I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you for your election today. At the same time I also congratulate all Bureau members of the Working Group and all Chairpersons of the Sub-Working Groups elected today. Let me assure you that you can count on the support of the European Union.
The 2011 COE Working Group which starts its work today will carry out a comprehensive review of the Contingent-Owned Equipment Manual. The work of the 2011 Working Group will be conducted in three Sub-Working Groups, Major Equipment, Self-Sustainment and Medical Support Service, and the Member States of the EU will engage constructively in them. We look forward to considering the issue papers as long as they fall clearly within the competence of the 2011 COE WG. We intend to look at issues on their own merits, working to address genuine challenges where they exist, and working where possible to find cost-effective solutions that are met with consensus. In doing so, it will be important to bear in mind and uphold the principles on which the current system is rightly based.
Let me take this opportunity to underscore the EU’s strong support for UN peacekeeping operations, and that the EU sees peacekeeping as a core UN function in promoting peace and security. I would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all our other partners in UN peacekeeping. Without the commitment of troop and police contributing countries, peacekeeping would be an impossible endeavour. The EU recognizes the role of all those serving in UN missions, and honours the sacrifices of those who have paid the ultimate price in that service.
Once again, the European Union is committed to the efficient functioning of peacekeeping operations and will be engaged constructively in the work of the 2011 COE Working Group. We do hope that the Working Group will be able to complete its work by consensus.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.
* Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Pact