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I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Member States of the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, and Albania*, the country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Georgia, align themselves with this statement.
At the outset, I wish to thank Mr. Greiver del Hoyo, Chairman of the Committee on Contributions, for presenting the Committee's report of its 75th session, as well as the Acting Controller, Mr. Chandru Ramanathan, for his presentation of the Secretary-General's reports on multi-year payment plans, and on the implementation of General Assembly resolutions 55/235 and 55/236.
As always, we are grateful for the work of the Committee on Contributions and the valuable contribution that their review of the scale of assessments for the period 2019-2021 will bring to our discussion. The report of the COC provides us with a valuable technical basis for our work. It helpfully reinforces our understanding of some of the issues that are preventing the current methodology from better reflecting the capacity of Member States to pay.
Funding the United Nations is the joint responsibility of all Member States, as is stated in Article 17 of the UN Charter. The Member States of the EU are the largest collective financial contributors to the Organisation. As Member States, our collective main priority should be the maintenance of the financial sustainability of the Organisation. We believe the General Assembly must always strive towards an equitable and balanced distribution of the financial responsibilities, in accordance to every member's capacity to pay.
We also think there is still room to improve the current methodology of cost sharing so it reflects a more equitable and balanced distribution of the financial responsibilities among Member States according to their capacity to pay, and we look forward to further discussing ways to achieve this goal. For instance, while we fully agree that the Low Per Capita Income Adjustment should remain an essential element of the methodology, the report of the COC shows once again that this adjustment does not perfectly fulfil the function for which it was designed, namely to provide targeted relief to the countries with low per capita income that are in real need of the adjustment. Changes to the LPCIA need to be based on reliable data and should be a technical enhancement to the methodology as a whole.
We also believe that the current methodology cannot deviate from principles established by the Charter, in particular Article 17.
The Member States of the European Union actively participate in UN peacekeeping operations, contribute with troops, civilian police and other personnel. As contributors we remain committed to providing adequate and efficient financial backing for these missions.
The peacekeeping rates of assessments should, similarly to the Regular Budget rates they are derived from, reflect the capacity to pay of Member States while taking into account the special responsibility of the permanent members of the Security Council. Specific additional peace-keeping discounts should be based on justifiable, objective and comparable criteria allowing to provide relief to the countries with low per capita income. In that respect, we still see no merit in the continuation of the Group C discount, since it constitutes an obvious distortion of the capacity to pay principle.
We also note that several Member States have pledged to voluntarily reduce their discount rates and/or voluntarily agreed to be classified at higher levels of assessments, including level B and level H. We invite all UN Member States with the capacity to do so to move up voluntarily their level of contribution so the peacekeeping rates of assessments better reflect the Member States' actual capacity to pay.
The EU Member States have constantly stressed that the payment of all assessed contributions in full, on time and without condition is a fundamental duty of all Member States. Nevertheless we recognise that sometimes Member States may face temporary and genuine difficulties in fulfilling their annual financial obligations to the United Nations. In these cases, we are content to endorse the recommendations of the Committee on Contributions permitting the countries that requested exemption under Article 19 to vote in the General Assembly until the end of its 73th session.
In concluding, I would like to assure you and the other members of this Committee of our readiness to cooperate and engage positively in the negotiations. Thank you.
* The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.