I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia, align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, the European Union wishes to thank Mr Bernardo Greiver, Chairman of the Committee of Contributions for presenting the Committees report of its 69th session, as well as Mr Lionel Berridge, Chief of the Contributions and Policy Coordination Service, for the presentation of the Secretary-Generals report on multi-year payment plans.
Let me start by addressing the issue of the requests for exemption under Article 19. The EU has consistently stressed that the payment of assessed contributions in full, on time and without condition is a fundamental duty of the Member States of this Organisation. Nevertheless, the European Union acknowledges that, for reasons beyond their control, some Member States may face genuine difficulties in fulfilling their financial obligations to the UN. Multi-year payment plans have been an effective tool to help Member States reduce their unpaid assessed contributions, and as the EU has stated before, we encourage Member States requesting an exemption to present such plans.
It is therefore with concern the European Union notes some of the issues raised by the Committee of Contributions in its report: the continuing increase in the accumulations of arrears of some Member States; the fact that no new multi-year payment plans have been submitted; and that the plans already submitted are not always followed by the respective Member States.
We encourage further efforts in order to reduce unpaid assessed contributions by the concerned Member States, and urge the Central African Republic to submit and follow a payment plan. Such efforts and initiatives would contribute to reducing unpaid contributions and demonstrate commitment to meeting the financial obligations to the UN.
Despite these concerns, the EU stands ready to endorse the recommendations of the Committee of Contributions to permit the following countries to vote in the General Assembly: Central African Republic, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia.
Turning now to the methodology of scale of assessments for the Regular Budget for the period 2010-2012.
The European Union has been a staunch supporter of the United Nations and will remain so. The EU is by far the largest financial contributor to the United Nations and has consistently supported the Organisations efforts in meeting new challenges.
The European Union believes firmly that a fair and more balanced way to share the budgetary responsibilities of the United Nations is essential to the effective functioning of the Organisation.
Ensuring effective funding is the joint responsibility of the membership.We need to ensure the scale of assessments we agree at the end of this year more accurately and fairly reflects our collective ownership of the United Nations and each Member States capacity to pay.
The EU continues to stress the importance of the capacity to pay as the basis for Member States contributions. However, in the view of the European Union the current scale does not truly reflect present-day economic realities. EU Member States assessed contribution to the United Nations budget of approximately 40% is significantly higher than our 30% share of the world economy. This is clearly not in alignment with capacity to pay.
The scale of assessments needs to better take into account changing economic weight in the global economy. Member States contributions must reflect their real capacity to pay as closely as possible. While the European Union has and will continue to advocate the need for significant relief for the most vulnerable countries, we should recognize that some major emerging economies have seen substantial growth figures this decade and should take a larger share in the expenses of the Organisation, reflecting their economic accomplishments.
The Low Per Capita Income Adjustment (LPCIA) is an important element designed to provide relief to developing countries. But the low per capita income adjustment has produced the effect of accumulating relief in a handful Member States with significant share of world GNI, and with the least developing countries scarcely benefiting from the adjustment. The European Union wants to address this and ensure the LPCIA is consistent with the original intent of the element and better target those countries in real need of the adjustment.
The Debt Burden Adjustment, first introduced in 1986, does not take full account of information now available. The European Union would like to see an examination of the DBA and takes note of the availability of data for public debt. The use of public debt would better reflect the responsibility of the government and would correspond with the original intention of the introduction of the adjustment. Furthermore, as with the LPCIA, the least developing countries scarcely benefit from this adjustment.
I would like to underline that for the European Union status quo is no longer a solution. The EU is not questioning the basic principles of the scale methodology. What we have outlined are some balancing adjustments that we believe would address flaws of the current methodology without affecting the majority of countries. For the EU, these are pre-requisites for the creation of a stable, transparent and sustainable financing in the service of the aims and principles of the United Nations.
In concluding, I would like to assure you and other members of this Committee of our cooperation and engagement in a positive way in the negotiations. We look forward to working with Member States of all groups towards an outcome which would better reflect the principle of capacity to pay. The European Union remains fully committed to putting the United Nations finances on a sound, sustainable and equitable basis.
I thank you, Mr Chairman.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.