I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The acceding states Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and Slovenia, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe associated with the European Union, Bulgaria and Romania, and the Associated Country, Turkey, as well as the EFTA countries of the European Economic Area, Iceland and Norway, align themselves with this statement.
The resolution, which we have just adopted, is an important milestone in the continued UN reform process, which is based on the goals and priorities set by the Heads of Government at the Millennium Summit
Today we have decided to reinforce the implementation of the development agenda, building on the Millennium Declaration and the outcome of the Monterrey and Johannesburg Summits. We have also reaffirmed the UNs strong focus on the African continent, which is enshrined in the memberships unanimous support for the NEPAD.
The General Assembly has given a renewed mandate to the Secretary-General in order to strengthen the Organisation. We have formulated our joint vision of new and more modern ways of doing business in the United Nations. And we have now requested the Secretary-General to go ahead.
Implementation must start today. There is no time to lose when it comes to strengthening the UN Human Rights and development activities, information work, conference management, reporting procedures and budget cycle.
The Budget 2004/05 will be crucial for the reallocation of resources to new priorities. Reform is not to be understood as a budget-cutting exercise, but as the Secretary-General has pointed out in his report, we need a thorough revision of the programme budget, including the possibility to dispense with mandates and activities that we, the Member States, are convinced to be no longer relevant.
We, the Member States, will come back to some specific issues, in close dialogue with the Secretary-General, as part of the normal inter-governmental consultation once the detailed implementation gets under way. As we go along, the General Assembly will continue to consider the measures, which are pertinent to it, while the Secretary-General will move forward with the activities, which are under his purview.
We are confident that next year the Secretary-General will report to us that tangible results have already been achieved and that further improvements are on track, under the oversight of the Deputy Secretary-General.
The European Union would like to commend your leadership during this difficult process. Todays result is of course first and foremost a reflection of the political will and determination of the member states to strengthen the United Nations. However, the reform process is also anchored in the joint efforts of the Secretary-General and the President of the General Assembly to move things forward.
We must continue to build on this strong foundation of good will, mutual trust and spirit of cooperation when implementing our joint vision for a strengthened United Nations. The European Union pledges its support and active participation towards achieving this goal.
I thank you.