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

Bulletin 55

Autumn 2018


Message from the President

Gertjan BOSSEN

(original French)

The last.

This is the last time that I will be addressing you, our members, as President.

In fact I have decided to put an end to my time as President at the end of this year 2018. After seven years (and being as many years older) it is time to step back and to hand the responsibility over to a successor.

I have had much pleasure in serving you in this capacity and in working with the team which is the Committee of our Association. A team which functions in the best traditions of CERN, that is with members who all act in the common interest, each with his/her own sensibility and competences. I thank you for your confidence and I thank the team for its work, my function as president being (in my opinion) primarily to

These last words give me also the opportunity to give special thanks to two members of the Committee who will be leaving it on December 31 after many years of service.

They are Mario Danesin and Jean-Marie Thomas Jean-Marie was the editor of our Bulletin before cutting back a few years ago to become the deputy to the new editor. Mario was the secretary of the Committee, a function which he carried out with remarkable efficiency and gave us, inter alia, excellent minutes. Many thanks to both.

Enrico Chiaveri is called to take over from me (subject to formal confirmation by the Committee early December). I am convinced that he will know how to lead our Association in the best interests of its members and I wish him every success and satisfaction.

It remains for me to wish you and those close to you Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and I give you my best wishes for 2019.

Appeal again

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



Bernard DUCRET

(original French)

Thank you Gertjan

Thank you Mario

Thank you Jean-Marie

The last elections lead to the renewal of ten committee members at 31 December 2018. Rest assured, they will be renewed, the majority having stood for re-election; see further on the word from our Secretary or the Pending 2018 elections on the website.

I would like to address to Gertjan, although staying on the committee, Mario and Jean-Marie leaving it, all three very close and much-appreciated colleagues, a very special thank-you via our Bulletin.

Firstly, our President who has led and co-ordinated the GAC-EPA team in a professional manner with exceptional clairvoyance, qualities which cannot be ignored and are very necessary to ensure the durability of the GAC-EPA mandate. In particular, he protected our social rights acquired and negotiated since the beginning of CERN.

Social rights are often under fire everywhere as can be seen in particular in our Member States. CERN cannot avoid it and it takes courage, clairvoyance and a fighting spirit to face administrators sure of their opinions, mandated by government administrations in their respective countries who more and more tend towards an overiding liberalism. Gertjan has a long experience in these matters of defending and protecting social rights. He is well aware of vigilance and defense to protect that which our elders fought for valiantly.

Thank you, Gertjan, for your charisma, we remain eternally grateful to you.

Mario has been Group Secretary for ten years, already... Behind the scenes, remaining discreet, making waves only in committee meetings, he has accomplished an enormous amount of work, very much needed for the group’s functioning and for the archives. He has written innumerous Minutes of Annual General Meetings and committee activity reports. He has kept contacts flowing with our members and preserved the link with our group to keep us all informed. Along with his Assistant Secretary, our Treasurer, our President and our Webmaster as well as with all those involved with protecting our rights, he has put down on paper everything that needs to be kept over time.[We owe him a lot for all the work and actions he has taken in meetings and these will be missed, for sure. Bon vent, Mario!

It was with pleasure that I took over from Jean- Marie, gaining your advice, your care with writing up the Bulletin which has evolved, you gave me a free hand to innovate as I pleased, following new tendancies in keeping with the times. Computerization has not taken over completely, we still write! I wish you all the best in the coming years whilst knowing that I can still count on your support.

I may emba[rass our colleagues who are stepping down, but a proper thank-you is the order of the day, without exception, for all you have accomplished. You will remain close to our hearts, and welcome to the newcomers.


ESO Matters



The ESO Health Working Group (HWG) has met three times in the last 6-months to discuss ongoing and new health issues raised by ESO staff and pensioners. There is a general impression that the current ESO Administration is more receptive to the recommendations and desires for increased transparency than has sometimes been the case in the past. The last HWG meeting, held on 30 October, was mainly concerned with preparation for the forthcoming annual meeting between ESO and CIGNA at which possible contractual changes and improvements are discussed and agreed that will be effective on 1st January 2019. Two members of the HWG participate in this meeting.

One item of on-going concern is that lack of clear follow-up on action items identified at the last ESOCIGNA meeting in 2017. The HWG would like a follow-up procedure to be established that includes the distribution of reports and conclusions identified in the action items.

A new proposal from the HWG is to specifically include palliative care and hospice treatment for the terminally ill. This is not specifically mentioned in the list of benefits and can lead to uncomfortable discussions with CIGNA when the need arises. Several on-going issues raised previously by the HWG will also be on the agenda. These include the reimbursement of medical costs during periods in rehabilitation clinics, and the general review of ceilings and Long-Term Care benefits.

A more general issue recently brought to the attention of the HWG is the role of the CIGNA medical consultants. The HWG understands that these anonymous consultants are there to ensure the indications and treatments proposed for a patient are covered by the medical plan. However, several incidents recently have shown that CIGNA considers their role to be much larger and, in some cases, to challenge the medical diagnosis of the consulting doctor. Examples include a case where a doctor prescribed 50 hours psychiatric treatment, and CIGNA authorises only 15 hours without detailed medical reports. Or a case where CIGNA requested a medical report, treatment plan and x-ray image before they agreed to repay €36 for three knee injections that were clearly covered by the plan. The HWG would like the role of the CIGNA medical consultants to be clarified and their names and medical qualifications to be published.

ESO Staff Association.

The main current issue relating to the retired ESO staff relates to the new Staff Association Statutes that has been mentioned in previous Bulletins. On this there has been no progress yet.


News in brief and activities of the Committee — (From May 2018 to October 2018)


(original French)

For me, your secretary, this is the last article of a series which began in Spring 2009; my mandate on the GAC-EPA Committee comes to an end on 31 December 2018 and I have decided not to stand for reelection. After 10 years at the service of the GAC-EPA, it is time to turn the page ...

This will not prevent me continuing to follow the activities of the Association with great interest and to support any actions taken to defend the rights of the pensioners.

In the following I will give you an outline of the issues which have captured the attention of your committee during the past six months and which bring us close to a climatically-warmed Winter and the end of 2018.

In some cases, the detailed articles which follow will give you more information on important matters, such as the Pension Fund, the Health Insurance Scheme and the regular monthly meetings.

You can consult previous Bulletins.

The Secretariat remains at your disposal for any additional details via the contact form.

Composition of the Committee, allocation of posts, 2018 elections


The current committee has been in place since 5 October 2018, there is little change to what was published in the Spring Bulletin. The committee consists of 21 elected members, 2 coopted members and 2 invited members.

2018 Elections

This period of the year is election time. We have to partially renew the Committee since nine elected members are coming to the ends of their mandates; one of the auditors is also reaching the end of his mandate, so we have to elect a replacement. The 2018 election concerns the mandate period 2019- 2020.

Following the request made on 20 August 2018, we had ten candidates, seven of the nine reaching the ends of their mandates, one of the coopted members, one of the invited members and one new candidate.

Then on 5 October 2018 during our committee meeting, a member whose mandate was until 31 December 2019 announced his intention to resign as from 31 December 2018. The President having accepted this resignation, we therefore had to replace ten and not nine members for the period 2019-2020.

Concerning the auditors, we received just a single candidature, from the auditor whose mandate was finishing.

Thus, for both the committee and the auditors the number of candidates was equal to the number of posts vacant. This led the Committee, in its meeting on 5 October 2018, to favour an implicit election of all the valid candidates, as allowed for in articles 5 and 19 of the current statutes. This was explained in the letter dated 22 October 2018, sent to all members of the Association from our President Gertjan Bossen, which I ask you to look at again if necessary.

2018 Annual General Meeting of the GACEPA

The 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 13 April 2018, and the Minutes were sent to you together with the previous Bulletin no.54. You can refer to them again to recall the various issues discussed.

Reminder: keep your record of these minutes as their approval will be solicited during the next AGM, which will take place at the end of March 2019 (date to be decided).

Relations with the Staff Associations (SA) of CERN and ESO

Our contact with the CERN SA is mainly through our participation in meetings of the Staff Council and its working groups. The working groups which occupy us in particular are those :

because it is in these that matters directly affecting us are discussed, namely the Pension Fund and the Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS).

For some months now, the legal working group has also been very active; it is closely following the revision of Operational Circular 11 dealing with the protection of our personal data and in this group we have a representative and a deputy who regularly participate.

Our colleague Martin Cullum, representing the ESO pensioners, will doubtless mention in his report the situation regarding the ESO SA; the statutes of the Association are being completely revised and relations with the ESO Management seem to be improving.

Relations with the CERN Management

To simplify as far as possible your access to the CERN sites, we repeat this reminder.

Reminder: to avoid difficulties in accessing the CERN sites, ensure that your personal access card and that of your spouse (where relevant) are up-to-date, and that if you enter by car that it is properly registered. This registration can be done in building 55 (main entrance of the Meyrin site), on production of your identity document and the vehicle papers.

Every person entering the CERN sites, whether on foot or with a vehicle, must be in possession of a personal access card which has not expired. Another aspect of our relationship with the CERN Management, which has been mentioned before, concerns electronic access to administrative documents, access to WiFi when we are at CERN and the question of our computer identification. There has been little progress on this despite our repeated requests to the Head of Administration, the work of the task force which was set up several months ago is advancing very slowly. Our computer expert has however put on our public website the instructions to follow in order to access the WiFi when you are at CERN.

Relations with the Administrative Council of the Pension Fund (CACP)

Reminder: on the CACP, whose role is the governance of the Pension Fund, we have a GAC-EPA representative, Michel Baboulaz, in function since 1 January 2015. The CACP is supported by the Investments Committee and the Actuarial and Technical Committee.

All these bodies are composed of members of the Councils and Managements of CERN and ESO, as well as members representing the Staffs nominated by the CERN SA and the ESO SA, and the GAC-EPA.

The mandate of Michel Baboulaz on the CACP was extended for a further three years starting from 1 January 2018.

The Working Group on the governance of the Pension Fund, which was set up in November 2016, has reached the end of its deliberation and submitted its report to the CERN Council in June 2018. We consider that the report does nothing to prejudice the interests of members of the Pension Fund, whether active or beneficiaries, a result which is without doubt due to the strong commitment of Sylvain Weisz/GAC-EPA, and also of François Duval/AP, and we thank them both warmly.

One decisive point concerned the composition of the CACP, and we are content that it was not decided to reduce the representation of the active and retired members.

Another working group of the CACP was set up in Spring 2018; it concerns the acquired rights to pensions for surviving spouses in cases of marriage after retirement; a combined AP/GAC-EPA proposal has been made and will be considered by the working group.

The article by Michel Baboulaz on the Pension Fund will give you more details.

Relations with the CHIS Board

Reminder: the CHIS Board (CERN Health Insurance Scheme Committee) is the body responsible for questions of health insurance, whose current role is purely consultative, at the discretion of the CHIS (health insurance administrator); this committee meets in principle each month; our two delegates, Morna Robillard and David Jacobs, regularly participate.

Another reminder: the current rules of the health insurance scheme (pdf) have been in effect since 1 September 2017.

The directive concerning the restitution of undue payments is ready to [enter into vigour.

The subjects being discussed concern internal administrative questions of the CHIS, for the service seems to be inadequately staffed and also suffers from a lack of computer support.

The article by Morna Robillard and David Jacobs on the health insurance scheme will give you more information.

Relations with current and future retired staff

This year we did not consider it necessary to hold an informal meeting at the end of the year, but we were happy to welcome all those who could come to the end-of-year drink on 20 November last.

Do not hestitate to contact your committee whenever necessary. This is possible:

Of course, you can also write to us at

c/o Staff Association
CH — 1211 Geneva 23

Rendez-vous for the next Bulletin End April 2019

Written by your new secretary (to be chosen)


Pension Fund

Michel Baboulaz

(original French)

Governance of the CERN Pension Fund

At its June 2016 session, the CERN Council decided to establish a working group on the Governance of the Fund with the mandate to address issues brought up by the Auditors. This working group submitted its final report to the Council along with proposed amendments to the Pension Fund Rules, which were approved by Council at its 14th June 2018 session.

These amendments bring clarifications to the respective responsibilities of the Governing Board, its two sub-committees ATC and PFIC and the Fund CEO. They do not imply any change to the overall structure of the governance or to the membership of these bodies. The internal audit function for the Pension Fund is entrusted to the CERN Internal Audit service. It was previously the matter of an outsourced contract to a specialized firm.

The new version of the Fund Rules is now entered into force, paper copies are being printed.

Pension Fund Governance Structure
Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB)Entrusted by the Council with the overall governance of the Fund (de-facto sub-committee of the CERN Council)
Chief Executive Officer & Pension Fund Management Unit (CEO & PFMU)Day-to-day management of the Fund, implement the decisions of the PFGB.
Pension Fund Investment Committee (PFIC)Sub-committee of the PFGB on investment matters.
Actuarial and Technical Committee (ATC)Sub-committee of the PFGB on actuarial and technical matters.

Financial Status of the Fund

Given the high volatility on financial markets, it will not be possible to match the good return obtained in 2017 (+6.93%). The Fund portfolio managers must select investments while remaining below the risk limit set by the PFGB at -8% (i.e. a max. loss of 8% if one of the 5% worst scenarios would materialize). This limit reduces the choice of investment possibilities at their disposal.

Below are the monthly returns of the Fund, as calculated by the Custodian :

Rendements mensuels 2018
Monthly returns 2018

2018 Market trends

Submitted to trade conflicts and interest rates movements, stock indices move up and down with high volatility. The « Fear and Greed » index on the internet site stayed in the red, meaning extreme fear, for several weeks. But a specific risk is growing, namely the cumulated amount of debts by private firms who should reimburse more than 8000 billion dollars within the coming 4 years.

For some years, private banks got extraordinary high amounts of low rate credit from the central banks of the main economies in the world. They were then able to help industrial or financial companies borrow massive amounts of money. On the other side, investment funds and insurance companies are looking for leveraged loans (with variable rates) as they need high return assets. Such loans are pooled together and put on the market by business banks as CLO securities (collateralized loan obligations). Just like for the financial crisis of 2008, those purchasing an interest in a CLO do not know whether the underlying assets (the borrowing companies supposed to reimburse their debts) will be in a position to reimburse or not. Most analysts estimate that striking corrections may materialize in the near future.

2019 Periodic Actuarial Review

The preliminary work for this review made good progress. Based on the previous 2016 review, some points were particularly scrutinized in view of adapting their parameters closer to the statistical data :

Ortec Finance, consultant for this review, provided their long term economic estimates, along with estimated inflation and return rates. These rates are the main elements for the actuarial calculations of the future funding ratio of the Fund. Final calculations will only be made in January 2019, based on the Fund population as at 1-1-2019 and on the amount of the Fund assets at that date.


The Health Insurance Scheme

David Jacobs
Morna Robillard

Meetings of the CHIS Board

Since the last GAC-EPA Bulletin, the CHIS Board has only met three times, the meetings foreseen in July and August being cancelled.

News from UNIQA


Changes to the CHIS Management team at CERN

The section in charge of CHIS at CERN has been re-named to HR-CB-CMO (CHIS Manager’s Office) and the Social Affairs activity has been split off into a separate section. The plan is for CMO in the future to comprise the CHIS Manager, an Assistant Manager and a part time secretary. The present Manager, Jean-Pol Matheys, is leaving and his duties are being progressively taken over by Sandrine Baudat. The secretary, Sofia Slotte, has moved to another post and is replaced by Virginie Naepels.

The intended increase in effort to 2.5 staff is to be welcomed but the CHIS Board continues to insist with senior Management that this is a bare minimum for satisfactory performance of the task. Although a Post has been opened for the Assistant Manager, recruitment is proving to be difficult.

Reminder on your contacts with CHIS

UNIQA is the correct address to contact for all matters concerning personal health insurance cover.

The CERN CHIS Management (CMO) will do its best to respond to questions concerning CHIS policy ( In view of it’s high workload, however, you are invited to send a reminder if you do not receive a response within two weeks.

Communication — Mnemosis

The editorial staff have been approached to report on the the activities of an association in the Pays de Gex in order to inform our GAC-EPA members about preventive health measures.

Your faithful servant visited the offices of the association and herewith presents a résumé of his contact with three of its members,(from left to right on the picture) M. BOURQUARDE neuropsychologist, M. VERGUET administrator and Mme BRUN co-ordinating nurse.


The MNEMOSIS network is an association specialized in the prevention and treatment of memory problems. They evaluate the memory of persons over the age of 60 and propose a therapeutic support aimed at slowing down or stabilising the problems at different stages in their development. For information you can contact the network by phone ( or by e-mail:

You will find this network again in our Spring 2019 Bulletin where we will propose some exercises to test your memory.

Meanwhile we present the following information document.

Enjoy your read.

Your editorial staff

MNEMOSIS So as not to forget one’s memory

Memory is a faculty necessary for the constitution of our identity, our learning and our know-how; it is indispensible for our comprehension of ourselves, allowing us to turn to our past and from there to project ourselves into the future enriched by our experiences; it does the same with our emotions measuring the current emotion against those of yesterday. Our feeling of existence is woven by it.

Our memory accompanies us throughout our life, but we tend to forget it.

Who is surprised that we can remember the number of a hotel room for 2 or 3 nights and then forget it when we move on?

Who is shocked that one can easily recognise a member of our family from just a few features?

Who can remember past emotions from a single « madeleine moment » without further questions?

But when it no longer functions we do not realise it and thus we are spared the pain of the loss of contacts. We are ungrateful for our memory: we forget about it when all is alright and we become irritated with its temporary imperfections when we forget some small detail or we have a word on the [end of our tongue.

In fact, memory is a very complex function: there is no centre, but a conductor (the hippocampus) with many interconnected relays to the whole of the brain.

Our memory also allows the practical expression of other functions of the brain (abstraction, language, orientation in space and time, planning, etc.). Memory is fully realised in association with other cognitive functions. In the past it was said that memory is the science of donkeys. The idea being that memory has few connections.

Who gives credit to memory for the construction of other intellectual functions? Greek mythology puts Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, as the mother of the Muses. In fact she had nine daughters, the Muses, after her union with Zeus. She is also credited with the invention of words and language, and thus the possibility of expression.

The Mnemosis network wants to give memory its proper place.

As all complex functions, memory is fragile and can show signs of weakness: repeated forgetfulness, a lesser ability to reason and think. These signs appear with age, and more frequently when we change our lifestyle and our interactions with our environment; the cessation of professional activity is the most common one. Memory should be retrained by keeping its many connections. A single activity is not enough and too many people think of « keeping in shape » by doing crossword puzzles and sudoku. This is certainly entertaining but can in no way replace training guided by a professional.

Sometimes the loss of memory is more significant. The manifestations go beyond the uncomfortable sensation that we have just described to a discomfort that marks daily life: despite all the efforts to concentrate, we lose our thoughts, reading becomes difficult, our attempts at training fail. At this stage one should reconsider the memory strategies and adapt them individually. This is known as « cognitive remediation » practised by a neuropsychologist in order to regain a good level of memory function.

Finally, certain difficulties of memory are a sign of a true memory disorder connected to age, i.e., a degenerative disorder. This can be the expression of lesions in the memory structure (hippocampus) such as Alzheimer’s or be linked to a wider pathological process (vascular problems, Parkinson’s disease etc.). In this case one should enrich the cognitive remediation by a specialist accompaniment adapted throughout the evolution of the disorder.

The Mnemosis network is an association specialised in memory and its difficulties. It is specific to the Pays de Gex and the Pays Bellegardien, and is aimed preferentially at seniors. It is composed of a specialist team: doctor, neuropsychologist, psychologist, nurse, ergotherapist, medical auxiliary, etc. They propose:


Information sessions (permanences)

Jean-Francois MICHAUD

(original French)

Since the Spring bulletin there has been no change in the composition of the Information Sessions’ Commission, ensured by René Barthélémy, Michel Boffard, and Jean François Michaud.

These sessions are held on the last Tuesday of each month in the Staff Association meeting room except for the months of July and December in 2018. We are available to meet retirees faced with a personal problem.

The schedule is available on the website of “gac-epa. org” and an announcement is made in the “Echo” a week to 15 days before holding the session. As usual since the beginning of 2018, the most talked about topics are always the same of which you are well aware:

For more personal subjects, a “special cases” commission was created in close collaboration with the Staff Association. We will not talk about other personal matters since they are private !

As for every year the members of the commission either try to answer all your questions or to refer you to the appropriate service.

The exchanges are generally very convivial and rewarding.

In hoping that all those who came for information or support were satisfied with our solutions, we are at your disposal to continue our work.

Thank you again for your support.


The C2S collectivity was again asked to help all those still subject to paying the CSG - CRDS tax on their CERN pension or inheritance wealth.

Another subject that has come up this year is that of directly withholding the tax (prélèvement à la source). If you are used to consulting the GAC-EPA website, you will have been able to find the answers to questions you ask yourself.

With regard to the CSG tax on pensions or wealth tax liability, several actions are being undertaken.

A file has been prepared concerning CERN pensioners receiving a French pension, who have a Vitale card and who have never used it, but find it impossible to obtain the proof that they do not belong to the CPAM. This file is in the hands of a lawyer in Annemasse, the referral is ready and we have been waiting for the summons to the Administrative Court of Bourg en Bresse for more than two years. As for the other cases, that is to say:

  1. Those who have been subjected to the CSG on their CERN pension, also receive a French pension, do not have a Vitale card, but who have not been able to obtain proof that they do not belong to the CPAM;
  2. Those who do not receive a French pension and who are still subject to the CSG on their CERN pension;
  3. Those who are subject to wealth tax (rental income, capital gains, etc.).

The GAC-EPA has teamed up with the Staff Association, which in turn has contacted a Paris law firm and handed over the files of certain staff members subject to the CSG on inheritance wealth.

As a result, we were able to send various files concerning pensioners who find themselves in the situations described above, in order to group all the cases together.

We take note that although in the past it was the Ain department which started the “hostilities”, the Haute-Savoie starts to be concerned as well…


On the basis of the information we have to date, here are some answers to the questions posed to us by our retired colleagues residing in France about the withholding tax that will come into effect on 1 January 2019:





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 their address but is not authorised to give it to third parties.

Our Wishes

The Editorial Staff, Contributors, Translaters and Proofreaders wish you happy holidays and a nice year in 2019.

joyeux noël et bonne fête!
Your Comittee at work
joyeux noël et bonne fête!