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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The Candidate Countries Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Georgia align themselves with this statement.
At the outset we would like to thank the Chair of the Conference, the Chair of the Committee, the Rapporteur, as well as Director General and the Office for their dedication and perseverance in making this conference a success.
At the occasion of ILO’s Centenary we deem it important to reaffirm our belief in the fundamental importance of International labour standards and its supervisory mechanism. ILO recommendations complement conventions and give valuable policy guidance in order to promote decent work agenda.
All EU Member States have ratified all ILO core Conventions and we truly consider that the implementation and compliance with these Conventions not only contributes to the protection and promotion of human rights but also to larger objectives of building a social and economic stability as well as inclusive societies all over the world.
For these reasons, we promote their ratification and implementation by all members of the ILO through variety of means, including by reaffirming these obligations in our trade agreements and unilateral trade preferences, as well as through the support of ILO technical assistance in the field.
However, an independent, efficient and robust supervisory system is needed to oversee the implementation of the ILO conventions. Putting this system under pressure would not only be inefficient but very worrying.
The EU and its Member States are convinced that the supervisory system is critical in ensuring the credibility of the Organization’s work as a whole. At this point, we would like to express our gratitude that this essential and core mandate is reaffirmed as of fundamental importance to the ILO in the Centenary Declaration.
In particular, the CAS is a unique mechanism that enables all constituents to discuss the implementation of ILO Conventions in a constructive and tripartite manner. In most cases, it enables and fosters progress. In this respect we welcome that the CAS conclusions are more action-oriented and provide guidance to identify key recommendations and necessary actions for each case and situation in order to actively support progress. We encourage ILO MS to comply with the conclusions to the greatest extent possible, where appropriate with the support of ILO’s technical assistance.
The CAS this year held many interesting and important discussions on a wide range of issues and diverse country-situations, reflecting the extent of global challenges in implementation of ILO fundamental conventions. We regret that the lack of freedom of association and collective bargaining remains a major concern in many parts of the world.
We would like to thank the spokespersons of the Workers and Employers for their constructive engagement. CAS is a true essence of tripartism. We welcome the engagement of Governments and appreciate the constructive approach put forward. We strongly believe that commitment to improve the implementation of the conventions should remain a priority for all Constituents.
However, we also took note of criticism expressed on the ILO supervisory system. In our view, the need for improvement and further evolution of the system does not justify questioning the system as a whole. We cannot accept any attempt to weaken or undermine the effectiveness of the CAS or the committee of experts. But we remain open to reflection on possible ways of improvement, constructive suggestions and are ready to discuss these issues further, including the CAS working methods.
We fully trust the independence and impartiality of the experts. We always respect the selection made with regard to the long and short-list. We believe that the key criterion for the selection should be the seriousness and persistence of shortcomings in the application of ILO Conventions.
The ILO supervisory system is one of the most valuable examples of the multilateral rules-based order. We believe multilateralism, especially further strengthened through the tripartite system ILO operates in, is now needed more than ever. This cooperative approach remains the most efficient way to serve our collective interests, as decisions taken in a multilateral framework by tripartite constituents have proven to be more democratic, inclusive, strong and sustainable.
The EU and its Member States will continue to stand firm in support of the supervisory system.
Thank you, Chair.