Delegation of the European Union
to the United Nations - New York

EU Explanation of Vote – United Nations 1st Committee: information and telecommunications in the context of international security

New York, 07/11/2019 - 00:41, UNIQUE ID: 191106_15
Statements on behalf of the EU

6 November 2019, New York - Explanation of Vote by Finland on behalf of European Union Member States at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly First Committee Resolution on Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security (L.50 Rev.1)



I have the honour to speak on behalf of the EU Member States

The Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro* and Albania*, the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this statement.

1. Given our reservations with the non-consensus based language in this resolution, it is therefore with great regret that EU MS could not support this resolution. We welcome the resumption of UN discussions on cyber issues in 2019 and reaffirm our commitment to work both within the UN Group of Governmental Experts (UN GGE) and the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG), in a complementary and coordinated fashion, to promote and further build on the cumulative achievements of the previous UN GGEs.

2. We welcome the work done so far in the framework of the OEWG, which offers a valuable platform to exchange positions and foster a stronger common understanding on how to face threats and promote responsible State behaviour in cyberspace. We also welcome the consultations of the UN GGE with the UN Membership, as well as with other stakeholders, notably through regional organizations such as the African Union, the European Union, the Organization of American States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the Regional Forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. We are looking forward to discussions within these two processes, GGE consultations and the OEWG multistakeholder consultation, in particular further engagement of governments, private sector, civil society, technical community, users and academia in December.

3. We had hoped to avoid a contentious First Committee discussion this year as we believe our efforts should be focusing on our ongoing substantive work. The EU would have prioritised one coherent and consensus approach that reaffirms consensus views, including the work of previous First Committee resolutions that have usually enjoyed consensus in order to avoid undermining ongoing discussions.

4. We agree on the importance of reaffirming the consensus views articulated in previous GGE reports, and its related resolutions. We recall that during the OEWG it was widely shared that we were not starting from the scratch. We regret that the sponsor of the draft resolution L.50 has chosen to include language that has not enjoyed consensus in the past within the First Committee framework, despite the invitation by many States to go back to consensual language. We reaffirmed in various occasion our readiness to discuss the draft resolution in order to find consensus and we regret the current situation. We are disappointed with this outcome but[1] welcome all endeavours within the UN community to work in both processes in a complementary manner and constructive approach without prejudging the outcome of the consensus based discussions of the OEWG and the GGE.

5. It is along these lines, that we have engaged constructively on resolution L.50 with its sponsor, proposing minor amendments in line with consensus language that would have enabled us to support it, certainly now that we have two ongoing processes.  It is disappointing that none of these minor amendments have been made.


6. In conclusion, the EU and its Member States look forward to continuing its constructive engagement in UN GGE and OEWG discussions with a view of to promoting an open, free, stable and secure cyberspace, where human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and international law are fully respected and upheld. The EU and its MS welcome that both L.50 and L.49 welcome the GGE and OEWG. The EU will work with all the UN Membership towards conclusions of the UN discussions that plot a path back to consensus on the First Committee process. 


* The Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

[1] UK

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