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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 Chair, 

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

The Acceding Country Croatia*, the Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, a member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and Georgia align themselves with this declaration. 

Let me first warmly 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 would also like to thank the staff of the UN Secretariat for the assistance in preparing this meeting. 

Mr Chair, 

General Assembly resolution 66/101 of 9 December 2011 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”, the European Union and its Member States continue to firmly believe that sanctions remain an important instrument, under the Charter, for the maintenance and restoration of international peace and security. The sanctions regimes adopted by the UN Security Council in recent years clearly demonstrate that sanctions can be instituted in a targeted way to minimise the possibility of adverse consequences to civilian population as well as to third parties.  

In this regard we note that the Secretary General in his report A/66/213 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 “ in several of a total of 15 requests for guidance concerning the scope and implementation of the assets freeze, the  advice (of the Committee established pursuant to resolution 1970 (2011) concerning the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya) was sought on how to minimize the potential unintended consequences of that measure in third states”. However, neither the General Assembly, nor the Economic and Social Council found it necessary in 2011 to take any action related to economic problems arising from sanctions affecting third States. The Secretariat also indicated that no State appealed for remedy and relief of economic problems to the UN since 2003.  

In the light of the findings of this report, we continue to hold the view that studying the question of assistance to third States affected by sanctions by the Special Committee is no longer relevant and should certainly not be a matter of priority for this Committee, as we do not see any concrete issues that would merit discussion.  Likewise, we also note that other items identified in the report of last year’s session have been discussed for several years, however 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 66/101 of the General Assembly. This is indeed, as stipulated in this provision, a priority issue. We consequently urge UN Member States, in line with the Japanese paper on the reform of the working methods (A/AC.182/L.108/Rev.3) adopted by the Special Committee in 2006 (cf. A/61/33, paragraphs 72 and 73), to 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 reexamining the duration of the sessions of the Committee. Besides, we would strongly suggest that the Committee takes precise and accurate decisions, and avoid referring in its draft recommendations to elements set out in previous reports or using cross-references to parts of reports that do not contain clear operational elements. Any recommendations of the Committee should in other words be drafted in such as way as to be self-contained and operational, for the sake of good order and clarity. 

The European Union and its Member States stand ready to participate constructively in this process and hopes that the same spirit of cooperation will allow us to make progress on this issue. 

We welcome the progress and the efforts undertaken by the Secretariat to clear the backlog in the preparation of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations organs and the Repertoire of Practice of the Security Council. Both the Repertory and the Repertoire contributes to the institutional memory of the Organisation and are valuable research tools for the international community, with particular relevance to the diplomatic community. Furthermore, we recall the two trust funds established to facilitate the preparation of the publications and encourage the UN Member States to make additional contributions. 

I thank you, Mr Chair.

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

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