Note:Your browser doesn't correctly display this page because of a bad stylesheets interpretation. This is probably due to an old browser version.

[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
 Version française        

You are here : Home > News > Speeches > June 2005 > Statement on behalf of the EU: Capital Master Plan
Print this page Send this page

Statement on behalf of the EU: Capital Master Plan

Date of Speech : 20-05-2005

Place : New York (United Nations)

Speaker : Karel van den Bossche (First Secretary)

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

Thank you, Mr. Chairman,

I have the honor to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia* , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine align themselves with this declaration.

We thank Mr. Clarkson, Officer in Charge of the CMP as well as Mr. Kuznetsov, Chairman of the ACABQ, for their statements. The urgency of renovating the UN Headquarters is beyond doubt, and it is therefore troubling that we keep facing problems and uncertainties that delay the process, which now undoubtedly needs to be speeded up.

The EU has repeatedly expressed its disappointment concerning the host country's offer, which is not in line with the usual practices in other UN HQ locations. Over the past months, we had hoped that the host country would respond by finding a way to improve the conditions of its initial offer. Regrettably this has not materialized. The EU nevertheless expects further transparency and detailed information on the part of the host country.

However, our responsibility towards the safety and security of the UN staff, visitors and indeed ourselves - the delegates and our Ministers - compels us to want to proceed swiftly. We must now focus our attention on the most urgent questions raised by the SG in his report A/59/441/Add.1:

1. Whether to approve the appropriation for the 2nd part of the design phase (USD 26 million), in order to allow for the timely implementation of the planning. Needless to say, the EU continues to favour the approval of the appropriation

2. Whether to autorise the SG to sign the host country's interest-bearing loan offer

Given the urgency and the necessity of the renovation of the UN HQ in New York, the EU underlines again the importance to come to an agreement on a comprehensive and coherent CMP and continues to support its planned starting date of 2007. However, many questions remain unanswered at this stage. The total cost of the project is hard to estimate as of now, given that the different options for the Swing Space and the financing modalities for the final project (or a combination of several modalities) are yet an unknown parameter.

On the loan offer from the host country: before taking any decision, we will need to be sure what the SG will sign up to, and what will be the legal value of this act. Nevertheless, in the interests of keeping all options open until we have had a detailed discussion of all the implications of the CMP project, not least of the swing space options, the EU is open to consider the proposal that the SG should be authorised to sign an agreement to preserve the UN’s option of the interest bearing loan offered by the host country but subject to specific conditions such as those set out in paragraph 39(b, c & e) of the SG’s report (A/59/441/Add.1).

The EU - whose memberstates disburse about 38% of the contributions to our Organisation - will wish to pursue further in informal consultations what circumstances should be in place for such an authorisation to be approved. We have in mind among other things a commitment to look for ways to limit the financial burden for the entire membership, including examining in depth at the 60th session alternative solutions that might be feasible, with a view to ensuring the most cost-effective financing of the renovation, and a practical solution for Swing Space. Moreover, no additional obligations must be created for the UN.

Certain aspects of the project need to be thoroughly re-examined. We therefore expect a follow-up report during the 60th session that should be the basis for a sound decision by the GA on the various components of the project. The report's leading principle must be "best value for money", and its content must reflect a.o. the following elements:

1. other possible options and cost estimates for the Swing Space, in order to accommodate both the Secretariat and delegations, as well as estimates for the rental cost for an alternative location

2. the total cost estimates for the project, including the potential for cost overruns

3. all possible scenarios concerning the financing options and modalities

In conclusion, the EU is willing to engage in a constructive discussion that will constitute the first step in this important renovation operation and looks forward to hearing the views of other delegations.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

* Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 14-06-2005

Top Top