I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The following countries align themselves with this statement: the Republic of North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Albania*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Iceland+, Norway+, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and San Marino.
At the outset, let me express the EU’s and its Member States’ full solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. The EU condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified act of aggression against Ukraine, which grossly violates international law including the UN Charter, and undermines international security and stability.
We remain gravely concerned about the nuclear safety, security and safeguards consequences resulting from the Russian aggression. We recall the IAEA Board of Governors resolution GOV/2022/17 of 3 March 2022 and urge Russia to abide by it. We demand Russia to immediately cease its military actions, withdraw all its troops from the entire territory of Ukraine including from Zaporizhzhia and other nuclear facilities and sites, and fully respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence within its internationally recognised borders.
We fully support the efforts of the IAEA Director General to provide assistance to Ukraine in order for the competent Ukrainian authorities to promptly regain full control over all nuclear facilities and ensure their safe and secure operations, and in order for the Agency to fully resume its safeguards verification activities. The EU and its Member States are ready to contribute to such efforts and encourage the IAEA to coordinate closely with donors in order to enable an effective delivery of assistance and avoid overlapping.
The Russian aggression will inevitably impact also the IAEA’s work. Voluntary funding provided under relevant EU instruments will no longer be used to finance IAEA activities of direct benefit to Russia or Belarus. Furthermore, the EU will not participate in meetings or conferences held in Russia or Belarus. We encourage IAEA Member States to follow a similar approach and scrutinise their respective projects and activities.
The EU takes note of the Director General’s report on the financial statements of the Agency. We recognise the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and welcome both the high utilisation rate of the budget achieved in spite of the pandemic and the increase in training activities indicating that implementation of technical cooperation (TC) capacity building is picking up pace. We continue to regard positively the IAEA’s COVID-related assistance to Member States as well as the achievement of business continuity, including as regards safeguards implementation. We are pleased to see the Director General’s confirmation that the Agency operates within a results-based framework ensuring effectiveness, accountability and transparency.
We welcome the overall financial health of the Agency. Nonetheless, we note with concern that increasing outstanding Regular Budget contributions may pose a liquidity risk. We therefore urge Member States to meet their financial obligations in full and on time. This is essential, including in order to ensure that the Agency can rely on dependable Regular Budget funding for all its core functions. We also note the continuing challenge posed by the After-Service Health Insurance (ASHI) and its consequences for the net asset position of the Regular Budget. We will comment on ASHI under item 5.
We thank the External Auditor for the audit of the IAEA’s Financial Statements for 2021, and welcome the fact that, once again, an unqualified opinion has been given on the Agency’s accounts, which is testament to good management practises. We also thank the Auditor for the 23 financial and performance audit recommendations and note that the Secretariat agrees with them all; we particularly note the recommendations relevant to TC financial control and TC outcome monitoring and evaluation. As this is the final report prepared by our current Auditor, we extend our gratitude to the Audit Board of the Republic of Indonesia for its valuable work with the Agency over the past years.
On the Report on the Implementation on Programme Support Costs (PSC), the EU and its Member States take note of the allocation of PSC to the various Major Programmes, with two thirds of PSC being allocated to Major Programme 5 and one third to all other MPs. We continue to consider it important that PSC income is allocated to the Departments, and to the divisions within them, which incur project implementation expenditure.
With these comments we take note of the Reports under this agenda item, as contained in GOV/2022/11 and GOV/INF/2022/6.
Thank you, Chair.
* Candidate Countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania as well as potential Candidate Country Bosnia and Herzegovina continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.
+ Iceland and Norway are members of the EFTA and of the European Economic Area.