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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.

Summary: 29 December 2014, New York – Statement on behalf of the Member States of the European Union by Miss Carmel Power, First Counsellor at the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, at the 69th Session of the General Assembly Fifth Committee Conclusion of the Main Session

– As delivered –

Mr Chairman,

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

The Candidate Countries Montenegro[*], Serbia*and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

I would like to thank you in particular, Mr Chairman, for your tireless efforts to lead the work of this Committee to a successful conclusion in the most trying of circumstances.  We commend the fair and impartial role you have played throughout and you can be assured of our strong support as you continue to lead this Committee. Our thanks also go to the bureau and the Secretary of the Committee and her team for their invaluable support.

Mr Chairman,

The Member States of the European Union are staunch supporters of the UN and of the principle of effective multilateralism.  We are committed to providing the Organisation with the necessary resources to conduct its work while firmly believing that there is still substantial room for improving its efficient and effective working.  In that regard, we welcome the budget-related agreements we reached this session which enable the UN to have the necessary resources to continue its work and are glad we finally found consensus on all outstanding issues. We look forward to seriously considering the independent study on recosting, with a view to agreement on a reform that will enhance the financial sustainability of the Organisation. We also hope that, from now on, budgetary implications of resolutions being negotiated will be presented to our colleagues from the other Committees in a timely manner, allowing them to negotiate in a more informed way. But all these achievements are overshadowed by the way we got here.

Mr. Chairman,

We have to face a reality: Fifth Committee work has become dysfunctional. By concluding matters today on 29 December, even later than last December’s unprecedentedly late finish, we have set another bad precedent.  This was completely unnecessary. Earlier engagement, in anticipation of the challenges of negotiating such important and complex matters to a successful conclusion by Christmas, was clearly necessary. We were ready for it but, unfortunately, it did not happen. Likewise, having to negotiate on Christmas Eve, for the second year in a row, is not only unnecessary, it is also a lack of respect for all of us who cherish this family celebration. 

Mr Chairman,

I once again want to emphasise that this Committee will not be able to work properly if all the Member States do not engage in good faith in the negotiations. In this regard, we are deeply concerned and disappointed at being forced, once again, to conduct the final negotiations on the major outstanding budgetary items under threat of an imminent vote.  UN budgets have not and should not be negotiated this way, yet it is the second time this year we have been subjected to such unacceptable action.  We are deeply concerned at the longer-term implications of this.  We have worked tirelessly over the last several weeks, in a spirit of good faith, to advance the work of this Committee.  Yet sadly, some Member States had a different agenda. We fail to understand their reasoning or how they consider it benefits either the UN or the membership.

Mr Chairman,

The principle of consensual decision-making on all resource-related issues is long-standing and vital for the effective functioning of the UN.  This is not because there are no other ways to adopt resolutions. But simply because without the consent of all the Member States, from the smallest contributors to the biggest, this Committee cannot perform its work and the Organisation runs the risk of being paralysed. As we head towards the New Year, we urge all Member States to move forward in a spirit of consensual compromise and to renew their commitment to negotiating constructively and in good faith. The Member States of the European Union are also prepared, ahead of the 70th session that will represent not only the 70th anniversary of the Organisation but also a very challenging session for our work, to engage on a more structured exchange to improve the functioning of this Committee.  The time has come to reflect on the latest developments in the Fifth Committee and to address these shortcomings in a collective and responsible manner.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

* Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

  • Ref: EUUN14-225EN
  • EU source: European Union
  • UN forum:
  • Date: 29/12/2014

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