations.

18. We consider it a priority to enhance development-oriented approaches to tackle the root causes of illicit drug cultivation in the long term, implement measures of rural development, strengthen governance and institutions, improve access to legal markets and infrastructures and to promote the participation of local communities. Therefore, multilateral and bilateral development agencies should be encouraged to participate in the design and implementation of alternative development policies and projects. The EU is very active in this field and funded and implemented successful projects in several countries.

19. We remain concerned by the latest negative trends mentioned in the INCB Report, including the rapid emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances. 4

20. We stand ready to work with the international community to tackle the emergence and rapid spread across the world of those new psychoactive substances which are posing a serious threat to public health and therefore are a source of great concern.

21. Sharing information and best practices, acknowledging and recognising evidence at international level is essential, as is international cooperation.

22. The EU reiterates the active and meaningful involvement of civil society, including scientific community, non-governmental organisations as well as young people, people using drugs and clients of drug related services in the development and implementation of drugs policies at national, EU and international level. Within the review process of the world drug policy we underline the important role of civil society and of the scientific community in providing relevant evidence to policy-makers.

23. The European Union and its Member States are also long standing strategic partners and supporters of UNODC drug projects and programmes, which are focused on both demand and supply reduction measures. In terms of supply reduction, we support the projects and programmes in the fields of law enforcement capacity-building, criminal justice system reform, implementation of UNTOC and UNCAC, border management, anticorruption, maritime security and alternative development.

24. The EU submitted two draft resolutions:

-L.5 Promoting the role of drug analysis laboratories worldwide and reaffirming the importance of the quality of the analysis of such laboratories;

-L.6 Promoting interventions on production of young people and children with particular reference to the sale of illicit drugs and new psychoactive substances over the internet.

We would be grateful for the support of the Member States for these draft resolutions.

Mr. Chairman,

25. We are fully committed to taking part in the preparations for UNGASS 2016, and we will deliver a separate statement on UNGASS preparations later today. We will address other agenda items at appropriate times.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

Agenda item 6c: International Narcotics Control Board – Part I, Statement on the occasion of 58th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Vienna, 9-17 березня 2015 року

Mr. Chairman,

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

2. The EU would like to thank the International Narcotics Control Board for its 2014 Annual Report, containing its analysis of the drug control situation worldwide.

3. The European Union is firmly opposed to the use of the death penalty in all cases and under any circumstances. We very much appreciate that the report in its foreword addresses the issue of death penalty and encourages those States which retain and continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offences to consider abolishing the death penalty for such offences. We are of the opinion, that it is a duty of the INCB to tackle this issue and to express its objective evaluation.

4. We appreciate that the Report underlines the respect for human rights norms and has a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach in addressing the world drug problem. This Report highlights that the ultimate goal of the drug control conventions is to ensure the health and welfare of mankind.

5. The issue of availability of intentionally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes is a key topic for the CND. We appreciate that the INCB Report confirms the importance ensuring that controlled substances are available for medical and scientific purposes, while reaffirming the importance of tackling the illicit production of, and trafficking in drugs.  We highlight the importance of the drug control system, in particular the scheduling. However various inefficiencies in dealing with scheduling requirements imposed by the three drug control conventions may result in decreased clinical use of controlled substances. In this respect we agree with the Board that the situation could be substantially improved through corrective action by States parties to address the regulatory, attitudinal, knowledge-related, economic and procurement-related problems identified as the main causes of inadequate availability of opioids. We welcome that the INCB collects the data on availability of drugs for medical and scientific purposes.

6. We share the view expressed in the INCB Report that socioeconomic aspects as poverty, food insecurity, economic inequality, social exclusion, are some of the factors that have an impact on both the supply and demand sides of the world drug problem, affect the interaction between both sides, and are important drivers of the drug phenomenon.

7. We have to express our concerns on the latest negative trends mentioned in the Report, including the rapid emergence and spread of new psychoactive substances. The UNODC early warning advisory on NPS identified 388 unique substances on 1 October 2014, as 11 percent increase from the 248 substances reported in 2013. The EU's Early Warning System identified 101 substances in 2014 in Europe, the number has doubled in the last 4 years. Some of these substances may have disappeared from the market in the meantime, but they could be quickly substituted. The lack of data is a problem when discussing NPS. According to UNODC, no scientific articles are available for over 50% of known NPS. However, existing evidence such as that assessed by the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence shows that some new psychoactive substances present a substantial risk to public health. More information is crucial to determine the potential harm of new psychoactive substances and to take evidence-based decisions in order to protect public health. We commend the work of the INCB’s NPS Task Force and the UNODC Global SMART programme for their efforts on this important issue.

8. The EU is committed to bilateral and regional cooperation at a political level, such as the Coordination and Cooperation Mechanism between the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the EU; increased judicial cooperation and; developing a shared evidence-base, including through cooperation between the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and other national and regional observatories. We will continue to further strengthen such dialogue and cooperation with third countries and international organisations in a comprehensive and balanced manner.

9. The EU underlines that international drug control must be carried out in conformity with the UN Charter and with full respect for human rights. The EU is committed to ensuring that the protection of human rights is fully integrated in our political dialogue with third countries as well as in the implementation and delivery of relevant technical cooperation programs and projects in the field of drugs, funded by the European Union and its Member States.

10. The EU encourages the active and meaningful participation and involvement of civil society, including non-governmental organisations and the scientific community, as well as young people, people who use drugs, and clients of drug-related services, in the formulation, development and implementation of drugs policies at national, EU and international level.

Mr. Chairman,

11. The EU also takes on board the need to raise awareness about the risk of using new psychoactive substances, as well as illicit drugs, within the scope of existing prevention programmes. Prevention measures should include early detection and intervention, promotion of healthy lifestyles and targeted prevention (i.e. selective and indicated) directed also at families, schools and communities.

12. We are committed to investing in effective risk and harm reduction measures aimed at substantially reducing the number of direct and indirect drug-related deaths and infectious blood-borne diseases associated with drug use, including, but not limited to, HIV and viral hepatitis as well as sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.

13. Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I would now like to hand over to my colleague from the European Union, who will complete this statement by speaking on the subject of precursor control.

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

Six months have passed since the abduction of Estonian police officer Mr Eston Kohver on 5 September by the Russian Security Services on Estonian territory near the border with Russia. His abduction and continuing detention constitute a violation of international law by the Russian Federation.

In addition to his illegal detention, Mr Kohver has been deprived of the right to fair proceedings and he does not receive appropriate legal aid. We are particularly disturbed about Russia's demand that he undergoes a psychiatric examination, the details and reasoning of which remain unknown.

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

EU Statement at the Opening Session, OSCE 25th Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting, Vienna, 3 - 4 березня 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the 25th Annual Implementation Assessment Meeting (AIAM). Since our last AIAM the crisis in and around Ukraine continues to raise concerns about the European security situation.

We take this occasion to reiterate once again that the only way out of the crisis is a

sustainable political solution which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We strongly support the Package of Measures adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk and urge all sides to implement fully and without delay the Minsk agreements. Full cessation of the hostilities, strict and comprehensive compliance with the ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons as agreed to in Minsk are of vital importance.

Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine challenge the security system, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, thus making clear that security and stability in Europe cannot be taken for granted. Additionally, Russia’s actions in and around Ukraine have put into question key elements of the conventional arms control (CAC) and Confidence- and Security-Building Measures (CSBMs) regimes in Europe.

The Russian aggressiveness in Ukraine while raising concerns also underscores the potential value of CSBM and CAC agreements when countries comply with their commitments and obligations and implement them fully and in good faith. In particular, the crisis in and around Ukraine is yet another reminder of the urgent need to modernise the Vienna Document so that it better addresses the current European security environment.

We recall that the very purpose of the Vienna Document is to build confidence and security to give effect to commitments all OSCE participating States have made to refrain from the threat or use of force, including in relation to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of States. The importance of such instruments could not be greater in the context of fast evolving and deeply disturbing events in Ukraine.

The 25th AIAM comes a few months after the Basel Ministerial Council where for a third consecutive year no consensus has been reached with regard to the draft decision on Issues Relevant to the FSC, missing thereby an opportunity to underscore and give further impetus to the process of revitalisation, updating and modernisation of CSBM and CAC regimes. Nonetheless, we still consider enduring commitments on CAC and CSBM regimes as set out in Astana, Vilnius and other relevant OSCE documents, to be not only a valid basis for the FSC’s work in 2015 but also in need of further progression.

We believe that in such circumstances respecting and modernising the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area is an urgent task to be pursued in a priority manner. Hence, this year's AIAM has the potential to enlighten us on the way ahead and we are looking forward to a constructive debate among delegations, guided by the moderators' inspiring Food-for-Thought papers and supplemented by practical examples of implementation.

We would also like to reiterate our readiness to pursue both a pragmatic and forward looking approach in the process of modernisation of the Vienna Document on CSBMs with the aim of ensuring increased military stability, transparency and predictability for all participating States and to rebuild confidence lost during the ongoing crisis. In this context, it is our firm opinion that lessons should be learned in view of alleviating Vienna Document's possible shortfalls in addressing crisis situations.

We look forward to a fruitful 25th AIAM under the Chairmanships of the Hungary and Ireland within the framework of FSC Decision 7/14, and to beneficial discussions among delegations.

We would like to ask you Mr Chairman to attach this statement to the journal of AIAM.

Agenda item 5a: Strengthening Africa’s regional capacity for the diagnosis of emerging or re-emerging zoonotic diseases, including Ebola virus disease, and establishing early warning systems,Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2 - 6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

2. The EU would like to commend the Director General, the Secretariat and the Department of Technical Cooperation for preparing the proposal for a Technical Cooperation Project on “Strengthening Africa’s Regional Capacity for the Diagnosis of Emerging or Re-emerging Zoonotic Diseases, Including Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), and Establishing Early Warning Systems” as contained in document GOV/2015/11.

3. The EU and its Member States welcome the participation of the IAEA, within its mandate and through its TC Programme, in the global effort called for by the UN Secretary General and the UN Security Council to respond to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In this regard, we would like to express our appreciation for the activities conducted so far by the Agency in order to strengthen the capacities of countries in the region for rapid and effective EVD diagnosis by means of nuclear-derived diagnostic assay techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).

4. The EU and its Member States have so far pledged around €1.2 billion to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. We would also like to mention that [today/tomorrow] [on 3 March], the EU, together with Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the African Union, ECOWAS and the United Nations, is holding a major international conference on Ebola in Brussels.

5. The EU welcomes further efforts and initiatives, such as The Global Health Security Agenda, aimed at enhancing the overall capacity for an early diagnosis of zoonotic diseases under adequate biosafety conditions, and at improving national and regional mechanisms for disease prevention and control, as in the case of the proposed TC project.

Thank you Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6d: Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of the United Nations Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran,Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, 2 - 6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

2. The European Union would like to thank the Director General for his report contained in document GOV/2015/15 on the Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions in the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Deputy Director General, Tero Varjoranta, for his comprehensive technical briefing on 25 February.

Madam Chair,

3. The EU fully supports the on-going diplomatic efforts by the E3/EU + 3, to seek a diplomatic solution with Iran to the Iranian nuclear issue. We welcome the confirmation in the DG's report that Iran has continued to implement the measures required of it under the Joint Plan of Action (JPA). We note the expiry of the extended JPA on 30 June 2015, and the commitment by all parties to reach a comprehensive solution within the agreed timeframe.

4. The EU continues to support fully the Agency in its efforts under the Framework for Cooperation (FfC). During the talks on 7 and 24 February between the DG and the Iranian Foreign Minister, and the DG and the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister respectively, there was agreement on the importance of continuing the dialogue between the Agency and Iran at all levels. We note that the DG also stressed the need to resolve, as soon as possible, all outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear programme.

Madam Chair,

5. The EU deeply regrets that there has been no progress regarding the resolution of possible military dimensions since the DG's previous report: Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the two outstanding practical measures in the third step of the Framework for Cooperation, relating to the initiation of high explosives and to neutron transport calculations; and, despite invitations to Iran by the Agency on several occasions to propose new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for Cooperation, Iran has not proposed any new measures.

6. The EU continues to share the Agency’s concern, highlighted in the report that the activities at the Parchin site are likely to have undermined the Agency's ability to conduct effective verification, and concur that it remains important for Iran to provide answers to the Agency's questions and access to the particular location at the Parchin site. The EU once again urges Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA and to make rapid and substantive progress on all outstanding issues under the Framework for Cooperation, including by the timely provision of access to all relevant information, documentation, sites, material and personnel in Iran, as requested by the Agency.

Madam Chair,

7. The EU fully endorses the Agency's approach of considering and acquiring an understanding of each outstanding issue, and then integrating all of the issues into a "system" and assessing that system as a whole. As stated before, we welcome the confirmation in the report that once the Agency has established an understanding of the whole picture concerning all issues contained in the Annex to GOV/2011/ 65, the Director General will report on the Agency's assessment to the Board of Governors.

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

Finally, Madam Chair,

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

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne sur la Tunisie, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. Monsieur le Président, à l’ occasion de la première réunion du Groupe de Contact avec les pays partenaires de la méditerranée, l’Union européenne veut saisir l’occasion pour féliciter sincèrement la Tunisie pour le progrès accomplis depuis les élections présidentielles et la formation du nouveau gouvernement.

2. L’UE salue l’engagement démocratique et le sens de responsabilité du peuple tunisien, de l’ensemble de la classe politique et de la société civile, qui ont su préserver un esprit de dialogue visant á assurer le succès de ce processus.

3. A cet égard, nous rappelons les déclarations de l’ Haute-Représentante de l’UE pour les affaires étrangères et la politique de sécurité, Madame Mogherini à l’occasion de sa récente visite en Tunisie. « Le chemin parcouru par la Tunisie en 2014 est sans précédent. Cet exemple peut inspirer et susciter ailleurs l’espoir de plus de liberté et de démocratie. L’UE est décidée à soutenir les Tunisiens dans la poursuite de leurs objectifs: consolider les acquis démocratiques, assurer la sécurité dans le respect des libertés fondamentales, et entreprendre les réformes socio-économiques nécessaires pour faire de la Tunisie un pays plus prospère et plus juste».

4. La Tunisie, monsieur le Président, peut compter sur le soutien de L’Union européenne pour continuer les réformes et renforcer le Partenariat privilégié UE-Tunisie.

EU Statement on Combatting Terrorism in the Mediterranean Region, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. The EU strongly condemns the recent attacks carried out by terrorist groups and individuals, including the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the attacks in the Libyan town of Guba and Tripoli, as well as the murder of 21 Egyptian nationals in Libya. We express our condolences to the families of the numerous victims. Those who have committed these attacks must be held accountable for their crimes.

2. The EU is concerned by evidence of increased activity of terrorist and extremist groups in Libya and recognizes the potential threat that these groups present to the country, region and the EU. The HRVP Mogherini underlined in her statement on 20February, that "Terrorism in Libya can only be defeated through the political and institutional determination of a united Libyan government. The Libyan parties should not miss this last chance, as the window of opportunity is rapidly closing." The EU is convinced that there is no military solution to the conflict in Libya. We reiterate our support for the ongoing UN-led talks and the efforts made by the UN Special Representative for Libya, Bernardino León.

3. As decided by the European Council on 9 February, the EU's external action will be stepped up, as a matter of urgency, on countering terrorism in particular in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and North Africa. Counter-terrorism will be mainstreamed fully into EU foreign policy.

4. In this regard, the EU will be implementing several initiatives in the course of 2015, such as capacity-building projects and activities, which will be launched with interested Middle Eastern and North African countries. They will address issues such as law enforcement, criminal justice and security sector reform, including crisis infrastructure, crisis and emergency response, border control and aviation security. Further, counter-terrorism action plans with Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, and Jordan will be developed, including on measures to dissuade and disrupt foreign terrorist fighters' travel as well as to manage their return.

5. We need to put more emphasis on the prevention of terrorism, in particular countering radicalisation, on recruitment, equipment and financing of terrorism, and address underlying factors that provide opportunities for terrorist groups to flourish.

6. In this context, the EU reiterates its strong support to the declarations made at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Basel on foreign terrorist fighters and kidnapping for ransom, as well as relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, and calls on all countries to take the necessary measures to ensure their swift implementation with full respect for human rights and the rule of law.

7. We will continue working together with the international community, including all Mediterranean partners, and recall our continued support for the OSCE's role in the global fight against terrorism. 

EU Statement in Response to the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatovic, Dr. Rubina Möhring and Dr. Mansour El-Ganady, OSCE Contact Group with Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation ,Vienna, 27 лютого 2015 року

1. Warm welcome to our Representative on Freedom of the Media, Ms Dunja Mijatovic, and to Dr Rubina Möhring of Reporters without Borders and Dr Mansour El-Ganady to this meeting. We are pleased that representatives of civil society and of the media are participating in our meeting. We also thank the RFoM for her engagement on the issues of today’s agenda: her voice for freedom of expression is more needed than ever.

2. The appalling attacks in Paris and Copenhagen are an assault on our core values, including the fundamental right to freedom of expression and of the media. The international solidarity shown to France, and to Denmark, in these difficult times show that the protection of the fundamental rights to freedom of expression can be a uniting force. We were brutally reminded that terrorism is a global threat. No country in the world can ignore the risks of violent extremism.

3. We live in a global world, where local phenomena easily cross border. We can, and must work together to counter violent extremism and stand up for freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy. We must all take action to ensure an open public debate and a free flow of information and ideas, where differences are resolved by arguments and counter arguments, rather through violence and repression.

4. Respecting, promoting and protecting the right of every individual to freedom of expression must not be seen in contradiction to values of tolerance and the prevention of radicalisation. Instead, freedom of expression is a vehicle for achieving inclusive societies. Free media can play a crucial role in promoting tolerance and countering extremist ideas that may lead to violence and radicalisation. EU responses to radicalisation pay particular attention to the role of the media as a key factor in enhancing dialogue with relevant partners and stakeholders. Fostering media literacy and crucial thinking among youth is an important aspect in the prevention of radicalization. In our partner countries, the EU supports initiatives, including improving the media and education capacities to counter radicalising ideologies.

5. When under attack, it can be tempting to restrict freedom of expression and of the media. Such restrictions of rights must, however, never put into jeopardy the right itself. This has been underlined repeatedly by the UN Human Rights Council. We are, ourselves, struggling with these issues, and find the input and support of the RFoM particularly useful in this regard. We also look forward hearing the views of our partners.

EU Statement on Reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the endorsement by the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 23 February of the Written Commitments to undertake institutional, political, economic, and social reforms. This is a first, important step, in order to regain momentum in the reform process.

2. High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini addressed the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina following the endorsement of the Written Commitment and underlined that this is an historical opportunity for Bosnia and Herzegovina.

3. The European Union underlines the need to maintain this positive momentum  and calls upon the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to proceed with early development of an initial agenda for reforms, including on issues related to economic and social measures, a functioning market economy, strengthening the rule of law and the process of reconciliation, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a deepening administrative capacity and so to improve the efficiency of institutions at all levels.

4. The implementation of the initial reform agenda by Bosnia and Herzegovina is going to be key. The European Union stands ready to continue supporting reforms and progress and reaffirms its commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

EU statement on Abduction and Illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on recent developments in the Nadia Savchenko case.

2. The abduction, illegal transfer to and illegal detention in Russia of Nadia Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is unacceptable. We are extremely concerned about the health of Nadia Savchenko after 75 days of hunger strike to protest the terms of her illegal detention.

3. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia, as also foreseen in the package of measures agreed in Minsk. We will continue to follow these cases very closely. 

EU Statement on Russia's Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union strongly condemns the terrorist attack that killed at least four persons in Kharkiv on 22 February. This was an atrocious attack on a peaceful march commemorating the anniversary of the events of February 2014. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.

2. Mr Chairman, full implementation of the Minsk agreements by all signatories remains the only way forward towards a sustainable political solution based on full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as confirmed in UN Security Council Resolution 2202. We welcome the Normandy format ministerial meeting held in Paris on 24 February 2015 and support efforts in this format to work on implementation of the Minsk agreements.

3. We strongly condemn that the attacks by Russia-backed separatists have continued in parts of eastern Ukraine, notably in Debaltseve, despite agreement on a ceasefire. The SMM’s consistent reports of ceasefire violations near Mariupol, as well as in other areas, are also of great concern. We call on Russia to use its influence over the separatists to fully implement their commitments made and to stop the inflow of fighters and military equipment from Russia. Further attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to gain control of additional territory in eastern Ukraine will seriously undermine all efforts promoting political resolution of the conflict.

4. Full respect for the ceasefire is a basic precondition for the implementation of other provisions of the Minsk agreements as outlined in the 'package’ of 12 February. We continue to note the many observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. We hope that the signing of a plan of withdrawal of heavy weapons will soon result in further progress on the ground as foreseen in the Minsk package. But we note the comments of the Chief Monitor, in his latest report on implementation of the package, on the continued need for the SMM to receive detailed information to support implementation. We call on all signatories to provide the SMM with the support and information needed to fulfil its task under the Minsk package, including what heavy weapons they have, where these weapons are now, which routes will be used for the withdrawal and where they will be located after the withdrawal. We note with particular concern that the so-called LPR has so far only expressed an intention to comply with its undertakings in Minsk. We regret that one signatory, the Russian Federation, has not yet replied to the letter of Ambassador Apakan of 13 February. We further regret the unhelpful and unfounded criticism of the SMM by the Russian Foreign Ministry in its statement of 25 February.

5. We also expect an immediate withdrawal of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, as well as mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under monitoring of the OSCE and disarmament of all illegal groups. We welcome the latest exchange of detainees as a first step towards the release of all detainees as also foreseen in the Minsk package. As part of this process, we urge Russia to immediately release all Ukrainian citizens illegally held in Russia.

6. We recall that the Minsk package calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that, as we discussed earlier today, a so-called ‘humanitarian convoy’ from Russia has recently again entered Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

7. Mr Chairman, the SMM has a vital role to play in the implementation of the Minsk agreements. The EU reiterates its support for an extension of the SMM’s mandate, and stands ready to further support it, including through financial and operational contributions. We are concerned about the frequent reports of SMM monitors being denied access and threatened by separatists. We call on all sides to ensure security and safety and unrestricted access for SMM monitors. We also call for unrestricted access for the SMM UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia.

8. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role. We also reiterate our support for the efforts of the Chairmanship. We have noted previous statements by the Chair and believe that acts such as those committed by the Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve deserve a very strong condemnation.

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

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

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

2. Despite its, unfortunately, very limited mandate and small size, the Mission continues to make observations at the Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints that provide the ever growing body of evidence of far-reaching and ongoing support for the separatists being provided from Russia, and Russia’s deliberate de-stabilisation of eastern Ukraine. We note the regular reports of a high number of people crossing the border wearing military-style clothes. And we note the reported transfers of ambulances and “Cargo 200” lorries through the checkpoints, indicating the return to Russia of military personnel killed in action.

3. We note the reports of Russian so-called humanitarian convoys crossing the border at the Donetsk checkpoint without inspection by Ukrainian authorities, including the latest on 20 February that arrived without prior notice. These convoys continue without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. We recall that the “Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

4. We regret that Russian officials, fully aware of the limited mandate of the mission, continue to suggest that the mission’s reports confirm that no Russian troops or military equipment cross the border. We know that this is not true.

5. Mr Chairman, recent developments have once again underlined the importance of border monitoring which is closely interlinked with ceasefire monitoring. Border monitoring is especially important in view of reports about the continuing influx of military equipment and personnel entering Ukraine from Russia. We would like to reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border should be an integral part of a sustainable political solution, which fully upholds OSCE principles, and re-establishes Ukrainian control over its sovereign territory including the border. We recall that the Minsk package includes a commitment to re-establishing Ukrainian control over its border. We likewise recall that the Minsk-Protocol called for effective monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border and verification by the OSCE.

6. We therefore continue to call for a significant expansion of the Observer Mission to all border crossings not currently under the control of the Ukrainian Government as well as full monitoring of the areas between border crossings. This should be supported and coordinated with border monitoring on the Ukrainian side of the border by the SMM.

7. We deeply regret that the Russian Federation continues to prevent a meaningful expansion of the Observer Mission. We likewise regret that the Russia-backed separatists continue to prevent the SMM from gaining full access to the border. We once again call upon Russia to bring its influence to bear upon the separatists to ensure a full implementation of the commitments assumed under the Minsk agreements.

8. We call on Russia to provide, without delay, the Mission’s members with the appropriate privileges and immunities.

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

EU Statement in Response to the Report of the OSCE Head of Mission to Serbia, Ambassador Burkhard, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1041, Vienna, 26 лютого 2015 року

1. The EU and its Member States would like to welcome Ambassador Burkhard to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report, which provides detailed insight into the activities of the Mission across its mandate, with clarity where the opportunities and challenges lie.

2. Since Ambassador Burkhard’s last report there have been positive developments for Serbia and in the region, including the agreement in Brussels two weeks ago on the judiciary in the framework of the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, and the start of Serbia’s Chairmanship-in-Office of the OSCE. Serbia’s continued commitment to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue - notwithstanding a slowing of progress in the 2014 due to elections on both sides - has helped ensure its recent reinvigoration, and we look forward to progress in completing the implementation of the normalisation agreement of April 2013, as well as in reaching and implementing further agreements in the near future. We encourage Serbia to continue to coordinate with ODHIR to address the recommendations in ODHIR’s final report on the March 2014 parliamentary elections, as well as outstanding issues from the ODHIR report on the 2012 elections.

3. Mr Chairperson, we welcome that the Government of Aleksandar Vučić has renewed Serbia’s commitment to economic and political reforms, and 2014 saw considerable activity in that regard. We look forward to the opening of Chapters for Serbia’s EU accession as soon as the necessary conditions are in place, particularly Chapters 23 and 24, which will tackle the core issues of rule of law and fundamental rights and Chapter 35 which is linked to the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue. But we note Ambassador Burkhard’s concern that the Government has not consulted widely or inclusively enough on the new laws and reforms, and we encourage Serbia to adapt its approach accordingly as it tackles future reforms. These remain particularly important in the areas of anti-corruption, the fight against organised crime, the economy, public administration and ensuring an effective, independent judiciary.

4. Serbia will also need to refocus its efforts in ensuring that the implementation of new media legislation contributes to the full enjoyment of freedom of expression and allows independent media to thrive. In that regard we note that the European Commission progress report on Serbia found conditions for the exercise of freedom of expression to be deteriorating. It is therefore important for the Mission to work on media freedom and freedom of expression issues as a priority, while fully respecting the mandate and autonomy of the Representative for the Freedom of Media. We welcome the steps that have been taken by the government of Serbia to improve dialogue and cooperation with the Representative.

5. Mr Chairperson, the OSCE Mission to Serbia continues to add considerable value in assisting Serbia to consolidate reforms, which help it move along the path towards EU integration. We welcome the niche projects that the Mission is implementing in a number of sectors, and the positive impact stemming from these. We also welcome the Mission’s focus on regional cooperation – a priority of the Serbian Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, for example the regional approach to organised crime with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. We would be interested in hearing Ambassador Burkhard’s view on how Missions in the region can facilitate further cooperation, and in what specific areas – for example foreign terrorist fighters and illegal immigration.

6. We welcome the Mission’s continuing engagement with national minorities, especially through its presence on the ground in south and south-west Serbia. We fully support the Mission’s intention to focus on implementation and reform of legislation relating to national minorities during this mandate, and underline the importance of upholding international standards for the non-discriminatory treatment of persons belonging to national minorities and protection of vulnerable groups throughout Serbia and protection of their rights. We regret that negotiations in south Serbia between ethnic Albanian leaders and the central government on the seven point Common Agenda have stalled and underline the continuing importance we attach to making progress on the Agenda. We welcome that the Pride Parade took place without major incident on 28 September, which was an important milestone in ensuring the protection of all minorities in Serbia.

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

8. Finally, we once again commend the work of Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić in his first two months as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. We would like to take this opportunity to encourage Serbia to use the rest of its Chairmanship to continue to promote peace, security, reconciliation and implementation of OSCE commitments across the OSCE region, and we trust that the Serbian Chairmanship will lead by example. Serbia can expect the continued support of the EU and its Member States in that regard.

EU Statement on UNSC Resolution 1325 implementation, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 781, Vienna, 25 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome Mrs. Karin Nordmeyer and Ambassador Miroslava Beham to the FSC and thank them for the interesting and comprehensive presentations. This exchange of views illustrates once again the unique cross-dimensionality of the Women, Peace and Security-agenda and gender perspectives as a crucial component of security. We are convinced that security dialogues of this kind are needed in order to improve the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in the OSCE area.

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

As all EU Member States have voluntarily committed to such an enhanced reporting we call on participating States to consider acceptance and concrete implementation of this initiative. However, we would like to reiterate that it would be beneficial to discuss the information that has already been provided with a view of lessons learned and possible good practices for the national implementation of Resolution 1325.

We welcome the recent OSCE Study on National Action Plans on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325. Its analysis and recommendations provide a useful tool for the OSCE to consider further possibilities and action for implementing UNSCR 1325.

One of the areas where the goals and principles of UNSCR 1325 should be firmly anchored is OSCE-led mediation efforts. We are looking forward to an exchange of views on how the OSCE could improve its activities in this regard.

We are pleased that the FSC was able to agree upon the importance of including Women, Peace and Security in the MC decision 10/14 on SALW and SCA adopted in Basel and stand ready to actively contribute to its full implementation. At the same time, we encourage all participating States to consider further steps to take into account gender aspects in the implementation of all politico-military commitments.

The European Union is committed to the full implementation of UNSCR 1325. We have adopted a Comprehensive Approach to the EU implementation of UNSCRs 1325 and 1820 in 2008, as well as a set of indicators to monitor progress of implementation in 2010. Actions have already been undertaken by the EU to promote women's equal and full participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The EU also supports the inclusion of gender experts in mediation efforts. In 2015 we will refresh the EU indicators to improve their effectiveness and we will proceed to our third reporting cycle. We would be ready therefore to share relevant experience, in particular on the concrete implementation follow up tools that have been adopted by the EU Council during the last years.

We are convinced that UNSCR 1325 with its cross dimensional nature has an important role to play in all dimensions of the OSCE work – especially in the politicomilitary dimension - and needs to be implemented in a holistic and comprehensive manner. As a regional security organisation the OSCE has a major part to play in this regard. In particular, we would like to express our support for the upcoming OSCEUN regional consultation in Vilnius to discuss the progress of UNSCR 1325 implementation in the OSCE area.

Furthermore, we wish to reiterate our support to the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on UNSCR 1325. We also look forward to meaningful discussions on an Addendum to the Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, as tasked by the Basel Ministerial Council. Additionally, we underline the importance of implementation of the Ministerial Council Decision on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women, and other OSCE commitments on these issues.

Finally, we would like to thank once again our quest speakers. We look forward to next discussions on issues related to Women, Peace and Security in the FSC.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 781, Vienna, 25 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our strong support to the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. Full and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements offers a way forward to a sustainable political solution of the crisis which needs to be based on the respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. In this context we welcome the adoption of UNSCR 2202. The EU also welcomes the latest meeting of the foreign ministers in the Normandy format with a view of ensuring the full and effective implementation of the Minsk agreements.

We note that the ceasefire is largely holding. At the same time, we note with deep concern that despite the ceasefire in place fighting persists in several areas in Donetsk and to a lesser extent in Luhansk region due to continued attacks by the separatists militarily supported by Russia. We strongly condemn the actions by the Russia-backed separatists in Debaltseve which are a clear violation of the ceasefire and call upon all sides to stop the hostilities without delay.

The European Union keeps noting evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia's responsibility. Russia and the separatists have to immediately and fully implement the commitments agreed to in Minsk, starting with the respect of the ceasefire.

Only words matched with deeds will in the end bring real hopes of a political solution to this conflict. The European Union stands ready to take appropriate action in case the fighting and other negative developments in violation of the Minsk agreements continue. We call for immediate access of the SMM to assume their monitoring and verification functions in and around Debaltseve and to any other site the Mission needs to go.

Enabling SMM to carry out their tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine, remains of crucial importance for the successful implementation of the Minsk agreements.

In this context, we recall the urgency of making full use, both in letter and spirit, of the OSCE politico-military instruments in order to ensure a tangible contribution to the peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine through cooperative dialogue and increased level of military transparency and stability, especially in the areas along the state border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We reiterate the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its border and permanent monitoring by the OSCE. We call on the Russian Federation to respect this. We welcome the initial exchange of prisoners which took place on the 21 February in line with the Package of Measures adopted on 12 February.

We draw attention that the Package of Measures calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. In this context, we express our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 20 February in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We recall our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In addition, we call for respect of international humanitarian law and principles, notably in ensuring safe passage for all those who want to leave the area and for humanitarian workers to deliver aid.

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

Agenda item 3: Measures to strengthen international cooperation in nuclear, radiation, transport and waste safety, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

2. The EU would like to thank the Secretariat for the technical briefing on 17 February on the Nuclear Safety Review 2015.

3. Nuclear safety is of particular importance for the European Union, where 131 nuclear power plants are in operation, together with many other nuclear installations. On the basis of nuclear stress tests carried out on nuclear power plants in 2011 and 2012, of the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident and of the safety requirements of the Western European Nuclear Regulators Association and the IAEA, the EU amended its Nuclear Safety Directive in 2014, confirming its commitment to continuously improve nuclear safety of all nuclear installations.

4. The EU and its Member States acknowledge the central role of the Agency in strengthening the global nuclear safety and security framework and we welcome the Agency’s holistic approach to this.

5. We continue to support the Director General in encouraging all Member States to become Contracting Parties to the Conventions related to Nuclear Safety. If they have not yet done so, we urge all countries operating a nuclear power plant or embarking on a nuclear programme to become Contracting Parties to these  Conventions, and in particular to the Convention on Nuclear Safety and the Joint Convention without delay. We encourage Contracting Parties and the IAEA Secretariat to promote full participation in the peer review process of these Conventions.

6. The Contracting Parties to the Convention on Nuclear Safety have just held a Diplomatic Conference to consider the proposal by Switzerland to amend Article 18 of the Convention. The ambition of the EU and its Member States was to reach consensus on the introduction of the high-level nuclear safety objective contained in this proposal in the provisions of the Convention. The EU and its Member States participated very actively in the discussions over the last year, which resulted in the adoption by consensus of principles for the implementation of the objective of the Convention on Nuclear Safety to prevent accidents and to mitigate radiological consequences. Through the Vienna Declaration on Nuclear Safety adopted on 9 February 2015, the Contracting Parties have committed to ensuring that new nuclear power plants are designed and constructed following more stringent safety objectives and to periodically review and continuously improve the safety of existing plants through necessary safety upgrades. We will give serious attention to the implementation of the Declaration by all Contracting Parties, in particular during the next review meetings of the Convention.

7. We recall the request made to the IAEA Director General by the Diplomatic Conference to transmit the Declaration to the Commission on Safety Standards for the consideration, with the four Safety Standards Committees under its aegis, of the technical elements contained therein with a view to incorporating them as appropriate into the relevant IAEA Safety Standards.

8. We look forward to the publication in 2015 of the IAEA’s Comprehensive Report on the Fukushima Daiichi accident. This will be an important document in the process of drawing lessons learned from the accident. The EU and its Member States have provided both in-kind and financial support to this important work.

9. We also continue to look forward to an evaluation by the Secretariat on how effective all activities under the Nuclear Safety Action Plan have been in improving nuclear safety.

10. We welcome the further strengthening of the IAEA Safety Standards during the reporting period, in particular through the revision of the six Safety Requirements submitted to this Board. We recommend the adoption of these Safety Standards and their prompt publication by the Secretariat.

11. We urge all IAEA Member States to make full use of the Safety Standards, and to undertake self-assessments and request targeted training, as appropriate. The EU and its Member States take full advantage of the Agency’s Safety Peer Review Missions, and we encourage all IAEA Member States to request such missions, in particular the IRRS and OSART missions, and to develop effective Severe Accident Management Guidelines, as proposed by the IAEA.

12. Managing the safety aspects of ageing research reactors in operation is an increasing challenge. It is of the utmost importance that periodic safety reviews are carried out on these reactors to identify and implement safety improvements.

13. We welcome the Agency’s focus on external hazards in site evaluation for nuclear installations, and encourage all States considering the construction of a new NPP to request the Agency's Site and External Events Design review service without delay.

14. Under the EU Directive on radiation protection, EU Member States are developing national action plans. The IAEA International Basic Safety Standards, which were co-sponsored by the European Commission, served as a helpful reference document to adopt this Directive in 2013.

15. We welcome the continued interest in, and the support for, the Code of Conduct on the Safety and Security of Radioactive Sources, and its Supplementary Guidance on their Import and Export. We thank the IAEA for the organisation of a successful Open-ended Meeting in October 2014 to Develop Internationally Harmonized Guidance for Implementing the Recommendations of the Code in Relation to the Long-Term Management of Disused Radioactive Sources. We recall the consensus of the 166 representatives from 73 Member States expressed during this meeting to support the approach and the proposed format of the draft guidance on the management of disused sources. The representatives had further recommended that the Secretariat submits this report to the Board of Governors for its information and direction on the way forward. However, the guidance was not put on the agenda of this Board. We would like the Secretariat to provide some clarifications on its plan for the finalization and adoption of the draft guidance.

16. EU–IAEA collaboration in Radioactive Waste Management, including disused sealed sources, in spent nuclear fuel management, and in decommissioning and remediation programmes, was reinforced in 2014 by a 1.2 million Euro cooperation agreement signed by both parties. We continue to call on the IAEA to work on harmonising trans-border issues concerning scrap metal containing radioactive material.

17. As many Member States are still building their regulatory infrastructure and are requesting assistance and additional support, the EU has prioritised assistance to Nuclear Regulators and Technical Safety Organisations through its Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. Through this instrument we will support third countries with 224 million Euro over the period 2014 to 2020.

18. The EU and its Member States will continue to work towards improving nuclear safety, including through our support to the Agency.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6e: Implementation of the NPT safeguards agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 8: Any Other Business (INC), Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

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

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 6c: Application of Safeguards in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

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

3. The EU has repeatedly condemned in the strongest terms the third nuclear test conducted by the DPRK on 12 February 2013, which is an outright violation of its international obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions 1718, 1874 and 2087. The DPRK's continued development of its nuclear weapons programme, coupled with threats to conduct a fourth nuclear test in violation of the UN Security Council Resolutions represent a serious threat to regional and international peace, security and stability.

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

5. The EU deplores the DPRK's decision to pursue the ill-advised path of provocation and isolation, in defiance of the international community's united condemnation of the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in violation on UN Security Resolutions. The EU also deplores the DPRK's continuous provocative launches of Short Range Missiles, the most recent of which took place in February this year. The pursuit by the DPRK of its illegal nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, as well as its willingness to trade in related technologies, constitutes a grave challenge to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and to peace and stability in the region.

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

Madam Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda Item 8: Any other business - Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

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

The EU regrets that it has not been possible so far to convene a Conference, to be attended by all States of the region, on the establishment of a zone free of weapons of mass dest remains fully committed to the objective of establishing such a zone. In that regard, we commend Ambassador Laajava and his team for their tireless efforts to lay the groundwork for a successful Conference with the participation of all States of the region, including through recent and ongoing consultations to prepare for the Conference to be convened on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at between the States of the region. We have constantly called on all parties concerned to continue to work and engage constructively with the Facilitator, the co-conveners and each other to this end.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Agenda item 4: Strengthening the Agency’s activities related to nuclear science, technology and applications: Nuclear technology review 2015, Statement on the occasion of the IAEA Board of Governors, Vienna, 2-6 березня 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

2. The EU would like to commend the Director General and the Secretariat for preparing the draft report on the Nuclear Technology Review 2015 (GOV/2015/8 and GOV/2015/8Corr.1). The EU also thanks the Secretariat for the technical briefing organised on 17 February. Taking this Report into account, we would like to highlight a few areas of activity for particular comment.

3. We welcome the activities of the Agency to foster the applications of radiation and nuclear related techniques to eradicate poverty and hunger worldwide, including through its technical cooperation program, hence contributing to the Millennium Development Goals and the post-2015 development agenda. These include (i) improving soil management and land resources and water management, (ii) increasing crop and livestock production through breeding, nutrition and disease control, (iii) encouraging the use of digital imaging technology for cancer diagnostic, (iv) controlling insect pests and harmful algal toxins and (v) safely irradiating food products to reduce their spoilage. Many of these activities contribute to sustainable food security while mitigating climate change by reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

4. The EU also commends the Agency in aiding the prevention and control of zoonotic diseases, especially after the recent outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa. Through its Technical Cooperation programme, the Agency contributed to tackle these major challenges, by helping countries to develop or strengthen national and regional capacities and networking in the application of rapid nuclear-derived diagnostic techniques such as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The EU would welcome an update of the Agency Programmes for the upcoming years.

5. As the Director General recently recalled, each country is free to decide whether or not to include nuclear power as part of its own energy mix. The EU notes that the IAEA document “Climate Change and Nuclear Power” (2014) states that nuclear power is one of the low carbon technologies that can contribute to reducing Green House Gas emissions. This message is consistent with the communication from the European Commission entitled “a policy framework for climate and energy in the period from 2020 to 2030”.

6. Effective knowledge management and capacity building, through coordination of teaching and training, are key elements in the performance and safety of nuclear programmes. We welcome the International Conference on human resources and capacity building organised by the Agency in May 2014 and we commend the creation of the International Centre based on Research Reactors (ICERR) designation programme, for which some members of the EU shall soon apply. The EU continues to sponsor the work of associations and networks such as the “European Nuclear Education Network” (ENEN) or the “European Human Resources Observatory in the Nuclear Energy Sector”, open to the public since 2011. In October 2014, the second report on the “situation of human resources in the nuclear energy sector at the EU and international levels” was published. The EU also highlights the importance of promoting capacity building for newcomers and for countries wishing to expand their nuclear programmes by making them effective actors.

7. The EU appreciates the efforts made by countries planning to introduce nuclear power or to extend their domestic nuclear programmes to implement Safety Standards. We commend the countries that have hosted an Integrated Nuclear Infrastructure Review mission (INIR) in 2014, and encourage all newcomer countries to use IAEA review services such as INIR, Site and External Events Design (SEED) and Integrated Regulatory Review Service (IRRS). In the light of the post-Fukushima accident, we welcome the International Conference organised by the Agency in cooperation with the European Technical Safety Organisations Network in October 2014.

8. We welcome the efforts of the Secretariat to set up a LEU Bank in Kazakhstan and we are looking forward to the early conclusion of the Host State Agreement. The EU has contributed 20 million and pledged up to another 5 million to this project.

9. In 2011, the European Union adopted a Directive strengthening the framework for responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste, including a requirement for peer reviews. Since then, the European Union, its national regulators and industrial actors have worked together with the IAEA, helping to develop the integrated review service for radioactive waste and spent fuel management, decommissioning and remediation (called ARTEMIS). Several EU Member States have volunteered to be a candidate for the first peer reviews. In this context, the European Union will continue contributing to efforts in this field, encouraging others to follow.

10. The EU would like to recall its concern about the Nuclear Energy (NE) Series Document publication procedures, so as to ensure the strict compliance of these documents with IAEA Safety Standards. We welcome the upcoming updated publication procedure of NE Series documents.

11. The European Union and its Member States have already a significant level of decommissioning experience, yet we believe further work is needed to better understand the techno-economic, safety, resources and knowledge management dimensions of decommissioning programmes. We are keen therefore to step up cooperation with our international partners in this field, and have conveyed this message to the Agency.

Finally Madam Chair,

12. The EU would like to share its concern about the difficulties observed in recent years in the supply of medical radioisotopes. Our institutions have undertaken several initiatives to improve the security of supply, including a European Observatory jointly established by the European Commission and industry representatives. Despite all the efforts, the current supply arrangements remain fragile because of possible unplanned outages of the production reactors and processing facilities. Therefore we call on all Member States, Regulators, the industry and the international organisations such as the OECD's Nuclear Energy Agency and the IAEA to continue their efforts so as to ensure a sustainable supply of radioisotopes, applying proven robust and reliable nuclear reactor production methods and/or by exploring alternative technologies.

13. With these comments we take note of the draft report on the “Nuclear Technology review” as contained in GOV/2015/8 and GOV/2015/8/Corr.1.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 780, Vienna, 18 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements adopted on 12 February 2015 in Minsk. Implementation of the Minsk Package offers a way forward to a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful resolution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine.

We note that the ceasefire, which entered into force on 15 February, has been largely holding, as reported by the OSCE SMM, despite a number of incidents in some areas of eastern Ukraine. We remain extremely concerned about the continued fighting in and around Debaltseve where Russian-backed separatists are attempting to take control.

Moreover, we deeply regret that the SMM monitors have not been let through checkpoints near Debaltseve and Mariupol and were thus not able to report from there. This is unacceptable.

We urge all sides to the conflict to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Package and to carry out its measures without delay, in particular to stop their military operations, to observe a comprehensive ceasefire in all areas, including in Debaltseve, and to withdraw their heavy weaponry. All sides should refrain from actions that would hinder the full implementation of the Minsk Package. In this context, the European Union keeps noting evidence, including through SMM observations, of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia's responsibility in this regard.

We commend the urgent measures taken by the SMM in order to monitor the implementation of the ceasefire and to adapt and adjust to the requirements of the Minsk Package in line with its mandate. There is indeed an urgent need to act now to enable the SMM to carry out its tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine.

We continue to highly appreciate the timely and detailed reporting of the SMM of the security situation on the ground. We call on all parties to ensure secure and unrestricted access for the SMM's monitors and UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and the areas along the state border with Russia. Special attention should also be given to gain immediate access to the Debaltseve area taking into account the precarious situation and present lack of situational awareness.

At this crucial moment, we recall once again the urgency of making full use of all multilateral instruments at hand, including these under the OSCE politico-military dimension of security, in view of supporting the efforts towards peaceful settlement of the crisis in and around Ukraine by ensuring military transparency and stability, especially in the areas along the state border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We furthermore reiterate our deep regret that yet another Russian so called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on 15 February in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC. We reiterate our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We recall that the Package of Measures agreed in Minsk calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism.

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

EU Statement on European Security, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 780, Vienna, 18 лютого 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to warmly welcome Mr Robert Bell, Senior Representative of the Secretary of Defence in Europe, to the Forum for Security Cooperation and thank him for the insightful presentation of the US' views on European security.

There is no doubt that the European security is inseparably linked to the overall strategic landscape the only elements of which we can be sure of being, as stated by the EU High Representative a few days ago in Munich, complexity, conflictuality, interdependence. Europe’s security environment is evolving significantly, rapidly and dramatically. The crises around us, such as those in our immediate and wider neighbourhood are becoming more complex and more intense.

In this light, the security in Europe, which is based on the fundamental principles of the 1975 Helsinki Final Act and solidified on subsequent OSCE documents and commitments, is facing today the most serious crisis after the end of the “Cold War”. Trust and confidence have been profoundly challenged and undermined by Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and its destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine.

The adherence to and full implementation of all Helsinki principles and OSCE commitments in good faith, by all participating States and without exceptions, remain valid as the cornerstone of European security. Political will and result-orientated and cooperative actions are needed to reverse the negative trend of eroding trust that can be overcome only by restoring respect for the basic principles of the OSCE and by genuine, open dialogue.

In this context, we welcome all efforts to restore peace and security in and around Ukraine on the basis of the respect for Ukraine’s unity, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence. The agreement reached in Minsk on 12 February is a very important step in the right direction. However, its full implementation is even more important for restoring sustainable peace and stability on the ground.

European Union's response to the security challenges in Europe has been measured and firm, using a large toolbox of instruments ranging from political, economic, financial and technical support to action under EU's Common Security and Defence Policy.

However, little can be achieved alone. Close and systematic cooperation with the United Nations and other relevant international and regional organisations, in particular the OSCE, is the key to provide effective and sustainable responses to the rapidly evolving both in number and complexity security challenges we are facing today.

Especially, the strong transatlantic relationship remains of fundamental importance. The practical cooperation between EU and NATO has expanded significantly in the past few years, within the agreed framework of their strategic partnership and respecting the decision making autonomy of each organisation.

The cooperation with partner countries and their support for the EU crisis management efforts also remains of primary importance for us. In 2014, fifteen partner countries, among which twelve OSCE participating States, participated and deployed personnel in ten CSDP missions and operations.

Mr Chairman, the current security situation in Europe has underlined once again the value of the OSCE concept of comprehensive security. It has clearly shown that there can be no lasting security and stability without full respect for and strict implementation of all OSCE commitments across the three dimensions of security.

In this respect, we reiterate our strong belief that enduring commitments underlined by all participating States in Astana and Vilnius to revitalise, update and modernize the conventional arms control and confidence- and security-building regimes, in particular the Vienna Document, for ensuring stability, transparency and predictability should be pursued in a priority manner with the overall objective of enhancing the OSCE's conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities as well as the implementation of existing CSBMs. We support and will welcome revitalising the dialogue in this respect within both the OSCE and other relevant fora.

We remain convinced that lasting security in and for Europe can only be achieved through a collaborative effort of all participating states and a genuine commitment to the instruments of cooperative security

In conclusion, we thank once again the speaker as well as the FSC Chairmanship for having scheduled this important and timely discussion under the Security Dialogue agenda item.

EU Statement on the terrorist attacks in Copenhagen, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1040, Vienna, 17 лютого 2015 року

The European Union condemns, in the strongest possible terms, this weekend’s attacks against a peaceful public gathering about freedom of expression as well as a synagogue in Copenhagen, killing two persons and leaving five police officers injured. Once again Europe is shocked by another brutal terrorist attack targeted at our fundamental values and freedoms. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families. Sympathy and solidarity have been expressed by leaders from around the world to the Danish people.

This is an attack on all open and free societies, on freedom of expression and on freedom of religion or belief. We will not be intimidated. We stand united with Denmark in upholding freedom of expression. We condemn all attempts to silence open public debate and all attacks on the Jewish community. It is a cornerstone of democratic societies that differences are resolved by arguments and counter arguments, and not through violence. The European Union will continue to promote these values, including within the OSCE.

The Candidate Countries the FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, ICELAND+ and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, and the EFTA countries LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, GEORGIA, ANDORRA and MONACO align themselves with this statement.

* The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

+ Iceland continues to be a member of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.

EU Statement in response to OSCE SMM Chief Monitor Ambassador Apakan, CiO Special Representative Ambassador Tagliavini, and ODIHR Director Link, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1040, Vienna, 17 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union thanks the speakers for their timely appearance before the Permanent Council. We welcome the start of a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine as part of the “package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements” agreed in Minsk on 12 February. We note from today’s briefing by Ambassador Apakan and from reports of the Special Monitoring Mission the assessment that the ceasefire is largely holding. However, we are extremely concerned about ceasefire violations in certain areas, in particular in and around Debaltseve where heavy fighting is continuing and Russian-backed separatists are attempting to take control. We urge the separatists to immediately halt attacks. We deeply regret that the separatists have denied SMM access to Debaltseve. This is unacceptable. The ceasefire must be respected throughout the area of conflict. Statements by representatives of the separatists that the ceasefire arrangement does not include Debaltseve are not in accordance with the agreement reached in Minsk. We expect Russia to exert its influence on the separatists to fully live up to their commitments made.

2. The Minsk package offers a way forward to a comprehensive, sustainable and peaceful resolution to the crisis in Eastern Ukraine, in full respect of international law and OSCE principles. It is based on the full respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, as was declared by the Heads of State and Government. We urge all sides to adhere strictly to the provisions of the package and to carry out its measures without delay. All parties should refrain from actions that would hinder the full implementation of the Minsk package. In this context, we note the many SMM observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia’s responsibility. In this context, we recall that re-establishing Ukrainian control over its borders remains essential, as reiterated in Minsk. We likewise recall that the Minsk protocol calls for continuous monitoring of the border by the OSCE.

3. The SMM has a vital role to play in facilitating the implementation of the Minsk package. We commend Ambassador Apakan and his staff for responding quickly and for enhancing the SMM’s capacity in eastern parts of Ukraine. We call on all signatories to take action in line with the letter of Ambassador Apakan dated 13 February. That includes providing security and safety and unrestricted access for the monitors and UAVs to all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and along the border with Russia. There is an urgent need to act now to enable the SMM to carry out its tasks of monitoring and verifying the ceasefire and the withdrawal of heavy armament as well as withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, military equipment and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine. We note the request to participating States for additional specialized staff and equipment. We urge all participating states to respond quickly and generously. Rest assured that the EU will continue to strongly support the SMM. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide qualified staff, appropriate equipment and financial contributions.

4. We once again express our support for the work of Ambassador Tagliavini and the Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE-chairmanship. We commend Ambassador Tagliavini for her tireless efforts in facilitating the negotiations in Minsk. The Trilateral Contact Group must play an essential role in promoting the implementation of the Minsk package.

5. We welcome the comments made by ODIHR director Link and ODIHR’s stated readiness to monitor local elections in certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. We underline the importance we attach to local elections based on Ukrainian law and OSCE standards.

6. We recall that the “package of Measures” agreed in Minsk calls for humanitarian aid to be delivered through an international mechanism. We deeply regret that a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy entered Ukrainian territory on Sunday, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed.

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

Revised EU statement: Special Committee on the Charter, 17 лютого 2015 року

Mr Chair,

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

[Alignment Clause]

At the outset, we would like to congratulate you and the other members of the Bureau on your election. We are confident in your ability to guide the Special Committee in its deliberations. We also take this opportunity to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting.

Mr Chair,

General Assembly resolution 69/122 of 10 December 2014 requests the Special Committee to continue its consideration of a number of proposals and issues.

With regard to the agenda item “Maintenance of international peace and security”, we continue to firmly believe that sanctions remain an important instrument, under the Charter, for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security.

We recognize that the sanctions regimes adopted by the UN Security Council in recent years represent a shift from comprehensive to targeted sanctions and to this end continue to demonstrate that sanctions can be instituted in a targeted way to increase their efficiency and attain the agreed objectives while minimising their impact upon the well-being of the civilian population as well as upon third parties.

In this regard we note that the Secretary General in his report A/69/119 on the “Implementation of provisions of the Charter of the United Nations related to assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions” informs us that neither the General Assembly, nor the Economic and Social Council found it necessary in 2013 to take any action related to economic problems arising from sanctions affecting third States. The Secretariat also highlighted that no State had appealed to the UN for remedy and relief from economic problems relating to sanctions since 2003.

In the light of the findings of this report, we continue to hold the view that it is no longer relevant to study the question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions by the Special Committee. It should certainly not be a matter of priority for this Committee, as we do not see any concrete issues that would merit discussion.

We therefore suggest that the Charter Committee should reconsider whether to include in its agenda each year the item in paragraph 3(b) of Resolution 69/122, which addresses the effect of sanctions on third states. We are of the view that this item should not be considered by the Charter Committee more often than every three years.

Likewise, we also note that other items identified in the report of last year's session have been discussed for several years, but without any substantial progress or any likely agreement on concrete measures to be implemented.

More broadly, the European Union and its Member States continue to urge the implementation of the 2006 decision on reforming the working methods of the Special Committee, as also reflected by paragraph 3 (e) of resolution 69/122 of the General Assembly. This is indeed, as stipulated in this provision, a priority issue and we should work together to explore ways and means to achieve a better use of resources and of the meetings of the Committee. This could be done by reviewing all existing agenda items, looking into the usefulness of further discussing them, taking into account their continued relevance and the likelihood of reaching a consensus in the future, before examining proposals for new items, or by re-examining the duration of the sessions of the Committee.

We reiterate our readiness to engage constructively in this process.

On the question of an appropriate commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the Charter, referred to in paragraph 5 of UNGA Resolution 69/122, we would appreciate any information that the UN Secretariat may provide in this regard.

Finally Mr. Chair, regarding the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council, we welcome the progress and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to reduce the backlog in the preparation of those two publications. We express our gratitude to the States which have made voluntary contributions to the trust fund for the elimination of the backlog in the Repertory, and to the trust fund for the updating of the Repertoire, and encourage other Member States to do likewise.

I thank you, Mr Chair.

Statement delivered by H.E. Mr. Thomas Mayr-Harting, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, The Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, General Debate, UN, 17 лютого 2015 року

Madam Chair,

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

[Alignment paragraph]

Let me first thank the President of the General Assembly and the Deputy Secretary-General for addressing this committee today. Their presence is also testimony to the fact that peacekeeping remains a flagship activity of the United Nations. It is an important tool paving the way for longer-term stability and development of countries emerging from a crisis.

Indeed, 2015 offers a great opportunity to shape the future of the global peace and security architecture. Over the years, the EU and its Member States have made important contributions to the guidance of UN peacekeeping, including through constant engagement in this committee. We continue to have a great interest in making UN peacekeeping even more effective and efficient. We are confident that the parallel reviews of peace operations, peacebuilding and SC resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security will provide strategic and operational recommendations that would be read in synergy.

Welcoming the increased attention given to the role of regional organisations in peacekeeping, the European Union will continue to look for ways to enhance our support to UN Peacekeeping. The EU welcomes the regional consultations conducted by the SG's panel for the review of peace operations and we look forward to an open and transparent consultation process. In view of the panel consultations in Brussels this week, the EU has internally agreed on a set of common priorities to be shared with the panel.

Madam Chair,

The protection of civilians remains one of the crucial dimensions of peacekeeping and often decisive for the success and legitimacy of UN peacekeeping operations. Failures and successes of the past must serve as lessons for the future. UN peace operations should play a critical role in assisting the host states in the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, as they are often in the frontline when a state is unable or unwilling to protect civilians from the risk of atrocity crimes. In this context, UN peace operations need to be staffed and equipped in a way that allows UN personnel to better interact with the local population and civil society organisations, including women’s rights based groups, with the overarching aim of responding to warning signals and reducing the risk of atrocity crimes. The implementation of the Human Rights up Front initiative should make a positive contribution in this regard.

We need to focus further on the implementation of PoC mandates by the missions on the ground. In order to succeed, peacekeeping operations need to be equipped with clear, coherent, concise and achievable mandates. The mitigation of civilian harm should be an integral part of UN peace operations' mandates. Thereafter, mandates must be translated into solid concepts of operations and operational guidelines.

At the same time, for the effective implementation of mandates, operations need to be equipped with the tools to address both the root causes of crises and their most visible consequences. While the minimum use of force is highly desirable, it should never become an obstacle for peacekeepers to protect civilians under threat of physical violence. Different levels of threat must be met with the appropriate and commensurate use of force, as necessary. Recognizing that more work needs to be done to develop a comprehensive approach to the protection of civilians, we welcome the work already undertaken by the Secretariat and look forward to the finalization of the PoC policy paper.

In cases where international efforts fail and atrocity crimes are committed, accountability is crucial. UN peace operations should be equipped and staffed with the capability and expertise to assist in transparent investigations and support the collection of evidence in a professional manner. The EU is committed to assisting states to strengthen their national judicial and correctional systems to allow them to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of atrocity crimes. The EU is also a steadfast supporter of the International Criminal Court (ICC). While the primary responsibility for bringing offenders to justice lies with states themselves, the ICC should exercise its jurisdiction where national authorities are unable or unwilling to genuinely prosecute the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. Given the magnitude of sexual and gender based crimes in times of conflict, the EU appreciates the action taken by the Chief prosecutor of the ICC to combat impunity for such crimes. Closer cooperation between the ICC and missions in the field is of vital importance - when a peace operation is to be deployed in an ICC situation country, its mandate should authorize it to facilitate or assist the ICC, including by assisting authorities in the protection of witnesses and the arrest and surrender of individuals subject to arrest warrants issued by the Court.

Madam Chair,

Recognising the dangerous context in which peacekeepers and other UN personnel carry out their work, we pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the service of the UN. The EU has led efforts to agree on a resolution concerning the safety and security of humanitarian personnel and the protection of UN personnel and will continue working in support of this goal.

Searching for measures to increase the safety and security of the UN personnel on the ground remains of critical importance, made even more pressing by the recent increase in number of targeted attacks against peacekeepers. In this context, the better integration of modern technology and intelligence capabilities into peace operations should continue to be pursued. It can help improve the situational awareness of troops in real time, thus contributing to the implementation of the missions' mandate, to the protection of civilians and to the security of the UN personnel on the ground. At the same time, technology alone can not bring about solutions and increased effects. Instead, the coherent merge of modern technology with relevant methods put at disposal of well prepared and trained staff, will be imperative in the pursuit of enhanced operational output. We look forward to a comprehensive report of the expert panel on technology and innovation.

Secondly, efforts to mainstream gender aspects into peace operations need to be strengthened, including by integrating a gender perspective in the training of military, police and civilian staff in peacekeeping operations. We welcome the UN's resolve in preventing and combating sexual exploitation and abuse and emphasize the key role senior mission leadership plays in ensuring accountability.

We have to ensure that women are better and fully represented in peacekeeping forces and in leading peace operations. Women should play a meaningful and prominent role in all phases of peace processes and we hope that the gender dimension is fully integrated in review of peace operations and that its recommendations are consistent with those stemming from the parallel Global Study on the implementation of the UNSCR 1325.

Thirdly, no child should be involved in conflicts, actively as a soldier or passively as a victim or as a sex slave. In line with relevant UNSC resolutions, aspects related to children and armed conflicts must to be addressed in the mandates of relevant peace operations. When needed, the presence of child protection officers among mission staff needs to be ensured. We welcome in this respect the adoption of UNSCR 2143 last year on children and armed conflict. 

Madam Chair,

Regional and sub-regional organisations play an increasingly important role in international peace and security. Better coordination of efforts between the UN and such organizations should be pursued to ensure that the distribution of objectives and tasks among organisations maximises the impact on the ground. In this context, and while observing the decision-making processes of each organisation, coordinated planning and strong cooperation when developing mandates is important.

The EU remains a loyal UN partner, not only by supporting the UN peace operations, but also by deploying its own EU operations within the framework of the Common Security and Defence Policy. We look forward to further cooperation. The recent examples of CAR, Mali and DRC clearly underline the added value of common approaches between the EU, the UN and the AU, and the interest of strong trilateral cooperation.

While peacekeeping operations must remain flexible so as to respond to changing realities on the ground, the partnership with regional and sub-regional organizations should - when appropriate - be considered as part of the mandate discussions, in consultation with the host country, and together with feasible and realistic exit strategies. Particular attention should be paid to the support that could be provided in addressing the rapid response gaps, especially at the launch of UN peacekeeping operations.

Madam Chair,

With a new historical peak for the peacekeeping budget, we need to ensure that increasing resources are used in a more effective and efficient way and in an accountable and transparent manner and that relevant procedures are thoroughly scrutinised to this end.

Particular attention should be paid to the organisation of logistical and administrative support both at UNHQ and in the field. Whereas there is a well identified need for more rapidly-deployable, dynamic and versatile operations, some administrative processes both in New York and on the ground remain cumbersome and labour-intensive, slowing down operations and hampering effectiveness and mandate implementation. While this committee remains committed to considering these issues, we equally hope that the high-level independent panel on peace operations will take stock of the implementation of the Global Field Support Strategy, particularly with respect to the improvement of logistics, procurement and human resources, bearing in mind the necessity of containing costs while taking full advantage of the potential of existing facilities.

In addition, demands made for independent and objective assessments of operations could be taken into account. Performance monitoring should feed into the decision-making process, improving flexibility and adaptability to developments in the field. Local populations can play an important role in identifying the local perception of progress and success of peace operations. Internal accountability is also key and a policy of zero tolerance towards criminal activities, harassment and abuses by staff should be promoted. Transparent investigations and the proper mechanisms to implement disciplinary measures are equally essential.

Madam Chair,

Even the most successful peace operations cannot substitute for the political process. Peace operations can create the conditions for political processes to prosper. Preventive efforts, using tools like SG´s good offices, mediation efforts and concentrated at an early stage of a conflict, should make the most efficient use of human, political and financial resources. Strengthening police, justice and corrections institutions are crucial measures to safeguard the rule of law and create the necessary preconditions for lasting peace. Political process and dialogue should be promoted before, during and after any violent conflict and we stand ready to support the UN in this regard.

At the same time, promoting respect for human rights remains an essential part of conflict prevention and peacekeeping. This should continue to be reflected in the mandates and peace operations should be staffed with a sufficient number of experts on international human rights law, international refugee law and international humanitarian law. In this respect, we welcome the progress made in implementing the Human Rights due diligence policy.

Madam Chair,

The EU and its Member States consider it important to continue to address evolving challenges of peacekeeping in the context of the C34. We must ensure that the Special Committee is able to produce relevant and meaningful strategic guidance on peacekeeping operations based on consensus. Looking ahead towards consultations during this substantive session, we look forward to constructive and substantial negotiations with our partners within the C34.

I thank you.

EU Statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violation of OSCE Principles, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1039, Vienna, 12 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union welcomes that an agreement has been reached in Minsk today. The European Council of Heads of State and Government will meet later today to discuss this issue. We underline there can be no alternative to a negotiated settlement which respects the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The agreement reached will need to be fully implemented, and no action should be taken in the next days that would run contrary to the spirit of the agreement and make its implementation more difficult.

2. Mr Chairman, discussions in Minsk have taken place against the backdrop of a severe escalation of hostilities in parts of eastern Ukraine and an alarming deterioration of the humanitarian situation. We continue to strongly condemn the Russian-backed separatists’ offensive. We express our deep concern about the expansion of hostilities to new areas far from the so-called line of contact as we witnessed in Kramatorsk last Tuesday. Indiscriminate shelling of heavily populated areas in Kramatorsk resulted in many killed and wounded.

3. The fighting provoked by the continued separatist offensive, notably around Debaltseve and other strategically important areas, as reported by the SMM, is causing human suffering. Shelling of civilians, wherever it happens, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. We once again commend the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) for its valuable and objective reports that continue to provide a unique insight into the hostilities, even though the monitors are experiencing more restrictions on their freedom of movement than usual. We note the many observations of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. This corresponds to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia's responsibility. In this context, we recall that re-establishing Ukrainian control of its borders remains essential.

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

EU Statement in Response to the Chairpersons of the Three Committees, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1039, Vienna, 12 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Chairs of the three committees for their presentations. We acknowledge that the situation in and around Ukraine inevitably will continue to influence discussions in the committees this year.

2. We congratulate Ambassador Istrate on his new position as Chair of the Security Committee. Our priority here remains the implementation of the OSCE's transnational threats (TNTs) related decisions, including the 2005 Borders Concept. This should be done in close cooperation with other relevant international stakeholders such as UNODC. We welcome the priority given to counter-terrorism this year. We look forward to appropriate follow-up on the Basel Declarations on foreign terrorist fighters and kidnapping for ransom, including in the Security Committee through voluntary reporting. In this regard, the Chair's Paper for the next Committee meeting will be a useful starting point for further discussions.

3. We need to continue to give special attention and support to the cyber Informal Working Group (IWG). We are pleased that the dates for the three capitals-level meetings this year have already been set and welcome the "Best Guess" paper circulated by the Chair. We should continue to implement the first set of cyber CBMs and work on a second set, which could be adopted during the Serbian Chairmanship.

4. We congratulate Ambassador Leko on his new position as Chair of the Economic and Environmental Committee. We appreciate the continued practice of organising thematic meetings. We welcome the focus of the Economic and Environmental Forum on water governance, highlighting its clear link to conflict prevention, security and its relevance to the OSCE.

5. The fight against corruption remains an important priority for the EU. We commend Ambassador Leko for launching the informal 'Group of Friends of the EEC Chair' on the implementation of the Basel Decision on Prevention of Corruption. We will actively participate in this group and support its Greek chair in producing a report containing options as foreseen in the Basel decision. We look forward to Ambassador Leko presenting this report to the Permanent Council. The focus on the fight against corruption at this year's EEDIM provides an opportunity to further consider the implications of the report.

6. We welcome the comprehensive agenda for the Human Dimension Committee in 2015 presented by Ambassador Kvile. The EU fully supports the continued use of the standing agenda and the practice of voluntary reporting, which we will continue to contribute to. We encourage all participating States not only to provide reports, but to engage with the reports made by other states in the same manner they do on other agenda items.

7. We hope the work of the human dimension committee in 2015 will both facilitate important discussions on how implementation of our joint commitments can be strengthened, and contribute to progressing the work of our organisation in the human dimension. In this regard, we welcome that a number of outstanding issues from our discussions last year, namely freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the issue of torture, including enforced disappearances, will remain high on the Committee’s agenda in 2015.

8. We welcome the proposal to hold joint committee meetings this year. The added value of joint meetings should be the guiding principle when deciding on holding them. In this context, we welcome efforts to avoid overlapping meetings and to work towards de-conflicting schedules. We believe a cross-dimensional and inclusive approach should always guide the work of the three committees, not only in the context of joint meetings. For example, gender equality and good governance are cross-dimensional issues that we believe can be better mainstreamed into the work of each dimension. We hope there will be further work on this this year.

9. Mr Chairman, nearly a decade since their establishment the three committees continue to make our consultations more participatory, interactive and transparent. We welcome the active participation of the autonomous OSCE institutions, OSCE field operations, and, not least, civil society including NGOs in committee meetings. We encourage the continuation of this approach and hope it can be strengthened further.

10. Finally, we wish the Chairs of the committees every success in their endeavours this year. Ambassadors Istrate, Leko and Kvile, you can count on our full support.

EU Statement on abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1039, Vienna, 12 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on recent developments in the Nadia Savchenko case. The kidnapping, illegal transfer to and illegal detention in Russia of Nadia Savchenko, a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, is unacceptable. We deeply regret the decision by a court in Moscow to extend her pre-trial detention until 13 May. We reiterate our strong concern in regard to reports that Nadia Savchenko is seriously ill after more than 60 days of hunger strike to protest the terms of her illegal detention. We once again call on Russia to respect its international commitments and to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. We will continue to follow these cases very closely.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 779, Vienna, 11 лютого 2015 року

Final Draft

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the ongoing rapid deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation in parts of eastern Ukraine, including the rising number of civilian and military casualties.

In particular, we are greatly worried by SMM’s reports of attacks on residential areas with indications of use of cluster munitions. Protection of civilians' lives by all is of utmost importance in this crisis, as well as elsewhere. The European Union calls upon all actors to refrain from using cluster munitions and to observe the principles of international humanitarian law.

The spiral of ever increasing violence in eastern Ukraine needs to stop. The fighting provoked by the continued separatist offensive, notably around Debaltseve and other strategically important areas, as reported by the SMM, is causing great human suffering and undermines all efforts aimed at a political solution. The shelling of civilians, wherever it happens, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Artillery should immediately be withdrawn from residential areas. Furthermore all actors should refrain from deploying weapon systems in residential areas as well as any deliberate targeting of such areas.

We welcome the local temporary truce agreed by all parties that allowed several hundreds of civilians to leave the heavily shelled city of Debaltseve on 6 February. Swift and full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict, respecting Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, is of critical importance. Progress must be made on the withdrawal of illegal and foreign armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, freeing of all hostages and securing the Ukrainian-Russian border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE.

This is why the European Union will continue to actively support all diplomatic efforts conducive to creating a new political impetus, notably those currently ongoing under OSCE auspices and within the Normandy format, and will engage further as necessary. We call upon all sides to fully assume their responsibility and to implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements.

In this context, the European Union keeps noting evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia's responsibility. We expect Russia to exert its influence and to induce the separatists to stop their hostile actions and live up fully to their commitments under the Minsk agreements, including notably the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the security zone along the line of contact as foreseen in the Minsk Memorandum, as urgent first steps.

We note with deep concern that against the backdrop of sharply increasing violence the SMM's freedom of movement has been restricted more than usual by the separatists, particularly along the Ukraine-Russian Federation border and in areas adjacent to the contact line. Therefore, we highly value the detailed and objective SMM reporting, which despite the restrictions, testifies to significant military concentrations and movements within and from separatist-controlled areas towards the west. We call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for the SMM's monitors and unmanned aerial vehicles to all parts of Ukraine, including all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and areas along the state border with Russia.

Such highly disturbing facts underline once again the urgency of making full use of all multilateral instruments at hand, including these under the OSCE politico-military dimension of security, to ensure military transparency and stability, especially in the highly volatile areas along the state border between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

We note in this respect the Ukrainian request for an explanation of Russian unusual military activities in eastern Ukraine, including on the transfer of Russian military equipment, servicemen and mercenaries, into Ukraine, circulated on 6 February under reference number CBM/UA/15/0006/F10/O.

We consider the Russian Federation's reply under reference number

CBM/RU/15/0012/F41/O to this, as well as to previous Ukrainian requests for explanation under the Vienna Document Chapter III, as being unsatisfactory and not conducive to helping to restore security, trust and confidence in the OSCE region through the full use, both in letter and spirit, of all relevant OSCE politico-military instruments.

We furthermore reiterate our deep regret that the Russian Federation continues to dispatch so called "humanitarian convoys” in violation of Ukraine's national legislation, recognised international practices, as well as previously agreed modalities with the ICRC.

We reiterate our position that this act constitutes a clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty

and territorial integrity.We urge all parties to fully respect international law, to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian organisations in line with international humanitarian law and principles.

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

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Chief Monitor of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1038 Vienna, 5 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union and its Member States warmly welcome the Chief Monitor, Ambassador Ertugrul Apakan, back to the Permanent Council. The Special Monitoring Mission is playing a very significant and valuable role through its presence on the ground and its impartial and objective monitoring and reporting. The SMM has a vital role in facilitating the implementation of important aspects of the Minsk agreements. We continue to strongly support the SMM and we will support an extension of the Mission when its mandate expires next month. During the reporting period, the SMM has expanded the number of monitors and significantly improved its operational capacity. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide qualified staff, appropriate equipment and financial contributions.

2. Mr Chairman, the SMM’s reports provide a unique insight into the recent escalation of hostilities in parts of eastern Ukraine. They clearly demonstrate attempts by Russian-backed separatists to further destabilise the situation and to expand the area they control in breach of the Minsk agreements. We note the many observations of substantial amounts of heavy military equipment in areas controlled by the separatists. They include advanced multiple rocket launcher systems, surface-to-air missiles, tanks and heavy artillery. These observations correspond to evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. We also note SMM’s reports about the many attacks by separatists on strategic sites and cities adjacent to “the line of contact”. These days thousands of civilians are trapped in Debaltseve under constant shelling by the separatists attempting to take control. From the reports we acquire an insight in the severe impact of the crisis on civilians. Of particular concern is indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas as well as the use of such areas, including in Donetsk city, to conduct military operations. We continue to condemn such acts.

3. We underline the importance of the investigations of specific incidents conducted by the SMM. The SMM’s spot reports on the recent tragic incidents in Mariupol, Volnovakha, Donetsk and Luhansk city provide the international community with an impartial, factual and timely assessment. We urge all participating States to refrain from calling the impartiality of the SMM into doubt. We commend the SMM for its media and communication activities that contribute to objective media coverage and counter misinformation and propaganda.

4. Mr Chairman, we regret once again the lack of progress towards substantial and effective OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian-Russian state border. Re-establishing Ukrainian control of its borders remains essential. Border and ceasefire monitoring remain closely interlinked and mutually dependent. We recall that the Minsk protocol called for continuous monitoring of the border by the OSCE. The SMM Concept Paper on Monitoring the Ukrainian-Russian State Border provides a good basis and should be implemented without delay.

5. The safety and security of SMM monitors is of paramount importance. We express our deep concern about numerous security incidents that have directly involved SMM monitors. We acknowledge the comprehensive security measures undertaken by the SMM. We welcome the many security briefings and updates provided to the participating States as well the visit to the SMM by national security experts last month.

6. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors and UAVs, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the Ukrainian-Russian state border. We regret that the separatists continue to limit the access of the SMM to certain areas. We also regret the continuing attempts at disrupting the use of UAVs by shooting and “jamming” and we call for an expansion of the flight area over separatist controlled areas. It is unacceptable that the SMM has no access to Crimea despite the urgent need for international monitoring of the deteriorating human rights situation in the illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol. We urge the SMM to continue to report on the situation in Crimea based on interviews with activists and IDPs and other sources.

7. Mr Chairman, we commend Ambassador Apakan and his staff for their outstanding and courageous efforts in a most volatile and dangerous environment. We wish Ambassador Apakan and his staff success in their very important endeavours.

EU Statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violation of OSCE Principles, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1038 Vienna, 5 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union strongly condemns the continued separatist offensive in parts of eastern Ukraine, notably around Debaltseve. We join the call by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on all actors in and around the Debaltseve area to establish a local temporary truce for a minimum of three days, taking immediate effect. We support the efforts of the Special Monitoring Mission and Ambassador Tagliavini to pursue this as a first step to securing a sustainable ceasefire and full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

2. The fighting in eastern Ukraine is causing great human suffering and undermines all efforts aimed at a political solution. The shelling of civilians, wherever it happens, is a grave violation of international humanitarian law. Artillery should immediately be withdrawn from residential areas. We are greatly concerned by the SMM’s most recent report on an attack on a residential area in Luhansk city on 27 January with possible use of cluster munitions. We call upon all parties to refrain from the use of indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions. We note the statement by the UN Commissioner for Human Rights that any further escalation will prove catastrophic for the 5.2 million people living in the midst of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

3. The European Union will continue to actively support all diplomatic efforts conducive to creating a new political impetus, notably those currently ongoing under OSCE auspices, and will engage further as necessary. Full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict, respecting Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, must remain the focus of such talks. We regret that the two co-signatories of the Minsk agreements from the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk 'People's Republics' did not attend the meeting in Minsk on 31 January despite personal invitations from the Trilateral Contract Group. We are particularly disappointed that their 'representatives' were not prepared to discuss implementation of a ceasefire and withdrawal of heavy weapons and called for revision of the Minsk agreements.

4. We note the evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia. This underlines Russia's responsibility. We expect Russia to exert its influence and to induce the separatists to stop their hostile actions and fully live up to their commitments under the Minsk agreements. This notably includes the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the security zone along the line of contact foreseen in the Minsk Memorandum, as urgent first steps. We call on all sides to fully assume their responsibility and to implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements in their entirety. We call in particular on the Russian Federation to condemn the separatists' actions.

5. Progress must also be made on the withdrawal of illegal and foreign armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, freeing all hostages, securing the Ukrainian-Russian border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE, as well as early local elections in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the framework of the Ukrainian law on interim self-governance and an inclusive national dialogue, notably on issues such as constitutional reform and decentralisation. Re-establishing Ukrainian control of its borders remains essential.

6. In view of the worsening situation the EU Foreign Ministers agreed last Thursday to extend the restrictive measures targeting persons and entities for threatening or undermining Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity until September 2015. The European Union will continue to closely follow the situation on the ground and the current diplomatic efforts. Further preparatory work is being undertaken on any appropriate action, aiming at ensuring a swift and comprehensive implementation of the Minsk agreements.

7. The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine continues to worsen dramatically in the coldest period of the year. We urge all parties to fully respect international law, to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian organisations in line with international humanitarian law and principles. We deeply regret that the Russian so-called humanitarian convoys continue to enter Ukrainian territory, without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and in clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. In this respect, we took note of the report of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk that 90 vehicles crossed into Ukraine and returned back through the Donetsk border checkpoint. The EU calls on all parties to support and facilitate access to international humanitarian aid in accordance with its fundamental principles and in full cooperation with the respective Ukrainian authorities.  

8. Mr Chairman, at our previous meeting the Russian delegation mistakenly claimed that Russia's so-called 'humanitarian aid' constitutes the only 'line of supply' for people in eastern Ukraine. In fact, around 40 percent of the more than 11 million Euros which the European Commission has already contributed in humanitarian aid go to separatist-held areas. The European Commission has now decided to increase its humanitarian assistance with an additional 15 million Euros to provide support to the most vulnerable conflict-affected populations, including in separatists-held areas. The European Commission also provides support to Ukrainian refugees in Belarus and Russia.

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

EU Statement on the Illegal Arrest of the Deputy Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis and growing violations of Human Rights by the occupying authorities in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1038 Vienna, 5 лютого 2015 року

1. The European Union is concerned by the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Crimea and strongly condemns the arrest of the deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis Ahtem Ciygoz on 29 January. We call for his immediate release.

2. The arrest of Ahtem Ciygoz represents the most recent act of persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatar community following Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks already highlighted the persistent reports coming out of Crimea of serious human rights violations, including killings, enforced disappearances, severe physical ill-treatment and arbitrary detention following his visit to Crimea in September last year. So did the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in his Office’s December 2014 report. These observations correspond to the information provided by the Special Monitoring Mission based on interviews with activists and IDPs. The SMM's reports point to a progressively deteriorating situation with persecution, searches and unlawful arrests as well as harassment and pressure on independent media. In this context, we also note the deep concern about media freedom in Crimea expressed by the Representative on Freedom of the Media on a number of occasions. Commissioner Muižnieks' view that it is essential to create a sense of security not only for the Crimean Tatars, but also for ethnic Ukrainians and those who have expressed critical views of recent political developments is therefore more valid than ever.

3. We reiterate our call on all parties to provide the OSCE including the SMM and the High Commissioner on National Minorities as well as international human rights actors with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

4. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 778, Vienna, 4 лютого 2015 року

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the rapid deterioration in the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the rising number of civilian as well as military casualties. We convey our sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the recent shelling incidents in Donetsk city and wish a speedy recovery to those injured.

Against this highly disturbing background, we recall that last week the EU Foreign Affairs Council strongly condemned the indiscriminate shelling of residential areas, especially in Mariupol, and the escalation of fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine. It noted evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, which underlines Russia's responsibility.

The European Union expects Russia to exert its influence and to induce the separatists, without delay to stop their hostile actions and live up fully to their commitments under the Minsk agreements. In particular this includes the cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of heavy weapons from the security zone along the line of contact as foreseen in the Minsk Memorandum, as urgent first steps, which the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine called for in the Joint Statement, following their talks in Berlin on 21 January. All signatories of the Minsk agreements should convene as a matter of urgency within the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group to this effect.

The European Union will actively support all diplomatic efforts conducive to creating a new political impetus, notably those currently ongoing under OSCE auspices, and will engage further as necessary. These efforts should be undertaken in good faith and lead to meaningful results. Full implementation of the Minsk agreements which provides the basis for a sustainable political solution to the crisis, respecting Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, must remain the focus of such talks. Progress must be made on the withdrawal of illegal and foreign armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, freeing of all hostages, securing the Ukrainian-Russian border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE, as well as early local elections in parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the framework of the Ukrainian law on interim self-governance and an inclusive national dialogue, notably on issues such as constitutional reform and decentralisation.

The European Union reiterates its appreciation of the OSCE's role, in particular through the presence on the ground and objective reporting of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine as well as the efforts of the Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office in the Trilateral Contact Group. We call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for the SMM's monitors and unmanned aerial vehicles to all parts of Ukraine, including all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and areas along the state border with Russia.

We remain deeply worried about the substantial amounts of heavy military equipment, including tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and heavy artillery, as well as men in military uniforms without insignia moving west in separatist-controlled areas as reported by the SMM.

The European Union expresses its grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Donbas region of Ukraine. It urges all parties to fully respect international law, to protect civilians and humanitarian workers and to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian organisations in line with international humanitarian principles and with the agreement of the Ukrainian authorities.

In this respect, we took note of the report of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk that 90 vehicles crossed into Ukraine and returned back through the Donetsk border checkpoint. We reiterate in this regard our position, including that the Russian so called humanitarian convoys require the consent of the Ukrainian authorities.

We remain committed to support the most vulnerable population affected by the crisis, including in separatist-controlled areas and in Ukraine's neighbouring countries. So far, the EU's humanitarian and early recovery assistance amounts to a total of EUR 95 million. We call on all international donors to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs in a coordinated manner, on the basis of the UN Strategic Response Plan. The European Union reiterates its commitment to fully implement its policy of nonrecognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian

Federation. We stand firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and call upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on Wassenaar Arrangement, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 778, Vienna, 4 лютого 2015 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to welcome Ambassador Griffiths, Head of the Secretariat of the Wassenaar Arrangement, to the Forum for Security Co-operation and thank him for his comprehensive presentation on the activities of this organisation.

The Wassenaar Arrangement plays an important role in promoting transparency and responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual use goods, thus helping prevent destabilising accumulations.

The EU has included the Wassenaar Arrangement control lists in its legislation and practices: the Dual Use control list is included in the EU Dual Use Regulation, while the Wassenaar Arrangement Munitions List is mirrored in the Common Military List of the EU. The Wassenaar Arrangement Elements for Objective Analysis concerning Potentially Destabilising Accumulations of Conventional Weapons are consistent with the EU User’s Guide on the implementation of the Common Position on the control of exports of military technology and equipment.

The EU and its Member States strive to apply the highest standards of export controls for military and dual use items. The information exchange within the Wassenaar Arrangement enables participating States to implement robust and well informed export controls. This is why we actively support the accession of all EU Member States to the Arrangement.

The EU continues to allocate significant resources engaging with third-party countries with a view to building export control capacities in those nations. These efforts complement the commendable outreach activities carried out by the Wassenaar Arrangement.

We are particularly grateful to Ambassador Griffiths for his extremely valuable and effective work as Head of Secretariat and congratulate him on his role in making the Wassenaar Arrangement the valuable organisation that it is today.

Statement on behalf of the European Union and its Member States by H.E. Ioannis Vrailas, Deputy Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations at the Security Council Open Debate on “Protection of civilians in armed conflict, with a focus on women and girls", United Nations, New York, 30 січня 2015

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

We welcome the focus of today's debate on the needs faced by women and girls in armed conflict and post-conflict settings. Women and girls face discrimination and violations during all phases of conflict. The use of sexual and gender-based violence as a tactic of war is just one of these violations. Conflict often increases women's responsibilities as carers and breadwinners for extended families, and does under difficult circumstances; a vast majority of displaced population are women and girls.

Fourteen years after the adoption of UNSC resolution 1325 (2000), we can note an important level of political commitment and activity in the field of women, peace and security. However, at the same time, we have been witnessing a series of troubling developments linked to conflict leading to mass displacements, humanitarian catastrophes and serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. Women and girls are some of the victims.

We should then strengthen our resolve to implement in a systematic and sustainable way at national, regional and global level the commitments that we have made. We have the policies and mechanisms in place, but we need to make more efficient and better use of them. We need to make sure that civilians, including women and girls, are protected during conflict – and that humanitarian aid reaches those most in need. Given the changing nature of conflicts, we need to develop innovative ways to communicate principles of international humanitarian law and to ensure humanitarian access. Protection and relief provided must correspond to the needs of the whole civilian population.

We need to systematically tailor humanitarian responses so that they address the specific needs faced by women and girls during armed conflict. This can include conducting gender-sensitive needs assessments and collecting sex- and age-disaggregated data, as well as making progress in linking relief, rehabilitation and development. The EU continues to address the specific needs of women and girls through gender- and age-sensitive programming using a three-track approach, combining mainstreaming, targeted actions and capacity building. The EU has also introduced a Gender-Age marker, a tool to assess how strongly EU-funded humanitarian actions integrate gender and age considerations.

We note with concern continued sexual violence, rape, forced marriage, forced prostitution, trafficking and sexual slavery, which characterise an increasing number of conflicts and the continuing use of sexual and gender-based violence as a tactic of war. We welcome clear global, regional and national commitments taken to tackle this, including those made at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in June 2014, the Call to Action on Protecting Girls and Women in Emergencies, the Framework for Cooperation between the UN and the African Union and the joint communiques between SRSGs and an increasing number of governments.

We must end impunity for crimes of sexual violence, which must be properly investigated and prosecuted. In this regard, we emphasise the significant advancement in international law made by the Rome Statute of the ICC, as well as non-permanent International Criminal Tribunals in combating sexual violence in conflict. We commend UN Women and Justice Rapid Response for their roster of experts specifically trained for investigating sexual and gender-based crimes.

We also welcome the increased use of the human rights and sexual violence related criteria in the SC sanctions regimes. We welcome the SG Guidance note on reparations for sexual violence published in June 2014.

Attention to the protection of women and girls and their participation in conflict resolution and post-conflict peacebuilding must be transformed from an exception to a standard practice – through systematic inclusion in policy guidelines, codes of conduct and training. It should also receive the attention of senior management in missions and other conflict resolution and peacebuilding mechanisms. 70% of the EU's own missions deployed in 2013, including all military operations, had at least one gender adviser/trainer. The EU continues its work on specific training modules on human rights and gender in crisis management, ensuring a focus on sexual violence in armed conflicts. Gender advisors must be deployed in all UN peacekeeping operations and special political missions and we also call for the further deployment of UN women protection advisors.

To improve the situation of women and girls, we need to make better use of the international legal and policy instruments. The CEDAW general recommendation no 30 on tackling challenges to gender equality in situations of conflict is a landmark achievement and the EU welcomes the development of a guidebook to support a more effective reporting by States parties to the Committee. We also underline the importance of reviewing our progress on women, peace and security in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The resilience of women and girls in situations of conflict and displacement must be acknowledged, and their capacity to be active agents in conflict resolution and in building lasting peace harnessed. The principles of protection and participation go hand in hand.

We continue to implement an EU systematic plan on women, peace and security: the Comprehensive Approach to the implementation of these resolutions. The second report on the implementation of the Comprehensive Approach from February 2014 also sets the EU priority areas for the next reporting period 2013-2015, which include transitional justice, women's political participation and economic empowerment, women's involvement in peace processes and preventing sexual violence in conflict. 17 European Union Member States have adopted national action plans with the aim of strengthening their action on UNSCR 1325.

We are looking forward to the Global Review of the implementation of UNSCR 1325 this year. We hope that it provides an additional push to make all our commitments on women, peace and security a reality.

Preparations to the 1325 Review will be conducted in parallel with the peacebuilding review and the review of peace operations. This provides us with an opportunity we must not miss to embed a strong gender dimension in the UN peace and security architecture.

The upcoming review of peace operations should aim at achieving a model of peacekeeping which puts a strong focus on the protection of civilians. Tackling sexual violence should be a priority. UN peace operations should play a critical role in the implementation of the Responsibility to Protect, as they are often in the frontline when the state is unable or unwilling to protect civilians from the risk of atrocity crimes. In this context, UN operations need to be staffed and equipped in a way that allows staff to better interact with the local population and civil society organisations, with the overarching aim of responding to warning signals and reducing the risk of atrocity crimes.

2015 is a year of reviews at the UN (resolution 1325, peacebuilding, peace operations). We need to work together to ensure that these parallel processes - that are to shape the way we deal with peace and security - are ambitious and strategic. We have a great opportunity to advance the cause of protections of civilians and to redouble our efforts to alleviate the suffering of women and girls who are trapped in the dynamics of violent conflict.

EU Statement on Russia's Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1037, Vienna, 29 січня 2015

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine. We once again strongly condemn the killing of civilians during the indiscriminate shelling of Mariupol on 24 January. We also condemn the recent attacks on Debaltseve and other locations along the so-called ‘line of contact’. The SMM reports point to a rapid increase of ceasefire violations involving the use of heavy weaponry in the recent days. We note evidence of continued and growing support given to the separatists by Russia, including by deploying illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment. This underlines Russia’s responsibility. Those responsible for the escalation must stop their hostile actions and fully implement their commitments under the Minsk agreements. We call in particular for full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with continuous monitoring by the OSCE.

2. We call notably on the Russian Federation to condemn the separatists’ actions. Public statements distorting the reality on the ground, inciting hatred and further violence, as well as the public humiliation of prisoners in violation of international law will not lead to the badly needed de-escalation. The perpetrators of such acts of public humiliation of prisoners should be brought to justice.

3. The European Union will actively support all diplomatic efforts – in particular in the Normandy Format – conducive to creating a new political impetus and will engage further as necessary. These efforts should be undertaken in good faith and lead to meaningful results. Full implementation of the Minsk agreements as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict, respecting Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, must remain the focus of such talks.

4. The Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship must continue to play an essential role. The Trilateral Contact Group and the other two signatories of the Minsk agreements should meet without further delay and make progress in the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

5. We recall the European Council conclusions of 18 December 2014, where we said that "the EU will stay the course" and that we are "ready to take further steps if necessary." In view of the worsening situation the EU Heads of State or Government have asked the Foreign Affairs Council to meet this afternoon to assess the situation and consider appropriate action, in particular on further restrictive measures, aiming at a swift and comprehensive implementation of Minsk agreements.

6. We reiterate our strong support for the impartial work of the SMM since its establishment. We call on all sides to ensure safe and free access for the SMM. The SMM’s objective and comprehensive reporting on the indiscriminate attack on Mariupol provides another reminder of the value of the mission’s work. We urge all participating States to refrain from calling the impartiality of the SMM into doubt. We hope progress will soon be made in the implementation of the SMM concept on border monitoring as well as regarding expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian border checkpoints.

7. The humanitarian situation on the ground as a result of Russia’s de-stabilisation of the east is a matter of increasing concern. The EU remains committed to support the most vulnerable population affected by the conflict. In this respect, the Commission together with the Member States have mobilised additional funding and in-kind assistance to cover most urgent needs, as communicated during the recent visit of Commissioner Stylianides to Ukraine. So far, the EU's humanitarian and early recovery assistance amounts to a total of 95 million Euros.  We call on all parties to support and facilitate access for national and international humanitarian aid in accordance with international humanitarian principles.

8. Mr Chairman, we remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Crimea. We join the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in condemning the raid by masked forces in Crimea on the Crimean television station ATR on 26 January. This represents the most recent act of persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatar community and another attempt to limit freedom of expression and media on the peninsula. In this context, we reiterate our call on all parties to provide the High Commissioner on National Minorities and international human rights actors with full, free and unrestricted access to the whole territory of Ukraine, including Crimea and Sevastopol.

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

EU Statement on Abduction and Illegal Detention of Ukrainian Citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1037, Vienna, 29 січня 2015

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on recent developments in the Nadia Savchenko case. Russia’s illegal detention of a member of the Ukrainian Parliament remains unacceptable. We note with deep concern that Nadia Savchenko is seriously ill after more than 40 days of hunger strike to protest the terms of her detention. We once again call on Russia to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. 

EU Statement on Nuclear Non-Proliferation, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 777, Vienna, 28 січня 2015

The European Union (EU) would like to thank today's speakers for their presentations on nuclear non-proliferation.

We reiterate on this occasion that the European Union continue to consider the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as the cornerstone of the global nuclear nonproliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI of the NPT and an important element in the further development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes.

In view of current proliferation risks, we are convinced that today the NPT is more important than ever. We must strengthen its authority and integrity. We reaffirm our full support for all three pillars of the Treaty and the implementation of commitments undertaken during previous Review Conferences.

The European Union will continue to promote a comprehensive, balanced and substantive implementation of the forward-looking 2010 NPT Review Conference Action Plan and is committed to working with all States towards a successful conclusion and substantial outcome to the 2015 Review Conference.

We welcome the updating of the OSCE Principles Governing Non-Proliferation in 2013 in which all OSCE participating States unanimously reconfirmed their commitment to prevent proliferation in all its aspects of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and their means of delivery. They furthermore committed themselves to strengthen the non-proliferation regime through full implementation of their existing international obligations, multilateral agreements and instruments, while benefiting also from the entire range of multilateral and bilateral arrangements and determined national efforts. OSCE assistance to participating States in their implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004) is one such important effort.

In this context, we welcome the signature by the five nuclear weapon States of the Protocol to the Central Asia Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty in the margins of the Third session of the Preparatory Committee of the 2015 NPT Review Conference in April-May last year.

The EU recalls its strong condemnation of the violation of several commitments by the Russian Federation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or sovereignty of Ukraine under the Budapest memorandum of 1994 on security assurances in connection with Ukraine’s accession to the NPT as a nonnuclear weapon State. We express our concern about the possible consequences of further deterioration of the international context on disarmament efforts.

Mr Chairman, we would like to once again thank you and today's speakers for giving us this opportunity to discuss an important topic on the international non-proliferation agenda.

EU Statement on the Unusual Military Activities of the Russian Federation and the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 777, Vienna, 28 січня 2015

The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the sharp deterioration in the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine resulting from the actions of the Russian-backed illegal armed groups and the rising number of civilian as well as military casualties.

On 24 January residential areas of the city of Mariupol were fired upon from separatist held territory, as reported by the SMM, which cost the lives of thirty civilians, wounding many others and terrorising the innocent population. We agree with the OSCE Chief Monitor in Ukraine Ambassador Apakan that this was indeed a reckless, indiscriminate and disgraceful attack aimed at a heavily-populated residential area whose victims included women, children and the elderly. We commend the UN Secretary General’s condemnation of the attack, commenting that rockets appear to have been launched indiscriminately into civilian areas, which would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.

This came after a series of indiscriminate attacks in the Donbas in the past few days, accompanied by the announcements of further offensives by Russian-backed separatists, who bluntly refuse to observe the cease fire. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the shelling of residential areas and convey our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

This significant escalation of the crisis has tragic consequences for a population already greatly suffering. As stated by the EU High Representative Mogherini on 24 January it would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations between the European Union and the Russian Federation. The EU Foreign Affairs Council is meeting tomorrow to address the latest dramatic developments on the ground.

We reiterate our call upon the Russian Federation to use its influence over separatist leaders and to stop any form of military, political or financial support. This would prevent disastrous consequences for all. Those responsible for the escalation must stop their hostile actions and comply with the commitments they signed up to in the Minsk agreements. The cessation of hostilities should be the first step towards the full and swift implementation of the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 as the basis for a sustainable political solution respecting Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

We call notably on the Russian Federation to fully assume its responsibilities in this regard. Strict observation of the ceasefire, withdrawal of any illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment deployed from the territory of the Russian Federation as well as playing its part in securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with expanded international monitoring by the OSCE all remain of paramount importance. We reiterate the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its border. We call on the Russian Federation to respect this.

The European Union stands fully behind the efforts towards a political solution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, including the last week’s meeting of the Ministers of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine in Berlin. We expect the Trilateral Contact Group to convene as soon as possible, with participation of all signatories of the Minsk agreements.

We remain worried about the substantial amounts of heavy military equipment, including tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and heavy artillery, being continuously concentrated in areas where their presence is prohibited according to the Minsk Memorandum. Furthermore, we reiterate our strong concern about further groups of illegal and foreign forces entering the Ukrainian territory from the Russian Federation. We fully back the Ukrainian request for an explanation of Russian unusual military activities, including the concentration of armed forces of the Russian Federation along the state border with Ukraine, as well as the transfer of Russian tactical groups into Ukraine. In this respect, we fully share the view expressed by Ukraine in its Vienna Document notification CBM/UA/15/0002/F10/O that additional Vienna Document inspections offered by the Russian Federation in the areas on its territory adjacent to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions would contribute to alleviating legitimate security concerns of both Ukraine and all other participating States.

Therefore we find the reply by the Russian Federation under reference CBM/RU/15/0006/F41/O unsatisfactory and we reiterate our call on the Russian Federation to make full use, both in letter and spirit, of the OSCE politico-military instruments at hand in order to help deescalate the situation on the ground and restore security, trust and confidence in the OSCE region.

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

EU Statement on Russia‘s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1036, Vienna, 26 січня 2015

1. The European Union is deeply alarmed by recent developments in parts of eastern Ukraine. We strongly condemn the attacks using Grad and Uragan rockets on residential areas in the city of Mariupol on 24 January from separatist held territory as reported by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). 30 civilians were killed, many more were wounded and the population of Mariupol was terrorised. We express our deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wish a swift recovery to those injured. We agree with Ambassador Apakan that this was indeed a reckless, indiscriminate and disgraceful attack aimed at a heavily-populated residential area whose victims included women, children and the elderly. We commend the UN Secretary General’s condemnation of the attack, commenting that rockets appear to have been launched indiscriminately into civilian areas, which would constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.

2. The attack in Mariupol follows a series of indiscriminate attacks, accompanied by the announcements of further offensives by Russia-backed separatists. Recent SMM observations confirm the presence of a substantial amount of heavy military equipment in separatist controlled areas, including advanced multiple rocket launcher systems, surface-to-air missiles, tanks and artillery.   

3. The EU calls on Russia to meet its responsibilities under the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, both directly and through its influence over separatist leaders, and to stop any form of military, political or financial support. Public statements distorting the reality on the ground will not lead to the badly needed de-escalation. We recall the Declaration of the Permanent Council of 20 January this year and the Joint Statement following the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany, Russia, and Ukraine in Berlin on 21 January. We call in particular for full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment deployed from the territory of Russia, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with continuous monitoring by the OSCE.  We reiterate the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its border. We call on Russia to respect this.

4. This significant escalation of the crisis has tragic consequences for a population greatly suffering already for far too long. We urge all sides to do their utmost to avoid civilian casualties.

5. As stated by High Representative Mogherini on 24 January, further escalation would inevitably lead to a further grave deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia.  The EU’s foreign ministers will meet later this week to address the latest situation in Ukraine.

6. We thank the Chairmanship for convening this Special Permanent Council and Ambassadors Apakan and Tagliavini for their comprehensive and insightful briefings. They are of utmost importance to our discussion today. We reiterate our strong support for the activities of the OSCE in Ukraine. We have noted previous statements by the Chairperson-in-Office and we believe that acts such as those committed in Mariupol on Saturday deserve a very strong condemnation.

7. The Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE chairmanship must continue to play an essential role. All signatories of the Minsk agreements should meet without further delay and make progress in the full implementation of the Minsk agreements.

8. The SMM, including through the briefing today, continues to provide an important insight in the attempts by the Russia-backed separatists to further destabilise the situation. We once again call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for OSCE monitors and UAVs, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the Ukrainian-Russian state border.

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

Item 7.1 Monitoring the achievement of the health-related MDGs, EU Statement, 136th WHO Executive Board

Madame/Mister Chair,

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

(Alignment para)

The European Union and its Member States welcome the unprecedented progress that has been made towards the achievement of the health-related MDGs in the last decade. We appreciate and welcome the work of the WHO and its partners, through for instance, the newborn health action plan (WHA resolution 67.10), the post 2015 vision for ending preventable maternal mortality, and the report on health for the world’s adolescents, to name a few. By informing, encouraging and monitoring actions at country level, the work of the organization and its partners has made a fundamental contribution to the realization of the health-related MDG targets.

The progress, however, has been uneven. Substantial effort is still required to drastically reduce mortality, most notably in the areas of maternal and newborn health. It is important not to lose momentum now, and move forward beyond current achievements to complete the unfinished work in the post 2015 era. What we need is country-level leadership, governance and investment for stronger health systems to ensure all women, children and adolescents have access to effective interventions and services in order to be in good health, including sexual and reproductive health, and taking into account the cross-cutting human rights based approach. Moreover we have to maintain special attention on programmes that address inequalities, gender imbalances and discrimination and that provide gender-specific information, including comprehensive sexuality education, contraceptives, life and parenting skills education, health services and social support, in particular for young people. These are key elements within the context of universal health coverage. In this light, we commend the growing impetus at country level following the endorsement at the last World Health Assembly of the Every newborn action plan.

The European Union and its Member States welcome the proposal of the Open Working Group, recalling the 9 health-related targets of which 3 relate to the current MDGs. It is clear that health is an important element in the Sustainable Development Goal’s agenda. WHO is a key international actor in the area of public health, and from this perspective we request the DG and her Secretariat to report at the WHA on the related and relevant work of the organization towards and beyond September 2015, with special attention for the development of a framework for monitoring of the health-related SDGs early on in the process.

Chair, Colleagues, I thank you for your attention.

Draft EU Statement, Agenda item 8.3 - International Health Regulations

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

The International Health Regulations are the cornerstone of global health security.   The Ebola outbreak is a tragic reminder of why we need to take action and accelerate progress to ensure that all State Parties meet the core capacities to implement the IHR by June 2016.

(Alignment para)

Although significant progress has been made in some areas, there remains much work to be done. Within the EU, there is a common effort afoot, through the recent EU Decision on serious cross-border health threats, to meet the core elements of the IHR in terms of preparedness, surveillance and response. We encourage all countries to report on their self-assessments in order to have a complete picture of the global situation.

We agree with the IHR review committee analysis that a change of perspective is needed which emphasises the integral relationship between IHR and health system strengthening including the important role played by health workers and the need to include all parts of the society in the preparedness and response. We particularly would like to draw your attention on the need to initiate a collective reflection on what the implementation of the IHR entails for fragile states or those countries with very weak health systems. If the IHR requirements are not achievable at once, a stepwise approach towards full implementation needs to be started now. We also support the need to take action to ensure the future monitoring of IHR implementation including the consideration of solid, transparent and reliable assessment instruments.

We welcome the secretariat report which highlights the handling of the public health events and emergencies including Middle East respiratory Syndrome, and Ebola outbreak and Polio.  Despite this increased action, we are concerned by the chronic shortage of core funding in this area.  Furthermore, we recognise that the number of public health risks and emergencies reported are increasing and that WHO needs to strengthen its capacity to tackle several crisis simultaneously.

The last 12 months have shown us all that the world is ill prepared to deal with a sustained public health threat.  Global health security relies on collective action and mutual trust and the participation of all parts of society. Let us work together to put in place the core capacities which are needed to detect health risks early and respond quickly in a coordinated manner. This means renewed support and commitment at global, regional and country level.  We need to prepare now for the 2016 deadline and define a roadmap and a timeframe, including for regional meetings as a part of a global process. 

Thank you

DRAFT EU STATEMENT ON AMR

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

We wish to acknowledge the work of the WHO secretariat and the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on antimicrobial resistance to develop the draft Global Action Plan. We welcome the extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders in this process over the past year.

We can be in no doubt that there is an urgent need for concerted global action to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance. That action needs to take a holistic, One Health approach, which engages all relevant sectors, including human and animal health, agriculture, environment and research.  We believe that this One Health concept could be strengthened in each of the 5 objectives.   

There is an ever increasing body of evidence showing the economic and public health consequences of delaying taking action.  That is why reaching a global consensus now, on the way forward, is so vital.   

We agree that the availability and prudent use of effective antibiotics should be the core of the Global Action Plan. A range of diverse approaches are needed to achieve this, including investment into new medicines and other interventions, enhanced surveillance systems, as well as basic hygiene and infection prevention and control measures.

We welcome the Framework for Action set out in the draft Global Action Plan.  It identifies the main areas for action, provides a common basis for delivering an integrated approach to tackle AMR. The plan takes account of national needs and recognises the role that international and national partners need to play to achieve this in a coordinated manner. In this way, it provides a mechanism to mobilise resources to garner political support for action.

The European Union and its Member States has, under the leadership of Sweden, developed a joint research initiative on AMR which fosters collaboration among countries.  We invite others to join this initiative.

We support the call for Member States to develop and implement national action plans aligned with the Global Action Plan within two years.

We would also like to see the plan supported by an effective monitoring and reporting mechanism to measure progress. This information should be reflected in the WHO biannual progress reports and used to inform the development of quantitative measures to assess the impact of the Global Action Plan.

We urge the Executive Board to support this draft global action plan and recommend that it be adopted at the 68th WHA in May this year. 

Agenda Item 10.2 – WHO Global Code on the international recruitment of health professionals

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

Health workers are the backbone and the main pillar of sustainable health systems and the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. We recall the Recife Political Declaration that shows that the Human Resources for Health agenda transcends political borders.

We recognise and commend the critical role played by dedicated health workers in tackling the Ebola epidemic and the continued need for specialised staff in the affected regions.

In this context, we are fully committed to the WHO Global Code on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel and encourage all Member States to utilise the provisions of the Code to strengthen health systems at regional and national levels.

The EU and its Member States are at the forefront of the Code’s implementation, both at national and regional level, including through the EU Action Plan and the activities of the Joint Action on Workforce Planning and Forecasting.

In addition, within the EU, the principles of the WHO Code have stimulated an important policy dialogue on health system sustainability, and on the need to find solutions for both sending and receiving countries of health professionals.

We continue to support the implementation of the Code and commit to work together to enhance its relevance and effectiveness.

We consider that further action is needed to promote awareness of the Code globally and we urge all of us to enhance our efforts to address its implementation, including designating national authorities.

Finally, Chair, we note the report of the Secretariat and the proposed processes to review the relevance and effectiveness of the Global Code in line with Resolution WHA63.16 and to carry out the second round of national reporting.

In this regard, we would welcome further information from the Secretariat on the development of the global Human Resources for Health strategy to be considered at the 69th World Health Assembly and how the outputs from the two WHO Code-related processes might be used to inform the global strategy development process. Furthermore we would appreciate information from the Secretariat on the process and methodology for defining and measuring critical health workforce shortages as identified in the annex of the 2006 World Health Report.

Thank you.

Declaration by the High Representative, on behalf of the EU, on the Boko Haram Insurgency

The attack by Boko Haram on the border town of Baga is the latest in a long series of atrocities killing hundreds and displacing thousands of innocent people. Christians and Muslims alike have been targeted, with victims including traditional and religious leaders, teachers and students, farmers, market traders and villagers, and soldiers from Cameroon and Nigeria. The world has been horrified by the violence, particularly against women and children. The EU condemns in the strongest terms these indiscriminate killings by Boko Haram, which represent an attack against human rights and human dignity.

The EU expresses its condolences and solidarity with all victims and those close to them and underlines the urgent importance of supporting all the affected countries in ensuring the protection of their populations.

Increasingly frequent attacks, notably into Cameroon, demonstrate that the threat from Boko Haram has taken on a regional dimension. The insurgency has provoked a growing death toll, and population displacement on an unprecedented scale, within Nigeria and extending into Niger, Cameroon and Chad. The humanitarian situation is exacerbated by the remoteness of the areas concerned and the growing insecurity for humanitarian workers.

Only intensive regional co-operation between Nigeria and its neighbours can generate the local leadership that will bring a durable solution to a multidimensional challenge. We look forward to the achievement of concrete results at the next ministerial follow-up meeting to the Paris, London and Abuja Summits, to be held in Niamey on 20 January, at which the EU will participate.

The EU remains committed to providing a comprehensive range of political, counter-terrorism and development support measures to Nigeria and its neighbours, while continuing to provide humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the crisis. The EU stands ready to support the region in ensuring effective follow-up to the Niamey conference and in any other measures which are necessary to address this threat.

EU Opening Statement, 23rd OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum, 1st Preparatory Meeting, Vienna, 26 -27 січня 2015

1. The European Union is pleased to participate in the first preparatory meeting of the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum, and would like to thank the Serbian Chairmanship and the OSCE Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities and his staff for organising this meeting. We would also like to thank the key note speakers for their insightful presentations.

2. It is difficult to underestimate the importance of water for sustainable development and the preservation of peace. Growing tensions and conflicts over access to water are directly affecting international peace and security. Indeed, reconciling different uses of water resources such as drinking water and sanitation, agriculture, food production, industry and energy are major water security challenges.

3. The EU can speak of its own experience on good water governance and the prevention of conflicts. Sixty per cent of the EU’s territory lies in trans-boundary river basins and some of these are shared with non EU countries. EU water policy has successfully contributed to water protection over the past three decades, for example in the Rhine and Danube river basins, and the implementation of trans-boundary water management principles enshrined in EU legislation has been key. But some challenges remain because of a lack of trans-boundary river basin agreements with some EU neighbouring countries.

4. The importance we attach to water management and cooperation is reflected both in the EU´s internal and external policies. In July 2013, the EU adopted Council conclusions on EU water diplomacy. Our ministers concluded that comprehensive responses were needed to tackle water security challenges, including through integrated water resource management at trans-boundary level.

5. For the European Union, the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-boundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Helsinki 1992) and United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (New York 1997) are important instruments to promote equitable, sustainable and integrated management of trans-boundary water resources.

6. EU water diplomacy also aims at promoting ratification and responsible implementation of these conventions and other relevant international agreements as the basis for collaborative, sustainable and rule-based solutions on water security challenges and for subsequent regional or bilateral trans-boundary river basin agreements.

7. The OSCE only has two documents specifically relating to water, MC.DEC/7/07 and MC.DEC/9/08. Perhaps there are possibilities of finding new areas of cooperation. We therefore look forward to the discussions during the 23rd EEF process. We believe that the 23rd EEF will provide an opportunity to take stock of the OSCE´s achievements in the field of water governance as well as identify possible areas for its further engagement in this area. In particular, we look forward to hearing concrete suggestions on how the OSCE can add value whilst avoiding duplications in dealing with this important topic.

8. We appreciate that this meeting aims to explore the linkages water governance has with energy security, climate change and good governance.

9. We welcome that the 23rd EEF aims to promote regional and cross-border cooperation, capacity building, awareness raising and the sharing of good practices. Environmental challenges are often cross boundary in nature and the OSCE, as a regional security Organisation, is well placed to play a significant role in facilitating and enhancing dialogue and confidence building measures through cooperation in this regard.

10.We appreciate that representatives of many specialised forums, including representatives of civil society, have been invited to this meeting.  

11.Finally, we would like to once again thank the Serbian Chairmanship and the OSCE Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities and his staff for preparing this first meeting, and we hope it will be a fruitful one. 

Joint statement at the Informal meeting of the General Assembly to address concerns of a rise in Antisemitic violence worldwide, 22 січня 2015

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am giving this statement on behalf of [Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Panama Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America ]

We are deeply concerned that in recent years there has been an alarming increase in Antisemitism worldwide. Antisemitism is a manifestation of racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance. In recent years, we have witnessed increased incidents of hatred, intolerance, discrimination and violence against individuals based on their religion or belief. Sadly these acts have also targeted institutions including schools, cultural centers and places of worship. The Jewish Community has been particularly targeted.

Even as the Holocaust remains a part of living memory, Jewish communities around the world are once again under attack, and in certain parts of the world Jews are attacked for exercising their Human Rights of Freedom of peaceful assembly and association and freedom of opinion and expression.

The recent terrorist attack against a kosher supermarket in Paris in January 2015 is a painful reminder that Antisemitism remains an urgent problem that must be addressed. The United Nations must step forward and play a pivotal role in combatting Antisemitism as well as intolerance, discrimination and violence based on religion of belief. It is a moral imperative for this institution to call on governments around the world to promote tolerance and mutual respect in their societies.

We applaud those individuals, governments, and international and national bodies that clearly condemned Antisemitism and reaffirmed the 2004 Berlin Declaration on Antisemitism at the recent OSCE conference in November 2014 and the OSCE ministerial Declaration on Enhancing Efforts to Combat Antisemitism in Basel in December 2014.

In 2005, the UN General Assembly designated 27 January as the annual International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Two years later, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 61/255 condemning Holocaust denial. Today, we reaffirm that Holocaust denial is a form of Antisemitism.

Based on our conviction of the need to counter all forms of religious intolerance, we therefore call all member states to:

a) Declare their categorical rejection of Antisemitism;

b) Encourage political leaders and, public figures, and educators to publicly and vocally condemn antisemitic incidents and consider designating government officials to monitor and address all forms of discrimination based on religion or belief, including Antisemitism;

c) Review their national legislation and ensure appropriate mechanisms for combatting discrimination based on religion or belief, including Antisemitism;

d) Promote opportunities for educational initiatives and teacher training programs that provide young people with education on the subject of Antisemitism;

e) Monitor crimes, including of antisemitic nature, and effectively investigate them in a prompt and impartial manner with the aim of prosecuting those responsible;

f) Strengthen dialogue with civil society to promote mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding between different communities;

g) Welcome UN DPI's plan to organize follow-up conference to the "Unlearning Intolerance" series started in 2004, including on Antisemitism, with a goal to review progress and identify new challenges;

The determination to eradicate the conditions that gave rise to the Holocaust was a guiding principle among the founders of this organization over six decades ago. Let us rededicate ourselves to that principle and endeavor to eliminate Antisemitism in all its forms.

EU Statement on abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens by the Russian Federation, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1035, Vienna, 22 січня 2015

1. The European Union would like to thank the Ukrainian delegation for the update on recent developments in the Nadia Savchenko case. Russia’s illegal detention of a member of the Ukrainian Parliament remains unacceptable. We once again call on Russia to immediately release Nadia Savchenko as well as Oleh Sentsov and all other Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia. 

EU Statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1035, Vienna, 22 січня 2015

1. The European Union appreciates the useful discussion we had on Tuesday in the Special PC and the fact that we were able to agree a Declaration on Ukraine. That meeting was a necessary reflection of the seriousness of the situation on the ground and the urgent need for negotiations. The deteriorating situation in parts of eastern Ukraine as a result of Russia’s aggression continues to demonstrate the urgent need for a sustainable political solution. Any solution must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.

2. Sadly, the situation on the ground has not improved in the last two days. We once again condemn the surge in violence and deplore the casualties, including many civilians. We particularly condemn the consistent use of civilian areas as firing positions by separatist forces as reported by the Chief Monitor of the Special Monitoring Mission at our last meeting two days ago. We note from the SMM’s reporting that 30 or more Grad rockets that killed three civilians and wounded twelve others in Debaltseve on 19 January ‘came from a western direction, the direction of “DPR”-controlled Horlivka.’ We are concerned by the reports about further groups of illegal and foreign forces entering the Ukrainian territory in Luhansk Oblast. We call on all parties to show utmost restraint in order to protect civilians and to avoid any actions that might further escalate the situation.

3. The way forward remains clear. The Minsk Protocol and Memorandum must be fully implemented without further delay. We once again underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard, both directly and through its influence with the separatists. We call in particular for full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with continuous monitoring by the OSCE. In this context we express our support for a swift expansion of the OSCE border mission as well as border monitoring by the SMM. Recent developments have again underlined the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders. We call on Russia to respect this.

4. We support the efforts in the Normandy format to de-escalate the situation. The Trilateral Contact Group of Russia, Ukraine and the OSCE Chairmanship must also continue to play its essential role. We repeat our call on Russia to engage genuinely and constructively and use its influence with the separatists. The Trilateral Contact Group needs to reconvene together with the other signatories to the Minsk agreements as soon as possible.

5. The humanitarian situation on the ground is a matter of increasing concern as highlighted by the SMM Chief Monitor and Ambassador Tagliavini at our last meeting. We repeat our call for full access for international humanitarian assistance to the separatist-controlled areas in accordance with fundamental humanitarian principles.

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

EU Statement on Human Rights Developments in the Russian Federation,OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1035, Vienna, 22 січня 2015

1. In recent weeks the European Union has observed a number of further worrying developments in relation to the human rights situation in the Russian Federation, particularly in relation to the rule of law and the enjoyment of the freedoms of association and peaceful assembly.

2. On 30 December guilty verdicts were delivered by the Zamoskvoretsky Court against Alexey Navalny and his brother Oleg. The charges against both individuals were not substantiated during the trial and appear to have been politically motivated. With the exception of a few selected representatives of the media, no public and international observers were allowed into the court building for the reading of the verdict. Many people who sought to peacefully demonstrate against the verdicts were restricted from doing so and a number of individuals at different demonstrations were detained. Alexey Navalny has also been the subject of ongoing harassment by the authorities, who have blocked his website, raided the offices of his anti-corruption foundation and summoned him for further questioning.

3. The EU is also concerned at the latest decision by the Russian Ministry of Justice on 25 December to place the Sakharov Centre, the “Committee against Torture” as well as regional NGOs, in the so-called “Foreign Agents Registry.” With this the number of Russian NGOs labelled as “foreign agents” has increased to a total of thirty-four.

4. These developments reinforce our concerns about the broader state of fundamental freedoms of association, assembly and expression in Russia, as well as the rule of law. We wish to stress the importance of judicial decisions that are free from political interference, independent, and in full compliance with the rule of law. We also call on the Russian government to suspend the practice of branding Russian NGOs as “foreign agents”, comply with its international human rights obligations, including its OSCE commitments, and apply relevant international legal standards pertaining to the rule of law.

5. The OSCE Institutions possess valuable expertise on all of these issues, which participating States can draw on. The events planned in the human dimension in 2015 by the Serbian Chairmanship also provide an excellent opportunity for all participating States to discuss how we can strengthen our OSCE commitments on these issues, as well as better implement them. We look forward to a constructive discussion with the Russian Federation and other OSCE partners in the coming months.

Informal meeting of the General Assembly to address concerns of a rise in Antisemitic violence worldwide, 22 січня 2015

Mr President,

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

1. We welcome today's opportunity to discuss the scourge of Antisemitism in this informal  meeting of the General Assembly. The European Union strongly supports the holding of this meeting against the backdrop of a very worrying rise of anti-Semitic hatred and violence, in particular on the internet as well as anti-Semitic hate crime around the world. Several incidents have taken place in Europe, culminating in the targeted, fatal terrorist attacks at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May 2014 and at the Kosher Supermarket in Paris just a few days ago during which innocent citizens lost their lives.  EU Member States have reacted promptly to address these crimes.

2. Les évènements à Paris –les assassinats dans la rédaction du journal Charlie Hebdo puis la prise d’otage dans un magasin casher - ont couté la vie à 17 personnes– dont quatre personnes qui avaient commis le "crime" d'aller faire leurs courses dans une épicerie juive. Ces actes terroristes représentent une atteinte à toutes nos valeurs fondamentales, notamment la dignité humaine, t la liberté d'expression et la liberté de la presse, piliers de nos démocraties.  Au nom de l'Union européenne je présente mes plus sincères condoléances aux familles et proches des victimes et j'exprime ma solidarité aux autorités françaises et aux Français.  

Mr President,

3. The EU condemns and rejects all forms and manifestations of racism and xenophobia, including Antisemitism. The fight against racism and xenophobia in all their forms, including Antisemitism, is, and will remain, one of the core aspects of the European Union's work as it goes to the very heart of our common values. 

4. Manifestations of religious based intolerance and violence are increasing in every region of the world. Regrettably, and despite the efforts made by a continent scarred by the Holocaust, Antisemitism continues to rear its ugly head also in Europe, a continent  home to different cultures and religions, where the Jewish heritage is an important component. It has manifested itself in anti-Semitic incitement as well as episodes of violence directed at Jewish individuals and institutions including schools, museums and synagogues, thereby striking at the very heart of our continent: our educational establishments, our centres of culture, our places of worship..

5. In November of 2013 a European Union Fundamental Rights Agency survey covering eight EU Member States which are home to 90% of the EU's Jewish population evidenced a worrying trend. The study, which measured Jewish people's perceptions of discrimination and hate crime revealed widespread fear of Antisemitism on the internet and of victimisation. 76% of the respondents indicated that they believed Antisemitism has worsened over the past five years in the country where they live.

6. Morten Kjaerum, the Director of the Agency, said, at the time of the release of the report: "Antisemitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of anti-Semitic harassment. While many EU governments have made great efforts to combat Antisemitism, more targeted measures are needed.”

Mr President,

7. The EU is committed to step up its fight against Antisemitism, racism and xenophobia through legislation, financial support and the fostering of dialogue. Several EU legal instruments contribute to this aim, notably the 2008 Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law which specifically addresses racist hate speech (off and on-line) and hate crime, including Holocaust denial with intent to incite violence or hatred. The first EU implementation report, published in January 2014, shows that while most Member States have legislation in place to address public incitement to racist hatred and violence, more remains to be done when it comes to the implementation of this legislation at national level. Our key priority now is to bolster the implementation of this legislation on the ground, accompanied by practical measures geared at improving data collection, police investigation and multi-agency partnerships. The EU and its Member States – in cooperation with the wider international community - need to find ways to tackle growing on-line hate speech, while being vigilant to safeguard freedom of expression, including the right to criticise religions and all other institutions. Hate crime must be investigated and prosecuted.

8. Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January) is part of the EU's official calendar and will this year see the official launch of a specific training module for EU officials on Human Rights and Holocaust Remembrance. 

9. One of the instruments we use to combat this scourge is dialogue.  The EU and Israel organize an annual seminar on racism, xenophobia and Antisemitism, the latest of which was held in October 2014 in Jerusalem. This dialogue is essential for our joint efforts to continuously foster our common values and to remain vigilant with regard to developments and concerns on the ground. 

10. The EU will continue to engage with all our partners to counter all forms of racism and xenophobia, including Antisemitism. In this regard, we welcome the Berlin  conference (12-13 November) to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the OSCE’s Declaration on Antisemitism and the declaration adopted at this occasion. We also praise the efforts of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights to raise awareness about Antisemitism and its impact.

 

Mr President,

11. This is the time to act together. Discrimination and violence against anyone no matter who they are or what they believe is not acceptable in our societies. We need to remain united and react in a calm but firm manner to combat Antisemitism and any other form of racism and xenophobia and related intolerance.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne en réponse à Sir Andrew Burns, Président de l’alliance sur le souvenir de l’holocauste et de l’Ambassadeur Roksanda Nincic, secrétaire d’Etat du MAE serbe, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1035, Vienna, 22 січня 2015

1. Nous tenons à remercier nos orateurs d’aujourd’hui, pour leurs présentations émouvantes. Nous tenons à remercier Sir Andrew Burns pour sa présidence réussie de l’Alliance internationale sur la mémoire de l’Holocauste et saluons le soutien déterminé et sans réserve des ses membres, de ses observateurs et de ses Partenaires Internationaux permanents a son document fondateur, la Déclaration de Stockholm de 2000.

2. A l’occasion de la Journée internationale à la mémoire des victimes de l’Holocauste, mise en exergue cette année par le 70ème anniversaire, le 27 janvier, de la libération du camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, l’Union européenne tient avant tout à rendre hommage aux victimes de cette tragédie. La politique de déportation et d’extermination mise en place en Europe pendant la seconde guerre mondiale est un crime contre l’humanité et une atteinte grave à la dignité humaine. Cette journée commémore chaque année les victimes de l’Holocauste, celles qui ont péri mais aussi celles qui ont survécu et qui ont eu le courage de témoigner, afin que jamais une tragédie semblable ne se reproduise.

3. Nous souhaitons, à cette occasion, rappeler le devoir de mémoire qui incombe à tous les Etats et nous appelons à une coopération internationale pour une mémoire collective de toutes les victimes de l’Holocauste.

4. Aujourd’hui, plus que jamais, il est de notre devoir à tous de rester vigilants sur les dangers que constituent les manifestations d’intolérance qui peuvent se développer au sein de nos sociétés. Les évènements récents en France, lors de l’attaque d’un magasin casher, et en Belgique, lors de l’attaque du musée juif de Bruxelles, ainsi que les actes perpétrés contre d’autres communautés en répercussions, montrent la priorité qui doit être mise sur la lutte contre toutes les formes d’intolérance pouvant mener à de telles tragédies.

5. L’Union européenne condamne et rejette toutes formes de racisme et de xénophobie, y compris l’antisémitisme. Nous appelons à combattre collectivement toutes les formes d’intolérance et les discours de haine. Ils doivent être traités par des actions de sensibilisation, d’éducation et à l’aide de législations relatives aux crimes motivés par la haine. Il en va de notre responsabilité collective d’œuvrer au respect entre les communautés. La journée internationale à la mémoire des victimes de l’Holocauste est pour nous l’occasion de rappeler que les dangers n’appartiennent malheureusement pas au passé et qu’ensemble les Etats participants peuvent et doivent combattre toutes les formes d’intolérance au sein de nos sociétés.

6. L’UE tient également à rappeler que ce combat ne peut se faire sans la contribution essentielle de la société civile qui prévient des manifestations d’intolérance. L’établissement de partenariats avec la société civile est déterminante à la fois pour identifier les discriminations et sensibiliser les citoyens et leurs dirigeants. Nous tenons ainsi à réitérer notre attachement à la participation de ses représentants dans les évènements de l’OSCE dédiés à ce sujet.

7. Nous rappelons les engagements pris au sein de l’OSCE de promouvoir l’éducation au sujet de la tragédie de l’Holocauste, y compris à  l’égard des Roms et des Sinti.

8. L’UE se félicite des débats qui ont eu lieu en 2014 lors de l’événement commémoratif sur le 10ème anniversaire de la conférence de Berlin sur l’antisémitisme. Notre responsabilité est aujourd’hui d’agir sans la moindre hésitation et il est nécessaire d’œuvrer à ce que ces questions soient prises en charge dans le cadre de notre organisation. 

9. L’Union Européenne se félicite ainsi de la déclaration adoptée à Bâle sur le combat contre l’antisémitisme et appelle à sa pleine mise en œuvre.

10. Enfin l’Union Européenne se félicite de l’accord trouvé dans le cadre de la négociation budgétaire pour accroitre les moyens du département tolérance et non-discrimination du BIDDH. Les ressources du BIDDH doivent être utilisées à plein escient et doivent permettre de mettre en place des pratiques communes aux Etats participants dans la lutte contre les discours de haine et toutes les formes d’intolérance. 

EU Statement on Russia’s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1034, Vienna, 20 січня 2015

The European Union is alarmed by the deteriorating situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the dramatic increase in shooting and shelling. This includes the extensive use of heavy weaponry, as reported by the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). We condemn the surge in violence and deplore the casualties, including many civilians. We condemn the use of densely populated areas to conduct military operations. We urge the armed separatists supported by Russia to cease provocative actions. We underline the importance of showing restraint when responding to such actions. We are deeply concerned about continued reports of a high and increasing number of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment on Ukrainian territory. This clearly runs counter to efforts aimed at de-escalation

The EU encourages all parties, in particular Russia, to actively engage in and fully implement the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and without further delay. We continue to support the Minsk agreements as a step towards a sustainable political solution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We once again underline Russia’s responsibility in this regard. We call in particular for full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment, as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with continuous monitoring by the OSCE. Recent developments have again underlined the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders. We call on Russia to respect this. We also call for full access for international humanitarian assistance to the separatist-controlled areas in accordance with fundamental international humanitarian principles.

The need to find a political, sustainable solution to the crisis is a matter of extreme urgency. We therefore support all efforts being made to de-escalate the situation, in particular in the Normandy format. The Trilateral Contact Group of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE Chairmanship must continue to play an essential role. We call on Russia to engage genuinely and constructively and use its influence with the separatists to ensure full implementation of the Minsk agreements. The Trilateral Contact Group needs to reconvene together with the other signatories to the Minsk agreements as soon as possible to make progress on the full implementation of these agreements. We welcome today’s participation of Ambassador Tagliavini and we commend you, Ambassador, for your tireless efforts.

We recall our strong support to the efforts of the OSCE in Ukraine and thank SMM Chief Monitor Apakan and CPC Director Kobieracki for their briefings. The SMM continues to demonstrate its high value in providing impartial and factual information. We appreciate the SMM’s thorough investigation of the tragic incident that led to 12 deaths and 17 wounded when a bus was hit by a missile on 13 January. We fully acknowledge the difficult and dangerous working environment for monitors in parts of eastern Ukraine. We commend the monitors for their dedication and courage. Their security and safety are of vital importance and we acknowledge the measures undertaken by the SMM to ensure their protection. We once again call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for monitors and UAVs throughout Ukraine, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the Ukrainian-Russian state border.

Mr Chairman, yesterday the EU foreign ministers discussed the EU’s relations with Russia. After the meeting, High Representative Mogherini outlined the views of the EU. She emphasised that the EU’s relations with Russia can only change if and when commitments that were taken in Minsk are implemented. She underlined that any decision on sanctions will be based, first of all, on the non-recognition policy of the annexation of Crimea and on the full implementation of the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum and on the situation on the ground.

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

EU Statement on the Assumption of the Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation by Mongolia, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 776, Vienna, 20 січня 2015

Mr Chairperson,

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

Since this is the first time I take the floor under the Latvian Presidency, I would like to extend to you and the representatives of all State Parties my best wishes for the New Year and to assure you of our continuous support and cooperation. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations of the Executive Council during the course of our Presidency. I would also like to thank the Director-General for his informative statement and to reiterate our appreciation to him and to the OPCW staff for their commitment to the work of the organization and the Syria CW operation in particular.

Mr Chairperson,

While considerable progress has been achieved with the successful removal of the declared chemical weapons from Syrian territory in very challenging circumstances, as well as their near complete destruction, one cannot deny that almost one year and a half after the adoption of the plan for the dismantling of the Syrian CW programme, the elimination process has been greatly delayed and most of the agreed time lines have not been met. Furthermore, we continue to be faced with many uncertainties regarding the accuracy and completeness of the Syrian declarations and allegations of chemical weapon use continue to be made. The EU condemns all and any use of chlorine as a chemical weapon.

During the recent 19th Conference of State Parties, a great number of States, including the EU Member States, have voiced grave concerns over the findings of the Fact Finding Mission set up by the OPCW Director-General to establish the facts around allegations on the use of chlorine. The third report the FFM issued at the end of last year has confirmed that “it has found information constituting ‘compelling confirmation’ that a toxic chemical was used “systematically and repeatedly” “as a weapon”, while it refers to testimonies that these chemicals have been dropped from helicopters, an asset that only the Syrian government possesses. It is most alarming that the report, while strengthening the conclusions of the previous report by displaying a body of evidence and showing the professionalism with which this mission was led which no one can doubt, also referred to new allegations that chlorine has again been used during recent months.

The EU reiterates its fundamental position that the use of chlorine as a weapon constitutes a breach of the CWC and the UN Security Council Resolution 2118. The EU condemns the use of chlorine as a chemical weapon by the Syrian government and underlines that those responsible for these horrific acts must be held accountable. In the same vein, the EU fully supports the decision of the Director-General to have the FFM continue its work. The EU calls on the DG to brief the UNSC on the content of the three FFM reports in coordination with the SG as necessary, pursuant to the EC decision of September 27th 2013 and UNSC Res. 2118. Finally, we call on all parties in the Syrian Arab Republic to extend their full cooperation to the FFM to ensure that it can complete its work safely and effectively. 

Use of chemical weapons by any party, including non-state actors, is equally grave and poses a challenge to the Convention.  Ways to tackle this issue and come to practicable solutions should continue to be examined in the open-ended Working Group on terrorism, under the able chairmanship of Nigeria, which should continue reporting on this subject to the Executive Council.

Mr Chairperson,

We will never tire to of stressing the importance of upholding the global norm against the use of chemical weapons. In this vein, we call on the Syrian Arab Republic to take the necessary measures to ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled. This includes the destruction of the remaining CW Production Facilities, which has faced considerable delays and is now substantially behind schedule. The acceleration of the destruction process is more than necessary.

We continue to be particularly concerned with the insufficient information provided by the Syrian authorities regarding questions arising from the discrepancies and inconsistencies in their declarations and explanations to the Technical Secretariat. What was the fate of the 2000 bombs that Syria claims to have converted, as we don’t believe that the Convention allows such conversion?  What really happened to the ricin? What was the actual role of the SSRC in the Syrian chemical programme? The EU is in particular concerned about the possibility that Syria may still hold chemical weapons materials and alarmed by scientific findings that raise the question of the existence of a hitherto undeclared chemical weapons agent by Syria. The terms of Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention, specifically Article IV paragraph 8, provide a firm basis to support our demand that the Syrian Arab Republic must provide cooperation, credible answers and conclusive and credible evidence to support the assurances that it has fully abandoned its chemical weapons programme and in this way ensure sufficient confidence. We commend the Declaration Assessment Team of the Technical Secretariat for its work on this important issue and we look forward to future reports on its activities and any progress made. Given the open issues, the EU expects that the Executive Council will continue to monitor the situation in Syria as well as to meet at the established frequency, remaining seized of the matter.

I would like to reiterate our statement at the 75th and subsequent EC sessions as well as at the 19th CSP, where we drew the attention to the decision of the Council of the European Union, dated 10th February 2014. This decision introduced a derogation to the restrictive  measures against the Syrian Arab Republic, so that, if Syria chooses, frozen assets belonging to the Syrian Central Bank or to Syrian public entities may be paid on behalf of the Syrian Arab Republic to the OPCW for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons and related verification activities. This includes destruction of the remaining CW Production Facilities and activities connected to the verification missions of the Technical Secretariat. We have been informed that Syria will not consent to allow the use of frozen assets in this way.  The EU wishes to recall therefore that in line with the Convention, it is the responsibility of the Government of Syria to pay these costs, as specified in Article IV paragraph 16 of the CWC. We call on Syria to respect the CWC and take full responsibility of all its obligations towards the OPCW. In this context, it is important to state that the EU will not accept that the Trust Fund is used to pay verification costs as requested by the Syrian authorities.

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

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

EU Statement on the Assumption of the Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation by Mongolia, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 776, Vienna, 20 січня 2015

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to welcome H.E. Lundeg Purevsuren, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia, and thank him for having presented the FSC Chairmanship's programme and objectives for the first trimester of 2015.

We would also like to seize this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the outgoing Chairmanship, Monaco, for all its efforts to steer the FSC work in a highly professional and efficient manner throughout its term, particularly during Basel MC preparations and negotiations. We wish Montenegro every success as a new member of the FSC Troika and thank Moldova, which is leaving the Troika, for their work and commitment over the past year.

We share the opinion that the ongoing crisis in and around Ukraine has strongly marked the FSC activities in 2014 while it still remains a challenge to be addressed in the Forum under your Chairmanship. We see an urgent need, in such a context, of ensuring the full implementation and strengthening of the whole range of OSCE politico-military commitments, with the overall objective of enhancing the Organisation's conflict prevention and crisis management capabilities, as well as the implementation of the existing CSBMs.

In this respect, we welcome the adoption of MC decision 10/14 on SALW and SCA and believe it provides a good basis for boosting relevant norms and activities through improved implementation and increased coherence and complementarity with commitments related to the UN framework, inter alia, the outcome document of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of States, the Arms Trade Treaty, UNSC Resolution 2117 on SALW, as well as UNSC Resolutions 2106 and 2122 on women, peace and security.

We therefore reiterate the importance of the review and, where appropriate, update of OSCE SALW and conventional arms commitments in a regular way, including through dedicated implementation assessment meetings such as the one held in September 2014.

The European Union recalls that the entry into force on 24 December 2014 of the Arms Trade Treaty, adopted in April 2013 by the UN General Assembly, is a landmark in the international security agenda. The Treaty now needs to gain universality and full implementation. We see an important role for the OSCE in this regard on the basis of the provisions of MC decision 10/14.

The failure to adopt a FSC framework decision in Basel, for a third consecutive year, was one more missed opportunity to underscore the need to preserve, update and modernise the OSCE politico-military toolbox, in particular the Vienna Document, in line with enduring commitments undertaken by all participating States in Astana and Vilnius. Against this background, we urge all participating States to engage in constructive discussions aimed at enhancing the Vienna Document’s capacity to foster military transparency, predictability and stability, including in crisis situations. That is why we see merit in starting structured discussions on improving relevant provisions of the Vienna Document, in particular its risk reduction mechanism, in the light of lessons learned during the crisis in and around Ukraine.

With regard to other important FSC issues, we are firmly convinced that the OSCE role and capacities devoted to the implementation, at the regional level, of UNSCR 1325 and UNSCR 1540 need to be sustained and strengthened. It will be also important to further promote the Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security and its full implementation.

We welcome the balanced agenda for Security Dialogues scheduled by the Mongolian FSC Chairmanship and look forward to the Joint FSC/PC meeting devoted to the activities of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

We thank you once again, Minister Purevsuren, and wish you and your team every success in your professional endeavours.

EU Statement on the Security Situation in and around Ukraine, Geneva, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 776, Vienna, 20 січня 2015

The European Union and its Member States would like to reiterate our strong concern about the security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine, which considerably deteriorated during the past week, including the significant increase in both the number and intensity of ceasefire violations leading to numerous civilian and military casualties, as well as damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure. We deplore all such occurrences, and extend our deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

In this context, we take note of the agreement on a special investigation to be conducted by the JCCC, and monitored by the SMM regarding the incident on 13 January which resulted in the tragic death of thirteen civilians. We also take note of the SMM statement and share the concerns expressed therein, in particular about the continued fighting in residential areas close to Donetsk airport and the use of civilian areas as firing positions in breach of international law which further endangers the lives of civilians.

We remain worried that heavy military equipment continues to be concentrated in areas where they are not permitted according to the Minsk agreements. For instance, a SMM UAV observed 28 tanks within 10 km east of the so called "line of contact" on 26 December while other significant military movements have been reported more recently by the SMM. Furthermore, we continue to witness persistent acts of aggression against SMM personnel and the obstruction of their work, including continuing attempts at obstructing the operation of the UAVs by "jamming" and shooting in areas under the control of the Russian-backed separatist armed groups. We have consistently drawn the FSC's attention, and condemned such developments on the ground as they grossly violate the Minsk agreements and further destabilise the precarious security situation in parts of eastern Ukraine.

Against the background of a lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, we are compelled to once again urge all parties, in particular the Russian Federation, to implement their commitments fully and without further delay and to actively engage with a view to finding a peaceful sustainable solution based on respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The European Union strongly supports ongoing efforts to find a sustainable political solution to the conflict and calls on the sides, and in particular on the Russian Federation, to show openness and constructiveness in this context.

In this respect, strict observation of the ceasefire, withdrawal of any illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment from eastern Ukraine as well as securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with expanded international monitoring by the OSCE remain of utmost importance.

Moreover, we deeply regret that the Russian so called "humanitarian convoys" continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. The European Union calls on all parties to facilitate distribution of humanitarian aid to populations in need on the basis of non-discrimination, cooperation with established humanitarian actors and with the consent of Ukrainian authorities. We will continue providing humanitarian assistance to the suffering people in Ukraine

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

EU Opening Statement, Conference on Disarmament, Geneva, 20 січня 2015

Mr President,   

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

[Aligning clause]

Let me first congratulate you on the assumption of the post as the first President of the Conference on Disarmament during its 2015 session. We will fully support you in your efforts to achieve a successful start of this session. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all outgoing Presidents for their untiring efforts during the past year. We would also like to express our most sincere gratitude and appreciation to the outgoing Deputy Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament, Mr Jarmo Sareva, for his outstanding work. We are very much looking forward to working with him in his new position. 

We take this opportunity to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations for addressing the Conference on Disarmament today and for his commitment and interest in the work of the Conference. We have heard again his urgent appeal to this Conference to start long overdue negotiations. We will work to see effective follow-up to it.

The European Union is a strong supporter of the United Nations and effective multilateralism.

The role and contribution of the UN disarmament machinery - the components of which are mutually reinforcing - remains crucial and irreplaceable. Recent positive developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, such as the entry into force of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty, the adoption of the Maputo Action Plan and the signing of the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty demonstrate that deliberations and negotiations in these fields can produce concrete results.

We would like to reiterate EU Member States' longstanding commitment to the enlargement of the Conference. We underline the importance of continuing consultations on the expansion of its membership and strongly support the appointment of a special coordinator in this respect.

The Conference on Disarmament, in accordance with its mandate, is tasked with negotiating multilateral disarmament treaties. We are disappointed that in 2014, it did not succeed in beginning negotiations. However, we noted some encouraging developments. The Informal Working Group to assist in developing a Programme of Work and the structured discussions under the Schedule of Activities allowed for constructive and open debate. We hope these exercises can be built upon further with a view to commencing negotiations and fulfilling its primary purpose at the earliest opportunity.

The adoption of a Programme of Work will require sustained political efforts from all CD members. We should spare no efforts to bring the CD back on track. We will work with you, Mr President, to achieve this objective and urge all Member States of the Conference to engage constructively to this end.

Consistent with our engagement with civil society, we would welcome enhanced interaction between civil society and the Conference, thus allowing a broadened contribution of NGOs and research institutions, in an inclusive manner, to the work of the Conference. In this context, we are looking forward to the informal meeting to be held on 19 March this year.

For the European Union, the immediate commencement and early conclusion of the negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament of a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, on the basis of document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, remains a clear priority. Such a treaty constitutes an urgent necessity in the nuclear disarmament field as a complement to the NPT and the CTBT. National security concerns, while legitimate, can and should be addressed as part of the negotiation process rather than as a prerequisite. We call on all CD member states to start negotiations on such a Treaty without delay. We appeal to all delegations to show flexibility.  We also call on all states possessing nuclear weapons that have not done so to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. We call on all CD member states to begin work on the other issues on the agenda in line with the programme of work adopted in 2009 (CD/1864). 

We welcome the substantive and highly interactive discussions held at the two meetings in 2014 of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. It was the first time that many of the issues reviewed had been addressed in such substantive and technical depth in almost two decades. We would like to express our gratitude to Ambassador Elissa Golberg of Canada for her work and leadership. The facts that the EU and several of its Member States submitted their views to the UN Secretary-General and the experts of a number of EU Member States participate in the GGE reflect our keen interest in and commitment to this issue. We are looking forward to the group's meetings in 2015, including to the one ongoing as we speak, and to the report of the GGE to further substantively advance the issue.

The EU and its Member States have a longstanding position in favour of the preservation of a safe and secure space environment and peaceful uses of outer space on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis. Strengthening the safety, security, and long-term sustainability of activities in outer space is in a common interest and a key priority for us, it contributes to the development and security of States. To this end, we aim at further promoting Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs) including an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

This year we need to focus our collective efforts to make the Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) a success. For the European Union the NPT is the cornerstone of the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament in accordance with Article VI and an important element in the further development of nuclear energy applications for peaceful purposes. We reaffirm our full support to all three pillars of the Treaty and to the implementation of all commitments assumed under it or undertaken in previous Review Conferences. We will continue to promote full implementation of the 2010 Action Plan which includes concrete steps on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy and which is our common roadmap towards the 2015 Review Conference when the implementation of the 2010 Action Plan across all three pillars will be assessed.

EU Statement on Russia‘s Ongoing Aggression against Ukraine and Violations of OSCE Principles and Commitments, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1033, Vienna, 15 січня 2015

The European Union remains strongly concerned about the situation in parts of eastern Ukraine and the renewed intensification, in spite of the ceasefire in place, of shooting and shelling. We deplore the tragic death of at least 12 civilians when a public bus in Donetsk Oblast was hit by a shell on Tuesday. This once again underlines the need for strict observation of the ceasefire that remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution.

While welcoming and supporting ongoing high-level diplomatic efforts, we note that the talks earlier this week in Berlin between the Foreign Ministers of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, France and Germany did not generate the necessary progress in seeking a resolution based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We take note of the statement after the meeting, including the reconfirmation that the full implementation of the Minsk agreements remains the basis for conflict solution, and the ministers’ call on the contact group to meet in the coming days to make progress on the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, including the creation of the relevant conditions for an effective cease-fire, an agreement on modalities for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the continuation of the release of detainees.

More than four months have passed since the Minsk Protocol was adopted. From the very beginning, the European Union expressed its support for the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum. We deeply regret the lack of progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements as well as developments on the ground that run counter to the word and spirit of these agreements. We continue to encourage all parties, in particular Russia, to actively engage in and fully implement the Minsk agreements in their entirety and without further delay. We call in particular for a full adherence to the ceasefire, withdrawal of illegal and foreign forces, mercenaries and military equipment as well as for securing the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring by the OSCE. 

We support the Trilateral Contact Group’s ongoing efforts to facilitate the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. We welcome the mutual release of detainees on 26 December following the meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group in Minsk. We continue to call for the immediate release of all illegally detained persons, including Nadia Savchenko and Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian citizens that are being illegally detained in Russia. We note with serious concern that Nadia Savchenko, Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, is on hunger strike to protest the terms of her detention and that she has been placed in solitary confinement.

We note with concern that heavy military equipment continues to be concentrated in areas where they are not permitted according to the Minsk Memorandum. For instance, a SMM UAV observed 28 tanks within 10 km east of the “line of contact” on 26 December. We deeply regret that Russian so-called ”humanitarian convoys” continue to enter Ukrainian territory without the consent of or inspection by the Ukrainian authorities and without fundamental international humanitarian principles being observed. Developments continue to underline the need for full and effective control by Ukraine of its borders. We call on Russia to respect this.

Mr Chairman, the OSCE and its Chairmanship must continue to play animportant role in promoting stability and contributing to a sustainable political solution in adherence with OSCE principles and commitments. We reiterate our strong support to the efforts of the OSCE and to the OSCE staff and monitors that are doing an excellent job, often under very difficult circumstances. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors and UAVs, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts as well as along the border. We regret the continuing attempts at obstructing the operation of the UAVs by “jamming” and shooting.

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

EU Statement in Response to First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, OSCE Special Permanent Council Nr 1033, Vienna, 15 січня 2015

1. The European Union warmly welcomes First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, Ivica Dačić, back to the Permanent Council in his new function as Chairperson-in-Office. 

2. We commend your firm condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Paris. We fully share your view that ‘an attack on free speech is an attack against society as a whole’. Freedom of expression and freedom of the media are fundamental rights and cornerstones of democracy. We will not let these attacks undermine our values. Last week’s barbaric attacks were also attacks against the principle of religious tolerance, as well as acts of hatred and anti-Semitism.

3. Mr Chairperson-in-Office, the international context in the OSCE area following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine has changed since you first began to prepare your Chairmanship. We agree that your main priority this year must be addressing the crisis in and around Ukraine. The wider implications of Russia’s blatant violations of basic OSCE principles represent the most significant challenge we will have to address this year while continuing to respond to developments on the ground. Respect for the fundamental principles must be restored. Any solution must be based on full respect for Ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The Minsk agreements must be fully implemented without further delay. The Trilateral Contact Group must continue to play an essential role in this regard. We urge the Trilateral Contact Group to reconvene as soon as possible, and call on the Russian Federation to engage genuinely and constructively on modalities for implementation of the Minsk agreements. Building upon the efforts of the Swiss Chairmanship, we look forward to working with the Serbian Chairmanship on a return to respect for the fundamental principles of the OSCE and stand ready to support you.

4. The OSCE’s response to the crisis in and around Ukraine testifies to its significance as a regional security arrangement and a platform for dialogue. The OSCE’s engagement on the ground has further demonstrated the important operational capacities of the organisation. We strongly urge you to draw on the full potential of the OSCE and to encourage and support the full and coordinated engagement of all OSCE instruments.

5. We trust that you will do your utmost to defend the mandates of the autonomous institutions and field operations across the OSCE area during your Chairmanship. We are concerned by the current tendency towards downgrading field presences.

6. We commend your commitment to place resolution of the protracted conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict high on the agenda this year. The OSCE, with the support of all participating States, must step up its contribution in support of the established conflict resolution processes.

7. We note that the Western Balkans will be among your priorities. We fully support efforts to strengthen regional cooperation and reconciliation in the region. We look forward to hearing more on how the OSCE and its field operations can facilitate these efforts during your Chairmanship. We appreciate Serbia's continued engagement towards visible and sustainable progress in the normalisation of relations with Kosovo.

8. We look forward to working with you on the implementation of priorities and commitments across the three dimensions. We trust that the Serbian Chairmanship will lead by example.

a. In the first dimension, full implementation and modernisation of existing commitments in the politico-military field, in particular the Vienna Document, remain an urgent task. We also need to implement recent decisions on Transnational Threats, in particular the two Counter-Terrorism declarations adopted in Basel. At the same time, we should continue to implement the first set of cyber CBMs and work on a second set, which could be adopted during the Serbian Chairmanship.

b. We remain convinced that the second dimension can and should be better utilised, and should be focused on work which supports conflict prevention and improves security. Good governance, the impact of natural disasters, climate change, energy security and water management remain important areas of work.

c. In the third dimension, the full implementation of all commitments remains a priority. This should include promoting fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of speech and freedom of the media, including safety of journalists, as well as continuing the work to combat torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. It is also important that we enhance the involvement of civil society in our work.    

9. Mr Chairperson-in-Office, as you highlighted in the beginning of your speech, this year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Helsinki Final Act. But there will be little cause for celebration this year if the basic principles of the Helsinki Final Act continue to be seriously violated. We remain committed to continue the Helsinki+40 process with the objective of reaffirming our adherence to the concept of comprehensive security by recording practical results reflecting intensified efforts to fully implement OSCE commitments. As you reminded us in Basel, Mr Chairperson-in-Office, 'the period since the Astana Summit showed that solely reconfirming the OSCE principles and commitments is not enough. We need to move from words to actions'. We believe the remainder of the Helsinki+40 process should be pursued in this spirit. We hope that the Panel of Eminent Persons can contribute to re-launching a genuine dialogue.

10. The Republic of Serbia and the European Union enjoy a close relationship, particularly in light of Serbia's path towards EU membership. We look forward to working with you during your Chairmanship and wish you every success.

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on Libya, 5 січня 2015 року

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

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

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

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

Declaration by High Representative Federica Mogherini on behalf of the European Union on Human Rights Day, 10 December 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the alignment of certain third countries with Council Implementing Decision 2014/730/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Syria

On 20 October 2014, the Council adopted Council Implementing Decision 2014/730/CFSP implementing Decision 2013/255/CFSP.

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

……………………

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. President,

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

[alignment paragraph]

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

Mr. President,

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

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

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

Mr. President,

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

Mr. President,

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

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

Mr. President,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CSBMs.

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

Madam Chair,

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

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

Madam Chair,

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

Madame Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madame Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Its adherence to fully effective export controls.

Cyprus meets all of these criteria.

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

Madame Chair,

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

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

Thank you. 

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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

Mr Chairman,

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

[Alignment clause]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

Thank you Chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you very much, Chair.

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

Ms  Chairperson,

Mr  Director-General,

Distinguished delegates,

Ladies and gentlemen,

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

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

Ms Chairperson,

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

Ms  Chairperson,

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

Ms Chairperson,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ms Chairperson,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Ms Chairperson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Chair.

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

Alignment paragraph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

 Mr Chairman,

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

Finally, Mr Chairman,

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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

Mr Chairman,

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

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

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

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

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

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

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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

Mr President,

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

Mr President,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Mr President

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monsieur le Président,

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

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

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

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

Monsieur le Président,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madam President,

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

Alignment clause

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Chair.

 

Question to panellists

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

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

Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you chair.

 

Question to the panellists:

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

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

Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

At internal level:

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

At external level:

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

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

Thank you chair.

Question to the panellists:

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

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

Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you Chair. 

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

Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In conclusion:

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

Thank you Chair.

 

Question to the panellists

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

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

Madam President,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union.

Aligning clause.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you 

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

Mr. Chair,

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

 

Mr. Chair,

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

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

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

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

 

Mr. Chair,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mr. Chair,

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

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

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

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

Mr. Chair,

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

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

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

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

Mr. Chair,

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

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

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

Thank you, chairperson.

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

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

Our key messages were that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you chair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We support the decision points proposed in paragraph 28.

Thank you, Chairperson.

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

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

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

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

Mr Chairperson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Chairman,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Chair.

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

(alignment clause)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Chair.

EU Statement on " ‎Area of critical importance: Promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth", ILO Governing Body 322th Session, Geneva, 3-13 листопада 2014 року

EU Statement

Thank you chair,

I speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

[The following countries align themselves with this declaration…]

We would like to thank the Office for the document provided. We consider that "Promoting more and better jobs for inclusive growth" is crucial and that it is important that the Governing Body is in a position to give guidance on the strategy and implementation of the related Area of Critical Importance.

The objectives of this Area of Critical Importance well match our own. Delivering growth that is smart, sustainable, and inclusive, with a strong emphasis on job creation, job quality and poverty reduction, is the aim of our strategy for the current decade. Growing economic and social divergences present important challenges in this regard. Unemployment, in particular youth unemployment, is still at unprecedented and unacceptable. Poverty and social exclusion remain major concerns. Our priorities are therefore to develop skills and unlock talents and life chances for all, guarantee fairness and ensure our societies have their safety nets in place to accompany change and reverse inequalities. We consider that the key factor for achieving inclusive growth objectives in this context is working toward policy coherence between the economic and social objectives.

The Conclusions of the recurrent discussion on employment at the 2014 Conference also put forward the need for an integrated approach taking into account the diversity of country situations and the wide range of employment challenges. The conclusions are further appropriate to guide the Office in the policies put forward under this Area of Critical Importance.

We particularly welcome the strengthening of ILO knowledge base on "what works" to foster inclusive growth and the work undertaken under this Area of Critical Importance on linkages between employment and productivity and on employment impact assessments, the latter partly in cooperation with EU institutions.

The Conclusions of the recurrent discussion at this year's Conference, state in paragraph 14 that "the activities of the Office in all cases must be specific, measurable and subject to strict review." In this regard, we welcome that internal consultations were carried out within the Office to develop the strategy and focus of this Area of Critical Importance in addition to the present guidance by the Governing Body. We are further interested in additional information regarding the planned final evaluation event and the joint monitoring through a so-called "intra-Office community of practice" both referred to in paragraph 18 of the report.

We welcome the inclusion of ACTRAV and ACTEMP in this Area of Critical Importance along with other departments of the Office. However, we stress that governments should also be consulted and be in a position to contribute to the actions under this Area of Critical Importance.

As for the Departments involved in this Area of Critical Importance, the absence of the Department of Standards is surprising, given the importance that Standards and their supervision have on decent work. The role of fundamental principles and rights at work, and the need for increased internal collaboration of the Office on these matters was already noted by the European Union in the Conference.

As far as financial implications are concerned, the document notes that it has none. However, paragraph 17 indicates that the application of this Area of Critical Importance has already started and resources were allocated for its first tranche under the Regular Budget Supplementary Account. Paragraph 18 states that additional resources are required to carry out the final evaluation. In related documents, in particular INS 4.1, the need to mobilize resources is noted. We would like to know the provision of resources that the Office plans to use, both from regular and from extra-budgetary resources.

In light of the foregoing, we agree with the proposed Decision Point contained in paragraph 31.

Thank you, chair

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of ODIHR, Mr Michael Georg Link, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States welcome Director Link back to the Permanent Council. We congratulate Director Link and his staff for the organization of this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), and we thank him for this report.

2. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is at the core of the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, and is a matter of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States. Whilst the OSCE Human Dimension commitments have proven to be more relevant than ever, we observe with deep concern that the gap in their implementation is widening rather than closing. We reiterate our concern about growing pressure on civil society, journalists and human rights defenders, undue restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of association and peaceful assembly, and political interference with the justice system in parts of the OSCE area.

3. HDIM is a unique peer review mechanism enabling participating States to hold each other to account and for participating States to be held to account by independent civil society. We note that this year’s HDIM saw the participation of a record number of NGOs and the holding of a record number of side events. We express our deep thanks to the representatives of independent civil society for their sometimes bold and brave testimonies which have highlighted the challenges, and in some cases serious shortcomings in the implementation of OSCE commitments in their respective states. We attach great importance to the existence of an independent and vibrant civil society as well as its participation in OSCE events. We value the views of civil society and our partners in the OSCE, and have listened carefully to the concerns and recommendations directed to us.

4. At the same time, we were deeply concerned to hear the message of many; one of harassment and attacks on human rights defenders and journalists and of mounting pressures on and shrinking space for civil society. We judge it important that OSCE participating States respond to these disturbing trends including by reaffirming and strengthening our common commitments to the enjoyment of the fundamental freedoms of expression, and of association and peaceful assembly at the Basel Ministerial Council. We also cannot disregard an apparent tendency, on the part of some delegations, to instrumentalise NGOs. We believe this does not contribute to building trust and confidence or creating common ground among participating States.

5. We are disappointed that Turkmenistan once again did not participate in the meeting thus missing an opportunity to engage in a frank and genuine dialogue with other participating States and civil society activists that raised concerns about the implementation of their commitments in their country.

6. We are troubled by reports of alleged threats against HDIM NGO participants following interventions made at the HDIM this year and regard this as totally unacceptable. We call on participating States to refrain from such intimidations, in accordance with the commitments they have subscribed to. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully.

7. The crisis in Ukraine, particularly the human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and in Crimea, which followed the emergence of various pro-Russian groups in these regions, was rightly particularly in focus at the meeting. We reiterate our condemnation of the aggression of Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil and of the human rights violations which have taken place. In the face of such serious violations of fundamental freedoms and human rights, the independent, impartial and professional work of the OSCE’s institutions is as important as ever. We commend the engagement of ODIHR in Ukraine, including the two recent election observation missions successfully conducted this year, as well as the publication of a human rights assessment report together with the High Commissioner on National Minorities. We encourage the Government of Ukraine to invite ODIHR to observe the local elections on 7 December in those parts of eastern Ukraine subject to the Special Status law.

Mr Chairperson,

8. The European Union agrees with Director Link that participating States should take further steps to strengthen the HDIM. We would be interested to hear any further views he has in this regard. We welcome that this year, for the first time, HDIM was live-streamed on the internet and welcome plans to do so in the coming years.  HDIM should be as open and accessible as possible. We also support moving the holding of HDIM from September to May. We also believe that follow-up to the meeting should be improved to ensure that HDIM discussions better inform preparations for Ministerial Councils and the work programmes of subsequent Chairmanships. 

9. The European Union wishes to reiterate the utmost importance that we attach to this dimension of the OSCE’s work and underline our full support for the work of ODIHR in protecting and promoting human rights across our region. We once again reiterate our full support for the autonomy and mandate of ODIHR. This is also reflected in our support for ODIHR’s budget proposal for 2015. It is important that participating States draw on the expertise that is available from ODIHR and respond to the recommendations made.

10. We thank Director Link and his staff for their work and highly commend them for the professional and transparent manner in which ODIHR fulfils its mandate.

EU Statement in Response to the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, to the PC.

2. Mr. Coordinator, we have listened with interest to your report – only a week after our annual Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting devoted to the topic of good governance, transparency and fight against corruption. This is an area of your activities to which we attach particular importance.

3. The ever increasing urgency of good governance and fight against corruption in order to ensure economic growth, political stability and security in the OSCE area was a common theme during this meeting. The 2012 Dublin declaration was praised as the first comprehensive political statement of its kind agreed by the OSCE participating States. This provides your Office with many new avenues for supporting States in strengthening good governance in both the public and private sectors. It is at the same time an expression of political will of all participating States at the highest level.

4. We welcome the many good examples of how the Dublin declaration is being implemented by participating States, including through joint efforts with OSCE executive structures. However, much still needs to be done. In this context we encourage you, Mr. Coordinator, and your able staff, as well as all of us around this table to consider ways how to further strengthen the OSCE´s performance in this very important area. We are grateful for the concrete proposals made in this regard at the annual implementation meeting and we will reflect on them.

5. We thank the Swiss Chairmanship for drawing our attention to the important area of corruption prevention by tabling a Ministerial Council draft decision on this topic. However, we believe that a more ambitious approach, clearly adding value and further strengthening our existing commitments, is needed.

6. The environmental activities of your Office were dominated this year by deliberations on disaster risk reduction and management and translated into a draft decision proposed by the Chairmanship for adoption at the Basel Ministerial Council. We will continue to engage constructively in the ongoing negotiations and expect that the following elements will remain an integral part of such a decision: a clear link of disaster risk reduction to security, confidence building measures potential, linkages between disaster risk reduction and climate change, as well as the importance of good governance and transparency for achieving resilience.

7. We appreciate the Coordinator´s activities on water and security, especially in the context of transboundary and regional cooperation. We look forward to continuing this important work under the incoming Serbian Chairmanship. We hope that the 23rd Economic and Environmental Forum will help us to identify further areas for the OSCE´s future engagement in sustainable transboundary water management. We also see this as a good opportunity to continue our work on disaster risk reduction including addressing cross disciplinary subjects, such as climate change.

8. We welcome that both economic and environmental activities of the Office of the Coordinator are conducted in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant OSCE executive structures, as well as with specialized international fora, such as the UN Economic Commission for Europe and through the Environment and Security Initiative. We encourage you to continue this approach.

9. In conclusion, we would like to thank you, Mr. Coordinator, and your dedicated staff for your hard work and wish you every success in your future endeavours.

EU Statement on the Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine on 26 October, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The EU welcomes the holding of parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October. We take good note of the preliminary assessment by the International Election Observation Mission involving OSCE/ODIHR, that the elections marked an important step in Ukraine's aspirations to consolidate democratic elections in line with its international commitments. The successful conduct of the elections despite the challenging political and security environment was a victory of the people of Ukraine and of democracy. The electoral mandate given by the Ukrainian people must now be implemented.

2. We look forward to the early formation of a new Government. On the basis of the outcome of the elections a broad national consensus should be sought in view of intensifying much needed political and economic reforms in Ukraine. A reinvigorated reform process, including the launching of a country-wide national dialogue, will be crucial in view of Ukraine's political association and economic integration with the EU and to consolidate Ukraine's unity and internal cohesion. In this context, we welcome the recent adoption by the Verkhovna Rada of the laws on prosecution and anti-corruption. The EU looks forward to working closely together with the new Verkhovna Rada and the future new government to assist in these endeavours.

3. We regret that the elections could not be conducted in Crimea due to Russia’s illegal annexation or in more than half of the election districts in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to the actions of illegal pro-Russian armed groups.

4. We commend the International Election Observation Mission for its professionalism and dedication in observing these elections. ODIHR has once again shown that it can deliver “the gold standard” in the field of election observation, even in a very complex and challenging environment. We thank the OSCE PA and the other institutions that were part of the International Election Observation Mission for their joint efforts.

5. We look forward to receiving ODIHR’s final report in due course. We welcome the statement by the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Pavlo Klimkin, in which he declared the readiness of the government to consider the recommendations of ODIHR on how to improve the electoral system.

EU Statement on the Russian Federations proposal on a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration”, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union expresses concern at the Russian Federation’s proposal on a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration” with the breakaway region of Abkhazia in Georgia. We are closely following developments in this regards. Such steps violate Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and would contradict principles of international law, OSCE principles and commitments and Russia’s international commitments made in 2008.

2. Any actions that undermine the security and stability on the ground must be avoided. We encourage all participants to use the Geneva International Discussions constructively. It is the only forum in which to address and resolve the challenges stemming from the conflict in Georgia with the participation of all stakeholders.

3. The European Union’s position on the protracted conflict in Georgia is well-known: we support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders and we reiterate our concern about the continuing Russian military and security related presence and infrastructure reinforcements in the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia. The EU calls on Russia to fulfil its obligations under the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 and its subsequent implementing measures of 8 September 2008, including providing EUMM access to the breakaway regions. The EUMM plays a leading role in the IPRMs within its stabilization, normalization and confidence-building mandate. We also reiterate our call for unhindered access for humanitarian organisations.

4. The European Union reserves the right to come back to the issue at the Permanent Council on 6 November in connection with the address by the Co-Chairmen of the Geneva International Discussions.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council No 1021, 30 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States remain deeply concerned about the continuing violations of the ceasefire agreed in Minsk. We note from reports by the Special Monitoring Mission that the serious fighting “appeared to be a continued effort on the part of separatist forces to take a number of strategic targets”. We call on them to fully comply with the ceasefire.

2. The Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum are steps towards a sustainable political solution to the crisis, which must be based on respect for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We expect the parties’ full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, in particular with regard to the full implementation of the ceasefire, the setting-up of comprehensive border control arrangements and the holding of early elections in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in accordance with Ukrainian law.

3. We consider that the holding of the so-called “presidential” and “parliamentary” elections, called by the self-appointed authorities, would run counter to the letter and spirit of the Minsk Protocol and disrupt progress towards finding a sustainable political solution in this framework. The EU will not recognise them. We deplore Minister Lavrov’s remarks about Russian’s forthcoming recognition of the elections. We urge Russia to use its influence to help pave the way towards local elections in accordance with Ukrainian law. This would be a highly welcome contribution to the implementation of the Minsk Protocol. We reiterate our call for immediate, safe and unrestricted access to the MH17 crash site.

4. The EU expects the Russian Federation to respect Ukraine’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and to contribute to the political stabilisation and economic recovery of Ukraine. The Russian Federation should assume its responsibilities for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements. In particular, Russian authorities should prevent any movement of military, weapons or fighters from its territory into Ukraine. They should exercise their influence to ensure that the separatists implement in good faith the obligations assumed in Minsk. The Russian Federation should also support OSCE monitoring and verification efforts, including along the Ukrainian-Russian border.

5. The EU and its Member States remain fully engaged in support of a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis, including through contributions to enhance the OSCE monitoring capacity, scaling up their humanitarian assistance, and encouraging and assisting Ukraine in its process of reforms, in particular on decentralisation and protection of rights of persons belonging to national minorities.

6. We note the decision by Russia to enter again a humanitarian consignment into Ukrainiain territory. We call on all parties to support and facilitate without delay the work of international humanitarian organisations, in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles. Assistance should be delivered through the appropriate channels in agreement with the Ukrainian authorities. The delivery of humanitarian aid can only be carried out with due respect for the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

7. Mr Chairman, we once again deeply regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Ukrainian – Russian state border in line with the Minsk Protocol. We reiterate our call on the Chairmanship to actively consult participating States to address relevant issues related to monitoring of the state border. In order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the international border a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission combined with monitoring of the Ukrainian side of the border by the Special Monitoring Mission is needed. The EU supports a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission beyond the two present Russian checkpoints to all relevant checkpoints as well as full access to monitor areas between checkpoints, and calls on the Russian Federation to do the same. The extension of the Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints until 23 November must be used for discussions on a significant expansion.

8. We are deeply concerned about SMM reports that members of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination (JCCC) are portraying the Centre as an “OSCE Mission to South-East Ukraine” by misuse of OSCE insignia and attempts to subordinate SMM monitors to the JCCC. This is completely unacceptable and jeopardizes the impartial SMM monitoring. We reiterate our interest in hearing more about the operations and mandate of the JCCC.

9. We welcome that the SMM has deployed UAVs as a useful contribution to the SMM’s monitoring work. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of UAVs in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts including along the border with Russia. Any possible military UAV Support Mission to SMM must not restrict the use of the civilian SMM UAVs in any way. We regret that SMM monitors continue to be denied access to certain areas controlled by the armed separatists.

10. The EU condemns the deterioration of the human rights situation on the Crimean peninsula, in particular the persecution and intimidation of the Crimean Tatar community, including the cases of kidnapping, torturing and killing of young male Crimean Tatars, the eviction of the Mejlis from its premises in Simferopol and interrogations of its activists. Therefore we reiterate our call for full, free and unrestricted access for the missions of the OSCE, United Nations and the Council of Europe to the Crimean peninsula.

11. We remain deeply concerned about the continuing illegal detention in Russia of a number of Ukrainian citizens, including Nadiia Savchenko, and call for their immediate release. We are particularly concerned about reports that Nadiia Savchenko is being mistreated while being held at the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry. We regret that her pre-trial detention has been extended until 13 February 2015.

12. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Joint Declaration by the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the European and World Day against the Death Penalty

Today, the European and World Day against the Death Penalty, the European Union and the

Council of Europe reaffirm their strong and absolute opposition to capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances, and their commitment to its worldwide abolition. We are deeply concerned about setbacks in some countries, such as recent mass trials leading to a vast number of death sentences, the extension in domestic legislation of the scope of the death penalty's use, or the resumption of executions after a period of several years.

No execution has taken place in our Member States in the past 17 years. The European Union and the Council of Europe welcome the fact that all Member States of the European Union have now ratified both Protocols 6 and 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, and urge all other European States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify these instruments which aim at the abolition of the death penalty.

The European Union and the Council of Europe deeply regret the recent executions carried out by Belarus, the only European country that applies this form of punishment. They strongly urge

Belarus to commute the sentences of the two remaining persons sentenced to death in 2013, and to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

Both organisations welcome the recent steps taken by the African Union towards the adoption of an Additional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Abolition of the Death Penalty. They welcome that recent ratifications of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 15 December 1989, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, have brought the number of States Parties to eighty-one. They encourage all States which have not yet done so to ratify this protocol on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in 2014.

The European Union and Council of Europe call on all Members of the United Nations to support the Resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty which will be put to vote at the 69th session of the UN General Assembly in December 2014.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 768, 29 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States welcome the holding on 26 October 2014 of parliamentary elections in Ukraine. This was a victory of the people of Ukraine and democracy. We reiterate the importance that the upcoming early local elections in Donbas later this year will be held under Ukrainian law and will serve the same goal of de-escalation and focusing on reforms through an inclusive dialogue between the Ukrainian Government and democratically elected representatives.

We take good note of the reduction in violence, including on the elections day, as a result of the ceasefire but regret and condemn the continued fighting in Eastern Ukraine during the past week where, according to SMM reports, separatist armed groups have been unsuccessfully attempting to take a number of key strategic areas under the control of the Ukrainian armed forces. We recall that strict observation of the ceasefire is indispensable for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine.

Furthermore, we expect all parties' full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, which we see as a step towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We underline the Russian Federation's responsibility in this context, and call for the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, as well as for the securing of the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring under OSCE verification.

We are aware of the SMM concerns stemming from efforts by Joint Centre for Control and Coordination (JCCC) members to portray the Centre as an OSCE mission and reiterate that we consider such attempts unacceptable. In this context, we call on all parties to allow SMM monitors to carry out their duties and to ensure free and safe access for them, including in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

We took due note of the report on bilateral Ukraine/Canada event to dispel concerns about unusual military activities and to provide clarity related to the regional security situation as well as of the information and remarks contained therein. 

More broadly, we remind that abiding fully and in good faith by all OSCE politico-military commitments is crucial in order to achieve tangible and lasting de-escalation of the situation, thus underpinning a peaceful resolution of the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Military transparency and a cooperative spirit should be maximised in order to dispel legitimate concerns and avoid miscalculations. All those concerned, and in particular the Russian Federation, should contribute to this end by, inter alia, hosting voluntary verification measures under the Vienna Document, exercising restraint in carrying out military activities and exercises in the bordering areas with Ukraine, as well as sharing information about on-going and planned military activities and exercises in these areas via the OSCE communication channels.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 768 Vienna, EU Statement on UNSCR 1540, 29 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) would like to thank today's key-note speaker Mr Sergey Federyakov, Head of Export Control Policy Division in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, for the comprehensive and insightful presentation of his country's view on the role of the OSCE in facilitating the implementation of UNSCR 1540 at regional level.

We attach high importance to the full implementation of UNSCR 1540 and subsequent resolutions. We would like to reiterate our strong support for regional and national efforts towards the implementation of UNSCR 1540, including through information sharing, enhanced cooperation with the 1540 Committee and with United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), as well as provision of assistance to those States that require it.

In this connection, the EU Council has adopted two Joint Actions in support of the practical implementation of UNSCR 1540, respectively in 2006 and 2008, and one Decision in 2013, all of them implemented by UNODA. Decision 2013/391/CFSP provides, inter alia, for close cooperation with the OSCE and other relevant international organisations and agencies throughout the implementation process to ensure effective synergies and avoid duplication.

Furthermore, we welcome the combined efforts of the European Union and its Member States and the OSCE and believe that the cooperation should be reinforced and focused on developing practical activities. These include, inter alia, provision of assistance to participating States, at their request, for the development of national action plans, facilitating information sharing, promoting best practices and strengthening relevant multilateral information exchange networks related to UNSCR 1540 implementation.

In this context, we commend the activities and the consistent efforts of the OSCE executive structures devoted to assisting the OSCE participating States, at their request, in implementing UNSCR 1540 and are of the opinion that the OSCE's role and capacities in this field need to be enhanced further and put on a sustainable basis by inclusion in the Unified Budget.

Mr Chairman, we would like to once again thank you and today's key-note speaker for giving us this very timely opportunity to discuss an important topic on the FSC agenda and remain ready to further contribute to this debate, including in the context of the preparations for the Basel Ministerial Council.

Statement on the occasion of the 43rd Session of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

2. Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr Chairman, on your election to the Chairmanship of the Preparatory Commission and by assuring you of the EU’s full cooperation. The EU also expresses its appreciation to the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports.

Mr Chairman,

3. The CTBT plays a central role in underpinning the international non-proliferation regime and our efforts towards global disarmament. We are, therefore, strongly committed to the entry into force and universalisation of the CTBT, and welcome the latest ratification of the Treaty by Congo. We reaffirm the vital importance of the entry into force of the CTBT and urge all States which have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty, in particular the eight remaining Annex 2 States, to do so without further delay.

4. The EU welcomes the outcome of the Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of the CTBT held in the margins of the United Nations General Assembly on 26 September and thanks the organisers Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands, and the Article XIV coordinators, Hungary and Indonesia, for their committed efforts to promote the entry-into-force of the Treaty in this way. The presence of 30 Ministers and other High-level Dignitaries, including the UN Secretary General, the Executive Secretary of the CTBTO, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy who delivered a statement on behalf of the EU, and some 100 countries, including all EU Member States, associating themselves with the Joint Ministerial Statement on the CTBT, prove once again the wide global support for the CTBT. In this context, we must ensure that the Treaty and its goals remain a priority for key high level decision makers.

Mr Chairman,

5. The prompt actions by the PTS and the Preparatory Commission following the nuclear tests by the DPRK clearly demonstrated the relevance of the Treaty and the growing effectiveness and performance of its verification regime. We call again on the DPRK to refrain from any further nuclear test or any other provocative action, and to join the declared moratorium on nuclear tests, as well as to sign and ratify the CTBT without delay.

6. We are looking forward to the upcoming Integrated Field Exercise in November–December 2014 in Jordan. We expect the exercise to be an important step towards the operational readiness of on-site inspections, which are the ultimate tool of the CTBT’s verification regime. We hope that the exercise will be completed successfully and this will help to promote further ratifications, in particular by Annex 2 States.

7. Building an OSI capability is a key but challenging task, and IFE14 will help towards that end. It is essential that the exercise be carefully evaluated, and that the results are translated into a format that will enable the CTBTO to implement and retain the lessons learned. In particular, the necessary financial and staff resources for logistical capacities will need to be found, while synergies through cross-Divisional collaborations should be pursued and technical, administrative and logistical support structures consolidated.

8. In order for the CTBTO verification regime to continue functioning in an effective manner, it is imperative that we gain a deeper understanding of background radio-xenon emissions. To this end, we look forward to further efforts dedicated to understanding and mitigating the effects of radio-xenon sources on the CTBTO verification regime. We are grateful for the work that the Executive Secretary, the PTS and WGB have put into this matter, including developing a step by step approach to working with medical isotope producers. This long running and established work, which has been partially funded by EU Council Decisions since 2007, has shown great promise already in understanding these issues.

9. The EU and its Member States welcome the recent efforts by the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat. Whilst bearing in mind that 2014 has been a challenging year in terms of staffing, we underline the need for an urgent satisfactory solution. In addressing this issue, priority should be given to those positions directly related to the strategic goals set out in the Medium-Term Strategy 2014-2017. We would welcome more details on how to speed up the recruitment process, which would help to monitor the effectiveness of the actions announced by the PTS.

10. The EU and its Member States are grateful to the Chairman of WGA, Ambassador Abdul Aziz, for his leadership in the informal consultations aimed at discussing important aspects of the 2015 Programme and Budget. We welcome that WGA has agreed to continue this useful practice in the future. We recognise the considerable efforts of the PTS to harmonise two important requirements regarding the next year's Programme and Budget: to ensure the resources needed for an effective CTBTO, while taking into consideration the climate of financial austerity. The Member States of the EU are supportive of the Budget in its current form. The EU and its Member States underline their continued support for a programme-driven budget which allows the Preparatory Commission to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate and which also takes into consideration the global economic and financial reality. We look forward to any further initiatives that would make the global cost management of the organisation increasingly efficient.

11. On the proposed biennial budgeting, we support the recommendation of WGA to the Commission to authorise the PTS to prepare a Biennial Budget for the activities of the Commission for 2016-2017. We are also looking forward to the view of the Advisory Group on the proposed amendments to the Financial Rules and Regulations. It is our view that Biennial Budgeting, should it be implemented, should favour efficiency while not reducing control of the State Signatories over the budget, and that it needs a careful annual administration of the financial resources.

12. The payment by States Signatories of their assessed contributions in full and on time is of central importance to the efficient functioning of the organisation. In this regard, while taking note with satisfaction of the higher reported collection rate for 2013 and 2014, the EU and its Member States would appreciate receiving information as to how early during the year payments are received and, should the situation so require, exploring the possibility of implementing an incentive scheme to encourage early payments of assessed contributions.

13. Data availability and station reliability continue to be essential. For this reason, further investments in key IMS and IDC areas will be a priority in the coming year, in order to preserve and protect the investments already made. This will not be an easy task given the recognised issues of maintaining an increasing number of stations within the current budgetary constraints. However, these continued efforts will be necessary to maintain the progress that we have seen in these fields in the course of 2013 and 2014. We believe that all approaches that minimise data downtime and ensure that the network develops in a sustainable and cost effective manner should be strengthened.

Finally, Mr Chairman,

14. We take note of the information papers CTBT/PTS/INF.1260 and CTBT/PTS/INF.1304 on the proposals on new procedures for the appointment of the officers of the subsidiary bodies of the Preparatory Commission. We believe that all the subsidiary bodies of the Commission, and WGB in particular, have worked efficiently and effectively, in the spirit of collaboration, since their inceptions. The current provisions regulating the subsidiary bodies are working very well to serve the collective interests of the Commission and should not therefore be the object of unnecessary revisions. We thank you, Mr Chairman, for conducting informal consultations that have clearly shown the need to carefully consider the many aspects raised such as its rationale, objectives and impact of current practices. Obviously, additional time will be needed to reflect on the rationale and the implications of those proposals.

Thank you, Mr Chairman

EU Statement – Opening Session, Neum, Bosnia and Herzegovina, OSCE Mediterranean Conference 2014 , 27-28 жовтня 2014 року

Mme/Mr Moderator, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour and privilege to address this Session of the OSCE 2014 Mediterranean Conference in Neum on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. Allow me to express our warmest gratitude to the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina for their kind hospitality, as well as the Swiss Chairmanship and the Serbian Chair of the Contact Group for Mediterranean Partners for the excellent organisation of this event.

The European Union would like to thank the panellists for their thought-provoking interventions. The topics addressed at this conference are highly relevant in the OSCE’s engagement with its Mediterranean Partners, fit very well into our recent discussions in Vienna and provide us with an excellent opportunity to discover ways in which we can work together to enhance our shared security.

We cannot ignore what is happening in our closest neighbourhood. Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) and international terrorism continue to pose a highly significant threat to global peace and security, as well as there remains a pressing need for enhancing women's role in public, political and economic life in the OSCE region and the Mediterranean. The EU therefore welcomes the important exchange with our partners at this conference, in line with the OSCE's approach of comprehensive security.

Today the international community, including the European Union, is increasingly involved in combatting trafficking of illicit SALW, especially in the Mediterranean region. The proliferation risks of illicit SALW and ammunition worldwide have reached a new dimension, particularly due to events such as these recently experienced in Northern Africa and the Middle East. The urgent need for enhanced SALW control is striking.

We would like to stress our continued support for strengthened implementation of OSCE commitments in the area of SALW, Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (SCA) and conventional weapons.

The European Union is allocating substantial resources, within its Strategy on SALW, to support concrete activities in the field of SALW control in the OSCE area where we welcome and promote international cooperation with the UN, the OSCE and other main actors.

Against this background, we see merit in further developing the cooperation with our Mediterranean partners in the field of combatting illicit trafficking and destabilising accumulation of SALW and conventional ammunition.

We believe that the OSCE can play an important role, based on its comprehensive track record in SALW issues, in the promotion and implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the fact that 53 States have ratified the ATT, thereby enabling its entry into force by the end of this year. Bearing in mind our ambitious programme outlined in EU Council Decision CO 2013/768/CFSP, to support the treaty's implementation by third countries, we encourage all OSCE participating States and the Mediterranean Partners, who have not yet done so, to sign and ratify the ATT at their earliest convenience. Once effectively and globally implemented, the ATT will serve its very purpose of bringing about more responsible and transparent international arms transfers. 

International terrorism poses a significant threat to peace and security. This is why the fight against international terrorism remains one of our highest priorities. We are convinced that an integrated approach, combining prevention, protection, pursuit of and the response to terrorists threats and attacks, is essential. We underline our continued support for the OSCE’s role in contributing to the global fight against terrorism.

Counter-terrorism (CT) issues, in particular Foreign Terrorist Fighters and countering violent extremism, were key priorities at the last UNGA which culminated in the adoption of UNSCR 2178 at a special Security Council session chaired by President Obama. The UN Global CT Strategy constitutes the most adequate instrument to serve as a global model for regional and national counter-terrorism strategies. In particular, its focus on the respect of human rights and the rule of law in countering and preventing terrorism represents the main guideline for engagement.

With its cross-dimensional approach, the OSCE offers a unique capability to support not only participating States, but also Partner States for Co-operation. It is the practical work, which enables us all to make progress in our efforts to tackle challenges arising from terrorism in all its forms. A good example of recent exchange was the informal meeting with representatives from the OSCE Mediterranean partners to update them on the results of the Regional Mediterranean Counterterrorism Workshop held in Malta. We further congratulate the OSCE and in particular the Action against Terrorism Unit, for the excellent preparation and conduct of the Workshop. It was delivered the right platform for discussions. The moderators, speakers, and discussants of the sessions were well chosen. Discussions in all working sessions were in our view fruitful. Participants agreed that the OSCE has an important role to play in countering terrorism. The workshop focused on Kidnapping for Ransom, which will be one important part of our work for the next weeks on our road to the Ministerial Council in Basel.

Regarding enhancing women’s role in public, political and economic life, the EU welcomes the follow up session to last year's Mediterranean Conference in Monaco. We strongly support the efforts to promote gender equality in the OSCE and beyond. Equality of women and men is a major objective for us and one of the founding values of the EU, reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

We call on the OSCE and its participating States to integrate the gender perspective into every stage of their policy processes. The increase of gender mainstreamed projects across the OSCE, especially in the work of field operations, is highly appreciated. We firmly believe that the OSCE is extremely well positioned to make a unique contribution in promoting gender equality.

We would like to take this opportunity to once again highlight the importance of implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and the related resolutions. These resolutions provide a focus to the beneficial role women can play in the resolution of conflicts as well as to the protection of women and children in conflict. As a regional security organisation the OSCE has a major part to play in implementing them in a holistic and comprehensive manner. We therefore support the development of an OSCE-Wide Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. 

Dear participants,

Our historical, cultural and commercial ties go back centuries. The Mediterranean Sea is a link between three continents and countless cultures. We would therefore like to assure you that the European Union is committed to pursuing and strengthening cooperation with our Mediterranean neighbours, including through the OSCE, wherever the Organisation can be of assistance with its comprehensive approach to security.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 767, 22 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States take good note of the reduction in violence as a result of the ceasefire but regret and condemn the continued violations of it in a number of places in Eastern Ukraine that have led to civilian casualties during the past week. We recall that all provisions of the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented byall sides.

We recall as well that strict observation of the ceasefire is indispensable for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine. Human rights violations must also be prevented and fully investigated.

We expect the parties' full engagement and swift implementation of all commitments under the Minsk documents, which we see as a step towards a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. We underline the Russian Federation's responsibility in this context, and call for the withdrawal of illegal armed groups, military equipment, fighters and mercenaries, as well as for the securing of the Ukrainian-Russian state border with permanent monitoring under OSCE verification. 

As stated earlier we attach great importance to the FSC instruments which could contribute to de-escalating tensions and dissipating concerns over military activities thus helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine.

Weurge therefore all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to make full use of the OSCE politico-military toolbox.

In particular, we have noted Ukraine's request for notification and clarification of military activities in the border areas and their compliance with the Vienna Document 2011 as well as the answer provided by the Russian Federation. We are compelled to reiterate therefore that the announced return of more than 17.000 Russian troops from training areas in the Rostov region to their permanent bases is a welcomed step, only if fully implemented and verified under the Vienna Document.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting, 23-24 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union is pleased to take part in the 2014 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting and thanks the Swiss Chairmanship and the Office of the Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities for its preparation. We welcome the thematic focus of this year´s EEDIM on good governance in the OSCE two years after the adoption of the 2012 Ministerial Council Declaration. We thank the OCEEA for preparing the information note on the implementation of this Declaration.

2. We warmly welcome the keynote speakers, Ms. Huguette Labelle, Chair of the Board of Transparency International, and Mr Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE, to our annual implementation meeting and thank them for their interesting and thought provoking interventions.

3. Good governance is strongest in states where government is transparent, democratic and accountable, where a free and pluralistic media is able to flourish and civil society actors are encouraged and enabled to participate in decision making. At the same time, efforts to effectively fight corruption rely upon independent and robust judicial systems, benefit from codes of ethical conduct for parliamentarians and other public officials, as well as active participation of civil society.

4. The participating States agreed in the 2003 OSCE Maastricht Strategy and reiterated in the 2012 Dublin declaration that good governance at all levels is fundamental to economic growth, political stability, and security. Thus, we are keen to hear in the upcoming two days how participating States as well as the OSCE executive structures, including through their joint efforts, implemented the commitments we have all signed up to. We are convinced that progress achieved in this regard will help us to ensure that our governments are more transparent, more accountable, effective and efficient and responsive to the present and future needs of our societies. It will also contribute to eradicating of negative phenomena like corruption, money laundering, organized crime and financing of terrorism which undermine economic development and expose states to greater security risks.

5. We will actively engage in the discussions ahead of us and present concrete steps and measures taken by the European Union as well as individual Member States to strengthen good governance, transparency and fight against corruption.

6. We welcome that parts of our annual implementation meeting will be devoted to environmental good governance with a special focus on the role of civil society. We commend the support the OCEEA provides to the Aarhus centres, in cooperation with the field presences. These aim at enhancing public participation in environmental decision making, access to information and access to justice in environmental matters, environmental awareness raising as well as providing a platform for mutual dialogue between civil society and governments and thus contribute to facilitation of political dialogue and building trust and confidence.

7. We appreciate also other efforts supporting civil society organisations in addressing environmental security challenges in cooperation with their governments, such as Civic Action for Security and Environment (CASE) Small Grants Programme.

8. Finally, we look forward to our deliberations on water cooperation – achievements and future prospects in the OSCE area. The importance of sustainable water management for economic growth, peace and security is increasing and was underlined by the European Union in its Council Conclusions on Water Diplomacy adopted in July 2013 as well as highlighted during the successful OSCE water security days event in July this year.

9. Regional cooperation is essential for addressing water challenges effectively and the UNECE Water Convention offers an ample opportunity to implement sustainable transboundary water management practices. In this context, we commend the incoming Serbian OSCE Chairmanship for choosing “water governance in the OSCE area” as a topic for the 2015 Economic and Environmental Forum. This topic serves as a perfect continuation of our work on disaster risk reduction under the Swiss Chairmanship and will allow us to continue addressing cross disciplinary subjects such as climate change. We hope that this year´s EEDIM will further provide the incoming Chairmanship with useful food for thought for our deliberations next year.

10. Thank you for your attention.

69th Session of the UN General Assembly Thematic discussion on Outer Space, EU Statement

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning clause

The EU and its MemberStates have a longstanding position in favour of the preservation of a safe and secure space environment and peaceful uses of outer space on an equitable and mutually acceptable basis. Strengthening the safety, security, and sustainability of outer space activities is of common interest. It contributes to the development and security of States. The prevention of an arms race in outer space and the need to prevent outer-space from becoming an area of conflict are essential conditions for the strengthening of strategic stability.

Space assets, operated by an increasing number of governmental and non-governmental entities, offer the world enormous benefits unimaginable just a few decades ago. Today these benefits are accompanied by significant challenges stemming from dangerous orbital debris and thus the potential of destructive collisions, the crowding of satellites, inter alia, in geo-stationary orbit, the growing saturation of the radio-frequency spectrum, as well as the threat of deliberate disruption or destruction of satellites These challenges call for the serious and timely involvement of states to ensure greater safety, security and sustainability in outer space.

Against this background, the European Union attaches great importance to the development and implementation of transparency and confidence-building measures as a means of strengthening security in the peaceful use of outer space.

The adoption in December 2013 by the General Assembly of Resolution 68/50 on Transparency and Confidence-Building measures in outer space activities without a vote, reflected a widespread support for the need to develop a regime encompassing such measures. The General Assembly welcomed the work of the group of governmental experts (GGE) and encouraged Member States to review and implement the proposed transparency and confidence-building measures contained in the group's report. The European Union was pleased to note that in the conclusions and recommendations of its study the GGE endorsed efforts to pursue political commitments, such as a multilateral code of conduct to encourage responsible actions in, and the peaceful use of, outer space.

Following UN General Assembly resolutions 61/75 and 62/43 on “Transparency and Confidence-Building Measures (TCBMs) in Outer Space Activities” and in response to the request by the UN Secretary General to UN members for "concrete proposals" on TCBMs, the EU introduced in September 2007 the proposal for a voluntary Code of Conduct aimed at promoting TCBMs in Outer Space Activities. On 5 June 2012, at a multilateral meeting in Vienna, the European Union presented a draft for an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities. The EU has subsequently held three rounds of Open-ended consultations (OEC) on the draft in Kiev (May 2013), Bangkok (November 2013) and Luxembourg (May 2014), at which some 95 UN Member States participated.  The European Union informed the UN Secretary General of these developments on the Code.

Many participants suggested progressing from a consultative to a multilateral negotiating phase, in which the draft developed during the OEC process, to which many nations have contributed and which remains open to further changes, would serve as the basis. A number of participants noted the need for United Nations endorsement of the future Code of Conduct.

Mr. Chairman,

The European Union, guided by the concern about the long-term safety, security and sustainability of outer space activities, as well as an eagerness to implement the consensus recommendations of the UN Group of Governmental Experts, is committed to contribute to the conclusion of the multilateral process on the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities.

We have received significant positive feed-back and broad interest on the initiative for an International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, with several UN Member States requesting more time to study our proposal for a resolution calling for commencement of negotiations. Some have also pointed to the cross-cutting nature of the issues of long-term safety, security and sustainability of outer space.

We are ready to move the process from a consultation to a negotiating phase in an inclusive and transparent manner.We are currently consulting with UN Member States on how to  reach this phase.

Thank you.

EU Statement on the Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation and on the case of Human Rights NGO "Memorial Society", OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union is deeply concerned by the ongoing restrictions on Freedom of Association in the Russian Federation. Most recently we have seen the decision of the Russian Justice Ministry to request the liquidation of the prominent human rights NGO "Memorial Society", before the Supreme Court, reportedly on the issue of the conformity of its organisational structure with Russian law.

2. "Memorial Society" is the umbrella organisation that unites all regional and local "Memorial" organisations, whose representatives were awarded the 2009 Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament. "Memorial" is engaged in human rights, charitable, historical and educational work across Russia. The "Memorial Society" keeps the legacies of victims of Soviet-era repression alive. It is an invaluable source of inspiration for human rights defenders, in Russia and in the whole OSCE area.

3. This decision illustrates once again the determination of Russian authorities to use all possible provisions of the legislation on Non-Commercial organisations to further weaken or suppress independent NGOs, instead of empowering them.  Many organisations such as the St Petersburg-based "ADC Memorial" have been harassed and forced to scale down their activities or even to close completely, as a result of so-called law on "foreign agents".

4. We urge the Russian government to ensure that its legislation and its implementation conforms to international human rights standards including OSCE commitments.

UN General Assembly Third Committee, Item 68

(a) Implementation of human rights instruments

followed by introductory statements, interactive dialogue and general discussion of:

(d) Comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action

Madame Chair, 

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.  

[Alignment formula]

The EU is fully committed to the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights and lends its full support to the multilateral human rights system with the United Nations at its core.

At the 30th anniversary of the Convention against Torture and the 25th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the EU reaffirms its unwavering support for the ratification and implementation of international human rights treaties. We are heartened by the increasing number of ratifications and call on all to consider further ratifications. All countries stand to gain from their adhesion to international human rights instruments and their Optional Protocols which often cover important additional substance or provide for individual complaints or visiting procedures.

Madame Chair,

The human rights treaty bodies play a vital role in our joint efforts to promote and protect human rights. Their work is fundamental in the translation of universal human rights norms into practical measures for the realisation of human rights for all. The sustainability, effectiveness and efficiency of the treaty bodies are key to all efforts to promote and protect human rights.

Against this background, the EU welcomed the adoption of the General Assembly resolution 68/268 on strengthening the UN human rights treaty bodies and the concrete contribution it could make to enhance the human rights treaty body system. We emphasise the paramount importance of its implementation by all stakeholders. It is our strong belief that the adoption of the GA resolution will promote steps by all stakeholders – treaty bodies, states parties, the Office of the High Commissioner as well as national human rights institutions and civil society – towards a stronger, more efficient and effective treaty body system. We will continue to pay close attention to the impact of this resolution as it is implemented in the coming years, with the expectation that resolution 68/268 will make a real and positive contribution to promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms for all.

Madame Chair,

In addition, technical assistance and institution building can foster the effective implementation of human rights obligations. The EU is strongly committed to the sharing of good practice and often supplements its dialogues with partner countries by the offer of concrete assistance. We would also like to underline the crucial role that independent National Human Rights Institutions play in this regard as they provide human rights education and expert advice to the authorities tasked with the implementation of human rights norms. The EU also applauds the technical assistance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

More generally, the EU expresses strong appreciation for the work of the OHCHR aimed at advancing the practical realisation of all human rights for all. In addition to the expanded field presence and technical assistance activities, the thematic and country work as well as the support to the ever expanding work of the Human Rights Council and the Special Procedures mandate holders, important steps have been taken in the past year to mainstream human rights throughout the UN system and to react to acute, severe crisis with a view to fact finding and preparing the ground for ensuring accountability, ending impunity. In this regard the EU is particularly appreciative of the work of the Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine AND STRESSES THE NEED FOR ITS CONTINUATION IN ORDER TO RECEIVE OBJECTIVE AND TIMELY REPORTING OF THE SITUATION ON THE GROUND. Moreover, in order to secure this important work, we will continue to champion the Office's independence, impartiality and non-selectivity, and we also note that it is also incumbent upon all of us to maintain the resources of this important institution.

Madame Chair,

The EU has warmly welcomed the new High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein and looks forward to the first inter-active dialogue with him at this Committee. We appreciate that the new High Commissioner has pledged to continue and to build on the important work of his predecessor. We welcome the attention paid to the situation of human rights defenders and the need for accountability.  We also appreciate his engagement in issues regarding the rights of the child, one of our own priorities. As we very much share the High Commissioner's concern about recent acts of violence against persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. We envisage to give increased emphasis to their vulnerable situation in our resolution on Freedom of Religion or Relief before this Committee.

Madame Chair,

Last year we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Platform of Action's which remains a key reference document for the advancement of human rights worldwide. At the Vienna Conference, civil society, for the first time, gained recognition as indispensable partners in the quest for human rights. Sadly, in many countries, civil society representatives and organisations continue to experience increasing restrictions on their work, ACCESS TO FUNDING and face intimidation, harassment, and even violent attacks. The EU is fully committed to the defense of civil society space and supports a safe and enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders. We call on all governments to respect the individuals' right to exercise their freedom of expression, opinion, association and assembly.

The EU also strongly supports the right of individuals and members of organisations to unhindered access to and communication with international human rights bodies. The UN and MemberStates stand to gain from the knowledge and experience of civil society actors and human rights defenders in discharging their mandates and responsibilities effectively. The Human Rights Council must remain a safe space for NGOs and civil society to express concerns and raise issues – the EU will vigorously oppose all efforts to limit the debate. The EU will also continue to speak out should human rights defenders be prevented from participating in the debate or suffer reprisals after their cooperation with the UN human rights system.

Madame Chair,

In closing, the EU wishes to highlight the importance of mainstreaming human rights throughout all areas of work of the United Nations. Human rights are not something separate or technical, to be relegated to special mechanisms and experts – rather, they provide a crucial reference point and basic guidance for all areas of work. The EU CALLS UPON the international community, represented by the General Assembly, TO be united in the resolve to place human rights at the centre of its work, including and in particular in the post-2015 agenda which is currently being developed.

Thank you Madame Chair. 

Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 21 жовтня 2014 року

Thank you Mme President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.

(alignment)

Mme President,

The EU welcomes the successful outcome of the "Cairo conference on Palestine - Reconstructing Gaza" held on 12 October 2014 and commends Egypt and Norway for hosting the conference, as well as the considerable efforts and commitment of Egypt to broker the current ceasefire agreement and earlier deals.

The conference sent a strong message on the necessity to bring a fundamental and durable change to the Gaza Strip, as a return to the status quo which existed prior to the latest conflict is not an option. It is now essential that the Palestinian Authority assumes its full governmental responsibilities in the Gaza Strip and that the government of Israel lifts restrictions to socio-economic development, particularly in the field of movement and access. It is also essential that the threat to Israel posed by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza as demonstrated by rocket attacks and tunnel construction is brought to an end. All terrorist groups must disarm and be prevented from rearming.

The understanding reached on 25 September by the Palestinian parties and the meeting of the Palestinian consensus government in Gaza on 9 October 2014 are positive steps going in the right direction which should be pursued further. The EU welcomes the temporary monitoring mechanism negotiated by the United Nations, Israel and the PA, as a first step towards the necessary opening of all crossing points, as well as initial measures announced by Israel on movement and access which should be implemented and expanded. 

We remain ready to develop further our efforts to build the capacities of the Palestinian Authority, particularly with a view to its swift deployment at the border crossings, and to support an effective and secure lifting of the closure through an EU presence at Gaza crossing points. Furthermore, the EU is ready to explore ways to support the creation of a land link which would consolidate the political and economic links between the West Bank and Gaza, and to analyse the feasibility of a maritime link between Cyprus and Gaza which could open Gaza to Europe and allow the people of Gaza to unlock its socio-economic potential.

In Cairo, the EU and its member states pledged an overall contribution of 468 million Euro for the reconstruction in Gaza. We call on participants to the Cairo conference to ensure the effective and timely disbursement of the generous pledges they made in support of the PA efforts to reconstruct Gaza, which will be an integral part of the future State of Palestine.

Mme President,

At the Cairo conference, the international community expressed its clear commitment to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to resume a diplomatic process and the conviction that a fundamental change in Gaza can ultimately be achieved only through a comprehensive peace agreement based on the two-state solution.

The EU fully shares with the international community a sense of urgency in making tangible progress towards a two-state solution. In urging the parties to resume meaningful negotiations, we remain convinced that clear parameters defining the basis for negotiations are key elements for a successful outcome. The EU will continue to actively promote its position with regard to parameters as set out in Council Conclusions of December 2009, December 2010, and July 2014 and in the UN Security Council on 21 April 2011. The EU is willing to work with the US and other partners on an initiative to re-launch the peace negotiations, based on the following principles:

- An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on 4 June 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties. The EU will recognize changes to the pre-1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, only when agreed by the parties.

-  Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with security threats, including with new and vital threats in the region.

- A just, fair, agreed and realistic solution to the refugee question.

- Fulfilment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

We urge all parties to refrain from actions which could undermine a resumption of negotiations and the prospects of peace. We also reiterate our call upon the Palestinian leadership to use constructively its UN status.

Mme President,

The developments on the ground make the prospect of a two-state solution increasingly unattainable and a one-state reality would not be compatible with the aspirations of both parties.

In this regard, we strongly deplore the recent Israeli decisions to approve a plan for new settlement activity in Givat Hamatos and to allow for further settlement expansion in the neighbourhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. This represents a further highly detrimental step that undermines prospects for a two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a peaceful negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. We reiterate that settlements are illegal under international law. The parties' commitment to a negotiated solution will only be credible if they refrain from unilateral actions that change the situation on the ground and threaten the viability of the two-state solution. We call on the Government of Israel to urgently reverse its decisions and put an end to its settlement policy in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem; to put an end to settler violence, to the worsening of living conditions for Palestinians in Area C, to demolitions - including of EU funded projects -, evictions and forced transfers, including of the Bedouin communities in Area C, and to increasing tensions and challenges to the status quo on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.

On its part, the EU will continue to do all it can to support the achievement of a lasting and just solution to the conflict. We reiterate our offer to both parties of a package of European political, economic and security support and of a Special Privileged Partnership with the EU in the event of a final peace agreement. 

Mme President,

The EU is seriously concerned about the humanitarian and security situation in Syria and Iraq and condemns unreservedly the attacks, atrocities, killings and abuses of human rights perpetrated by ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups in both countries as well as by the Assad regime in Syria. The EU is determined to contribute to the international endeavour to defeat those terrorist groups. A Syrian led political transition and inclusive political governance in Iraq are crucial to sustainable peace and stability in the region.

The situation in Ayn al Arab / Kobani and in other areas under siege and experiencing fierce fighting against ISIL / Da'esh is a matter of serious concern. We appreciate efforts by Turkey to shelter refugees from Kobani and calls on Turkey to open its border for any supply for the people of Kobani.

The EU is committed to tackling in a comprehensive and coordinated manner the regional threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism and addressing the underlying instability and violence which has given ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups a foothold. We support efforts by more than sixty States to tackle the threat from ISIL / Da'esh, including military action in accordance with international law. We note that military action in this context is necessary but not sufficient to defeat ISIL / Da'esh and it is part of a wider effort comprising measures in the political/diplomatic, counter-terrorism and terrorism funding, humanitarian and communication field. The EU calls on all partners to enforce relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, including 2170 and 2178 and to step up efforts at national level to deny ISIL / Da'esh the benefits of illicit oil sales and other goods. Non-inclusive policies in Iraq, and instability in Syria caused by the Assad regime's brutal war against its own people, massive human rights violations and systematic obstruction against democratic reforms, have allowed ISIL / Da'esh to flourish. As a consequence of its policies and actions, the Assad regime cannot be a partner in the fight against ISIL / Da'esh.

Yesterday, the EU approved further sanctions against the Assad regime, designating individuals and entities linked to the regime to be subject to restrictive measures. The Council of the European Union also agreed to impose an export ban on jet fuel and relevant additives being exported to Syria as they are being used by the Assad regime's air force, which undertakes indiscriminate air attacks against civilians. The EU will continue its policy of imposing additional measures targeting the regime, as long as repression continues.

We reiterate our firm commitment to counter the serious problem of foreign fighters who have joined the ranks of ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist groups. The Council of the European Union endorsed the EU counter terrorism / foreign fighters strategy, which is an integral part of the response to the August 2014 European Council Conclusions and to United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2170 and 2178. The Council called for its well-coordinated implementation as a matter of highest priority. The EU is determined to take immediate and long term action to deny ISIL / Da'esh the benefits of its sources of funding and supply, and to enhance its counter terrorism and security cooperation with countries neighbouring Syria and Iraq in line with the EU counter terrorism / foreign fighters strategy. We support the work undertaken by the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator in this regard.

Mme President,

International efforts to achieve a Syrian-led transition remain a priority in order to maintain the country's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity while preserving its multi-ethnic and multi-religious character. The EU will continue to provide political and practical support to the moderate opposition. There cannot be lasting peace in Syria if the legitimate grievances of all ordinary Syrians, including those belonging to ethnic and religious groups, are not addressed. The EU is determined to support all efforts for a political solution by mutual consent based on the Geneva Communiqué of 30 June 2012 and in line with relevant UNSC Resolutions. The EU calls on all parties to engage constructively in negotiations and it expresses its full support to the UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura and his ongoing efforts.

We recognise that the active engagement of regional and international actors will be required to deliver a viable transition and call on them to play a constructive role in this regard.

The EU is appalled by and firmly condemns the indiscriminate killings, human rights abuses, including systematic sexual and gender based violence, perpetrated in Syria and Iraq by ISIL / Da'esh and other terrorist organisations, in particular against Christian and other religious and ethnic groups, women and children.

The EU reiterates also its condemnation of the gross, widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the Assad regime. The EU is seriously concerned about the human rights abuses and sectarian violence that are being committed in Iraq.

The EU welcomes the 8th report of the independent international Commission of Inquiry on the SyrianArabRepublic published on 27 August 2014. The EU strongly condemns the actions of ISIL / Da'esh amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes. We recall that all responsible for abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law must be held accountable and that there can be no impunity for them. We reiterate our call to the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court and our call on Iraq to accede to the Rome Statute. We welcome efforts by actors working on the ground to ensure that human rights abuses and violations are being documented and evidence preserved.

The EU welcomes the formation of a new Iraqi government on 8 September and its commitment to address current challenges by pursuing inclusive policies which meet the needs and aspirations of all components of Iraqi society. Failure to do so may compromise efforts to combat ISIL/Da'esh, hamper the government's efforts to promote Iraq's national reconciliation, and further intensify sectarian tensions. We welcome the appointment to the key posts of defence and interior ministers, as well as the other ministerial appointments and the fact that the Kurdish ministers have taken up their posts in the government. We call on the

Iraqi government and the government of the Kurdistan Region to find a lasting solution to their differences.

The EU reiterates its firm commitment to Iraq's unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We welcome the coalition's efforts, including the decision by individual Member States to provide military material and expertise to Iraq, to reduce ISIL/Da'esh's capacity to attack civilian populations, which come in response to an explicit request for support by the Iraqi government. Ultimately, however, the solution to the crisis can only be political. We call on the government to reach out to all components of Iraq society and to pursue, without delay, a process of national reconciliation. We urge all components of Iraqi society to unite in the fight against ISIL/Daesh and to support a process of national reconciliation.

The EU expresses its readiness to closely cooperate with the Government of Iraq in addressing its challenges, and to support it in pursuing the necessary reforms across a broad spectrum of sectors, including the security sector and the judicial system which need to be reinforced along non-sectarian lines, in cooperation with UNAMI and in compliance with Iraq’s international obligations, in order to enhance good governance and rule of law.

We welcome the various and complementary initiatives taken on Iraq, in particular the conclusions of the Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq held in Paris on 15 September, as well as the UNSC meeting on Iraq held on 19 September. We call on countries in the region and the international community to work together to help Iraq tackle its sectarian tensions and restore peace and stability.

The EU is deeply concerned, particularly in view of the approach of winter, by the humanitarian predicament of the millions of Syrians and Iraqis who have been forcibly displaced both internally and to neighbouring countries. The EU and its MemberStates are leading the international response to the crisis. To date, around €2.9 billion has been mobilised for relief and recovery assistance to those in need in Syria and Iraq as well as to refugees and their host communities. We will continue to support the humanitarian relief efforts, including for people in areas that are difficult to reach, provide assistance to support the resilience of refugees and host communities in countries affected by the crisis and we call on the international community to do the same. We will also continue to insist on the importance of abiding by humanitarian principles and international human rights law.

Regarding Syria, the EU condemns the Assad regime's continued intransigence on humanitarian access and the use of administrative procedures to hinder the rapid and sustained delivery of aid. We reiterate our call on all parties, in particular the Assad regime to implement in full the provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 and 2165. The EU will continue to implement those Resolutions to deliver cross-border and cross line assistance. The EU is also deeply concerned that ISIL has significantly affected the presence and operation of humanitarian agencies and actors in northern Syria, thus compromising their humanitarian function.

Regarding Iraq, the EU calls on the government of Iraq to do more to contribute to the humanitarian relief effort across the country and deliver on its duty of care and protection vis-à-vis all Iraqis.

In all the neighbouring countries hosting Iraqi and Syrian refugees, the EU will continue to provide assistance to refugees and vulnerable host communities in close coordination with national authorities and development actors, whose efforts contribute to reducing tensions with host communities and to the stabilization of these countries in line with their national plans.

We are fully aware of the immense social and security challenges that the current developments in Syria and Iraq pose in particular to Lebanon and Jordan. The EU is determined to seek ways to further enhance its support to both countries to meet those security challenges. The EU is looking forward to the Berlin Conference on the Syrian Refugee Situation of 28 October 2014.

Mme President,

The EU understands the extraordinary security, humanitarian, social, economic and political challenges that Lebanon is facing. We strongly condemn the repeated attacks of violent extremist groups on Lebanon's territory and commend the Lebanese security agencies for their joint efforts in responding to the numerous security threats.

We stress the importance of strong institutions in preserving the stability and internal unity of Lebanon. In this regard the EU encourages Lebanon's leaders to open the way for the election of a new President without further delay. We appreciate the generosity of the Lebanese people in giving support to the unprecedented number of people fleeing violence in Syria and the region. We recall our pledge of an additional EUR 215 million to address consequences of the Syria conflict that was announced at the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting of 26 of September.

Item 81: Consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, UN General Assembly, Sixth Committee, 20 жовтня 2014 року

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

(alignment clause)

We welcome the report of the Secretary General (A/69/185) on the consideration of effective measures to enhance the protection, security and safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives.

Violent, including deadly, incidents and attacks involving diplomatic and consular personnel and premises continue to occur. Such failure to respect the inviolability of diplomatic and consular missions and their representatives is a matter of great concern for us all.

We urge States to strictly observe, implement and enforce the provisions of international law governed by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, which the EU Member States fully apply. Respect for these principles is essential. Close cooperation in security matters is needed, not only at the international level, but also nationally between the missions and the competent local authorities.

We strongly condemn the recent attacks against the Indian consulate in the western Afghan province of Herat and against the Turkish Consulate in Mosul as well as other serious attacks against diplomatic and consular missions. We reiterate also that abductions, such as the abduction of a member of the staff of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Yemen in July 2013 and others mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, or any kind of violent act against diplomatic and consular missions or their staff can never be justified, wherever they occur. In this regard, we recall that the physical safety of diplomatic and consular missions and representatives, which is a prerequisite for their smooth functioning, is in our common interest and must be secured. We call on all States concerned to bring perpetrators to justice.

Receiving States are also under a special duty to take all appropriate steps to protect the diplomatic missions and consular premises under the two Vienna Conventions. In that context, particular attention must be paid to the threats posed by terrorists and other armed groups, which sometimes force States to shut down their embassies or consulates, as it is happening in Libya and Yemen.

The European Union and its MemberStates are prepared to participate in all efforts aimed at ensuring and strengthening the right of diplomatic and consular staff to protection and safety.

 

Mr. Chairman,

The numerous and significant  breaches of international law relating to diplomatic and consular relations illustrated in the Secretary General's report show that our efforts in this domain should continue, if not intensify. Everyone is aware of the eminent contribution made by diplomatic relations to the establishment of trust among nations and concord among people. Any acceptance of lessened protection would amount to endangering those objectives.

While commending the States that have become parties to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations since the last report of the Secretary General in July 2012 (A/67/126), we call again upon all States that have not yet done so to consider becoming parties to these instruments, as well as to all other relevant instruments.

Thank you.

EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation NR 766, 15 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union and its Member States reiterate our concern that, despite the ceasefire agreed last month, violence is continuing in a number of places in Eastern Ukraine. We recall that all provisions of the Minsk agreements must be fully implemented by all sides.

Strict observation of the ceasefire is a necessary step for the much needed restoration of peace and stability in the East of Ukraine including with a view of preventing human rights violations and for the investigation of those that have occurred so far. Furthermore, effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral part of a sustainable political solution of the crisis in and around Ukraine based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

In this context, we took note of the launch of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination (JCCC) with the participation of military personnel from Ukraine and the Russian Federation as well as of the initial comments provided in this regard during the FSC meeting last week. Nevertheless, we would be interested in hearing more from the parties about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre and its relationship with the OSCE SMM.

We also took note of the notification circulated by Canada to inform Ukraine about its intention to conduct a multilateral inspection under the Vienna Document 2011 as well as of the positive reply of Ukraine. We are looking forward to discussing in the FSC the report of the mission upon completion.

We believe that such cooperation underpins our position, expressed several times in this Forum, that the FSC and its instruments have an important and proper role in helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. 

Mindful of this, we reiterate our call on all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to maximise restraint and transparency while carrying out military activities and exercises in areas adjacent to the border with Ukraine. In this respect, we believe that the announced return of more than 17.000 Russian troops from training areas in the Rostov region to their permanent bases is a welcomed step if verified and fully implemented.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

EU Statement on the Vienna Document, OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation NR 766, 15 жовтня 2014 року

The European Union (EU) and its Member States would like to thank the Chairmanship as well as the key-note speakers, for this useful opportunity to discuss the Vienna Document during a period when trust and confidence in the OSCE area are damaged by the illegal annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and by the security crisis in and around Ukraine.

We note with interest the Slovenian Study´s conclusion on the Vienna Document having partially become a hostage of great power relations in other areas and the problematic situation in relation to the CFE Treaty, and we agree with the conclusion that participating States need to understand that having a stronger Vienna Document is in their long- and mid-term strategic interest.

We view the Vienna Document as one of the main components of the OSCE politicomilitary dimension. We would like to underline that the raison d’etre of the Vienna Document is to build regional confidence and security by giving effect to commitments all OSCE participating States have made to refrain from the threat or use of force, including in relation to the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of States.

Against this background, we would all be well served by bearing in mind the reason the Vienna Document was conceived, and, in that spirit, consider what is further needed to prevent conflicts and de-escalate tensions, including by maximising restraint, holding constructive consultations with all relevant parties and by facilitating verifiable transparency relating to military activities of concern to any participating State.

We believe that in such circumstances fully respecting, both in letter and in spirit, and modernising the existing OSCE commitments in the politico-military area remains a task to be pursued in a priority manner. We should do so with the further aim of improving substantially the overall level of implementation of the Vienna Document and other Confidence and Security-Building Measures taking stoke of the experience and lessons learnt during the Ukrainian crisis, in particular regarding the risk reduction mechanism.

The proven transparency record of the Vienna Document with its information exchange and notifications is one of the core elements of the document. The FSC should have high ambitions in this respect by striving to identify and agree upon concrete results that achieve tangible transparency benefits, in areas such as lowering the thresholds for notification, exploring ways to include selected noncombat units in the annual exchange of military information, increasing opportunities for verification activities while managing costs in connection with these activities, expanding the range of military activities subject to notification, modernising and updating the exchange of military information, strengthening our risk reduction mechanisms, as well as considering possibilities to enlarge the scope of CSBMs.

We will therefore actively contribute to enhancing military stability, predictability and transparency by structured and result-oriented negotiations to ensure the Vienna Document 2011 and its CSBMs are adjusted to the evolving security environment.

Mr. Chairman, we would like once again thank the speakers for their valuable contribution to today’s dialogue. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the Forum and wish the speakers every success in their future endeavours.

Déclaration de l’UE en réponse à S.E. l’Ambassadeur Michael SCANLAN, chef de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie et le chef de la Mission européenne d’Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, Monsieur Francesco Bastagli , OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. L’Union européenne félicite l’Ambassadeur Scanlan pour sa nomination à la tête de la Mission de l’OSCE en République de Moldavie. Nous vous souhaitons la plus chaleureuse bienvenue, à l’occasion de votre premier rapport d’activités au Conseil permanent. Nous saluons également chaleureusement le chef de la Mission européenne d'Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, Monsieur Francesco Bastagli. Nous vous remercions pour vos rapports ce matin.

2. Ambassadeur Scanlan, la contribution au règlement pacifique du conflit transnistrien est au cœur du mandat de la Mission que vous dirigez. Nous sommes convaincus que les projets de la mission dans les trois dimensions contribuent à la création des conditions nécessaires à un règlement pacifique du conflit transnistrien, respectueux de la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie. Nous apprécierions que, de votre regard neuf, vous nous citiez la contribution qui vous a  le plus marqué dans l’activité de la Mission.

3. Votre Mission peut compter sur notre soutien, basé sur les engagements pris au sein de l’OSCE par ses Etats membres, notamment dans le domaine de la sécurité. Nous encourageons la Mission à mettre activement en œuvre son mandat, et à continuer à suivre et à rendre compte des développements dans ce domaine.

4. Les tentatives croissantes de la part de Tiraspol de restreindre l’accès des membres de votre mission à la région de Transnistrie et de vous empêcher de continuer à impliquer les représentants des deux rives à la réalisation de ces projets sont inquiétantes. Nous appelons une fois de plus tous les participants aux négociations dans le format 5+2 à user de leur influence pour convaincre Tiraspol qu’il est dans son intérêt de mettre fin à ces restrictions et aider la Mission à réaliser son mandat. Pour ce faire, les membres de votre mission doivent avoir un accès complet et sans entraves à tout le territoire de la République de Moldavie, y compris à la région de Transnistrie, ainsi qu’au dépôt d’armes russes à Colbasna.

5. Vous savez également à quel point nous sommes attachés à la poursuite et à l’aboutissement des discussions au format 5+2, le seul qui garantisse la transparence et la légitimité d’une solution durable. Une résolution du conflit serait une avancée majeure pour la stabilité et la sécurité de la région et apporterait des avantages concrets à la République de Moldavie, y compris à la région de Transnistrie. L’Union européenne est prête à soutenir sa mise en œuvre, y compris financièrement. Nous avons regretté le report de la réunion pour la troisième fois cette année et demeurons convaincus de l’utilité de fixer une nouvelle date pour celle-ci, dès que possible et sans préconditions. Nous comptons sur le Représentant spécial de la Présidence suisse, l’Ambassadeur Bogojevic pour prendre les initiatives qui s’imposent.

6. Nous sommes rassurés d’apprendre que les écoles dispensant un enseignement en alphabet latin dans la région de Transnistrie ont pu ouvrir leurs portes au début de l’année scolaire. Ce sujet devrait être suivi de près afin de mieux accompagner les efforts visant à assurer le fonctionnement normal et durable de ces huit écoles.

7. D’autres questions, comme la liberté de circulation, l’ouverture des ponts et la facilitation des contacts entre les populations des deux rives, nécessitent un dialogue actif, dans un esprit de coopération. Il en est de même si l’on veut remédier aux incidents dans la zone de sécurité, dont plus rien ne justifie la militarisation, ou encore à propos du retrait des forces de l’armée russe stationnant en République de Moldavie. Bref, nous considérons qu’il est très important d’assurer la continuité  des négociations dans le format 5+2 et  nous attendons des progrès tangibles sur les trois corbeilles, en particulier sur les aspects politiques, institutionnels et de sécurité de la troisième corbeille, en respectant la souveraineté et de l’intégrité territoriale de la République de Moldavie.

8. Les succès de la République de Moldavie dans son rapprochement avec l’Union européenne sont remarquables. Nous saluons la participation très active de ce pays au Partenariat oriental. Nous nous réjouissons de la signature, le 27 juin 2014, de l’Accord d’association entre l’UE et la République de Moldavie, qui prévoit aussi l'établissement d’une zone de libre- échange approfondi et complet. Nous félicitons la République de Moldavie pour l’application dudit Accord depuis le 1er septembre 2014 et espérons finaliser le processus de ratification par les Etats membres et le Parlament Européen dans les meilleurs délais possible. Nous espérons que tous les décideurs politiques et économiques de toutes les régions du pays, en particulier ceux de la région de Transnistrie, sauront reconnaître les opportunités qui s’offrent à eux et qu’ils auront à cœur de poursuivre résolument les réformes. 

9. Nous espérons que les élections parlementaires du 30 novembre seront conformes aux normes du BIDDH et remercions ce dernier d’y envoyer des observateurs.

Monsieur le Président,

10. En ce qui concerne les travaux de la Mission européenne d'Assistance à la frontière en République de Moldavie et en Ukraine, nous mettons en évidence que le travail de la Mission de promouvoir des mesures de confiance susceptibles de faciliter un règlement du conflit transnistrien, a pris une nouvelle importance dans le contexte de la crise dans et autour de l'Ukraine.

11. Nous nous félicitons des efforts de la Mission d’Assistance de renforcer sa présence sur le segment transnistrien de la frontière entre la République de Moldavie et l’Ukraine au cours des derniers mois. Nous relevons que les reseignements fournis par la Mission montrent une circulation des échanges commerciaux et des personnes sans entraves à travers le segment transnistrien de ladite frontière.

12. Nous accueillons davantage la coopération entre la Mission d’Assistance et la Mission de l'OSCE en République de Moldavie, ainsi que l'équipe de SMM à Odessa que nous comprenons, est située à côté de l'EUBAM.

13. En conclusion, nous vous renouvelons nos vœux de plein succès dans l’accomplissement de vos fonctions. 

EU Statement on in response to the reports by the Chairpersons of the three Committees, OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union and its Member States thank the Chair of the Security Committee, H.E. Ambassador Dominic Schroeder, the Chair of the Economic and Environmental Committee, H.E. Ambassador Ol’ga Algayerova, and the Chair of the Human Dimension Committee, H.E. Ambassador Robert Kvile, for their presentations. We thank the chairs for their able stewardship of the committees and we are pleased to have had the opportunity today to hear their plans for the period ahead. The committees make our consultations more participatory, interactive and transparent, and we welcome the active participation of representatives from the OSCE institutions, OSCE field missions, and civil society. We encourage the continuation of this approach also in the future.

2. Regarding the Security Committee, the thematic meetings organised this year have been very informative and pertinent. We appreciate the increased focus on cross-dimensional and collaborative working and are particularly pleased that OSCE actors were given the opportunity to demonstrate their practical contribution to the OSCE’s work on transnational threats. We are looking forward to the coming meetings and discussions on deliverables for the Ministerial Council under the Chairmanship of Ambassador Schroeder.

3. Our priority continues to be implementation of the OSCE’s transnational threats (TNTs) related decisions, including the 2005 Borders Concept. When implementing these decisions, we underline that, where appropriate, work has to be done in close cooperation with other international stakeholders active in the fight against TNTs, such as UNODC. There is also a continued need to ensure a cross-dimensional approach in TNTs with full respect for the implementation of human dimension commitments. The Security Committee has an important role in overseeing the OSCE’s activities on TNTs, and in particular the implementation of the decisions taken in this field.

4. We need to continue to give special attention and support to the cyber Informal Working Group. We are pleased that implementation of the first set of CBMs is well under way and we are of the opinion that it will be useful for discussions on the second set. We reiterate that, for the second set, we support setting the focus on a few cooperative CBMs on which consensus would be easier to reach.

Mr Chairman,

5. Regarding the Second Dimension, we appreciate the continued practice of organising thematic meetings. We value especially implementation of commitments, and contributing to ensuring continuity in our endeavours, such as the most recent Committee meeting on the implementation of the two Kyiv decisions as well as the meeting on fight against corruption earlier this year. The Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting should provide us with further opportunity to take stock of the progress made by OSCE participating States as well as the Secretariat on the implementation of the commitments in the area of good governance, transparency and fight against corruption made in Dublin in 2012.

6. We are grateful for organising the recent meeting on sharing best practices on sustainable water management. This was an interesting follow-up to the Security Days event on water security. That highlighted the potential of water as a source of tension and conflict and thus underlined its clear link to security and its pertinence for the OSCE. We believe that the adoption of the topic for the 2015 Economic and Environmental Forum “Water governance in the OSCE area – increasing security and stability through cooperation” provides a good opportunity to further strengthen the OSCE´s portfolio in the area of water and security as well as water diplomacy.

7. Finally, Mr Chairman, concerning the Human Dimension Committee, there have been many useful and important discussions already this year, and we wish to thank the Chairperson of the Committee and his team for assembling such high calibre speakers to address the Committee. We expressed already our appreciation for the participation of representatives from OSCE institutions, field operations, and civil society and would welcome even more involvement for civil society in the Committee. We also appreciate the invitations to attend Committee meetings that the Chairperson has regularly extended to the Council of Europe and UNHCR representatives in Vienna, as well as to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.

8. The EU would also like to reiterate its appreciation and support for the continued practice by the Chairperson of a standing agenda, including the item on voluntary reporting. We believe such practices enrich the discussions in the Committee. We agree with the Chairperson that the voluntary reporting item provides a useful opportunity for states to outline their feedback and planned follow-up to recommendations made by the OSCE, including Election Observation Missions. The EU would like to assure the Permanent Council that we will continue our practice of making voluntary reports to the Committee on our efforts to fully implement OSCE human dimension commitments, and we encourage other participating States to do likewise.

9. We look forward to the Committee’s work in the coming months on the Chairmanship’s draft Ministerial decision on torture prevention. We expect that the committee will also have the opportunity to focus on drafts in other areas including in relation to the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms.

10. The EU wishes the three chairs every success in the year ahead.

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council NR 1019, 16 жовтня 2014 року

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned that shooting and shelling has continued in parts of eastern Ukraine despite the ceasefire agreed in Minsk. We note with concern the SMM reports of ceasefire violations against areas of strategic importance mainly controlled by the Ukrainian army. We condemn the recent GRAD missile attack near Mariupol that caused a number of civilian casualties. We express our deep concern about the escalation on the ground by pro-Russian armed groups as reported by the SMM. We call on all parties to fully comply with the ceasefire.

2. We reiterate that a lasting ceasefire remains the key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan and based on respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory are integral to implementation of the Minsk Protocol and should be acted on swiftly.  We continue to strongly urge all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unrestricted access for international investigators to the MH17 crash sites.

3. We recall that the Minsk Protocol called for continuous monitoring by the OSCE of the Russian-Ukrainian international border as well as of the ceasefire. While important efforts are ongoing within the Trilateral Contact Group and bilaterally aimed at implementing and monitoring the ceasefire, we deeply regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border. We urge Russia not to delay steps to address border monitoring, while making progress on other elements in parallel. The Minsk Protocol should be implemented in its entirety. Border monitoring and ceasefire monitoring are closely interlinked and mutually dependent and we urge the parties to agree a coherent overall approach.

4. In order to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the international border a significant expansion of the OSCE Observer Mission, combined with monitoring of the Ukrainian side of the border by the SMM, is needed. The ultimate goal of these efforts must be to assist Ukraine to regain control of its own border.

5. We welcome the Chairmanship’s draft addendum to the mandate of the Observer Mission as a good basis for further discussions and note that all the delegations that have made their voices heard, with the exception of Russia, have called for an expansion. In order to demonstrate a genuine resolve to fulfil the commitments it made under the Minsk Protocol of which continuous border monitoring is an integral part, Russia should agree to an expansion of this mission. Given the short time-frame until the current mandate expires, we trust that the discussions on a possible expansion will be further taken forward with priority. We stand ready to contribute additional staff and resources for the implementation of this expansion. We furthermore note with concern that the mission has not been provided with proper protection and immunities, and we call on the Russian Federation to provide this as soon as possible. We reiterate our call on the full implementation of the Berlin Declaration including by the participation of Ukrainian border guards in border control at the respective Russian checkpoints.

6. We reiterate our strong support for the efforts of the Chairmanship and the OSCE in Ukraine, including the SMM, the Project Coordinator and the current ODIHR election mission. Last week’s visit to Ukraine by a group of OSCE ambassador’s was an opportunity to get a first-hand insight in the work of OSCE structures in Ukraine and their professional and very dedicated staff.

7. The visit was a further reminder of the need to ensure the OSCE SMM has the resources necessary to fulfil its mandate fully and safely. We take this opportunity to urge all participating States to respond quickly and generously to the call for contributions to expand the SMM, including financing, essential equipment, and qualified monitors and operational staff. For our part, the EU and its Member States will continue to strongly support the mission, including by providing qualified staff and appropriate equipment.

8. We reiterate our call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. We rely on the SMM to report on the situation in the areas controlled by the armed separatists and on the implementation of the Minsk Protocol and memorandum. We reiterate our interest in hearing more about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination and its relationship with the OSCE SMM. We call on all parties to ensure secure conditions for the free operation of UAVs, as a useful contribution to the OSCE’s work in monitoring the ceasefire and border, including in all parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and along the border with Russia.

9. Mr. Chairman, we welcome ODIHR’s Interim Report on the Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine on 26 October. While we welcome that preparations for the elections are well underway, we also share the concerns raised, that despite that freedom of assembly has been largely respected, cases of physical assaults on candidates and election commissioners were reported. We regret that there will be no elections conducted in Crimea due to Russia’s illegal annexation, and that elections are unlikely to be held in more than half of the election districts in Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts due to the actions of illegal pro-Russian armed groups. However, we welcome that the Ukrainian authorities have put in place arrangements for citizens from these areas to vote in other parts of the country under simplified procedures.

10. The EU underlines the importance of holding early local elections in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the Ukrainian legislative framework. We recall that the EU does not recognise the holding of so-called “parliamentary elections” in the self-proclaimed “Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics” in November.

11. We remain deeply concerned about the reports of enforced disappearances and un-investigated deaths of Crimean Tatars in Crimea that seem to be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation. We note that another recently disappeared Crimean Tatar has reportedly been found dead this week.

12. We note the announcement on October 12 that President Putin has ordered troops deployed at the Ukrainian border to return to their bases. If verified and fully implemented, this would be a welcome step in the right direction. At the same time we hope that this is not simply part of a force rotation.

13. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

EU Statement on Illegally Detained Ukrainian Citizens in Russia

1. The European Union remains deeply concerned about the continuing illegal detention in Russia of a number of Ukrainian citizens, including Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko and film producer Oleh Sentsov. We repeat our call for their immediate release.

2. Reports that Nadiia Savchenko, without the knowledge of her lawyers, has been transferred to the Serbsky State Scientific Centre for Social and Forensic Psychiatry in Moscow for a psychological examination are particularly disturbing.  We note that the Serbsky Centre has a long history of providing controversial assessments in cases of concern.

3. We once again call on the Russian Federation to abide by its OSCE commitments and its obligations, including as a Member State of the Council of Europe and party to the European Convention on Human Rights. 

EU Statement, 69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee, Thematic discussion on Disarmament Machinery

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning paragraph

Mr President,

We are a strong supporter of the United Nations and effective multilateralism.

The role and contribution of the UN disarmament machinery - the components of which are mutually reinforcing - remain crucial and irreplaceable. Deliberative and negotiating bodies set up under the auspices of the First Special Session of the General Assembly devoted to Disarmament (SSOD-I) need to improve their performance and reach results in line with their agreed mandates. Recent positive developments in the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control, such as the success of the Arms Trade Treaty and the signing of the Protocol to the Central Asian Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone Treaty demonstrate that deliberations and negotiations in these fields can produce results.

We believe that the UNGA First Committee should serve as a forum for open and relevant exchange, able to deal with current challenges to our collective security and develop concrete measures to this end. It should concentrate its efforts on the most pertinent and topical issues, rather than maintaining the practice of proceeding in a formalistic manner and simply updating previously adopted resolutions. In order to alleviate its heavy agenda and make it more relevant, we believe that the possibility of bi- or triennialising more resolutions, in a balanced manner, should be contemplated. We welcome the initiative of the Chair to convene an informal meeting to discuss possible further improvements regarding the panel discussions as a positive step in this direction. We support further increase of the efficiency, utility and interactivity of the panels and we presented concrete suggestions in this respect.

The Conference on Disarmament, in accordance with its mandate, has the crucial role to negotiate multilateral disarmament treaties. We are disappointed that it did not succeed in commencing its substantive work, including negotiations. This year however, we have noted some encouraging developments. The re-establishment of the Informal Working Group to assist in developing a Programme of Work and the structured discussions under the Schedule of Activities allowed for constructive and open debate. We hope these exercises can be built upon further.

We would also like to reiterate our longstanding commitment to the enlargement of the Conference. We underline the importance of continuing consultations on the expansion of its membership and strongly support the appointment of a special coordinator in this respect.

Consistent with our engagement with civil society, we would welcome enhanced interaction between civil society and the Conference, thus allowing a broadened contribution of NGOs and research institutions, in an inclusive manner, to the work of the Conference.

For the European Union, the immediate commencement and early conclusion of the negotiation in the Conference on Disarmament of a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices, on the basis of document CD/1299 and the mandate contained therein, remains a clear priority. National security concerns, while legitimate, can and should be addressed as part of the negotiation process rather than as a prerequisite. We appeal to delegations to show flexibility. We call on all CD member states to start negotiations on such a Treaty without delay and to begin work on the other issues on the agenda in line with the adopted Programme of Work CD/1864. We call on all states possessing nuclear weapons that have not done so to declare and uphold an immediate moratorium on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

We welcome the constructive discussions at the two meetings in 2014 of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and other nuclear explosive devices. The fact that the experts of a number of EU Member States participate in the GGE reflects our keen interest and commitment on this issue. We are looking forward to the report of the Chair of the GGE and the meetings in 2015 to further substantively advance the issue.

We also share the frustration that since 1999 the United Nations Disarmament Commission was not able to fulfil its mandate properly and failed to agree on any recommendations. For the EU and its MemberStates it is important to take a sincere look at the way the existing working methods of the UNDC have been utilized, in particular regarding its current agenda which is over-politicized. We welcome and strongly support the initiative of the UNDC Chairman to invite Member States to submit proposals on how to revitalize the work of the Commission, including the possibilities regarding modification of the substantive agenda. We also believe that the Chair's Concept Paper on possible ways forward for the next three-year cycle is an excellent basis for further discussion. In that regard, we expressed our views at the informal meeting of 8 September and we support the UNDC Resolution proposed by the Chair as tangible means of increasing chances of success in the next three-year cycle. We are looking forward to engaging constructively in the discussions.

UNIDIR is a trusted element of the disarmament machinery, invested with a unique mandate to conduct independent research and analysis on issues relating to disarmament and security which requires a high degree of expertise. The EU and its MemberStates highly value UNIDIR’s activities in conducting independent research in disarmament and security. We have financially supported the important work done by the Institute on numerous occasions.

Thank you.

69th Session of the UN General Assembly First Committee Thematic discussion on Other Weapons of Mass Destruction

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

Aligning paragraph

1. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery continues to be a growing threat to international peace and security. Recent cases of use of chemical weapons in Syria reinforce the calls for a resolute and global approach to that threat.

2. The European Union stands united in condemning, in the strongest terms, all use of chemical weapons in Syria, which constitutes a violation of international law, a war crime, and a crime against humanity. There can be no impunity and perpetrators of the attacks must be held accountable.

3.The international community over the last year cooperated effectively and acted promptly in carrying out the destruction of Syria's declared chemical weapons stockpile, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2118 and the decisions by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Executive Council. The removal and subsequent destruction of the declared Syrian chemicals constitute a significant step towards the necessary complete and irreversible dismantling of the Syrian chemical weapons programme. The EU contributed 17 million euro for the joint UN/OPCW Plan for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. In addition, several EU Member States made important financial and other contributions to support the plan and accepted the destruction of materials on their territories.

4. However, there is still work to be done. In particular the European Union is gravely concerned about the systematic and repeated use of a toxic chemical as weapon since last April as confirmed in the second report of the OPCW Fact Finding Mission (FFM) set up to establish the facts around these allegations. New similar allegations are continuing to be made. The EU shares the view that the evidence presented by the FFM is substantial. This included reports of the use of helicopters, a capability that only the Syrian regime possesses. We support the Director-General's decision that the FFM continue its work and we remain determined to sanction those responsible for these horrific acts. Syria must also ensure that its chemical weapons programme is completely and irreversibly dismantled, including the remaining production facilities.

5. The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) is a key component of the non-proliferation and disarmament framework. Its integrity and strict application must be fully guaranteed. The EU and its MemberStates are the largest contributor to the OPCW and will continue to substantially support its activities financially and in kind. Achieving the goals of time bound destruction and universality remains principal challenges and we encourage those countries that have not yet adhered to or ratified the Convention to do so without delay. We call upon possessor states to expedite destruction of their chemical weapons stockpiles. Chemical weapons destruction operations should continue to be conducted in a sincere and transparent fashion, and within the framework of the existing verification regime. We underline also the importance of full national implementation of the Convention.

6. The EU is engaged in supporting improvements in bio-safety and bio-security. New EU-financed projects are currently under implementation with the support of the World Health Organisation. The recent Ebola outbreak illustrates the potential impacts of biological pathogens in a globalised world. In this context we welcome the Global Health Security Agenda Initiative and the Security Council Resolution 2177 (2014) which determined that the unprecedented extent of the Ebola outbreak in Africa constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

7. The European Union attaches high priority to further strengthening of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC), its full implementation and universalisation, making specific efforts to convince States which have not adhered to or ratified the Convention to do so without delay. Several EU projects since 2006 ensure consistent support and financial contribution for the promotion of the Convention's objectives.  In this context, the role of civil society should also be reinforced. The EU remains convinced of the need to enhance compliance with the BTWC and calls upon all States Parties to meet the requirements set by successive Review Conferences that returns on Confidence Building Measures are to be submitted annually. Effective national implementation is also fundamental for the integrity on the Convention. The current inter-sessional process, in the run-up to the 2016 Review Conference, offers an opportunity to identify innovative approaches, such as the proposed peer-review mechanism. The EU looks forward to discussing it further at the next meeting of States parties.  The cross-regional interest in the biennial item on how to strengthen the implementation of Article VII earlier this year showed that there is room for a substantive discussion and for the identification of concrete avenues for work.

8. The EU has continued to make progress with the implementation of its Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative, which aims at reinforcing the institutional capacity of partner countries to prevent, detect and fight against the CBRN risk and strengthen the overall security architecture. This project is the largest initiative contributing to non-proliferation ever undertaken by the European Union. Around 100 million euro is dedicated to its implementation.

9. The risk that non-state actors acquire weapons of mass destruction adds a further critical dimension. It is vitally important to enhance international cooperation, both in the framework of the United Nations and amongst all Member States, in order to address these challenges. This year, marked the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the UNSCR 1540. Since the beginning, the European Union has been a staunch supporter of the robust and effective implementation of the resolution with the objective of strengthening global efforts in this regard. New projects have been adopted with a view to continue promoting the full implementation of the resolution and to provide assistance to third countries in complying with their obligations under UNSCR 1540.

10. The EU will continue to promote international efforts to prevent the acquisition and the use by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction and to strengthen the international framework, as well as national capabilities. To that purpose, the EU will actively support among other initiatives the adoption of the biennial resolution 'Preventing the acquisition by terrorists of radioactive sources', presented by France and Germany.

11. The EU strongly believes that the proliferation of missiles, especially those capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction, continues to be a serious concern to us all and a threat to international peace and security, as reaffirmed in UN Security Council Resolutions 1540, 1887 and 1977. A number of tests of short and medium range missiles conducted over the last years outside all existing transparency and pre-notification schemes and in violation of UN Security Council resolutions, especially by the DPRK and Iran, deepen our concern. The use of hundreds of ballistic missiles by the Syrian government also raises deep concerns as it represents an immediate threat to its civilian population and is destabilising peace and security in the region.

12. The Hague Code of Conduct is the only multilateral transparency and confidence building instrument concerning the spread of ballistic missiles. The EU strongly supports the Code and believes that this important instrument, to which all EU Member States are subscribing States, should become universal. Despite the increasing recognition of the Code and the support of the UN General Assembly, a number of key States with important activities in the area of ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles have not yet joined it. The EU will promote the universalisation of the Code and, where possible and appropriate, a closer relationship between the Code and the UN system, through our unanimous support to the biennial resolution of the UN General Assembly and similarly to previous years, our outreach event to be held in the margins of the First Committee. We call on all States that have not yet done so to adhere to it as soon as possible.

13. Export controls are also essential to prevent missile proliferation. We consider that the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) plays a key role and we continue to promote EU Member States' membership in export control regimes. We are also in favour of examining further multilateral steps to prevent the threat of missile proliferation and to promote disarmament efforts in the missile field.

14. We continue to support other international mechanisms designed to prevent the proliferation of WMDs, such as the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction which has become an important platform of coordination and cooperation. The EU Centres of Excellence continue to contribute within the Global Partnership. Export controls, particularly those based on the Australia Group lists, are also very important tools to prevent the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons.

UNGA69 Third Committee, Item 27 : Advancement of Women

Madam Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its MemberStates.

[Alignment paragraph]

As we speak today about the progress we have made in promoting the rights of women and girls and in empowering them, discrimination and violence against women and girls continues around the world, in all regions. Girls are prevented from going to school or forced to marry. Women are subjected to violence, even in their own homes. In any given society women get fewer opportunities than men to grow socially and professionally. Sexual violence remains a deplorable and widely used tactic of war. Women human rights defenders are threatened and attacked for doing their work.

In the past decades we have come a long way completing the international and national legal frameworks on gender equality and on the empowerment of women. We have raised awareness about women's issues. Yet, there is still a lot to be done. And we must be vigilant to secure the progress that we have already achieved.

2015 will be a year when we can and must make a difference. In 2015 we will celebrate 20 years from the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action, and 15 years from UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on the contribution of Women to Peace and Security. We will review the progress that we have made in implementing these important instruments and will reflect on further action. Let me stress: we have made clear commitments and we have identified the solutions to the existing challenges; we now need to focus on implementing these commitments, in order to achieve the goals that we have set.

In 2015 we will also seek to agree a new agenda for development for the coming years. We must seize this opportunity to weave a forceful gender silver thread into the future agenda for poverty eradication and sustainable development. We are convinced that gender equality and women’s empowerment are a precondition for poverty eradication and sustainable development, as well as objectives in themselves. Therefore we support gender equality as both a stand-alone goal and its mainstreaming in the post-2015 framework for poverty reduction and sustainable development.

The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women made a meaningful contribution to this end last March, when its agreed conclusions delivered a message in favour of a strong gender dimension for the post-2015 agenda. Next year's session, which will coincide with the different anniversaries I mentioned, will enable us to make major progress on gender equality in this year of anniversaries. It will also provide us with the opportunity to review the Commission's working methods, aligning them to the recent strengthening of the ECOSOC.

Madam Chair,

We remain committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights, and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes of their review conferences, and in this context sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action committed States to women’s full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power. With a view to the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration, the European Union is monitoring progress since Beijing+15 in all areas covered by the Beijing Platform for Action. The European Institute for Gender Equality is preparing an independent monitoring report "Beijing+20", which should be available at the end of October. On the basis of this report, the Council of the European Union will adopt conclusions with policy recommendations and orientation for future action on gender equality. In the framework of the events in preparation of Beijing+20, the Italian Presidency of the European Union and the European Commission will organise in Rome at the end of October a conference on the future of gender equality.

No country has fully achieved gender equality, but each one has useful experiences to share. Therefore we welcome the initiatives to reinforce regional and cross-regional dialogue on gender issues, such as the EU-CELAC Dialogue on Gender launched in November 2013 and the Third Union for the Mediterranean Ministerial Conference on Strengthening the Role of Women in Society held in September 2013.

We welcome the key role that UN Women has been playing in empowering women and eliminating violence against women and girls through its programmes, technical assistance, advocacy and normative work, and also through its leadership and coordination of efforts across the UN. The European Union and UN Women have intensified cooperation through implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding aiming to foster policy dialogue and co-operation in several fields, including combating sexual and gender-based violence.

Madam Chair,

Women's economic empowerment and their full participation in economic life are crucial for development and for improving the general quality of life globally, for both women and men. We are well aware of the simple fact that gender equality is smart economics: it can enhance economic efficiency and improve other development outcomes, as well as make institutions more representative.

The EU "Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development 2010-2015" has helped guide the European Union’s external action in this domain and is part of the European Union's strategy to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. It also seeks to attain the goals set by the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Cairo Programme of Action. The plan establishes a basis for the systematic inclusion of gender equality in the European Union’s political dialogues with partner countries and for the involvement of civil society, particularly women’s organisations. A new Plan is being drafted for the 2016-2020 period.

As we mark this year the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, the European Union has reconfirmed its commitment to intensify and improve political and material support to human rights defenders, with special focus to vulnerable and marginalised groups, and to countries affected by conflict; and pledged to step up efforts against all forms of reprisals.

Madam Chair,

We are fully committed to the effective implementation of one of the most ratified human rights conventions, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and we urge all countries that have not yet done so to sign, ratify and fully implement the Convention. We highly value the work of the CEDAW Committee to advance and ensure the implementation of the Convention. We welcome the result of the General Assembly process on treaty body strengthening and we hope that it will lead to enhanced reporting on and the implementation of the Convention by the State Parties, as well as the capacity and the effectiveness of the working methods of the Committee.

We strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls as violations of their full enjoyment of human rights. Neither custom, tradition, culture, religion, nor so-called honour can be invoked to justify violence in any of its forms, or to diminish, limit or otherwise reduce the obligations of States with respect to the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls, and the effective prosecution of perpetrators.

In line with its Guidelines on Violence Against Women and Girls and Combating All Forms of Discrimination Against Them, the European Union supports the fight against all harmful practices affecting girls and women, men and boys, including Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, both in the European Union and globally.

At the Girl Summit in London in July the European Union stressed the importance of putting into practice measures against Female Genital Mutilation, and Child, Early and Forced Marriage; and pledged more than 100 million euro for the next seven years to gender equality and children wellbeing under our Global Public Goods and Challenges programme. Examples of forthcoming actions within the European Union include the support to the EU Member States' awareness-raising campaigns on violence against women, as well as projects led by grassroots organisations aimed at combating Female Genital Mutilation and other harmful practices.

Madam Chair,

We are committed to promoting the role of women in peace and security, including through the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and its follow-up resolutions. 17 European Union Member States have adopted national action plans with the aim of strengthening their action on UNSCR 1325. We continue to implement a systematic plan: the Comprehensive Approach to the Implementation of these resolutions. The Second report on its implementation from February 2014 also sets the following priority areas for the next reporting period (2013- 2015): transitional justice, women's political participation and economic empowerment, women's involvement in peace processes and preventing sexual violence in conflicts.

The European Union is committed to ending sexual violence in conflict. Protecting women and ending impunity remain our utmost priorities. We support the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, and all work aimed at an integrated approach to prevent and punish acts of sexual violence, as well as to bring justice, services and reparation to its victims.

The European Union is working to establish by next year a policy on Transitional Justice, aimed at providing a framework for the Union's support to transitional justice mechanisms and processes, and enhancing its ability to play a more active international role in this area. The policy is expected to integrate a strong gender dimension into the Union's approach to transitional justice.

The European Union has recently strengthened its gender-sensitive approach in response to humanitarian crises around the globe. Since the beginning of 2014 a Gender-Age Marker applies to all humanitarian projects funded by the European Commission, in order to assess and improve the quality of gender- and age-sensitive programming. Women and girls – including refugee and internally displaced women and girls, who constitute a significant part of displaced or refugee populations – are exposed to specific risks and increased vulnerability in conflict situations or natural disasters. They also have specific capacities to cope with crises, contribute to peacebuilding and promote resilience. The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid highlights the importance of integrating gender considerations, incorporating protection strategies and promoting the participation of women.

We also welcome the upcoming entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty on 24 December. The recognition by the Treaty of the specific potential impacts of international arms transfers on women and their rights; and the inclusion, for the first time in a legally binding international instrument regulating the international trade in conventional arms, of a binding criterion on gender-based violence, are a big step forward and a major innovation.

Madam Chair,

Let me end by noting that the new European Commission will include a Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. It is the first time that gender is explicitly acknowledged in a European Commissioner's title and, as the actions described above, it further reflects our continued commitment to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Thank you.

Joint Declaration of October 10, 2014

As we mark the 12th World Day against the Death Penalty, we jointly call for a world which respects human dignity. The death penalty, one of the most complex and divisive issues of our time, continues to question the fundamental values of our societies and to challenge our understanding of criminal justice.

We respect the views of those who still support the use of the death penalty, and we believe that everyone has a right to be protected from violent crime. However, we consider that state executions should not be taking place in the 21st century. Modern justice systems must aspire to more than retribution.

The main objections to the death penalty are well known. Despite popular belief, there is no evidence supporting the claim that executions deter or prevent crime. No justice system can ever be guaranteed free from error, meaning that death sentences may cause the innocent to be put to death. Often, capital sentences are disproportionately imposed on poor, vulnerable and marginalised persons, aggravating discrimination against the weakest in society. Finally, the capital sentence provides victims of crime and their families neither with commensurate compensation nor with spiritual relief. On the contrary, state killing results in more hatred and violence - the exact opposite of what modern justice systems should be trying to achieve.

This joint call, which we address to the world at large, is the first ever launched by Foreign Ministers of both abolitionist and non-abolitionist States. We recognize that exchange and cooperation are needed to move together towards more effective and more humane justice systems. Together, our countries have the experience and the drive to turn the death penalty into a sentence of the past. A vast majority of countries already supports worldwide death penalty abolition; we hope that all countries will soon join this trend.

EU Statement on the Inauguration of H.E. Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai as President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union welcomes the political agreement to form a government of national unity. We would like to congratulate the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the inauguration of His Excellency Dr Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai on 29 September. The first democratic transfer of power in Afghanistan’s history is a landmark achievement for the people of Afghanistan and the President’s appointment of His Excellency Dr Abdullah Abdullah as Chief Executive Officer of the new government. We wish them every success in the continuing transformation of Afghanistan.

2. There are important economic and security challenges ahead, and it will be essential for all parties to continue to work together to build a stronger Afghanistan. The signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement with the United States and the Status of Forces Agreement with NATO, are positive developments, which will provide a basis for continued international assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces.

3. As one of the largest donors of development and humanitarian aid, the EU remains committed to working closely with Afghanistan to implement urgently needed political and economic reforms, strengthen the rule of law and foster full respect for human rights. We value the activities of the OSCE with Afghanistan such as the Border Management and Staff College in Dushanbe. We remain committed to supporting the OSCE’s continuing engagement with Afghanistan. 

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre, H.E. Ambassador Adam Kobieracki, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union and its Member States would like to thank H.E. Ambassador Adam Kobieracki for his very interesting and candid report on the activities of the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC). Strengthening the OSCE capabilities in addressing the conflict cycle should be given continued attention, in particular the implementation of MC decision 3/11 and has been further highlighted by the crisis in and around Ukraine. We highly appreciate the significant contributions of the CPC in organising and supporting the OSCE’s engagement in Ukraine in an impartial, flexible and professional manner. We commend Ambassador Kobieracki and his professional and dedicated staff for their sustained efforts and commitment over many months.

2. In particular, we commend the CPC’s role in acting swiftly to set up and support the Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), and join the Director in expressing appreciation to those other parts of the OSCE who supported this by releasing staff as first responders. After the Minsk Protocol and Memorandum, we are convinced the SMM has an even more important role to play. We are well aware of the practical and financial challenges in working for the rapid expansion of the SMM and will continue to strongly support the mission, including by providing qualified staff and appropriate equipment. We also command the CPC for the support of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

3. We continue to believe that we should use the full potential of the OSCE in the current situation, including through the OSCE Project Coordinator in Ukraine (PCU) and the OSCE autonomous institutions that are all playing a vital role in their respective areas. We would encourage the CPC to do all it can to continue to contribute to effective cooperation, exchange of information, and synergies between the different OSCE structures working in Ukraine, as well as between OSCE and other international actors active in Ukraine.

4. The crisis in and around Ukraine has also demonstrated the constraints on the OSCE, including on legal, financial and operational issues. We believe it is important for participating States and the Executive Structures to draw lessons from the OSCE’s engagement. We appreciate that Ambassador Kobieracki in his report acknowledges that some issues could have been handled better.

5. We share Ambassador Kobieracki’s view that field operations’ mandates, including in Ukraine, allow them to contribute to the OSCE early warning mechanisms. We recall our proposal to elaborate a compendium on OSCE’s involvement in peace processes. We stand ready to consider ideas, including those presented by Ambassador Kobieracki today, for further optimizing and operationalising OSCE capacities in the field of early warning, mediation support and in dealing with high risk security situations, while bearing in mind the current financial context.

6. The full implementation of MC Decision 3/11 is a prerequisite for strengthening the role of the Organisation in early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, conflict resolution and post-conflict rehabilitation. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the CPC in the field and hope that efforts made to enhance internal cooperation, produce internal guidelines and identify synergies will bear fruit in the coming years.

7. The resolution of the protracted conflicts in the Republic of Moldova, Georgia, and of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, in the existing formats remains a top priority for the EU. We regard this as a core task of the OSCE and support the contribution of the CPC. We encourage them and the relevant field missions to continue the promotion of confidence building measures and projects which contribute to fostering understanding between all sides. This should include increased co-operation with civil society organisations in the conflict regions in order to identify potential ways for promoting understanding and rebuilding trust and confidence. Intensified efforts to resolve existing protracted conflicts are needed.

8. Field missions have a central role to play throughout the conflict cycle. We are therefore pleased that a network of early warning focal points has been established. We welcome efforts to train field mission staff in mediation skills and dialogue facilitation. We further welcome the increasing attention that is being paid to Central Asia. The support and guidance provided by the CPC in co-operation with the TNT department in areas such as border management and policing is highly appreciated. Also, we appreciate engagement with Afghanistan and look forward to concrete proposals on how to deepen our cooperation with Mongolia, in accordance with the country’s requests and needs.

9. Finally, we continue to attach great importance to the full implementation and the enhancement of existing OSCE politico-military commitments, including the Vienna Document and appreciate the assistance provided by the FSC Support Section in that regard. We are ready to strengthen, in line with our consistent position, OSCE instruments and capacities in curbing the illicit spread and destabilising accumulation of Small Arms and Light Weapons, taking into account the forthcoming entry into force of ATT. Furthermore, we remain convinced that the OSCE's role and capacities devoted to the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and UNSC Resolution 1540 on Non-Proliferation should be further enhanced on a sustainable basis.

10. Mr. Chairman, we would like to once again thank the CPC and its Director for their valuable work. We continue to support the indispensable work done by the CPC and wish Ambassador Kobieracki and his dedicated staff every success in their future endeavours.

EU Statement in Response to the Report by the Acting Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union warmly welcomes the Acting Chief Observer of the OSCE Observer Mission at two Russian checkpoints on the Russian-Ukrainian border, Mr Paul Picard, to the Permanent Council. We thank him for his interesting and concise report and commend him and his staff for their dedication and professionalism in implementing the Mission’s mandate, sometimes under difficult circumstances.

2. We believe the Mission has provided valuable and objective reporting on the state of affairs at the Russian Gukovo and Donetsk checkpoints. Despite  the unfortunately very limited mandate and small size, the Mission has made some important observations related to the crisis in and around Ukraine. We note in particular the regular reports of a high number of young people crossing the border wearing military-style clothes and comments in conversations that they are not allowed to cross with weapons from Russia. Instead they receive weapons, ammunition and equipment on the Ukrainian side before being dispatched to assigned areas. Near the Gukovo checkpoint there is even a shooting range where they can calibrate their newly received weapons. These observations and testimonies confirm what we already know; that  fighters coming from Russia are heavily involved on the ground in this crisis. 

3. Besides the valuable reporting, we would like to highlight the Mission’s crucial role in facilitating a safe passage through the Gukovo checkpoint for 437 Ukrainian servicemen in the beginning of August. The Mission’s presence and facilitation efforts potentially saved many lives. 

4. We welcome the Mission’s outreach to the media through publication of its reports and press briefings. In this context, we regret that the Mission’s reports have been misused by Russian media to suggest that no troops, ammunition or weapons crossed the border into Ukraine. We know that this is not true.

5. Mr Chairman, we would like to reiterate that effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border should be an integral part of a sustainable political solution, which fully upholds OSCE principles, and  re-establishes Ukrainian control over its sovereign territory, including the border. We recall that the Minsk-protocol called for a permanent monitoring by the OSCE of the Russian-Ukrainian state border as well as monitoring and verification of a ceasefire. Border monitoring and ceasefire monitoring are closely interlinked and mutually dependent. Therefore, a coherent overall approach is needed. 

6. We regret the lack of progress towards substantial OSCE monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian border. We would like to recall that when the decision was taken to deploy this Observer Mission at two checkpoints we said that this was a limited first step. Since then large-scale attacks have forced the Ukrainian authorities to give up control of additional checkpoints. We believe that a significant expansion of the Observer Mission, combined with effective monitoring on the Ukrainian side of the border by the Special Monitoring Mission, is needed to contribute to an effective, comprehensive and bilateral control of the border, pending return of control of all border checkpoints to the Ukrainian authorities. 

7. The Observer Mission should be expanded to a number of other checkpoints along the Russian border with Luhansk and Donetsk Oblasts of Ukraine. The Observer Mission should also operate freely along the “green” border between these checkpoints to ensure comprehensive border monitoring; and should be able to conduct unannounced inspections. Furthermore, and taking into account the high workload already placed on the Mission as it stands, this expansion will demand a significant increase in the number of observers. We encourage the Chairmanship to develop options for such a meaningful expansion. We would be grateful if the acting Chief Observer could share his views in this regard. We also note with concern that the Mission has not been provided with proper protection and immunities, and call on the Russian Federation to provide this as soon as possible. 

8. We recall that an important confidence building element of the Berlin Declaration was to provide access for Ukrainian border guards to participate in the control of the specified Russian checkpoints. We note that a group of Ukrainian border guards have been present at the Donetsk border checkpoint since mid-August. With a ceasefire now in place, we urge Russia to allow Ukrainian border guards and customs officials to participate in border control in line with Russia’s Berlin commitments.

9. We once again thank Mr Picard and his staff for their excellent work. We are looking forward to an expansion of this Observer Mission. We wish Mr Picard every success in his future endeavours. 

EU Statement on the Violation of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation and the Situation in Ukraine, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. The European Union is deeply concerned that, notwithstanding the ceasefire agreed last month, shooting and shelling has continued in eastern Ukraine, resulting in the death of civilians, including a Swiss ICRC staff member. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased and we recall the imperative of full implementation of the Minsk protocol and the Minsk memorandum.

2. We note the SMM’s reports of ceasefire violations at or around areas of strategic significance, including Donetsk Airport and the transport hub of Debaltseve . We also note the SMM’s assessment that the violations seem to reflect attempts to gain strategic advantage either before the Minsk memorandum is implemented in full or winter sets in, with the pro-Russian separatists for instance attempting to take the power plant in Shchastya north of Luhansk city We call on all parties to comply fully with the ceasefire agreement.

3. A lasting ceasefire remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution, in line with President Poroshenko’s Peace Plan based on respect for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian international border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should also be integral parts of such a solution. Moreover, we strongly urge all parties to ensure immediate, safe and unrestricted access for international investigators to the MH17 crash sites.

4. We welcome the ongoing efforts of the Trilateral Contact Group and note the launch the Joint Centre on Control and Coordination with the participation of representatives of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. We would be interested to hear more from the parties about the planned operations and mandate of the Joint Centre and its relationship with the OSCE SMM.

5. We note with concern that the SMM has observed that Russian and Ukrainian military personnel participating in the Joint Centre had badges with OSCE Logos, which they prepared to wear. We condemn any unauthorised use of OSCE insignia. We call on all parties to ensure free and safe access for SMM monitors, including in all parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, and express our concern about recent incidents where access was prevented.

6. The European Union strongly supports the holding of early parliamentary elections throughout Ukraine on 26 October in line with international standards and calls on all parties to ensure the elections can take place without external interference. We welcome the deployment of a substantial OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission for the elections. We expect that the Ukrainian authorities will draw on ODIHR’s recommendations after the Presidential elections in May. We commend the Ukrainian government for its efforts to facilitate the participation of internally displaced persons and citizens from Crimea in the elections. We regret that the elections will not be conducted in Crimea, but welcome that citizens from this area of Ukraine can vote in other parts of the country. We call for their right to participate in the election process to be fully respected and facilitated and for the freedom of movement of voters.

7. The EU underlines the importance of holding early local elections in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts within the Ukrainian legislative framework. Regarding the announcement of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk and Luhansk ‘People’s Republics’ that they intend to hold so-called ‘parliamentary elections’ in November we recall that the European Union does not recognise these so-called ‘elections’. 

8. We welcome the third meeting of representatives of Ukrainian and Russian journalists’ unions organised on 26 September in Vienna by the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. We join the participants in condemning the killing, beating and detention of journalists in eastern Ukraine. We share the Representative’s concerns about hostile behavior against the media in Crimea including intimidation by the de-facto authorities in Crimea of the newspaper of the Mejlis.

9. We are deeply concerned about reports of enforced disappearances of Crimean Tatars in Crimea that seem to be part of a campaign of harassment and intimidation. We note that at least one of the recently disappeared persons, 25-year-old Edem Asanov, has reportedly been found dead. We also remain deeply concerned about the continuing detention of the Ukrainian pilot Nadiia Savchenko, Ukrainian film producer Oleh Sentsov and all other persons who have been abducted from Ukrainian territory and are illegally detained in Russia. Reports from Nadiia Savchenko's defence lawyer that her detention conditions in Moscow have deteriorated are particularly disturbing. We call for the immediate release of all Ukrainian citizens illegally detained in Russia.

10. The EU recalls its unwavering support to the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine, and calls upon Russia to do likewise. We urge Russia to recognise these fundamental principles that it has itself invoked many times and to contribute, by acts and public pronouncements, to stabilise the situation and reverse moves that contravene these principles. We reiterate our strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation and we will not recognise it.

Déclaration de l’Union européenne en réponse à la présentation par le Secrétaire général du budget unifié 2015, OSCE Permanent Council Nr 1018, Vienna, 9 October 2014

1. Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne remercient le Secrétaire général pour sa présentation du projet de budget unifié 2015. Ils remercient le Secrétariat et l’ensemble des gestionnaires de fonds pour leur contribution à ses travaux de toute première importance. Nous saisissons également cette occasion pour formuler tous nos vœux de réussite à Mme Marina Milanovic-Ilic qui conduira les travaux budgétaires au sein de l’ACMF. 

2. Comme tous les ans, les Etats membres de l’Union européenne s’engageront pleinement dans un dialogue et une négociation constructifs afin de veiller à doter notre organisation des moyens humains et financiers adaptés à la mise en œuvre de ses mandats. La crise en et autour de l’Ukraine ajoute un défi de sécurité avec des conséquences financières nouvelles pour l’OSCE. Nous demeurons convaincus qu’une politique budgétaire doit être efficace, économe et stratégique. C’est une condition essentielle pour que l’objectif qui nous est commun soit atteint : la consolidation de la sécurité collective dans l’espace OSCE, basé sur le respect et la pleine mise en œuvre de nos engagements et de nos principes partagés.

3. Nous étudierons ce budget en ayant à l’esprit les nécessaires mesures de rigueur auxquelles toutes les organisations internationales ne peuvent échapper et qui doivent constituer leur ligne directrice.  Par ailleurs, dans notre réflexion, il aussi importera de prendre en compte le considérable effort financier et humain que nous pourrons être amenés à fournir, par ailleurs, dans le traitement de la crise en Ukraine en 2015 ; nous ne pouvons ignorer le surcoût très important qu’il pourrait représenter pour les Etats participants et qui devra être anticipé.

4. A hauteur de 70% de contributions au budget unifié, nous restons, de loin, les premiers contributeurs financiers de l’OSCE, alors que la plupart des pays membres de l’Union européenne font l’objet de réformes structurelles de leur budget national. Aussi, nous continuerons de plaider pour un maximum d’efficacité budgétaire et pour des mesures d’optimisation. Cela signifie qu’il convient  d’allouer  les ressources humaines et financières là où une plus-value est démontrée.  Ainsi, il importe de doter l’organisation d’indicateurs de performance transparents et fiables afin d’aider les Etats participants à orienter les décisions budgétaires qu’ils doivent prendre. La culture de l’évaluation doit aussi s’appliquer à l’OSCE, comme à toutes les organisations internationales.

5. Monsieur le Président,

Comme l’ont montré les récents développements en Ukraine, les enjeux de sécurité dans l’espace OSCE, dans toutes les dimensions, sont préoccupants en particulier dans le domaine de la dimension humaine mais aussi en ce qui concerne le non-règlement des conflits prolongés. Aussi cette année nous plaiderons avec la plus grande détermination pour un renforcement des moyens humains et financiers indispensables pour que les institutions autonomes accomplissent l’intégralité de leur mandat, notamment en ce qui concerne l’observation électorale. Nous demanderons également que les programmes relatifs à la prévention des conflits et à leur résolution soient dotés de fonds appropriés.  Les faits nous donnent raison et nous constatons un peu plus  tous les ans à quel point ces fonds sont sous-dotés pour répondre aux besoins qui ne cessent de croitre.

6. En termes de répartition géographique, nous continuerons d’appuyer la continuation des efforts de rationalisation des activités des missions de terrain dans les Balkans et le transfert graduel des activités vers les autorités nationales et locales en fonction des progrès achevés. Nous notons également que les propositions d’augmentation des fonds relatifs aux missions de terrain en Asie centrale sont modestes alors que les enjeux de sécurité dans cette région augmentent dans toutes les dimensions. Nous regrettons le fait que l’École des cadres pour la gestion des frontières de Dushanbe ne soit pas inclus dans le projet de budget. Nous réitérons notre demande que le financement de l’École soit placé sur budget unifié.

7. Monsieur le Président,

Nous restons en outre préoccupés par certains éléments qu’il est important de résoudre :

- Les coûts de personnels, malgré l’adoption de quelques mesures en 2014, continuent de croitre alors que le nombre total d’emplois est en réduction. Nous reviendrons sur cette importante question dans le courant de la négociation ; cette tendance ne peut que nous contraindre à examiner avec la plus grande prudence tout proposition de création de postes ou de conversions de postes de secondés vers des postes de contractés ;

La négociation budgétaire a montré cette année la nécessité de trouver une solution sur le fonds du renforcement dans le cadre du cycle budgétaire 2015 respectant le règlement financier et les engagements pris par les Etats participants sur leur niveau de contribution. Nous demandons au Secrétariat de formuler rapidement des propositions pour transférer l’ensemble des postes au budget du Secrétariat, en incluant différents modèles de partage de charges.

8. Une meilleure répartition de la charge entre Etats participants est nécessaire. Nous appuyons les travaux relatifs à la réforme des barèmes de quotes-parts de contribution et espérons qu’ils débouchent en 2015 à leur révision, conformément au mandat du groupe de travail créé à cette fin. 

 

9. Monsieur le Président,

Les Etats membres de l’Union européenne ne ménageront aucun effort dans cette négociation qui passe par un dialogue soigné, précis et constructif. Nous espérons que tous y participent dans le même esprit.. Ce dernier doit être mené pour prendre en compte les besoins de ceux qui utiliseront ces ressources mais également les contingences auxquelles ceux qui les allouent doivent faire face. Nous pensons qu’il est possible d’atteindre un  consensus de qualité.

10. Nous sommes aussi convaincus qu’il est nécessaire cette année  d’adopter un budget dans les temps. A cet égard, nous continuerons de plaider pour une réforme du cycle du budget et pour sa bi annualisation. 

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 765, Vienna, 8 October 2014, EU Statement on Russian Unusual Military Activities and the Situation in Ukraine

The European Union and its Member States express concern about the intensification, in spite of the ceasefire in place, of fighting in some areas of Eastern Ukraine, which led last week to the tragic death of several civilians near a school in Donetsk as well as a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Many Ukrainian servicemen have also died in fighting over the past weeks, notably as a result of the continued shelling and assaults by separatist forces of the Donetsk airport.

We express our condolences to the families of the deceased, and recall that all elements of the Minsk Protocol and the Minsk Memorandum must be fully implemented by all sides. Strict observation of the ceasefire is a necessary step for the much needed restoration of law and order in the East of Ukraine, both in view of preventing human rights violations and for the investigation of those that have occurred so far.

Furthermore, we recall that a lasting ceasefire remains key to the success of the current efforts to reach a sustainable political solution, based on respect for Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

Effective and comprehensive monitoring of the Russian-Ukrainian state border and withdrawal of illegal armed groups and Russian forces illegally operating on Ukrainian territory should be integral part of such a solution. The European Union stands ready to support any efforts relating to the implementation of the Minsk agreements, in particular through the OSCE.

In this context, we took note with concern of the SMM report 156/2014 of 3 October about a military officer from the Russian Federation wearing an OSCE patch without the authority of the OSCE on his uniform as well as carrying an ID card with the OSCE logo.

We strongly condemn any unauthorised use of OSCE insignia.

The FSC and its instruments have an important and proper role in helping to facilitate a sustainable political solution to the crisis in and around Ukraine. We keep encouraging therefore all participating States, in particular the Russian Federation, to show maximum level of transparency, political will and restraint with regard to military activities. Trust and confidence must be restored by open and constructive dialogue and consultations within the FSC and other relevant politico-military mechanisms, as well as by offering voluntary verification measures and additional information concerning military activities in the bordering areas via the OSCE channels.

The European Union reiterates its strong condemnation of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and will not recognise it. The European Union stands firm in upholding Ukraine's unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and calls upon the Russian Federation to do likewise.

OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation Nr 765, Vienna, 8 October 2014, EU Statement on SALW and New Technology

The European Union would like to thank today's speakers for their enlightening presentations and the FSC Chairmanship for having brought to our attention the topical issue of the impact of new technologies on SALW and SCA control.

Ever since the adoption of the OSCE Document on SALW in 2000 and the UN Programme of Action on SALW in 2001, the European Union has been actively promoting the effective and full implementation of these documents by political and financial means, notably by the EU Strategy on SALW adopted in 2005, the implementation of which is regularly reviewed.

In this context, we share the opinion that the implications of new developments in weapons manufacturing and design technology – such as 3D printing or additive manufacturing, polymer frames and modularity – pose increasing challenges for SALW and deserve our collective attention.

The recently released UN Secretary General's report on the matter, which was discussed at the 5th Biennial Meeting of States last June, provides useful initial guidance in this respect. Among others, the report points to the risk of 3D printing technology becoming available for criminal and terrorist activities. The challenges that the development of modular weapon systems may pose for effective marking of SALW is another case in point.

At the same time, new technologies may also offer new opportunities for SALW control. These are for instance related to laser control for marking weapons, automatic identification and data collection technology applications for recordkeeping, and use of GPS in weapon shipments tracking.

This is why we look forward to taking this issue further at the 2015 UN open-ended Meeting on Governmental Experts, which will focus on the implications of recent developments in SALW manufacturing, technology and design for effective marking, record-keeping and tracing.

In conclusion, we would like to once again express our appreciation for today's opportunity to discuss the possibilities and the limitations of new technology with a view to considering a harmonised approach to this important matter.

Statement/Elements for intervention on the occasion of session of the Implementation Review Group of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (Vienna, 13-15 October 2014)

Mr. Chairman,

1. Over ten years after the signature of the UNCAC, the fight against corruption remains a top priority within the EU. Corruption undermines the trust of citizens in democratic institutions and processes. Political will is the key element of any successful anti-corruption policy and we are committed to continue our efforts in this field and to promote effective measures against corruption.

2. We see the merits of the on-going Review Process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, but we are also aware of the challenges in implementing the review mechanism, in particular with regard to delay and cost efficiency. Now that the first cycle of the review is coming to its end, we will have to reflect upon the follow-up action required and on how to address the problems that have been identified in the implementation of the convention. We take note of the lessons learnt through the process and ask the Secretariat to implement them as timely as possible, at the latest at the next cycle of the implementation review. 

3. We regret that the Conference of the States Parties at its last session was not able to take any decision on possible ways of improving the review mechanism and eliminating its shortcomings in view of the second cycle.

4. Our position related to transparency of the review mechanism is well known and has not changed. We have always advocated a transparent review mechanism, where States Parties make optimal use of all the relevant information available, including from non-governmental organisations. We are pleased to see the willingness expressed by many non-governmental organisations to participate in the review process as well as in the conference discussions devoted to the implementation of the Convention.

5. We would like to express our deep concerns about the damaging practices observed at the last sessions of the Working Groups. Certain delegations did not allow for the proper reflection of the discussion and interventions of other Parties in the report. We hope that we will be able to reaffirm our common respect for transparency of our work and for all relevant UN rules, which are so close to our hearts and so deeply rooted in the UN spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

6. We regret that the expertise of non-governmental organizations in the various anti-corruption issues can be used by the UNCAC WGs' experts only to a very limited extent. We would like to recall that participation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations is fully consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the UNCAC COP. The participation of the organizations referred to, should be ensured in all work of the Conference and its WG. We strongly believe that a constructive dialogue between States Parties and civil society would substantially contribute to improving the impact and implementation rate of the provisions of the convention. We believe that it is time now to take further steps to include the experience offered by the civil society.

European Union Statement on the occasion of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (6-10 October 2014)

Check against delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,

Executive Director, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

[Alignment paragraph]

 

2. The European Union would like to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election, and to thank the Secretariat for the preparations for this session of the Conference.

 

3. The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols is the broadest framework to support criminal justice responses aimed at preventing and addressing the illicit activities of criminal groups, and depriving them of their illicit gains. It allows for effective cooperation among Member States to address both existing and emerging forms of transnational organized crime. We would like to encourage all Member States to make widest possible use of all measures set forth by these legal instruments. The European Union notes with satisfaction the high level of political support for the Convention and the three Protocols thereto, and the substantial number of ratifications.

 

4. We take note of progress made by all the current Working Groups established by the Conference of the Parties, in particular of many human-centred recommendations adopted by the Working Groups on the implementation of the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and Smuggling of Migrants Protocol.

 

5. The EU elaborated in 2013 a strategic and operational approach aimed at enhancing law enforcement cooperation internally and with third countries and relevant partners in the framework of the EU policy cycle for organised and serious transnational crime for the three coming years. This approach focuses on nine priorities; drug and firearms trafficking, irregular migration, cybercrime, property crime, counterfeit and sub-standard goods which are potentially dangerous to health and safety.

 

6. Trafficking in Human Beings is a gross violation of human rights and a heinous crime. We underline the importance of multidisciplinary cooperation at all levels in addressing trafficking in human beings, an approach reflected in EU law and policy. In June 2012 the European Union adopted a new Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings 2012-2016. The Strategy sets out priorities for combating this serious crime in an integrated and multidisciplinary way, including measures that are victim-centred, gender-sensitive, in the best interests of the child and follows a human rights approach. This approach is based on EU legislation, as reflected in the Anti-Trafficking Directive, the guiding legal instrument in this respect. In the coming weeks, the European Commission will release the first mid-term report of implementation of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings, along with the second working paper on human trafficking statistics at EU level.

 

7. The EU has been engaged in the fight against the smuggling of migrants, both from the perspective of its internal policies, but also through its external cooperation action, and is fully committed in addressing irregular migration and in the fight against networks of smugglers who take advantage of migrants, while ensuring that those in need of international protection have access to appropriate procedures and assistance.

 

8. The control of firearms trafficking is crucial in the fight against insecurity and criminality. The EU supports the full implementation of the Firearms Protocol through several actions: the EU is assessing its current legislation on firearms aiming to tackle firearms trafficking and to reduce the risk of illegal circulation and diversion of legal weapons; it is enhancing a mechanism for information gathering and statistics and try to ensure complementarity with mirror UN actions; and it is implementing an Operational Action Plan related to the EU firearms crime priority as approved by the European Council. This plan includes a coordinated collection of information on firearms crime; police control operations to tackle the principal sources and routes of illegal firearms, and a programme of joint police customs operations which involves neighbouring countries. EU Member States ratified or are in the process of ratification of the Arms Trade Treaty, adopted on 2 April 2013. We encourage Member States that have not yet done so to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty and fully implement it.

 

9. The European Union, a party to the Convention and the protocols against trafficking and smuggling already for many years, ratified the Firearms Protocol in March 2014 after all the provisions of the Protocol that fall under the Union's competence had been fully transposed into EU legislation. Taking advantage of this opportunity we once again call upon all States which have not yet signed, ratified or implemented the Convention and the Protocols thereto, to do so.

 

10. The EU takes note of the progress made since the last session of the COP in the definition of the guidelines against trafficking in cultural property.

Mr. Chairman,

 

 

11. The Conference of the Parties was unable to adopt a review mechanism at its last session. Agreement was not reached on the financing of the mechanism and the discussion on the participation of non-governmental organisations also remained inconclusive.

 

12. We believe that a transparent, inclusive, efficient, cost-effective and impartial review process that is not unduly burdensome may assist the Parties in identifying gaps in their implementation on the Convention and its Protocols, highlighting good practices and identifying needs for technical assistance, thus enabling more efficient international cooperation among the Parties. Furthermore, it should enable the Parties to strengthen their response to criminal activities, including through engagement with non-governmental organisations and other representatives of civil society.

 

13. The EU would like to commend Italy and other Member States involved for their efforts in facilitating the elaboration of an implementation review proposal for the consideration of the Conference. We thank the Secretariat for preparing an estimate of some of the financial requirements and we look forward to the discussions to better understand the financial implications. We stand ready to engage with other Member States to discuss a possible review mechanism as proposed in the resolutions submitted by Austria, France, Italy and Mexico.

 

14. We are confident that we can continue to work together to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols, including through a comprehensive and coherent framework of technical assistance. We would like to stress the need to work collectively on capacity building aimed at facilitating the full implementation of the Convention and we encourage UNODC to continue its technical assistance programme in this regard.

Mr. Chairman,

15. At this stage we feel compelled to express our deep concerns about the damaging practices observed at the last sessions of the Working Groups. Certain delegations did not allow for the proper reflection of the discussion and interventions of other Parties in the report. We hope that as the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention we will reaffirm our common respect for transparency of our work and all relevant UN rules, which are so close to our hearts and so deeply rooted in the UN spirit of mutual understanding and cooperation.

 

16. We regret that the expertise of non-governmental organizations in the various issues involved in fight against organized crime can be used by the UNTOC WGs' experts only to a very limited extent. We would like to recall that participation of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations is fully consistent with the Rules of Procedure of the UNTOC COP. The participation of the organizations referred to, should be ensured in all work of the Conference and its WG, including in the future implementation review mechanism. We strongly believe that a constructive dialogue between States Parties and civil society would substantially contribute to improving the impact and implementation rate of the provisions of the convention. We believe that it is time now to take further steps to include the experience offered by the civil society. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

European Union Statement on the occasion of the Forty-Sixth Session of Working Group A, CTBTO Preparatory Commission (6-8 October 2014)

Mr Chairman,

1. I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. [The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey§, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Iceland‡, Serbia*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Liechtenstein+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Andorra and San Marino.]

2. Let me begin by assuring you, Mr Chairman, of the EU’s full support and cooperation. We thank you and the PTS for preparing this meeting, and the Executive Secretary for his written and oral reports. 

Mr Chairman,

3. The Member States of the EU would like to commend the PTS for preparing the final draft of the 2015 Programme and Budget Proposals as presented in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1280/Rev.1. We believe that the draft has greatly benefitted from the intensified dialogue between the PTS and State Signatories. In this regard, we are grateful for your leadership, Mr Chairman, in the informal consultations aimed at discussing important aspects of this document, and we would encourage the continuation of this useful practice in the future. We are also grateful to the Advisory Group for reporting and putting forward recommendations to the Preparatory Commission and Working Group A on the possible measures to enhance the effectiveness and functioning of the organisation as contained in document CTBT/AG-43/1. We support the Advisory Group's suggestion that in the future a cover note containing a summary of major variations across the PTS might usefully be added at the beginning of the final draft Programme and Budget Proposals.

4. We underline our continued support for a programme-driven budget which allows the Preparatory Commission to effectively and efficiently carry out its mandate, with particular emphasis on the protection and sustainment of key IMS and IDC areas of the CTBTO.

5. We recognise the considerable efforts of the PTS to harmonise two important requirements regarding the 2015 Programme and Budget: to ensure the resources needed for an effective CTBTO, while taking into consideration the climate of financial austerity. However, we would welcome any further initiatives that make the global management costs of the organisation increasingly efficient. In this context we would also welcome additional information on the intended placement of a CTBTO representative officer in New York in a budget neutral way.

6. The EU and its Member States are supporting measures that would lead to a more effective and efficient Organisation. In this context, we take note of the Information Papers CTBT/PTS/INF.1293, its Corrigendum, as well as the recently issued CTBT/PTS/INF.1302 provided by the PTS on the implications and proposed changes of biennial budgeting. We further take note of CTBT/PTS/INF.1298 on the proposed multiyear funding modality. We are giving due consideration to these documents and look forward to discussing them during this Working Group.

7. The EU and its Member States welcome recent efforts of the PTS to improve the staffing situation in the Secretariat and the employment terms for temporary staff members. However, the high number of positions currently unfilled and the lengthy recruitment process are still challenging the ability of the PTS to fulfil its mandated tasks. In this regard, we note the recommendation of the Advisory Group to the Executive Secretary that he consider providing as soon as possible a report to State Signatories on progress in improving the recruitment processes in the PTS. In saying this, we express our satisfaction that recruitment activities have been prioritised to speed up the recruitment process, in compliance with the approved Staff Rules. 

8. Furthermore, the OSI-operability is of great importance, in particular in the post-IFE14 period. It is essential that the exercise be carefully evaluated, and that the results are translated into a format that will enable the CTBTO to implement and retain the lessons learned. In particular, the necessary financial and staff resources for logistical capacities will need to be found while pursuing synergies through cross-Divisional collaborations and consolidation of administrative and logistical support structures.

Mr Chairman,

9. The EU and its Member States note the explanation provided by the PTS on yearly variations of costs in Post Certification Activities (PCA) as contained in document CTBT/PTS/INF.1294. We are aware that PCA related costs are increasing with the growing number and age of certified facilities. In this regard, we take note of the report of the Advisory Group which refers to the conclusion of the recently conducted internal audit on PCA that the negotiation of procurement contracts had ensured the best possible protection of the interests of the Commission and had achieved substantial price reductions. We commend the PTS for this welcome news, and encourage the Secretariat to continue with this practice.

10. We welcome the reported higher collection rates of assessed contributions for 2013 and 2014. Nevertheless, the EU notes that some State Signatories have failed to pay their assessed contributions for a number of years. We encourage all States to pay their assessed contributions to the Commission in full and on time. In this regard, we would favourably welcome any additional information on how timely payments are made. It is also important that the PTS avoids incurring costs due to customs and taxes being levied on it, and therefore we call on States that have not yet done so to conclude facility agreements with the PTS. 

11. The EU and its Member States commend the Executive Secretary and the PTS for providing us with updated information on the implementation of the IPSAS-compliant ERP system. On the basis of this positive practice, we encourage them to continue to inform State Signatories about experiences with the new system and its benefits to improve efficient and cost effective budgeting.

Thank you, Mr Chairman

OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Warsaw, 22 September - 3 October 2014, EU Closing Statement

Mr Chairperson, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

The European Union wishes to thank the Swiss Chairmanship and ODIHR for their excellent organisation of this year’s Human Dimension Implementation Meeting. As ever, it has been an important opportunity to take stock of the human rights situation in our region. Human Dimension commitments are a matter of direct and legitimate concern to all participating States and are a cornerstone of our OSCE comprehensive security concept. These commitments have proven to be more relevant than ever.

We remain vigilant regarding the situation in and around eastern Ukraine and Crimea. We are appalled by the killing of ten persons in a school during shelling yesterday in Donetsk, and by the violent death of a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delegation yesterday. We remain concerned at the negative consequences for human rights. During this meeting we have heard further alarming reports about the precarious position of the Crimean Tatar community and the human rights violations in eastern Ukraine and in Crimea. These issues have also been highlighted by the UN and OSCE in different reports, which clearly indicate that the human rights violations did not precede but rather accompanied and followed the emergence of various pro-Russian separatist groups in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The EU has condemned the aggression by Russian armed forces on Ukrainian soil and called upon the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw all its military assets and forces from Ukraine. We support all efforts to find a sustainable political solution to the crisis, respectful of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, unity and independence of Ukraine. The ongoing monitoring and engagement by the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission and OSCE Institutions are of crucial importance and we continue to support their work. We look forward to the OSCE/ODIHR observation of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Elections on the 26th October.

We also want to express our deep thanks to the representatives of independent civil society for their bold and brave testimonies which have highlighted the challenges, and in some cases serious shortcomings, in implementing OSCE commitments in their respective states. We attach great importance to the existence of independent and vibrant civil society as well as its participation in OSCE events. The EU remains deeply concerned at mounting pressure on civil society in several OSCE participating States, particularly in the Russian Federation, but also Azerbaijan. Civil society are an important partner for the implementation of human dimension commitments. Their work and independence should neither be restricted nor instrumentalised. We are troubled by reports of alleged threats against HDIM NGO participants following interventions made at this meeting and regard this as totally unacceptable. We call on participating States to refrain from such intimidations, in accordance with the commitments they have subscribed to. We will continue to monitor this situation carefully. 

Whilst we have heard many positive examples of how the OSCE is engaging with participating States to improve the human rights of their citizens, a negative trend is unfortunately all too clear.  Gaps in the implementation of commitments appear to be widening rather than closing. Fundamental freedoms continue to be unduly restricted. The shrinking space for discourse and dissent, restrictions on media freedom and media pluralism, and the scope and scale of attacks on journalists and human rights activists, is unacceptable. So too is impunity from prosecution that the attackers often enjoy. Moreover, appalling accounts of torture and inhumane treatment in some states continue to emerge. We wish to reiterate that torture is an abhorrent violation of human rights, human integrity and human dignity. The practice of enforced disappearances and the treatment of political prisoners are also deeply concerning. We strongly encourage the governments of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to engage with the legitimate questions that have been posed to them over the course of this meeting regarding such practices. In this context, we express our regret that the delegation of Turkmenistan decided not to participate in the meeting, thus missing a valuable opportunity for an open and frank dialogue on this and other issues with participating States and civil society.

We also recognise that there are human rights challenges in the EU and have listened carefully to the concerns and recommendations directed at us. Gender based violence remains a problem in many of our societies. More also needs to be done to better integrate Roma and Sinti communities and to protect the rights of other marginalised groups, including from hate crimes. We are committed to addressing these and other issues and to engaging in a genuine dialogue with our OSCE partners and with civil society. 

We greatly appreciate the expert assistance the OSCE provides to participating States to support them in implementing our common commitments. We reiterate our support for the mandates and activities of the OSCE autonomous institutions. We will continue to draw on this expertise within the EU, as well as to support OSCE engagement in other parts of the region.

We also underline that human rights and fundamental freedoms must be realised for all, without discrimination, and observe that more needs to be done to ensure that this principle is affirmed by all participating States. We call once more on all participating States to abide by their commitments, to cooperate fully with the OSCE, including its autonomous institutions, and make full use of the assistance it offers. We also hope that the Helsinki plus 40 process will provide us with further opportunities to strengthen the implementation of our human dimension commitments. 

We look forward to discussing further in Vienna the recommendations emerging from this meeting. The EU encourages the Swiss Chairmanship to involve representatives of civil society in that discussion in order to make the exchange as participatory as possible. We hope that at the Basel Ministerial Council participating States will agree on a robust response to address the violations of OSCE principles and commitments and threats to human rights we are witnessing in our region, in particular related to the Ukraine crisis. We also look forward to listening to the recommendations from civil society at the Ministerial Council. We thank the Chairmanship for the draft decision they have already proposed, which we are reflecting on. The EU stands ready to work constructively and in earnest in the coming weeks with delegations in preparing substantive decisions on pertinent human rights issues, and we look forward to further proposals from the Swiss Chairmanship in this regard.

Finally, the EU wishes to thank the Government of Poland for its hospitality, and reiterate our appreciation to ODIHR, the Swiss Chairmanship and all those who contributed to the effective conduct of the meeting, including the moderators, keynote speakers, rapporteurs, note-takers, and interpreters. 

Statement on behalf of the European Union, delivered by H.E. Francesco Azzarello
Permanent Representative of Italy to the OPCW at the Seventy-Seventh session of the Executive Council 
(The Hague, 7 October 2014)

Mr Chairperson,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union - EU.

The candidate countries ………. align themselves with this statement.

I would like to thank the Director-General for his comprehensive statement, which provides useful guidance for our work. We are looking forward to participating actively in the deliberations during this week.

Mr Chairperson,

during the recent 45th meeting of the Executive Council, a great number of State Parties, including the EU Member States, have voiced grave concerns over the findings of the Fact Finding Mission - FFM set up by the OPCW Director-General to establish the facts around allegations on the use of chlorine on the civilian population in Syria. Indeed, in its second report the FFM stated that “it has found information constitutin