Sumario: EU Presidency Statement - United Nations: Programme budget, After-service health insurance (14 March 2007: Brussels)
Statement on behalf of the European Union, by Mr. Thomas Thomma, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Germany, on Agenda Item 117: Programme budget for the biennium 2006 - 07, After-service health insurance, at the UN General Assembly 5th Committee, New York
Thank you Mr Chairman!
I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA country Iceland, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
I would like to thank the Secretariat and the ACABQ and its Chairman for the introduction of their respective reports.
First, we recognise the efforts of the Department of Management in delivering a breakdown of the after-service health insurance programme and the status of liabilities thereof, as it was requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 60/255 of June 2006. The disclosure of the liabilities for after-service health insurance is a necessary condition for the application of International Public Service Accounting Standards, although the European Union understands that there is no legal obligation to funding these liabilities.
Further, the present report 61/730 of the Secretary-General provides alternative strategies to fund the disclosed liabilities.
In view of the complexity of the matter, we like to convey our appreciation to Chairman Rajat Saha and the other members of the ACABQ for their analysis of the status quo of the after-service health insurance and recommendations for funding the liabilities articulated in its report at hand.
Noting the ACABQ's comment that there is no specific timeframe within which the concerned liabilities in question must be fully funded, the EU stands ready to discuss all practicable strategies of addressing this issue.
The EU is willing to discuss the proposed modifications in the requirements for eligibilty for after-service health insurance benefits as well as adjustments in the health insurance programme itself. Such modifications would reduce future liabilities and bring the system more in line with those of other UN entities.
Further, Member States and the Secretary-General have a shared responsibility to establish provisions for new staff hired to avoid creating new unfunded liabilities.
After-service health insurance benefits are not only a liability but are an asset of the United Nations staff. The European Union continues to stand ready to take on its part in shared responsibility for the staff of the United Nations with regard to after-service health insurance benefits.
Thank you Mr Chairman.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.