Sumario: July 1, 2004: EXPLANATION OF POSITION BY H.E. AMBASSADOR DIRK JAN VAN DEN BERG, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE KINGDOM OF THE NETHERLANDS TO THE UNITED NATIONS, ON BEHALF OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. Agenda Item 55 - Revitalisation of the work of the General Assembly (New York)
I have the honour to take the floor on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.
In December 2003, aware of the need to enhance the authority and role of the General Assembly and to improve its working methods, we agreed on an ambitious work plan. Today we draw up the balance sheet of our work to date.
We welcome the resolution just adopted. It constitutes a significant step forward in the revitalisation process. In addition to decisions already taken last December, we have now agreed to make the agenda more accessible, to adopt or expand innovative working methods, to streamline the agenda of the plenary, and to strengthen the role of the General Committee. Moreover, we have agreed upon new goals, focussing on the rationalisation of the agendas of the Main Committees, for which we have set a firm deadline, as well as on tackling the volume of documentation.
Acceptable as this outcome may be, we feel that we could and should have aimed higher. If we really want the General Assembly to play its role as the chief deliberative, policy-making and representative organ of the United Nations, as our Heads of State and Government pledged in the Millennium declaration, we have to pursue our work with even more vigour. We have a common goal, which we need to translate into a common strategy. We understand that this cannot be done overnight. Nevertheless, we have to realise that time is not on our side. The world outside these walls is changing rapidly, and we have to keep pace.
Although revitalisation is a continuous process and we are not there yet, we would never have made it this far without your strong leadership and determination. The very fact that we have adopted a resolution today, on 1st of July, underscores that you are a man who does what he says, and says what he does. We have not always made your work easier, but you have carried on undauntedly, bringing us where we are today.
Allow me to commend you as well as your staff for the excellent work you have done. In my capacity as one of the facilitators, I would like to thank you for the trust you placed in us. It was an honour to serve you.
The EU was and is fully committed to the revitalisation process, as part of a wider effort to work for an effective multilateralism with a strong United Nations at its centre, and will ensure it's support for this process to be continued. Starting tomorrow, we will actively contribute to the implementation of the decisions we have taken today, in the plenary as well as in the Main Committees.
I thank you, Mr. President.