44th meeting of the Eutelsat Advisory Committee - February 2019

The 44th meeting of the EUTELSAT IGO Advisory Committee (AC) was held last 14-15 February in Paris, chaired by Dietmar Plesse of Germany.

The seven states comprising the AC were present: France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. Armenia and Azerbaijan participated as observers. Monaco (Frédéric Labarrere) was invited to take part as chair of the Assembly of Parties (AP).

The executive secretary (ES) of EUTELSAT IGO (Piotr Dmochowski-Lipski of Poland) reported on activities undertaken since the Committee’s last ordinary meeting in September up to present, particularly regarding supervision of the company EUTELSAT S.A., monitored by the IGO. Its financial situation continues to assure conditions enabling compliance with the basic principles and public service obligations incumbent upon the operator.

At this session, the Committee proceeded with revision of the staff regulations, an issue studied in detail over the last two years which led to a major impasse due to problems in the alignment of current salary levels with respect to the United Nations system, as agreed by the AC, without changing the staff profiles determined by the Assembly of Parties.

Likewise problematic was presentation of the pension plan, which includes those regulations, based on a revised proposal by the SIACI Saint-Honoré consultancy firm. The fact that it was not possible to achieve consensus of the Parties led to the need to amend the budget proposal submitted for the July 2019-June 2020 and July 2020-June 2021 fiscal years.

The meeting was followed by a lengthy electronic exchange of views in the next two weeks, during which the secretariat proposed that the staff regulations to submit to Assembly of Parties (AP) 41 be kept unchanged and that any amendments to the current rules not take force as planned on 1 July 2019. Portugal, supported by other Parties, then considered that it was necessary to explain in detail the reasons which led to this situation to all the countries gathered at the upcoming Assembly.

The AC also considered that it was in no position to recommend to AP41 approval of the two budget proposals for fiscal years 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 and mandated its chair to proceed with the respective consultations and negotiations.

Jean-François Bureau, Director of Institutional and International Affairs of EUTELSAT S.A., gave the usual verbal AC presentation, acknowledging that the group’s financial recovery remains below expectations.

The next AC meeting will be scheduled after the new AC is elected, foreseeably in the last quarter of 2019 - December has been provisionally chosen. Portugal suggested that the new AC meet during the next AP, scheduled for 10-11 April 2019.