Growth is set to remain strong in 2018 and 2019, at 2.1% this year and 2% next year in both the EU and the euro area. However, after five consecutive quarters of vigorous expansion, the economic momentum moderated in the first half of 2018 and is now s…Read more
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People’s Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang. European Commission Vice-Pres…Read more
Speed, endurance, dexterity and an eye for colour: just some of the skills needed when weaving on a loom. Eveline Ouédraogo masters them all. Without visible effort, this Burkinabé woman rapidly moves her feet over the pedals, her hands m…Read more
Speed, endurance, dexterity and an eye for colour: just some of the skills needed when weaving on a loom. Eveline Ouédraogo masters them all. Without visible effort, this Burkinabé woman rapidly moves her feet over the pedals, her hands manoeuvring 40 …Read more
Investment Plan now set to trigger €256.1 billion in investment after new projects approved
Following this week’s meeting of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Board of Directors, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) is now expected to trigger €256.1 billion in investments. The deals approved under the EFSI amount to €51.1 billion in financing and are located in all 28 Member States. Around 539,600 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are expected to benefit from improved access to finance. As of December, the top five countries ranked in order of investment triggered relative to GDP are Estonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal and Spain. Also this week, Members of the European Parliament voted to adopt the Regulation to extend and enhance the EFSI, the central pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe. Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “EFSI-backed investments approved until now will increase EU GDP by 0.7% and create nearly 700,000 jobs by 2020. Now thanks to EFSI 2.0, even more jobs will be created. The Investment Plan is proving particularly successful when it comes to SME financing, with 539,000 small businesses already set to benefit from finance to grow their companies.”(For more information see the Investment Plan website or contact Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Siobhán Millbright – Tel.: +32 229 57361)
Call for innovative projects: up to €100 million of EU funds made available to cities
Cities are invited to apply here as of today and until April 2018 to get EU funding under the 3rd “Urban Innovative Actions” call for projects. Up to €100 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will help finance creative projects in the following areas: adaptation to climate change, air quality, housing and jobs and skills for the local economy, in line with the objectives of the Urban Agenda for the EU. A series of seminars will be organised in the Member States to help applicants submit solid proposals and increase their chances of getting funding. Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “The Urban Innovative Actions give cities the funding they need to turn their good ideas into ground breaking projects that can inspire other cities in Europe. This 3rd call, focused on urban climate actions, is another brick to the wall of our commitments and achievements under the Paris Agreement, just a few days after the One Planet summit in Paris.” (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)
€5 million prize for innovations that use blockchain technology for social good
The European Commission will award 5 prizes of €1 million each to social innovations as part of the Horizon Prize on “Blockchains for Social Good”. The prizes will be awarded to innovators that use blockchain technology to bring about positive social change, including for support of fair trade, allowing transparency in production processes, decentralising data governance and enhancing privacy, enabling accountability and contributing to financial inclusion. This prize encourages the development of scalable, efficient and effective solutions using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), the ground-breaking digital technology supporting decentralised methods of consensus reaching or transactions. The official launch is taking place today in Turin, organized by the city of Turin and innovation foundation Nesta Italia. The prize is the third of six European Innovation Council (EIC) Horizon Prizes and funded under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Detailed rules of contest will be available in February 2018, and the deadline for applications is 25 June 2019 in order to allow applicants to demonstrate the viability of their ideas in practice. More information is on the prize page and the EIC pilot website. (For more information: Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel. +32 229 67083; Inga Höglund – Tel.: +32 229 50698; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tel.: +32 229 55040)
Combatting illicit trade in tobacco products: Commission adopts EU-wide track and trace system
Today, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis welcomed the adoption of a set of legal acts aimed at combatting illicit trade in tobacco products: “Today the EU has taken a big step forward in combatting the illicit trade in tobacco products. The new EU-wide track and trace system adopted today will ensure that tobacco products in the EU are easily traceable with a unique identifier for each product. In addition, we are also making sure that tobacco products meet specific security requirements, with at least five types of authentication elements required per packet. The track and trace system and the security requirements should be in place by 20 May 2019 for cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco and by 20 May 2024 for all other tobacco products (such as cigars, cigarillos and smokeless tobacco products).” Full statement and Q&A are available online. (For more information: Anca Paduraru – Tel.: +32 229 91269; Aikaterini Apostola – Tel.: +32 229 87624)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over CEPSA Gas by CEPSA
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over CEPSA Gas Comercializadora, S.A. (“CEPSA Gas”) by Compañía Española de Petróleos, S.A.U. (“CEPSA”), both of Spain. CEPSA Gas specialises in the wholesale and retail supply of natural gas to both large industrial customers and small and medium enterprises. CEPSA covers a wide range of activities from oil production and exploration activities to oil refining, and the supply of gas and fuels. It is also active in the production of petrochemicals and other oil-derivative products. The Commission concluded that the proposed transaction would raise no competition concerns because CEPSA already had joint control over CEPSA Gas together with Total S.A. before the transaction. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8699. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Toshiba Memory Corporation by Bain Capital
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of Toshiba Memory Corporation (“TMC”) of Japan, by Bain Capital Investors LLC (“Bain Capital”), of the US. TMC is a global manufacturer and supplier of NAND flash memory products and solid-state-drive memory products for use in a variety of consumer and enterprise applications. Bain Capital is an investment firm with activities in a variety of industries. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because Bain Capital’s portfolio companies and TMC are not active on the same or related markets. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8680. (For more information: Lucía Caudet – Tel. +32 229 56182; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
La Commission approuve deux nouvelles appellations d’origine protégées pour des vins français et slovaques
La Commission européenne a approuvé la demande d’inscription de deux dénominations de vins au registre des appellations d’origine protégées (AOP), «La Clape» et «Skalický rubín». Les cépages pour les vins d’appellation «La Clape» sont cultivés sur le territoire du même nom situé dans le département de l’Aude dans le sud de la France. Les vins blancs «La Clape» présentent une robe jaune d’intensité moyenne, et une riche palette aromatique où se conjuguent le plus souvent fleurs blanches, fruits, notes balsamiques. Les vins rouges présentent une robe brillante à l’intensité profonde, le plus souvent de couleur pourpre. Cultivé et produit dans l’Ouest de la Slovaquie, dans la ville de Skalica et autour, le «Skalický rubín» est un vin rouge avec une couleur rouge rubis intense qui donne au vin son nom. Les cépages utilisés proviennent des variétés des variétés Frankovka modrá, Svätovavrinecké et Modrý Portugal. Ces deux nouvelles appellations vont rejoindre plus de 1750 appellations de vins déjà protégées dont la liste est disponible dans la base de données e-bacchus. Pour plus d’informations, voir aussi les pages sur la politique de qualité. (Pour plus d’information: Daniel Rosario – Tel: +32 2 29 56185;Clémence Robin – Tel: +32 229 52 509)
Commissioner Jourová met with the Japanese Data protection authority to advance their dialogue on the promotion of high data protection standards
Commissioner Věra Jourová met yesterday with the Commissioner of the Personal Information Protection Commission of Japan, Haruhi Kumazawa, to advance their dialogue on data protection as a fundamental right and a central factor of consumer trust in the digital economy. After their meeting, they issued a joint press statement welcoming the work carried out over the course of the last months and agreed to meet in Brussels early 2018 to finalise the negotiations. A speech of Commissioner Jourová delivered in front of the Japanese Business Federation, Keidanren, on data protection topics is also available online. (For more information: Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Mélanie Voin – Tel.: +32 229 58659)
Commissioner Avramopoulos meets President el-Sisi in Egypt
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos will be in Cairo, Egypt tomorrow to meet President Abdel Fatah el-Sisi and discuss the cooperation between the European Union and Egypt. In addition, Commissioner Avramopoulos will jointly launch the EU-Egypt Migration Dialogue with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry. He will also discuss EU cooperation with Egypt on security matters with the Minister of the Interior, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar. (For more information: Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456; Tove Ernst – Tel.: +32 229 86764; Thomas Kramer – Tel.: +32 229 58602)
Commissioner Moscovici in London on Monday, 18 December 2017
Pierre Moscovici, Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs will visit the United Kingdom Monday, 18 December, where he will participate in a roundtable discussion hosted by the Policy Network and deliver remarks at the London School of Economics. While in London, the Commissioner will also meet Philip Hammond MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer. (For more information: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Patrick McCullough – Tel.: +32 229 87183; Enda McNamara – +32 229 64976)
Commissioner Hogan launches the 2017 EU agricultural outlook conference in Brussels
Commissioner for agriculture Phil Hogan will open on Monday morning 18 December the third edition of the EU agricultural outlook conference. Running over two days, this annual conference gathers participants from the EU institutions, governments and international organisations, stakeholders involved in the food supply chain, market experts, academics, think tanks and civil society. Discussion on day one will focus on the modernisation and simplification of the Common Agricultural Policy, led by a number of high-level panels, including one keynote speech by Commissioner for budget and human resources Günther H. Oettinger. The second day will examine the latest outlook reports covering EU dairy, meat and crop markets over the next ten years. The full programme is online. The conference will be webstreamed here for 18 December, day 1, and here for 19 December, day 2. The discussions can also be followed online with the hashtag #AgriOutlook. Following his speech, Commissioner Hogan will hold a press point at 10:00 in the Charlemagne building on Monday morning. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel:+32 229 56185; Clemence Robin – Tel.: +32 229 52509)
La Commissaire Crețu en Roumanie
Lundi 18 et mardi 19 décembre la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Crețu se rendra en Roumanie, où elle rencontrera le Premier ministre, Mihai Tudose, le ministre en charge des fonds européens, Marius Nica, la ministre aux affaires intérieures, Carmen Dan, le ministre en charge des transports, Felix Stroe, le ministre délégué aux affaires européennes, Victor Negrescu et le Secrétaire d’Etat à la Santé, Raed Arafat. Lors de sa visite, la Commissaire Crețu visitera des projets financés par l’Europe et participera à un Dialogue Citoyen. “De nombreux efforts ont été mis en œuvre dans l’exécution des programmes roumains de la politique de Cohésion et les progrès sont indéniables. Il faut continuer sur cette voie. Comme je le dis souvent, des investissements efficaces, dont les bénéfices sont rapidement visibles pour les citoyens, voilà le meilleur argument pour conserver une politique de Cohésion importante après 2020,” a commenté la Commissaire avant sa visite. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel.: +32 229 58615; Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel.: +32 229 56169)
La Commissaire Gabriel participera au Forum sur la gouvernance d’internet à Genève
Du 18 au 19 décembre, Mariya Gabriel, commissaire à l’économie et à la société numériques, se rendra à Genève pour participer au douzième Forum sur la gouvernance d’internet (FGI). Sur le thème « Façonnez votre avenir numérique ! », le forum mettra l’accent sur les nouveaux enjeux des nouvelles technologies, notamment sur l’intelligence artificielle, la réalité virtuelle, le big data et la problématique des fausses nouvelles ou des droits de l’homme. A la veille de sa visite à Genève, la Commissaire a déclaré: “ Aujourd’hui plus que jamais, nous sommes confrontés à la nécessité de construire un internet ouvert. Les citoyens doivent être au centre de politiques numériques inclusives qui garantissent nos libertés et nos valeurs dans un monde numérique qui évolue de plus en plus rapidement. C’est un moment clé et l’Europe est prête à prendre ses responsabilités pour défendre sur la scène mondiale un internet ouvert et transparent, au service de la démocratie et de ses valeurs fondamentales “. Au cours de sa visite, la Commission rencontrera notamment David J. Redl, représentant de l’administration des télécommunications et de l’information aux États-Unis (NTIA), Goran Marby, Directeur-général et Président de la Société pour l’attribution des noms de domaine et des numéros sur internet (ICCAN), Houlin Zhao, Secrétaire général de l’Union internationale des télécommunications, ainsi que des représentants d’entreprises américaines et européennes. Au cours du forum, la Commissaire Gabriel donnera deux discours, l’un sur la construction d’une future gouvernance globale d’internet et l’autre sur l’impact de la numérisation sur les actions politiques, la confiance publique et la démocratie. (Pour plus d’informations : Nathalie Vandystadt – Tel.: +32 229 67083 ; Julia-Henriette Bräuer – Tel.: +32 229 80707)
Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)
The Commissioners’ weekly activitiesRead more
Conseil Européen, 14-15 Décembre 2017
Aujourd’hui et demain, les Chefs d’état et de gouvernement de l’Union européenne se réuniront à Bruxelles pour des discussions qui constitueront une étape importante dans la feuille de route pour une Union plus unie, plus forte et plus démocratique. Le Conseil Européen débutera aujourd’hui avec le lancement historique de la coopération structurée permanente en matière de défense. Ensuite, les chefs d’état de gouvernement tourneront leur attention vers l’éducation et la culture suivant le succès du sommet social de Göteborg en novembre. Ce soir, la politique européenne en matière de migration figurera en tête de l’ordre du jour. Aujourd’hui à 14:40 CET, le Président Juncker signera la nouvelle déclaration conjointe sur les priorités législatives de l’UE pour 2018-2019, aux côtés du président du Parlement européen, Antonio Tajani, et du Premier ministre estonien, Jüri Ratas. La déclaration énonce 31 nouvelles propositions législatives présentées par la Commission qui seront traitées en priorité par le Parlement et le Conseil pour adoption ou progrès substantiels au moment des élections du Parlement européen en 2019. La cérémonie de signature sera transmise par EbS. Vendredi, les 27 chefs d’État ou de gouvernement de l’Union Européenne se réuniront pour le sommet de la zone euro dans la matinée, un autre jalon important sur laroute vers Sibiuque le Président Juncker a exposé dans son discours sur l’État de l’Union 2017. Les dirigeants devraient également tenir une première discussion sur nos propositions visant à approfondir l’Union économique et monétaire européenne. Lors d’une session de travail dédiée, les 27 dirigeants discuteront les derniers développements dans les négociations au titre de l’article 50 avec le Royaume-Uni suite à la recommandation de la Commission européenne du 8 décembre de conclure que des progrès suffisants avaient été accomplis au cours de la première phase des négociations. Une conférence de presse est prévue pour demain, vendredi 15 décembre, vers 13:00 CET avec le Président Juncker, le Président Tusk et le Premier ministre estonien Ratas et sera transmise en direct sur Ebs. (Pour plus d’informations : Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)
President Juncker meets with the Visegrád 4 leaders and Prime Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni
Only two months after the first meeting in October, President Juncker, together with Prime Minister Gentiloni, met again with the leaders of the four Visegrád countries – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia – ahead of today’s European Council. Together they reaffirmed their joint determination to address common challenges together. Migration featured prominently on the agenda of the meeting, particularly the EU Trust Fund for Africa. At the October European Council, all EU Member States agreed to contribute more to fill gaps in the Fund and today the Visegrád 4 made good on that commitment, announcing a further €35 million contribution to the North Africa window of the Fund. This constitutes a clear expression of solidarity and commitment towards the EU’s external action to manage and address the root causes of migration. In his statement today, President Juncker said: “I want cooperation to be as close as possible between the Visegrád Four countries and the Commission. Today I am happy that there are results. The V4 countries did deliver on this point, which is important. This is the proof that the Visegrád Four countries are fully aligned when it comes to solidarity with Italy and with others.” The North Africa window of the Fund has already helped more than 14,000 vulnerable migrants return voluntarily from Libya to their countries of origin and this figure should reach 18,000 by the end of 2017. The Fund has also provided medical help and direct support to more than 20,000 migrants inside and outside detention centres. The Africa Trust Fund – and the Visegrád contribution to it, is one part of the collective European solution to irregular migration on our shores. Last week the Commission proposed a political roadmap to reach a comprehensive agreement by June 2018 on how to pursue a sustainable migration policy, contributing to the European Council where this evening Member States will discuss the topic. Watch President Juncker’s statement here. More information on the roadmap here. (For more information: Margaritis Schinas – Tel.: +32 229 60524; Mina Andreeva – Tel.: +32 229 91382; Natasha Bertaud – Tel.: +32 229 67456)
Commerce électronique: accord pour une livraison de colis plus abordable
Les négociateurs européens sont parvenus hier soir à un accord provisoire pour améliorer la livraison transfrontière de colis. Le nouveau règlement est une étape essentielle pour stimuler le commerce électronique en Europe, en permettant aux consommateurs et aux entreprises, en particulier les PME, d’acheter et de vendre des produits et des services en ligne plus facilement et en toute confiance dans un marché en évolution. Le vice-président Andrus Ansip, en charge du marché unique numérique, a déclaré: «Les prix élevés des livraisons sont un problème majeur pour les consommateurs et les entreprises, en particulier les PME. Une transparence accrue et un rôle plus important accordé aux autorités réglementaires permettront de faire face à ce problème. Cette bonne nouvelle s’inscrit dans la série d’accords visant à améliorer la protection des consommateurs, à simplifier les règles de la TVA et à lutter contre le blocage géographique injustifié.» La commissaire Elżbieta Bieńkowska, chargée du marché intérieur, de l’industrie, de l’entrepreneuriat et des PME, a ajouté: «Des millions d’Européens font le choix d’acheter leurs cadeaux en ligne, mais ils se heurtent toujours à de nombreux obstacles, notamment des prix de livraison élevés et des possibilités de renvoi peu claires. Grâce à l’accord conclu aujourd’hui, nous nous rapprochons d’une solution qui aidera les consommateurs et les entreprises à tirer pleinement parti du marché unique de l’UE et du commerce électronique transfrontière.» Dorénavant, les entreprises prestataires devront communiquer les tarifs des services fréquemment utilisés par les consommateurs et les petites entreprises, que la Commission publiera sur un site web dédié. Un communiqué de presse et des questions et réponses précisent ces nouvelles dispositions. (Pour plus d’informations: Lucía Caudet – Tél.: +32 229 56182; Maud Noyon – Tél.: +32 229-80379; Victoria von Hammerstein – Tél.: +32 229 55040)
WTO ministerial conference in Buenos Aires: A missed opportunity
The 11th biannual ministerial conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ended last night in Buenos Aires. In a statement made at the final meeting of Heads of Delegations, Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: “All WTO Members have to face a simple fact: we failed to achieve any of our objectives, and did not achieve any multilateral outcome. The sad reality is that we did not even agree to stop subsidising illegal fishing. Now, I hope that several WTO members, whose actions here in Buenos Aires prevented an outcome, will use the time following this Ministerial meeting for valuable self-reflection.” Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan, also attending the conference, said: “From the agriculture perspective, it is very disappointing that a work programme could not be agreed post Buenos Aires. That means that important issues such as food security will not now be prioritised in the work of the WTO. This is not in the interest of farmers and rural people in the developing world, nor in the developed world for that matter. This is a lose-lose outcome for all involved – a negative-sum outcome. The WTO is not a zero sum game, it is a positive-sum game when everyone plays their part.” Many WTO members recognised the central role of the organisation to global trade and development. In this respect Commissioner Malmström said: “Luckily, we still have the WTO’s current agreements, its structures of cooperation, and its invaluable dispute settlement system. It is a global public good, and the EU attaches enormous value to it. In the coming months, we will do what is necessary to support it if it comes under further pressure. We also need to intensify efforts to find solutions to important issues in the international trading system, such as on e-commerce, working with all willing WTO members in an open, inclusive and transparent manner.” The full statement by Commissioner Malmström, as well as more comments on the outcome of the ministerial conference, are available online. In the run-up to the conference, the EU challenged its WTO partners to plan for substantive outcomes in Buenos Aires, with text proposals in six areas of work. (For more information: Daniel Rosario – Tel.: +32 229 56185; Kinga Malinowska – Tel: +32 229 51383)
Commission welcomes agreement by European Parliament and Council on its proposal to make people’s skills and qualifications more visible
The European Commission welcomes the political agreement between the European Parliament and Council on the revision of the Europass Decision achieved in Strasbourg yesterday. Europass is a suite of tools and services which support the transparency of skills and qualifications across the European Union. The main aim of the revision is to make people’s skills and qualifications more visible, to not only help people into jobs, but also to better understand and anticipate labour market trends and skills needs. Following the agreement, Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “We neededto upgrade our Europass system to make it relevant for the digital age. The new Europass will be an even more effective tool to deliver for people on the ground so that they can better showcase their skills and manage their careers. With this agreement, the rollout of our European Skills Agenda is delivering and I want to thank the Estonian Presidency and the European Parliament for the excellent cooperation in achieving this result.” The political agreement has still to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council. More information on the initial Commission proposal can be found here. (For more information:Christian Wigand– Tel.: +32 229 62253; Sara Soumillion – Tel.: +32 229 67094)
Commission welcomes agreement on key legislation to tackle climate change
The European Parliament and Council today reached a provisional agreement on a key legislative proposal for implementing the EU’s 2030 climate objectives – on accounting of emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). They form part of the EU’s policy to drive Europe’s transition to a modern and clean economy. A robust climate policy framework is a key element of the EU’s Energy Union and a successful transition to a modern and clean economy. This is a necessary shift that will require a contribution from all sectors of the economy. Incentives for climate-friendly land use and forestry ensure the continued growth and sustainable productivity of our rural communities, which provide important services and economic benefit. A sustainably managed land use sector can supply renewable energy and materials, ensuring that the EU remains a world leader in these markets. Welcoming the political agreements, Energy Union Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: “Today is yet another milestone for the European Union in its job to deliver on its Paris Agreement commitments. Today’s agreement recognising the role of land and forests in mitigating climate change puts the European Union firmly on track. Climate action must outpace climate change and we are once again setting a positive precedent that others beyond Europe can follow.” Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete added: “After long and complex negotiations, we have found an agreement to include emissions and removals from land use, land use-change and forests in our collective efforts towards the 2030 objectives and in line with our commitment under the Paris Agreement. This is yet another example of Europe’s determination to turn the Paris Agreement into a reality, through concrete policies and measures.” Read full statement here. (For more information: Anna-Kaisa Itkonen – Tel.: +32 229 56186; Nicole Bockstaller – Tel.: +32 229 52589)
European Union takes over chairmanship of Kimberley Process on conflict diamonds
Today the European Union has formally taken over the chairmanship of the Kimberley Process from Australia and will head the international initiative to stem the trade in conflict diamonds during 2018. On the occasion of assuming the lead role, HR/VP Federica Mogherini said “For the European Union, the Kimberley process is part of our work for sustainable development. It is part of our work for sustainable peace – to prevent new conflicts and cut the revenues of criminal and terrorist groups. It is part of our work for human rights – to make sure that diamonds produce wealth, not modern slavery. It has spread the idea that natural resources belong to communities, not militias. The main strength of the Kimberley process has always been that it looks beyond governments, to civil society and to private sector. This is our main asset as we chart the way ahead. We look forward to working closely with all stakeholders in this coming year.” More information is available here.(For more information: Catherine Ray – Tel.: +32 229 69921; Daniel Puglisi – Tel.: +32 229-69140)
Appel à candidature: l’UE offre un soutien sur mesure aux régions en transition industrielle
La Commission invite aujourd’hui les régions en transition industrielle à manifester leur intérêt pour bénéficier d’un soutien sur mesure de l’Europe afin de bâtir des économies robustes et moderniser leurs industries. Mardi, dans le cadre du Plan d’Action dévoilé au sommet “One Planet” à Paris, la Commission a déjà annoncé que les régions Hauts-de-France (FR), Norra Mellansverige (SE), Piémont (IT), Saxe (DE) et Wallonie (BE) étaient sélectionnées pour bénéficier de cet accompagnement de l’UE, suite à un appel à candidature lancé par la Commission en septembre 2017. Face au nombre de candidatures reçues, la Commission a décidé de renouveler l’appel, avec un budget similaire de 2,5 millions d’euros. Cela permettra de fournir expertise et soutien à cinq autres régions, afin qu’elles élaborent et mettent en œuvre leurs propres stratégies de transformation économique, sur la base de leurs atouts de “spécialisation intelligente“. “Certaines régions paient le prix de la mondialisation sans avoir bénéficié jusqu’ici de ses avantages,” a commenté la Commissaire à la politique régionale Corina Creţu,”L’UE, à travers la politique de Cohésion, s’engage pour que toutes les régions puissent tirer leur épingle du jeu dans une économie mondialisée. Cela implique qu’elles identifient leurs atouts compétitifs et apprennent à capitaliser dessus et c’est précisément en cela que nous pouvons aider.” L’appel vise tout particulièrement les régions “en transition” et les régions “plus développées”, les régions dites “moins développées” pouvant bénéficier d’autres formes de soutien de l’UE. Les régions peuvent envoyer leurs candidatures ici jusqu’au 19 janvier 2018. Les résultats seront connus courant février. (Pour plus d’informations: Johannes Bahrke – Tel .: +32 229 58615, Sophie Dupin de Saint-Cyr – Tel .: +32 229 56169)
Mergers: Commission clears the acquisition of Banco Popular’s real estate business by Blackstone
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the acquisition of control over the real estate business of Banco Popular Español S.A. of Spain by The Blackstone Group L.P. of the US. Banco Popular is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Banco Santander. Its real estate business mostly comprises the Spanish portfolio of repossessed properties, non-performing loans relating to the real estate sector, and certain assets, as well as the operations of Banco Popular’s real estate management company, Aliseda. Blackstone is a global asset manager. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns because of the limited overlap between the companies’ activities. The transaction was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competition website, in the public case register under the case number M.8679. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of sole control over Getec Energie companies by EQT Fund Management
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of sole control over the Getec Energie companies of Germany by EQT Fund Management S.à.r.l. of Luxembourg. The Getec Energie companies consist of (i) Getec Heat & Power AG; (ii) Getec Wärme & Effizienz AG; (iii) Getec Media AG; (iv) Getec shared services GmbH; and (v) Getec Contracting GmbH. They are specialised in energy contracting in Germany and the Netherlands. EQT is an investment fund that seeks to make investments in infrastructure as well as related assets and businesses in Northern Europe, Continental Europe and North America. The Commission concluded that the proposed acquisition would raise no competition concerns given that EQT already held joint control over the Getec Energie companies prior to the transaction. The operation was examined under the simplified merger review procedure. More information is available on the Commission’s competitionwebsite, in the public case registerunder the case number M.8729. (For more information: Ricardo Cardoso – Tel.: +32 229 80100; Maria Sarantopoulou – Tel.: +32 229 13740)
Eurostat: Une entreprise de l’UE sur six a vendu sur le web en 2016
L’année passée, 16% des entreprises situées dans l’Union européenne (UE) et employant au moins dix personnes ont reçu des commandes via un site web ou via des applications. Ces ventes web comprennent tant les ventes aux consommateurs individuels qu’aux autres entreprises. La part des entreprises de l’UE ayant réalisé des ventes web a progressé entre 2010 et 2014, passant de 12% à environ 16%, mais est depuis restée relativement stable. Parmi ces entreprises, en 2016, la quasi-totalité (97%) a vendu au sein même de son pays, tandis que moins de la moitié (44%) a effectué des ventes à des clients situés dans d’autres États membres de l’UE et plus d’un quart (28%) à des clients extra-communautaires. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.
Eurostat: La consommation par habitant a varié entre 53% et 132% de la moyenne de l’UE
La consommation individuelle effective (CIE) est une mesure du bien-être matériel des ménages. En 2016, la CIE par habitant exprimée en standards de pouvoir d’achat (SPA) s’est située, parmi les États membres, entre 53% de la moyenne de l’Union européenne (UE) en Bulgarie et 132% au Luxembourg.Ces données, publiées par Eurostat, l’office statistique de l’Union européenne, sont basées sur des parités de pouvoir d’achat révisées, ainsi que sur les dernières données du PIB et de la population. Un communiqué de presse est disponible ici.
Upcoming events of the European Commission (ex-Top News)Read more
Commencing its debate on the work of the Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening the Role of the United Nations, the Sixth Committee (Legal) today reaffirmed the importance of that entity’s work, while remaining divided on the value of some of its agenda items.
Outlining the Special Charter Committee’s report (document A/72/33), its Chair, Ruslan Varankov, pointed out that several items relating to maintenance of peace and security were contained in chapter II, including the question of the introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the Organization.
While chapter III dealt with peaceful settlement of disputes, he noted that a summary of the working methods of the Special Charter Committee was to be found in chapter V of the report, which also summarized the views expressed on the identification of new subjects.
In the ensuing debate, several delegates emphasized the importance of reforming the United Nations in accordance with the principles and procedures established by the Charter.
The representative of Iran, speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that Security Council‑imposed sanctions remained an issue of serious concern. Emphasizing that the objectives of such sanctions regimes should be clearly defined, he said the Special Charter Committee must continue studying the legal nature of the implementation of Chapter IV, particularly those Articles dealing with the General Assembly’s functions and powers.
That view was echoed by the representative of Sudan who said that the General Assembly’s democratic and intergovernmental nature made it more qualified to address the Organization’s agenda. However, the Security Council was encroaching on the Assembly’s functions and the use of sanctions regimes by the Security Council raised ethical questions, including whether the objective of sanctions was to punish the population or retaliate against them.
El Salvador’s delegate, speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the international community must continue to consider the question of the application of the provisions of the Charter on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under Chapter VII. The fact that no State had yet requested that kind of assistance did not entail that the issue should be discontinued from the Special Charter Committee’s agenda.
The representative of the United States, however, disagreed, saying that no official appeals had been conveyed. She recalled that the Special Charter Committee had agreed in 2016 to biennalize consideration of the item. That reflected a better, albeit imperfect, balance between the views of those who believed that the issue was no longer appropriate for consideration and those who believed that the issue should be kept on the agenda in the event of changed circumstances in the future.
The European Union’s delegate also addressed the matter of agenda items, reiterating the need to review their practical relevance and the likelihood of achieving consensus on them in the future. Nonetheless, although he was unconvinced about updating the Handbook on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between States, he expressed support for the Committee’s recommendation to undertake a debate on the matter.
Also voicing support for that thematic debate, the representative of Nicaragua reaffirmed the importance of the work of the Special Charter Committee and highlighting its collaborative spirit. More importantly, calls to reduce the number of working sessions were divorced from reality, she emphasized. The Special Charter Committee needed every minute of every session.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary General’s report on the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council (document A/72/184)
Yvette Blanco, Chief, Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch, Department of Political Affairs, highlighted updates to the Security Council’s Repertoire website. Improvements to the website were being explored with a view to making the information on the Repertoire more promptly and easily accessible to Member States and other interested audiences, she said, adding that those improvements would not have been possible without the contributions received to the Trust Fund. However, the Branch continued to be highly dependent on voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund, she noted, adding her gratitude for the contributions made by China and Turkey.
Huw Llewellyn, Director of the Codification Division on the Status of the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs, also stressed that voluntary contributions to the Fund remained a crucial element for sustaining progress on the Repertory and on maintaining its website. Spotlighting the progress of that Repertory’s work over the last year, he reported that studies from 43 complete volumes were available on the United Nations website for the Repertory and the electronic version continued to include a full‑text search feature.
Also speaking today were representatives of Algeria (for the African Group), Philippines, Qatar, Libya, Russian Federation, Cuba, Bangladesh, China, India, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Belarus, Malaysia, Ghana, Maldives, Cameroon, and Iraq.
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
The Sixth Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 11 October, to begin consideration of the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Special Committee on Charter and Strengthening Role of Organization
RUSLAN VARANKOV (Belarus), Chair, Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on Strengthening the Role of the Organization, introduced that body’s report on its session in February (document A/72/33). The report contained five chapters and one annex, he said, noting that several items relating to maintenance of peace and security were contained in chapter II, including the question of the introduction and implementation of sanctions imposed by the Organization. The summary of the consideration of the revised proposal by Libya with a view to strengthening the role of the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security was also in that chapter.
Turning to chapter III, he noted that it dealt with peaceful settlement of disputes. It included the Special Charter Committee’s discussion on the proposals introduced by the Russian Federation recommending that the Secretariat be requested to establish a website dedicated to the peaceful settlement of disputes between States and an update to the 1992 Handbook on that topic. A summary of the working methods of the Special Charter Committee was to be found in chapter V of the report, which also summarized the views expressed on the identification of new subjects.
YVETTE BLANCO, Chief, Security Council Practices and Charter Research Branch, Department of Political Affairs, said that there had been sustained progress in the updating of the Repertoire. In the past year, the nineteenth Supplement to the Repertoire covering the period 2014‑2015 had been completed. All parts of the Supplement were now available on the Security Council’s Repertoire website. The website offered a broad range of other information resources, including tables, graphs, and statistical data on the practice of the Council, among other items.
She went on to say that, notwithstanding the limited resources, improvements to the website were being explored with a view to making the information on the Repertoire more promptly and easily accessible to Member States and other interested audiences. Progress made in the preparation and publication of the Repertoire would not have been possible without the contributions received to the Trust Fund. Thanks to funds available, the Branch was able to retain the services of an Associate Political Affairs Officer, who had been instrumental in advancing the completion of the Supplement and in preventing new backlogs from forming. However, the Branch continued to be highly dependent on voluntary contributions to the Trust Fund, she noted, adding her gratitude for the contributions made by China and Turkey.
HUW LLEWELLYN, Director of the Codification Division, introducing the Report of the Secretary‑General on the Repertory of Practice of United Nations Organs and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council (document A/72/184), outlined the progress of the work of the Repertory over the last year. On the backlog in Volume III of the Repertory, research and drafting of a study on Article 49 of the Charter for Volume III, Supplement Nos. 7 to 9 (1985‑1999), had been completed and would be submitted to the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for final review. Progress had also been achieved in the preparation of studies for Volume III of Supplement No. 10 (2000‑2009). Further progress had also been made on Supplement No. 11.
As indicated in the report, studies from 43 complete volumes, including the volumes being processed for publication, were available on the United Nations website for the Repertory, he said. The electronic version of the Repertory continued to include a full‑text search feature. On the question of cooperation with academic institutions, the well‑established cooperation with the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law was still active. With regards to funding, since the issuance of the 2016 report, the Secretary‑General had welcomed the contribution to the Trust Fund of $10,000 from Turkey and, as of mid‑September 2017, the total balance of the Fund was $45,288. In an environment of financial constraint, voluntary contributions to the Fund remained a crucial element for sustaining progress on the Repertory and on maintaining its website.
ESHAGH AL HABIB (Iran), speaking for the Non‑Aligned Movement, reiterated his concern over the Security Council’s continuing encroachment on the functions and powers of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Reforming the United Nations should be carried out in accordance with the principles and procedures established by the Charter and should preserve that instrument’s legal framework. It was important for the Special Charter Committee to continue studying the legal nature of the implementation of Chapter IV, particularly those Articles dealing with the General Assembly’s functions and powers. Emphasizing that Security Council-imposed sanctions remained an issue of serious concern, he said such measures should only be considered as a last resort in response to a threat to international peace and security or an act of aggression. The objectives of sanctions regimes should be clearly defined, based on tenable legal groups, imposed according to a specified time frame and lifted as soon as the objectives were achieved.
He also expressed deep concern regarding the imposition of unilateral sanctions and other coercive economic measures against developing countries, in violation of the Charter and World Trade Organization rules, and he called for their immediate end. Thanking the Department of Political Affairs for its briefing on sanctions, he also said he had expected to hear more about the socio‑economic and humanitarian consequences of sanctions by the Security Council’s sanctions committees and the methodology used for assessing the humanitarian implications of sanctions. The Special Charter Committee should redouble its efforts, inter alia, to examine suggestions and proposals regarding the Charter and the strengthening of the role of the United Nations. In that regard, he said he was ready to discuss the establishment of a work programme for that body.
SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria), speaking for the African Group and associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the Sixth Committee had not lived up to its full potential, largely due to the method of work and tendency to allow ideological battles that prevented legal analysis. The Committee should ensure that the Organization upholds the rule of law and justice while protecting it from being labelled hypocritical. In addition, as the premier organ mandated to ensure peace, security and stability, the Security Council must become more representative. The status quo would only contribute to the further erosion of its credibility and legitimacy, while ultimately weakening the Organization.
To that end, he called for the meaningful consideration of the Committee’s agenda, voicing support for Ghana’s working paper on strengthening the relationship and cooperation between the United Nations and regional arrangement or agencies in the peaceful settlement of disputes. The Special Charter Committee could contribute meaningfully to its development. “This could allow us to break free from the ideological chains which so often burden the work of this Committee and our deliberations,” he stated. He also noted the successful finalization of the proposal entitled “Pacific settlement of disputes and its impact on the maintenance of peace” and its related annual thematic debates.
HECTOR CELARIE (El Salvador), speaking for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said that the issue of United Nations‑imposed sanctions, including due process, was of interest to the whole membership. Sanctions should be enforced in accordance with the Charter and other relevant rules of international law. In addition, the international community must continue to consider the question of the application of the provisions of the Charter on assistance to third States affected by the application of sanctions under Chapter VII. The fact that no State had yet requested that kind of assistance did not entail that the issue should be discontinued from the Special Charter Committee’s agenda.
The General Assembly, he added, and the Economic and Social Council had continued to play their respective roles in the area of mobilizing and monitoring the economic assistance provided by the international community and the United Nations system, to third States affected by the application of sanctions. Furthermore, the Secretariat had continued to monitor and evaluate the information related to the economic and social problems facing some States as a consequence of sanctions. Noting the notable contribution of the Repertory of Practice of the United Nations and the Repertoire of the Practice of the Security Council to international law, he also acknowledged the work of the Secretariat in updating those documents.
ERIC CHABOUREAU, the European Union delegation, said he supported the recommendation made by the Special Charter Committee in February to undertake a debate under the agenda item entitled “peaceful settlement of disputes” to discuss the means for the settlement of disputes, in accordance with Chapter VI of the Charter, including in particular those contained in Article 33. He remained ready to participate in the debate, he said.
On the question of updating the Handbook on the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between States and of establishing a website dedicated to that issue, he said he was still unconvinced about the added value of such efforts. As already expressed by several delegations during the Committee’s sessions, multiple resources and legal tools were already available and easily accessible. He reiterated the need to review the list of agenda items to consider whether there was value in continuing to discuss those items, taking into account their practical relevance and the likelihood of achieving consensus on them in the future.
ELSADIG ALI SAYED AHMED (Sudan), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the General Assembly’s democratic and inter‑governmental nature made it more qualified to address the Organization’s agenda. However, the Security Council was encroaching on the Assembly’s functions and powers, as well those of the Economic and Social Council. Calling for a restoration of balance and order, he urged that the Special Charter Committee continue studying the legality of implementing Chapter IV of the Charter. He also said that the use of sanctions regimes by the Security Council raised ethical questions, including whether the objective of sanctions was to punish the population or retaliate against them. Sanctions regimes must avoid unintended consequences in target States and third States. Their objectives must be clearly defined and built on an applicable legal basis and their implementation must be for a limited time. Commending recent initiatives in the peaceful settlement of disputes, particularly by the African Union which had achieved promising results providing African solutions to African problems, he called on the United Nations to encourage regional mechanisms to play an effective role in the maintenance of peace and security.
ANIKA FERNANDEZ (Philippines), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that all Member States were duty bound to settle disputes by peaceful means, underscoring that it was a priority for the United Nations. The Special Charter Committee had supported Member States in efforts to make the Organization function more effectively, particularly in the area of the settlement of disputes by peaceful means. Regarding Cuba’s proposal, she voiced her agreement on the need to clarify the symbiotic relationship between the General Assembly and the Security Council. She also said she looked forward to studying Ghana’s revised working paper including possible guidelines to facilitate cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations.
ESSA ALI AL-MOHANNADI (Qatar), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said efforts must be made to strengthen the work of the United Nations to ensure the appropriate balance between the mandates of the General Assembly and Security Council. Sanctions must only be imposed after the exhaustion of all other remedies. Coercive unilateral measures had no legal basis, as their aim was to serve narrow interests. They were also a serious threat to the international order, he said, noting that it was only the Security Council that had the right to impose such measures. Unilateral measures targeting Qatar were in clear violation of international law. Imposing such measures on countries that were known for their efforts to promote rule of law and human rights undermined international multilateralism and was a source of instability in the region. Emphasizing the need to respect the spirit of the Charter, he said the United Nations could only be strengthened through settling conflicts and crises peacefully.
MOHAMMED NFATI (Libya), associating himself with the African Group and the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that he attached great importance to the Special Charter Committee’s work as the main forum for discussing reform of the United Nations. His Government contributed to some proposals for reform, he noted, expressing support for Ghana’s proposal. Special focus should be placed on the General Assembly being the main policymaking body, so that it could carry out its work with regard to the settlement of conflicts by peaceful means.
ELENA MELIKBEKYAN (Russian Federation) noted that the mandate of the Ad‑Hoc Committee was important to ensuring the role of international law as a platform for dialogue. In that regard, she recalled the proposal to update the manual for the peaceful settlement of disputes between States, noting that it would be useful to dedicate a United Nations website to the matter with useful links. The Special Charter Committee must think about how to optimize its work while being careful about undermining its potential, she said, adding that she welcomed the efforts of the Repertory and Repertoire.
ALINA ARGUELLO (Nicaragua), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and CELAC, reiterated her view that the work of the Special Charter Committee was vital for the work of the Organization. She welcomed the outcomes of its latest session and thanked the collaborative spirit of the delegations involved. At its next meeting, the thematic debate of the peaceful settlement of disputes would relate to the use of negotiation as a settlement tool. Alternative measures such as arbitration and judicial settlement would be discussed at later sessions of the Committee. Calls to reduce the number of working sessions of the Special Charter Committee were divorced from reality. It needed every minute of every session, she said.
INDIRA GUARDIA GONZALEZ (Cuba), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement and CELAC, underscored principles of the Charter, particularly in respect for a nation’s sovereignty. As developed countries intervened in the internal affairs of some States, developing countries were particularly targeted. It was critical to strengthen and promote the leading role of the General Assembly as the most representative and leading body of the United Nations. The Special Charter Committee was the appropriate space to put forward recommendations and ensure that all Member States were heard. It had a role in fostering draft resolutions, decisions or actions, and, despite the many attempts to stunt its work, real outcomes had been achieved. The current situation of the Special Charter Committee had improved over the last couple of years. However, a lack of political will from certain States continued to interrupt progress. She urged Member States to constructively participate in discussions.
MOHAMMAD HUMAYUN KABIR (Bangladesh), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said the peaceful settlement of disputes should be a core issue of the Special Charter Committee’s work. The renewed focus on reform of the Organization created an opportunity for that body. The role of the General Assembly and the Security Council in the maintenance of international peace and security was being discussed both in the Ad‑hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the General Assembly and in inter‑governmental negotiations on Security Council reform. Such discussions, however, should ideally take place in a holistic manner in the Special Charter Committee, which should also address the question about the growing encroachment of the Council into issues under the remit of the Assembly. The Special Charter Committee could also add value to ongoing deliberations on the merits of a sanctions regime.
ZHANG PENG (China) said that his country consistently advocated peaceful settlements of disputes, while maintaining the right of all countries to freely choose the means of such settlements. The principle of States’ consent must be strictly complied with. In addition, prudence must be practiced regarding sanctions. Engaging that instrument should be used as a last resort after all non‑coercive means had been exhausted and then only in line with the United Nations Charter and other international law. Negative impact on ordinary people must be minimized, and implementation must be strictly in accordance with Security Council resolutions. Voicing his opposition on the imposition of additional unilateral sanctions, he added that he welcomed the discussion on strengthening relationships with regional entities for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Such entities must abide by the Charter and report fully to the Council on relevant actions taken. He also welcomed progress made in compiling the Repertory of Practice and updating the Repertoire, expressing hope for the simultaneous publication of both in all official languages.
EMILY PIERCE (United States) recalled that the Special Charter Committee had agreed in 2016 to biennalize the consideration of the item on the effects of sanctions on third party States. That reflected a better, albeit imperfect, balance between the views of those who believed that the issue was no longer appropriate for consideration and those who believed that the issue should be kept on the agenda in the event of changed circumstances in the future. Furthermore, Special Charter Committee members should continue to improve efficiency and productivity, including by considering shorter sessions and biennial meetings. Regarding the issues of international peace and security, the Committee should not pursue activities that would be duplicative or inconsistent with the roles of the principal organs of the Organization. Positive developments elsewhere in the United Nations had been designed to ensure that the system of targeted sanctions remained a robust tool for combating threats to international security. Since no official appeals had been conveyed by third party States to monitor or evaluate unintended adverse impacts of sanctions, the Special Charter Committee should decide in the future that the issue no longer merited discussion.
SANDEEP KUMAR BAYYAPU (India), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the United Nations represented the collective recognition that only cooperative and effective multilateralism could enable peace and prosperity. That States were obliged to settle their disputes by peaceful means was one of the fundamental principles of the Charter. The International Court of Justice played an important role in that regard. He voiced support for the retention of the “Peaceful Settlement of Disputes between States” on the agenda of the Special Charter Committee.
KIM IN RYONG (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) pointed out that Article 24 of the Charter said that the Security Council would act in accordance with the principles of the United Nations. However, the Security Council’s actual conduct was in violation of the Charter. The Council had never taken issue with the United States, which had posed a nuclear threat to his country for more than half a century. However, that body had condemned the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s measures to strengthen its self‑defensive nuclear force. The Council did not have legal grounds to justify its taking issue with his country while keeping silent about nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches by the United States. The issue of the United Nations Command stationed in South Korea was a vivid example of the United Nations being misused. In 1975, the General Assembly had adopted a resolution on dissolving the illegal Command. More than 40 years had passed but the United States refused to implement the resolution and the United States forces stationed there still claimed the name of the United Nations forces.
ANNA BAGDASAROVA (Belarus), associating herself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, said that the Special Charter Committee should consider proposals on working methods that be in line with the rules of procedure and would not misuse the principle of consensus. Currently only the Security Council had the right to impose sanctions. Sanctions must be as limited as possible, and also be time bound. Extra‑territorial measures that bypassed the Security Council undermined the prestige of the Organization and did not have moral grounds. Furthermore, the United Nations should set up a website on the peaceful settlement of disputes, she said.
LIYANA MUHAMMAD FUAD (Malaysia) said that the Report of the Special Committee on the Charter contained several useful proposals that should be deliberated until they were finally adopted. However, she expressed concern with the number of items that the Committee had to consider, as it might cloud its focus and disrupt the progress that had been made. She also noted that in the first part of the report on the maintenance of international peace and security, the Committee had been required to consider at least six proposals or papers. After perusing them, there seemed to be some considerable overlap that could be avoided by merging some of those documents.
ABBAS BAGHERPOUR ARDEKANI (Iran) said that the Special Charter Committee was the only enduring mechanism within the United Nations framework to discuss issues related to the Charter. He expressed support for seeking the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the resort to the use of force without authorization by the Security Council. Emphasizing that the Security Council could only introduce sanctions as a last resort, he also said that sanctions imposed pursuant to arbitrary and political motivated determination and based on political manipulation were unlawful and illegitimate. Yet, some developing countries were unjustly targeted by arbitrary unilateral sanctions. “It is unfortunate that such measures have almost always been initiated by one State,” he said. Emphasizing the need to enhance the efficiency of the Special Charter Committee’s working methods, he reiterated the need for genuine political will in order to advance long‑standing issues on the agenda.
SOLOMON KOIRBIEH (Ghana), associating himself with the Non‑Alignment Movement and the African Group, said that at the next session of the Special Charter Committee, he would submit a revised proposal on strengthening relationships and cooperation between the United Nations and regional arrangements or agencies in the peaceful settlement of disputes. The proposal sought to identify gaps in several relevant General Assembly resolutions in light of current developments.
ALI NASSER MOHAMED (Maldives) said the United Nations would continue to be the chief facilitator of peace, sustainable development and democratic governance. The Charter was explicit that embargoes or sanctions should not be employed as punitive measures, but as incentives to support and encourage countries to defuse situations that threaten peace and security, as approved by the Security Council. “Unilateral sanctions or interventions without the explicit mandates from the Security Council have no place in the Charter and are therefore, illegal,” he stressed. States must be vigilant in protecting the functions and competencies of the General Assembly, which was the most representative body in the United Nations body and demonstrated the sovereign equality principle enshrined in the Charter. The sovereignty and political independence of small States were compromised time and again. The international community must ensure that the security of small States be protected. As a small State, the Maldives had limited material resources to mobilize for defence. Thus, his country relied on international law and the Charter to guarantee its political independence.
NYANID ZACHARIE SERGE RAOUL (Cameroon) said he commended the progress made with the updating of the Repertory and the Repertoire. Those welcome advances would be in vain if they were not accompanied by a number of reforms that restructured the Organization in order to meet the major challenges of the times. The restricted circle of permanent members of the Security Council called for a necessary revision of its composition, ensuring that Africa had two permanent seats with veto rights and two additional seats over and beyond the three non‑permanent seats. The Organization should also be reworked by an updating of its decision‑making mechanisms and resolutions by focusing on peace, security and development for developing countries.
AHMED ABDULMUWEEM (Iraq), associating himself with the Non‑Aligned Movement, stressed the importance for countries to support the work of the Special Charter Committee. The General Assembly was the widest forum to express international positions, he said. He commended the work of the Special Charter Committee to achieve the goals for which it had been established in its work on the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
The representative of Republic of Korea, speaking in exercise of the right of reply, stressed that the Special Charter Committee must not be used to challenge a well‑functioning United Nations entity or be used to justify grave violations of the United Nations Charter and Security Council resolutions. The invalidity of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s allegations had been made clear and, as such, his delegation had no intention to repeat them.
The representative of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, responding to his counterpart, said that allegations that the United Nations Command issue was an inappropriate item on the agenda were simply false. The United Nations Command continued to destroy the peace and security of the region and the world. Under the leadership of that Command large scale military exercises of South Korea had been carried out. The issue must be discussed in all cases. The United States had launched a war against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in 1950, abusing the name of the United Nations. It brought the United Nations Command to the region to carry out its policy against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The United Nations Command must be dismantled without further delay as it was jeopardizing international peace and security.Read more
Traditional funding for development was insufficient due to the global economic and trade slow-down as well as persistent natural hazards, especially in small, vulnerable and highly indebted economies, Jamaica’s representative told the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) today, as it continued its general debate.
The current financing gap to achieve Sustainable Development Goals in low and middle-income countries was between $3 and $5 trillion per year, he noted. Bilateral net official development assistance (ODA) reached $142.6 billion in 2016, but that included humanitarian and disaster relief, technical assistance, cultural exchanges and other Government-related activities. Moreover, middle-income countries like Jamaica were deemed too well-off to warrant official development assistance (ODA) and lost access to certain financing windows.
The representative of Zimbabwe lamented that ODA was declining and most development partners were failing to fulfil their commitments. If developing countries were to stand a better chance of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, international public resources had to be significantly increased. Development partners should avoid using domestic resource mobilization to escape ODA commitments.
Papua New Guinea’s delegate underscored the need for multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank to expand the definition of fragility when considering financing, especially for small island developing States. He also emphasized that United Nations reforms and improved cost effectiveness must not come at the expense of countries in special situations.
Similarly, the representative of the Maldives said his country would need more foreign investment to move from its current upper-middle income country status. But the lending framework of international financial institutions failed to favour small States, even if projects in the pipeline were sound and bankable.
The current imbalance in the development system should be corrected to ensure equal access to sufficient and predictable funding, stressed Morocco’s delegate. Since ODA, often a catalyst for partnerships, was still essential to many countries, international commitments must be respected to maintain development momentum.
Speakers also focused on the need to reduce developing country debt, which seriously impeded implementing the Goals, especially in least developed States. They also stressed the importance of open, transparent and inclusive international trade, as it played a vital role in economic growth and development.
Also speaking were representatives of China, Paraguay, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Georgia, Mongolia, Philippines, Dominican Republic, Mexico, South Africa, San Marino, Chile, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, United Republic of Tanzania, Qatar, Sudan, Kuwait, Brazil, Yemen, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Honduras, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Iraq, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nigeria, Argentina, Venezuela, Croatia, Zambia, Armenia, Nepal, Libya, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Eritrea, Kenya, Tunisia, Turkey, Fiji, Senegal, Serbia, Algeria, Andorra, Solomon Islands, Ireland, United Arab Emirates, and Timor-Leste, as well as the Sovereign Order of Malta, Holy See and State of Palestine.
Representatives of the International Criminal Court, Common Fund for Commodities, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also spoke.
The Committee will meet again on Thursday, 5 October at 10 a.m. to take up macroeconomic policy questions.
WU HAITRead more