GAC-EPA — Groupement des Anciens du CERN-ESO Pensioners' Association

Bulletin 46

Spring 2014


The Word of the President

(original French)

Gertjan BOSSEN

Money, money, money

“Money is the sinews of war” is one of the many sayings that refer to money.  At the moment there is a lot of talk about money.  One might even think that there is no more important thing in life and that it is one of the values that counts the most in our society.  For some it is the only value.

As a Dutchman, I am supposed to be close to my money (the same is said of Scots and Swabians).  However, during my active life at CERN I remember that there were other more important values that let me look back positively at the years spent at CERN.  I am sure that (almost all of) you have the same feeling.  Obviously, money was not absent from debates in the past:  one just needs to remember the Homeric battles on salary scales or pension levels.  But what mattered was the satisfaction of a job well done, large and small projects done in teams.  There is also the multinational environment that has enriched us all in many ways.  The festivities this year for the 60th anniversary of CERN will doubtless emphasize these aspects.

I am speaking to you of money for a simple reason.  At last year’s AGM it was decided to raise the annual membership fee to 30 CHF as from 1 January 2014.  Unfortunately a large number of you forgot to change your payment.  If this is the case for you, please read carefully the message from our treasurer and regularise your situation according to the instructions.  In this way we can have a healthy financial situation.  Thank you in advance.

I wish you a brilliant summer, as good as the beginning of March that we enjoyed in the Geneva area.



(original French)

Bernard DUCRET

The Bulletin is our link

I am pleased to present to you the new layout of the CERN and ESO Pensioners’ Association Bulletin.  We wanted it to be pleasant to look at, easy to read, and lead to dialogue.

Technically, it can be used for print publication and for digital presentation on the Internet.  You can both have this as a paper document to be consulted at leisure at home, and be able to consult it at any time on any digital support, be it mobile phone, tablet, or computer, from our Association’s website.  The only restriction is that we do not want it to be accessible through social networks.

This is a more modern magazine with colour photographs, a more interesting appearance than the current Bulletin, articles about our old colleagues and their retirement activities, memory joggers, more engaging articles, and other new sections to come if you like what we are doing.  This publication is going to help us to keep in contact with one another.

It will cover not only our interests such as the Pension Fund and Health Insurance, but also deal with daily matters such as leisure, health, hobbies and passions, and we could even envisage a section for readers’ letters.  We hope it will lead to increased dialogue amongst us:

For all this to happen, you must make a contribution by talking to the editors or any other member of the Committee.

Of course we need to stay within a rigorous budget as recently voted at the AGM.  This why to start with we are going to make the publication of the Bulletin as economical as possible by finding a cheaper printer so that we get the best price.  Then, keeping to the wishes of the older ones amongst us, we kept the mailing of printed version, except for those who have expressly required it electronically only.

In fact the wide majority will receive the paper Bulletin.

Enjoy this issue, and we hope to hear from you.


What about ESO?

ESO Pensioners News



As in previous years, we organised a New Year get-together in early January, this time with the welcome participation of Gertjan Bossen who flew in from Geneva for the event.  The number of ESO GAC-EPA Members has now reached 40, representing roughly 50% of the ESO retirees.

As at CERN, ESO periodically organises pre-retirement seminars for staff nearing retirement.  The next seminar is scheduled for June and, for the first time, the GAC-EPA representative will participate and make a presentation.

ESO Pensioners Website

Progress on the ESO GAC-EPA Website has been rather slow in the last few months, but operation has now begun.  It can be accessed from the main GAC-EPA web site and is intended to complement the main GAC-EPA website and provided additional information specifically relevant to ESO pensioners.

ESO Staff Association

We have continued to work with the ESO Staff Committee with the updating of the Staff Association Statues.  This process has now been dragging on for several years but with the recent appointment of a new Working Group Chairman and completion of the staff elections, there is good hope that the process can be completed in the next few months.

The new draft statues now specifically mention the possibility of ESO pensioners becoming members of the Staff Association in a similar way as GAC-EPA members are now members of the CERN Staff Association.  For full implementation a minor change to the GAC-EPA statues will also be necessary.


We participate actively in the ESO Health Working Group.  The main task of this WG is to monitor the workings of the scheme, deal with complaints and provide recommendations to the ESO Administration for improvement.  Dental care seems to produce a significant number of complaints despite the simplified rules that apply since January this year.  In many cases these have been due to a different interpretation of the healthcare agreement by Vanbreda from that which ESO had originally intended.

At the instigation of pensioners, ESO has recently published a Healthcare Policy.  This goes some way towards clarifying the basic principles of the ESO healthcare scheme.  However, as mentioned in the last Bulletin, many of the rules are hidden in Council and contractual documents and so unavailable to staff and pensioners alike.  The ESO Administration has promised to implement further changes this year to improve transparency, for example by separating the purely contractual details of the Vanbreda contract from the rest, and making this available to staff and pensioners.

An ongoing issue of particular importance to ESO pensioners is that, unlike those at CERN and other European Organisations, ESO Pensioners pay 33% higher healthcare premiums than active ESO staff.  So far we have not achieved any change in the Organisation’s position on this even if this appears to disregard the principle of mutuality enshrined in the new healthcare policy.  We continue to explore all avenues to resolve this problem to the benefit of pensioners.


News in brief of the Committee — Period from November 2013 to April 2014

(original French)


It is your secretary’s duty to inform you, in this part of the Bulletin, of your Committee’s activities during the period mentioned above.

We give here a summary of some aspects of the activities that are developed in more detail in specific sections.  However, you can contact me if you need more details: (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service)

Election results 2013, composition of the new Committee and attribution of functions

The current Committee has been in place since 1 January 2014 (list on page 3 of the Bulletin).  It was constituted after the tacit elections at the end of November 2013 to replace the 13 elected members of the Committee whose mandates came to an end on 31 December 2013.  As we informed you in the previous Bulletin and after our call for candidates of 2 September 2013, only 12 candidates came forward, of whom 11 were current members of the Committee.  Two current members—François Wittgenstein and Eddie Roebuck—decided not to stand.

We also had to renew the mandate of the two auditors.  One current auditor decided to stand, but we have had no further candidate.

This situation led us to opt for tacit elections.  The President’s letter of 31 October 2013 explained this sensible decision which elicited no objections on the part of the members of our Association.

Herewith the list of elected members:

See also the composition of the 2014 Committee.

The current Committee under the Presidency of Gerrit Jan Bossen has 20 elected members (19 from CERN and 1 from ESO), instead of the 21 as allowed in article 12 of the Statutes; in addition there is 1 permanent invited informatics expert and 1 expert invited as necessary to liaise with the University Hospitals (HUG) and the CERN Medical Service.  Also, there is only 1 auditor of the Association’s accounts (instead of the 2 allowed by the Statutes:  article 18).

Please note that in November 2014 at the next elections for the Committee, 8 members will be at the end of their mandate and 9 members can be elected in case there are enough candidates;  please do not hesitate to present yourself!


The Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 26 March 2014 after the invitation sent out on 28 February 2014 to all members.

Look at the Minutes to inform yourself of the work of your Committee and for information on our social security system (Pension Fund and Health Insurance Scheme).

Please keep in mind you will be asked to approve the Minutes at the next AGM at the end of March 2015 (date not yet fixed) and no other version will be sent (to those who want communication on paper).

Relations with the Staff Association

By our attachment to the Staff Association (SA) whose role is to defend the interests of current workers and also retirees (which they will become), our Association entrusts several of our members with tasks in various entities (Staff Council and Commissions) put in place by the SA, as indicated in previous Bulletins.

Note that at the end of January 2014, an SA/GAC-EPA joint letter was addressed to the President of the CERN Council deploring the inadmissible interference by Member State delegations in the governance procedures of the Pension Fund;  this action should have had an effect;  we shall be vigilant.  Consult the documents.

Relations with the CERN Administration and with the Governing Board of the Pension Fund (PFGB)

To avoid difficulties when entering the CERN sites, please ensure that you are in conformity with your nominative access card and your car sticker:  the formalities for these documents are accomplished in Bldg. 55, 1st floor, access cards office, by presenting an identity card and the car papers (for each car).

Our President Gerrit Jan Bossen has held meetings recently with the Director of Administration concerning the points mentioned in the previous Minutes.  The results are as follows:

Via Claude Genier, we are closely following the work of the PFGB concerning the governance of the Pension Fund; the new actuarial study is being closely watched as are the reactions of Member State delegations.

Relations with current and future retirees

As is often mentioned our aim is to keep you informed of what is happening at CERN and ESO and to help you with subjects of concern to retirees;  for this we have several possibilities:

Our Information Sessions run by three devoted members of the Committee are highly appreciated.  They take place on the first Tuesday of the month except in January, July and August (see calendar).  We can help you with your personal problems by suggesting possible solutions.

But even with this advice, we ask you to seek confirmation from the relevant administrations who alone can give you an official reply.  Much time and effort have been spent recently on the French CSG and CRDS taxes, and we still do not have definitive answers (see “Information Sessions“).


Pension fund

(original French)


Since the last report in the Autumn bulletin (No. 45) the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) has met three times in November 2013 and February 2014.  Of these three meetings one extraordinary one on 12 February had as unique subject the actuarial study. As has now become the habit, the Pensions Commission of the Staff Association, in which there are several representatives of GAC-EPA, now meets before and after the PFGB to comment on the documents and the decisions taken and to decide what common Staff Association and GAC-EPA positions to take in case of a vote in the PFGB.

The website of the Pension Fund contains general information for the beneficiaries on the financial dealings of the Fund.  Every quarter you will find a summary document at the following addresses: (in French)
or (in English)

The results of the Pension Fund were presented at the AGM on 26 March.  You will find the details in the Minutes of the AGM.

Evolution of the Fund in 2013

As I showed at the AGM, the Fund made very good progress in 2013, with an annual return of +7.76%.  The following table shows the quarterly returns of 2013 compared to those of 2012:

YearTrim 1Trim 2Trim 3Trim 4Annual

This favourable evolution meant that for the first time since 2007 the assets of the Fund were more than four billion CHF at the end of 2013.  The Fund has made up the losses emanating from the 2008 financial crisis.  The curve on next page shows this positive evolution of the net value of the assets of the Fund since 1 January 2012.

Source: State Street Investment Analytics
Source: State Street Investment Analytics

For information, the allocations of the asset classes of the Fund are shown in the table below.

% of Assets
on 2012-12-31on 2013-12-31
Real Estate14.30%15.10%
Private Equity2.50%2.60%
Alternative Investments13.40%13.60%
Treasury and Tactical Position5.40%4.60%

The first results of the performance of the Fund at the beginning of 2014 show that the evolution is positive.  After a slight fall in January (-0.47%), it would appear that the movement was positive in February and March.  We must remain very vigilant since the returns on assets of the Fund are greatly influenced by the evolution of the stock exchange, in particular of shares.

Risk management

Each year the PFGB defines the level of risk to which the investments can be exposed.  This is translated into a CVaR (« Conditional Value at Risk ») of 5% over a year.  The measure of risk is an estimation of the potential average loss with a probability of 5% over a year.  For 2013, the risk limit was fixed at -8% with a CVaR of 5% over a year.  The level of risk is regularly checked by a company mandated for this work (ORTEC Finances);  the evolution of the level of risk during 2013 is shown in the following table which indicates that throughout 2013 the risk limit of -8% was never breached:

31 March 201330 June 201330 Sept. 201331 Dec. 2013
CERN Pension Fund

CVaR of 5% in one year
Risk Limit-8.00%-8.00%-8.00%-8.00%

2013 Actuarial Study

Every three years there is an actuarial study of the CERN Pension Fund in order to evaluate the level of coverage of the Fund in thirty years’ time.  A rate of coverage of 100 % (or more!) would be ideal, a rate of coverage of 85 % becomes problematic.

In 2010, the rate of coverage of the Fund being around 70%, the CERN Council adopted a packet of measures to bring the rate of coverage back to almost 100%.  The new actuary, Buck Consultants (London), selected in 2013 after a call to tender, made a study in 2013.  The results of this study were presented to the CERN Council in December 2013 with provisional parameters and then in March 2014 with parameters validated by the PFGB.

The principal results of this study are presented on the table below (values in kCHF):

All the parameters of
the calculation
Without the package of
With the measures
taken by the CERN Council
Also including the
new life tables
Effective date1 January 20101 January 20131 January 2013
Technical reserve5’748’3005’466’3955’530’701
Total assets3’903’5003’846’5733’846’573
Deficit (-) / Surplus (+)-1’844’800-1’619’822-1’684’128
Rate of coverage on the
date of the actuarial study
Foreseen rate of coverage
on 1 January 2041

The study shows that before the adoption of the measures in 2010 the projection of the rate of coverage over 30 years gave an innacceptable value of approximately 30% (second column of the table).  With the adoption of the packet of measures, the rate rises to almost 112% (third column of the table).  Taking into account the life tables that are more in tune with actual demographic evolution (VZ2010 tables), in 2041 the rate of coverage would be a value of 95.5% (fourth column of the table).  This latter value seems the most likely today.  These values were presented to the CERN Council in March 2014.

The figure below shows the three curves of the evolution of the rate of coverage of the Pension Fund according to the three columns in the table above:

Projected Funding Level
Projected Funding Level

Attacks on our pensions

Unfortunately, the preliminary presentation made by the actuary to the Council in December 2013 and which did not take into account all the parameters validated by the PFGB and which gave a projection of a mediocre rate of coverage in 2041 (around 70%) led to misunderstandings amongst certain delegations.  The Minutes of the GAC-EPA AGM give full details on this subject.

During the AGM, in order to prepare ourselves for any eventual attacks from some Member State delegations, a resolution was voted.  We must therefore

Remain vigilant and ready to mobilise in case of attacks on our pensions


Our health insurance in 2013: the numbers

(original French)


CHIS, our health insurance scheme, has had a good year.

In fact, as in each year since 2011, the level of contributions increased in 2013 to reach 4.55% of the reference salary paid by the insured party receiving a pension and 7.93% of this salary paid by CERN.  These rates went up to 4.70% and 8.21%, respectively, in 2014.  A final step of this increase in contributions will take place in 2015 in conformity with the decisions of Council after the 2010 five-yearly review.

Thanks to these increases, the receipts of the CHIS are progressing more quickly than expenditure and the 2013 exercise will finish with a surplus of approximately 15 MCHF, including return on investments from the reserve fund.

Insured population on 31-12-2013

The number of pensioners has again diminished.

population → contributing children spouses TOTAL contributing
/ total
total 2012
kind ↓ WMtotal WMtotal
retired 881 2131 3012 127 17711061877 5016 0.60 5051
active 792 3016 3808 3063 16432771920 8791 0.43 8663
total 1673 5147 6820 3190 34143833797 13807 0.49 13714

By country of residence:


or, in percent:


Insured population by age group

At end of the years 2013 and 2003:

2013166510378308151002797842761636 532 7131051131095956024351313807
20031173 774731542 790707590510743113414501108 740396149 37 3 11575
0 200 400 600 800 1'000 1'200 1'400 1'600 1'800 0-10 11-18 19-25 26-30 31-35 36-40 41-45 46-60 51-55 56-60 61-65 66-70 71-75 76-80 81-85 86-90 91-96 2013 2003
by age, 2013 compared to 2003

The curves of 2003 and 2013 show the same peaks and troughs of the population aged more than 45 in 2003 with a ten-year displacement.

Contributions, medical costs submitted to CHIS and reimbursements in 2013

Distinguishing the categories of active and retired members, the deficit of contribution for pensioners appears with a ratio of contributions/reimbursements of 0.82.

The level of cover for costs by the insurance is 87% for both categories.

in MCHFcontributions

Distribution of reimbursements by type of benefit as a percentage of the total and variation from 2012

main servicespercentvariation
doctor’s fees 12.0 -1.7
pharmaceuticals 8.9 -1.1
X-rays, tests, ambulatory care 14.4 -1.7
dental care 7.5 +4.8
ophtalmology 2.4+10.0
total ambulatory care 54.0 +1.2
hospitalisation in public hospitals 18.3 +9.0
hospitalisation in accredited private hospitals 24.8 -1.0
hospitalisation in non-accredited private hospitals 3.0+59.5
total hospitalisations 46.0 +5.4
total reimbursements 100.0 +3.1

These reimbursements concerned the medical care given by providers resident principally in Switzerland and France, with the following percentages:


Evolution of annual average reimbursement per insured person between 2007 and 2013

The following calculations allow an evaluation of the variation of the average annual amount of reimbursement per insured person. By calculating the average fictitious reimbursement of the population at the end of 2013 with the average reimbursement by age group of 2007, it is possible to distinguish the effect of a change in demography on the one hand and the effect of medical inflation on the other hand. This medical inflation includes the variations in tarifs and individual consumption of medical care but also changes in medical techniques and practices.

For comparison, the indices of the evolution calculated over the period 1997-2007 are shown.

évolution des remboursements annuels moyens par assuré 2007-2013 et indices de l'inflation médicale et de la démographie

Note: these figures have a systematic bias since they are based on the population as at the end of each year.
tranches d’âge0-1011-1819-2526-3031-3536-4041-4546-5051-5556-6061-6566-7071-7576-8081-8586-9091-96>=96total
pop. 20131665103783081510027978427616365327131051131095956024351313’807
remb. 2013 kCHF2606169414181472254922182165252422632633417881311127611338745036549926568’624
moyen 2013
pop 2013 avec remb.
moyens/age 2007
pop 20071517852631644813829743619541838118414199605933008315112’582
remb.2007 kCHF1491114717371741237521091745175318804858757798367020608433451123384360’214
moyen 2007
indice annuel soitindices 2007/1997
inflation médicale rembt. moyen 2013/pop 2013
avec rembts moyens 2007:
1.0720 1.0117 +1.17%2.27%
évolution population pop 2013 avec rembts moyens
2007/rembt moyen 2007:
0.9688 0.9947 -0.53%1.50%
indice global rembt. moyen 2013 /
remb moyen 2007:
1.0386 1.0063 +0.63%3.81%

The annual medical inflation rate between 2007 and 2013 (1.17%) is much lower than between 1997 and 2007 (2.27%).

As for the annual rate of demographic evolution, that was positive from 1997 to 2007, meaning an ageing of the population, it was negative during the last 6 years.

These calculated values cannot be exact since they are systematically biased by the population known at the end of the year, whilst the reimbursements cover all beneficiaries over the whole year.

More complete statistics have been requested. They are part of the technical specifications for the current call for tender for the administration contract for the CHIS.


Information sessions (permanences)

(original French)

Jean-Francois MICHAUD

Uncertainty on French tax

In recent months the Information Sessions saw many discussions to try to give some answers to CERN retirees who have been newly taxed on French territory with CSG and CRDS.

This was especially the case for those living in the Ain département, in particular those who depend on the Bellegarde sur Valserine tax office.

At the AGM in March we presented some of our results. We layed out the different cases presented to us at our Information Sessions. Please take a look at them.

Not all questions have been resolved, but our team is working tirelessly to find the answers to the outstanding questions.

In addition to these preoccupations, we also dealt with many social and administrative questions such as widows’ pensions, and what to do about unforeseen economic difficulties.

The Committee stays closely in contact with the CERN legal service and the AFIF (Association of Intenational French Civil Servants) in Geneva.

Civil servants retired from other international organizations are in the same situation as some of our colleagues.  We hope to collect reliable information, advice and procedures for efficient actions.

We are here to take your questions and invite you to meet with us according to the calendar.

Gunilla Santiard, René Barthélémy and Jean-François Michaud are happy to receive you.


Presence of GAC-EPA on the Internet



2014 has started and most of you have dutifully paid your membership. We sincerely thank you for that.  The bank tells us more than 2’000 individual payments have been made.

That is a long list of payments that need to be entered into our membership data base.  It would take almost a week full-time work to do this by hand!

We now use a program, taking only a few seconds.  But the program must match the UBS statement text of your payment with your record in our data base.  We receive many payments that are impossible to handle automatically, here are some examples:

Please help us match UBS texts with data base records:

Here is a perfectly acceptable UBS statement text:


What is unnecessary:

Therefore the statement text:


is fairly redundant (though it is acceptable).


If you use e-banking, you can set up a standing order quite easily and also ensure the above recommendations are followed.

Thank you for your understanding and for your help.

(*) We understand that your bank’s message uses the denomination of your account, and that you cannot change this using e-banking access.  The denomination (libellé) is entered once, by a bank clerk, not you, and spelling errors and other inaccuracies are quite frequent. Because the denomination is only seen by people to whom you send funds, not by you, it is very likely that you are not even aware that it is incomplete, wrong or contains spelling errors.  Please contact your bank to make sure that your name is complete and spelled correctly.



For the list of deceased beneficiairies of the Pension Fund consult the list of deaths.

If you wish to write a word of sympathy to the bereaved family you can send it via the CERN Pension Fund, which has the address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.


Report on …

(original French)

This section is reserved for you.

We want to present the exploits of our enthusiastic retirees.  There is life after CERN, and for many it is rich in achievements.  It is these activities that we wish to present to you with our “Report on…” column.  We go in the field to visit those who want to talk to us about the passions of their retired life.  Enjoy

“La Remise 01”

Jacques Lissajoux
Jacques Lissajoux

On this beautiful Spring day an old friend receives me:  Jacques LISSAJOUX.

One day in the 1980s this retired CERN fireman had the idea to collect some helmets from this prestigious corps.  It was when he presented the collection in Thoiry in 1982 and following many meetings and discussions that he was sure that helped by friends he had to start collecting historic objects of the regional fire brigades.

This was not easy since enthusiasts like Jacques can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

A small hard core quickly formed around him and soon there was a problem for the storage of the collection of regional material.  After a hard search, it was the municipality of Gex that finally proposed to the association “La Remise”, founded in 1985, the old abandoned railway station buildings.

Almost thirty years of labour have resulted in the Ain departmental museum “La Remise 01” that you can visit from May to September.

There you can find not only vehicles, pumps, helmets, and impressive collections of all sorts of objects, but also strange things such as an Alouette civil defense helicopter, a Delahaye fire-engine from 1926, a memorial to the New York firemen who were victims of the Twin Towers disaster, an educational section for children, uniforms from different periods and places, etc.  The original objective has been mostly reached and today there are around fifty members of the association, of whom several are CERN retirees.  Without their passion and devotion the region of the Pays de Gex, the departments of Ain and the Haute Savoie, and neighbouring Switzerland would have lost this historic heritage and the past would have been forgotten.

Jacques is a mine of information and he can recount numerous anecdotes.  When you go to visit, ask him some questions and you will see the extent of his knowledge and his competence on fire prevention matters.  Let us thank him here for his welcome and his communicative warmth.


A little bit of everything…

(original French)

Pay attention please!

A certain of our members paid only 25 CHF instead of 30 CHF for their 2014 menbership fee, a lapse of attention no doubt.  We ask them to correct their next standing order and then to pay 5 CHF by simple transfer order, taking account of Robert’s remarks.  You can also put a coin of 5 CHF into an envelope at the Staff Association office with your name inside.  Many thanks to all!

CHIS website

The CHIS website is being remade.  Much information can be found there.


Computing Needs

We invite you to indicate your computing needs for your contacts with CERN for acces authorizations to official documents, services and so on. Please write to us:

Reminder 1:

We invite you to register your latest e-mail adress with the GAC-EPA secretariat so that we can reduce our printing and mailing costs: (adress no longer in use/adresse plus en service)

Reminder 2:

The editors are looking for translators and correctors in the two languages, English and French.  We invite you to contact the secretariat:

Reminder 3:

To lighten the load on our colleagues of the information sessions, we strongly recommand you to read again the document on “Rights and Duties” of CERN-ESO retirees.