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EU at the UN

The EU's commitment to effective multilateralism, with the UN at its core, is a central element of its external action. As a UN observer with enhanced status, the EU delegation coordinates with its 28 Member States to speak with one voice. The EU also works closely with the UN secretariat and its agencies, funds & programmes, partnering on a range of global issues and challenges.

Mr. Chairman,

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

The following countries align themselves with this statement: The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU welcomes today’s briefing as an opportunity for an interactive debate on the ongoing counter-terrorism activities in the UN. We believe that today’s exchange of views can serve as a policy guidance and thus play a vital role in informing future work on the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and its Plan of Action. We would like to express our gratitude to the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force (CTITF) for its presentation and those of its Working Groups. In particular, the EU wishes to emphasize its appreciation for the work done by Mr. Robert Orr in his capacity as the Chairman of the CTITF. We reassure Mr. Orr of the EU’s continued support in his future activities. The EU hopes that his knowledge and experience gained in the first years of the implementation of the Strategy will continue to benefit the UN’s efforts aimed at the coordination and integration of its counter-terrorism activities.

The United Nations, as a universal organization, has an important role to play in the global fight against the scourge of terrorism. We continue to believe that only the integration of its numerous counter-terrorism activities can make the UN an effective tool against the ever-changing nature of international terrorism. In this context, the EU has actively engaged in the work leading to, and welcomed the completion of, the first periodic review of the implementation of the Strategy, carried out in September 2008. Next year, this Assembly is going to conduct a second periodic review, during which the Secretary-General’s report and updating the Strategy will be considered. The EU commits itself to work to fully implement the Strategy and further improve the framework which the Strategy provides for UN counter-terrorism efforts.

The EU is of the view that the Strategy can achieve its goals only if all its four pillars, outlined in the Plan of Action, and measures taken under each of those pillars, are implemented in a balanced, integrated and holistic manner. The implementation of the Strategy needs to involve all the stakeholders at all levels, including civil society and the private sector. It should also not avoid addressing threats and challenges such as corruption, organized crime, drugs and trafficking in human beings. There is a particular need, in view of the four pillar structure of the Strategy, to establish full cooperation of all UN actors in the field in fulfillment of our demands for “One UN”. Closer contacts should also be established between the Security Council Committees 1267, 1540, and the Counter-Terrorism Committee.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU has been a staunch supporter of the CTITF. We maintain that the Task Force is, and should remain, the principal UN body to oversee the coordinated and integrated implementation of the Global Strategy. We, therefore, attach great importance to the institutionalization of the CTITF, in particular on the issues of its staffing and funding.

The results of the CTITF’s work so far have proven that its nascent stage is over and the Task Force has, under the leadership of Mr. Orr, matured into a functional and effective body. The EU believes, however, that future success of the CTITF is conditional upon its even deeper, institutional establishment. We, therefore, strongly emphasize the need for continued and enhanced funding of the CTITF from the UN regular budget. Both EU Member States and EU institutions have continuously contributed funds to the CTITF. We hold that while the voluntary financial contributions by Member States help the Task Force overcome operational difficulties, they cannot be a long-term solution for CTITF funding. The EU welcomes the redeployment of three posts by the Secretary-General as core staff of the Task Force, as well as the expected appointment of a full-time chairman through the redeployment of resources. We support further increase in personnel of the Task Force.

Mr. Chairman,

Let me turn now to the work of the Task Force’s Working Groups. Some of the topics covered by the Task Force’s Working Groups are among the counter-terrorism priorities of the EU.

We welcomed the reports of the Working Groups that were made available on the Task Force’s website. The publication of most reports only a few days ahead of today’s briefing has nevertheless not contributed to their in-depth study. We likewise listened carefully to the presentations delivered today on the activities of the Working Groups. Having received the information from the Working Groups, the Member States are now in a position to advise the CTITF on the practical follow-up steps which need to be taken in order to implement the reports, where relevant. To that end, the EU is ready to engage actively in the upcoming debate on the specific aspects of the reports or ideas contained in the Working Groups’ presentations.

Mr. Chairman,

The EU considers the Working Group on Facilitating the Integrated Implementation of the Strategy to have a special standing in the CTITF framework. It is through this Working Group that the most important mission of the CTITF – to coordinate and integrate the various counter-terrorism activities of the UN – is being carried out. Growing demand by Member States for coordinated support and assistance show the need for further strengthening of this approach. With the creation of this Working Group, the UN has taken a substantial step towards fulfilling the call by the Member States to operate as “One UN”.

The EU wishes to emphasize the importance of the Working Group on Protecting Human Rights While Countering Terrorism, of the Working Group on Supporting and Highlighting the Victims of Terrorism and of the Working Group on Addressing Radicalisation and Extremism that Lead to Terrorism. The EU Member States have contributed significantly to the work of these Working Groups, both financially and otherwise.

The work of the Human Rights Working Group is essential in ensuring that due process requirements are taken into consideration when implementing counter-terrorism measures, and in ensuring the balanced development of the fourth pillar of the Global Strategy. With regard to the Working Group on the Victims of Terrorism, the EU looks forward to its report and mid-March briefing. We are of the opinion that the highlighting and support to the victims of terrorism can form the most natural and much needed bridge between the counter-terrorism community and civil society. One step in this direction is the proposal to discuss the creation of a UN voluntary Trust Fund for victims of terrorism and their families, which was presented by Spain on the occasion of the September’s Symposium on supporting victims of terrorism convened by the Secretary-General. The EU believes that the cooperation with the civil society in combating terrorism is of vital importance and welcomes the steps taken by the CTITF in this direction. The EU welcomes the report of the Working Group on Radicalisation and Extremism which includes a very useful inventory of counter-radicalisation and de-radicalisation measures implemented by Member States.

Mr. Chairman,

The Member States remain the principal players in combating terrorism. We, therefore, welcome and strongly support the work of the Task Force which is being done with regard to individual States and regional and other organizations and believe this practice should be extended. Joint country visits by the CTITF and other UN counter-terrorism actors, such as the Committees 1267, 1540 and the CTC, their expert bodies, and the Terrorism Branch of UNODC, represent the true realization of the integrated approach whose implementation the Task Force is mandated to supervise.

We encourage the CTITF to continue its successful work to meet the States’ demand for assistance in implementing the Strategy. We are convinced this approach will increase the recognition among the Member States of the value of the UN counter-terrorism efforts and make the process of cooperation demand-driven and hence more effective.

The EU looks forward to working closely with the CTITF in the future.

I thank you Mr. Chairman.

* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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