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Bulletin 57

Autumn 2019

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pdf version


Message from the President


Dear colleagues,

Since I was president last spring, I have been able to see and verify the wonderful work of the committee and the very important role of the GAC-EPA in the various activities of the Organization.

As promoters of the action and in collaboration with the Personnel Staff Association, the Legal Service and the General Manager, we were able to resolve a major injustice against a member of the GAC-EPA.

This action made it possible to review certain technical studies concerning the Pension Fund. I am very proud of having had the chance to make a very important contribution for our colleagues also in the future.

In other activities such as the possibility of accessing by computer CERN documents particularly concerning the life of pensioners, we must work hard to convince the top management to give this possibility, which we have been asking for about three years.

I can assure you that our commitment and our profound motivation will always be present in all activities for the future.

Once again, I thank everyone and in particular all the members of the committee who work very hard and with great competence.

Your President, Enrico Chiaveri

New (urgent) Appeal

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



Bernard DUCRET

Mishaps in life come without notice !

Life isn’t all roses and sunshine, unexpected pains may occasionally fall on us. With a carefree attitude we may think such life accidents only concern others, but they could happen earlier in our life, for obvious reasons.

I personally have recently lost several close relations, either for good, or through their loss of discernment and therefore of autonomy. In that second case I can tell you that families are confronted with serious difficulties.

For that reason we are coming back to this topic in this issue.

Our colleague Jörg Schmid already warned us about this threat in Bulletin 51. Recent events were reported to us which triggered our decision to produce a dedicated well documented article, with indications of the different ways our readers may explore to calmly face such difficulties.

This article includes many internet links, both in Switzerland and in France, for you to click on, or to copy in your preferred browser. Should you be without internet access, you are welcome to visit our monthly information sessions, where members of the Committee will be glad to provide you with relevant informations.

A follow-up of our previous article about the Long Term Care (LTC) appears also in this issue. It is a reminder of the many battles leading to the developments of our Health Insurance which now provide a cover to all, should the end of their life prove difficult. Let us keep in mind that our current social benefits are the result of the hard work of our elected representatives.

Take care of yourself,



ESO Matters



The annual meeting between Cigna and the ESO Administration took place on 23 September 2019. The purpose of these meetings is for Cigna to provide a status report on the performance of the fund during the previous year and the projections for the current year. Issues and problems with the service raised by Cigna, ESO or the beneficiaries are discussed as well as ideas for improvements to the scheme. No decisions are taken at this meeting but, typically, action items are established for improvements which, depending on feasibility, may get implemented in the following year. The main points of discussion were:

Voluntary Activities

Following the EPA’s original proposal last year for a framework agreement for retired ESO staff to work voluntarily at ESO, HR department produced two confusing and unsatisfactory draft documents earlier this year. As reported in the last Bulletin, we planned to arrange a meeting with the ESO Administration to clarify the matter but due to a significant and unexpected reorganisation within the HR Department, this meeting was delayed until August. This meeting, at which the Chair of the ESO Staff Association also participated, was constructive and resulted in the Administration promising to produce a new document that resolved the identified problems by mid-September. At the time of writing this report, no new draft had yet been received although I understand that a document has been written and is currently being discussed within the ESO Administration.

ESO Staff Association

Updating the statutes of the ESO Staff Association has been a regular topic in the Bulletin over the years. But despite many promises by the staff committee, there has been very little action up to now. The revision of the statutes is relevant to retired staff as, for the first time, they will be included. There have been a couple issues on which opinion within the staff association has been divided (not related to retired staff) and this has led to the work on the revision being shelved for quite some time. After the election of a new staff committee in September, the new Chairman of the association in Garching, Gie Han Tan, assures me that this in now high up on his to-do list. We shall see!

Dependency Insurance

Second part: 1995 - 2001

Summary of the previous article:

In the early 1990s, cost warnings alerted the managers of the CERN health insurance scheme: its financial balance was at risk if measures were not taken, in particular in view of prices which were, at the time, rising sharply and notoriously expensive care for the eldest amongst us. Two successive working groups have highlighted, first of all, that the principle of mutualisation was not at stake and that means of monitoring and ways to gain savings could be implemented. A third working group raised and pointed out the costs for those with a high level of dependence and that we needed to find a solution for a problem that would become increasingly burdensome for CHIS finances. Many questions were raised and, together with the Organization, answers found (missing contribution for seniors, cost control in homes (EMS), economies of scale, etc.). It should be noted that TREF, which we have just congratulated with its 20th anniversary - and its 100th meeting - has become the essential organ of concertation following these searches for new resources. At the end of 1995, the idea of a special social protection benefit to be implemented became obvious, but how to put it in place, in what form and with which resources and above all, how to get it approved by the staff, the retirees and our governors?

We have of course looked around and studied social security systems, notably those for the coordinated international organisations. The meeting at the Hague made it evident that we had to tackle this problem urgently, since nothing was foreseen at CERN.

At the end of 1995 relations between the Staff Association, the Member States and the CERN Directorate at that time were very tense and there were nearly six months when this topic was left on the sidelines, punctuated by periods of evasiveness by the Directorate.The only decision take was to mandate a member of the CHIS Board, Henry ATHERTON, to follow developments in the other international organisations.

From July 1996 onwards there began a time of intense discussions initiated by Derek BALL, our representative on the CHIS Board, who presented a first report (V1) on taking charge of long term care (LTC, the birth of our social protection system). This led to lively comments from negotiators on all sides during that summer; these exchanges, moreover, took place at a time when incidents (reimbursement difficulties for EMS care in Switzerland, the equivalence of CHIS benefits demanded by the Swiss authorities) came to the level of the administrator AUSTRIA (the predecessor of today’s UNIQA).

In September it was version 4 of this report which was presented to the Standing Advisory Committee (CCP) meeting which was delayed to October and was finally discussed in March 1997! This attitude of postponing indefinitely important discussions - notably on the amount of the premiums to be paid by the Organisation for pensioners - lasted till April 1997. Meanwhile the composition of the CHIS Board was modified on the Directorate side, and the subject, delayed since June 1996, was at last discussed in the Standing Advisory Committee (CCP) in April 1997.

This Committee then mandated the members of the CHIS Board to deal with a large number of aspects raised in the discussions and at last got to grips with a series of missions given to the actors of this dossier (what happens in Switzerland ? in France? in the international organisations? what about reintegration? the legal aspects? etc.). The CHIS Boards of May 14, June 19 and July 23 saw a certain number of contributions and advances leading to a new report on LTC.

The CHIS Board of October 23 should be marked with a white stone since this session set off all the steps which led to the realisation of the new system of social security for retirees, called Insurance for dependency (LTC, Long Term Care). The final report was made to the Standing Advisory Committee (CCP) on December 3, which assessed its magnitude, notably the costs involved.

This is when Derek BALL, the architect of this new system of social security, took his well merited retirement. We acknowledge and thank him for the immense work which he achieved over the previous seven years.

Other approaches were given to the negotiators, contacts with the Rentes Genevoises, UNO, EDF/ GDF Denmark and Austria, such that in January 1998 the Standing Advisory Committee (CCP) could decided on the most complete data. Meanwhile the CHIS Board was considerably augmented (9 members).

If the period from February to June 1998 did not see significant progress, it saw nevertheless the birth of CHIS’ Bull, the Health Insurance bulletin which everyone knows today. This was the first time in CERN’s history. During this calm period the Staff Association asked Prof Rossini, a Swiss expert in social security, to make a report on a system of dependency to be integrated into the existing health insurance system, to be presented to TREF at the end of September.

The Staff Association still proactive, announced in November that it had contacted an actuary to evaluate the long term costs of the options chosen for dependency. In December the CHIS Board announced that it would finance this actuarial study to be given by the outside expert retained by the Staff Association.

In January 1999, a permanent guest member, Vince HATTON (who ended his =career as Head of the HR Department) joined the CHIS Board with the mission from the Directorate to coordinate the construction of the new system via a working group. The group made significant progress to August and the presentation of its results to the Directorate was rather well received.

This is the time to acknowledge the inestimable contribution of Sylvain WEISZ who for months worked for the Association on various hypotheses for Long Term Care (with or without cover for the next 20 years, the costs of accommodation, and many other technical aspects of the system). His proposals gave rise to many comments, and finally they were approved as a serious basis for further discussion.

In March 2000 the document TREF/155 was issued and its contents were also part of the concertation of the five yearly review of employment conditions. Among the three proposals from TREF in April. that to integrate the new benefits in the existing Health Insurance scheme was retained. Its financing to be discussed during the five year review.

We then enter into the period when the system was defined, and how it was financed and how it was applied in practice. Considerable work, even if some had been done in previous meetings. We went into detail: defining the system. legal modifications to the Staff Regulations, the financing and possible reinsurance, the role of UNIQA, modification of its contract and service agreement (the level of services expected from the contractor) transition measures, the timetable for setting this up, etc. etc.

Throughout the year 2000, replies were found to the above-mentionned administrative questions. By decision of the CERN Coucil in December 2000 the Long-term care benefits scheme was created with effect as of 1 January 2001. Victory, at last!

In the following months intensive work went into setting up methods of transit funding to help UNIQA support the cases which emerged, in short, to resolve a number of internal management problems. A young legal advisor, Auguste NGANGA MALONGA, contributed greatly during the years 2000-2001 and his work was vital in the creation of a legal structure and the implementation of the scheme. Thanks are due to him for his contribution.

End June 2001 the ground work was finished and since six months already the first beneficiaries of LTC were being given support. What an adventure!

* * * * *

Thanks are due:

Many persons were involved with the birth of the Long-term care benefits : we wish to thank them warmly for their involvement as well as offering our immense gratitude. The negociations which are the substance of a much-appreciated benefit system these days were, at times, difficult, but the boundaries of diplomatic courtesy were always respected. The Staff Association was always pro-active in its negotiations and our GAC-EPA representatives paid attention to creating a system that would be a model of its kind.

Since its introduction on 1st January 2001 the LTC has given support to more than 800 CHIS members and, at present, more than 300 persons receive benefits today. We thank both colleagues of the Organization’s Social Services who, benevolently, since the introduction of LTC, welcome and accompany members who are in need of guidance for LTC benefits.

A special mention:

In my capacity as Editor-in-chief of the Bulletin and in the name of all who have worked with him, I wish to thank in particular one person without whom nothing could have been possible for LTC nor for many other benefits :


Marcel Aymon.

And, let’s not forget the “permanent secretary” of CHISboard who, since the inception of the project with Derek, and through to the start-up with Auguste, skilfully steered operations strategically and in a most discreet, but effective manner.

Our sincere thanks to him.


Pension Fund

Michel Baboulaz

CERN Council and the Pension Fund

The 2019 periodic actuarial review was presented to the CERN Council at its June session by the Actuary to the Fund. Council took note of this review, endorsing its parameters and conclusions. As explained in my previous article of the n°56 Spring bulletin, the review concludes with a reduction of the funding ratio at 103.4 % on 1-1-2041. Council however asked the Actuary to produce an updated version of its 2016 analysis of parameters and actuarial factors set in the Fund Rules. First examined by the Actuarial and Technical Committee (ATC) of the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) in September, this analysis provides useful figures clarifying the impact of such factors but it also raises some concern in cases where potential funding strains appear. Later submitted to the PFGB this document will be presented in a simplified form to Council at its December session.

The Council also asked the Actuary to provide information on conditions required for the opening of a different pension fund for future recruits.

The National Audit Office of Finland, as new external auditors, approved the 2018 financial statements of the Pension Fund. But it emphasized the deficit resulting from the difference between contributions and benefits, i.e. -77.9 MCHF, and the net result of the investment activities, i.e. 22.6 MCHF, which does not match that difference.

Financial position of the Fund

As from January 2019, the Fund performance improved significantly over the negative end 2018 returns. During the first semester all asset classes (except Cash) produced positive returns, the largest contributors to the performance of the Fund being equities and fixed income.

The sale of buildings in London and Paris returned notable profits at the beginning of this year. The end June table below presents the performance reached by each asset class during the second quarter (QTD) and the first semester (YTD) :

performance by asset class

End September, the Year-To-Date investments return was : 4.19%, down from 4.76% at end August.

As part of his follow-up of the periodic actuarial review, the Actuary produced a Dashboard at 1-7- 2019 with his calculation of an increase of the funding rate from 67.8% at 1-1-2019 to 70.2% at 1 July, based on Best Estimate parameters.

Presented in this Dashboard is a graph showing the proportions of the different categories of members of the Fund and the financial liability linked to each of them. The largest liability share (52% of total) is in respect of current retirees who joined CERN or ESO before the 1st of July 1987, when a major change was introduced in the Fund Rules.

PFGB activities

The PFGB examined, commented and approved a number of documents : Statement of funding principles, Statement of investment principles, General investment guidelines, real assets portfolio investment guidelines, hedge funds portfolio investment guidelines, private equity and private debt portfolio investment guidelines.

The PFGB was updated on the follow-up of a decision taken in 2017 to put in place a policy that seeks to incorporate the Environmental, Social and Governance factors (ESG) in its ownership practice and risk management process. The Fund is to join a collective initiative led by the Ethos Foundation “Ethos engagement pool international” which has chosen to focus on the themes of climate change and labor rights.

The PFGB approved the choice of a new portfolio management system. It also approved the renewal of the contract with the current actuary of the Fund and CERN ending December 2023.

Members of the PFGB were given a training session by Northern Trust on its tasks as global custodian, stressing the implemented means of safeguarding the assets under custody.

Fund Administration

All benefits are calculated and paid by the new CERN developed software since September. The Fund website was rebuilt this year, it provides essential information both for active members and beneficiaries. Some documents are available in full : Fund Rules, financial reports for the last 3 years, Statement of funding principles, Statement of investment principles, Code of conduct...

In its annual exercise for life certificates, the Beneficiaries service sent out 3346 certificates, they sent a first reminder to 109 beneficiaries then a second to 9. As at August, 2 certificates had not been returned and the corresponding pensions suspended.

GAC-EPA Archives

Search needed

Your Committee is making an effort to keep the history of our movement from its beginning (and even beforehand) also the traces of its entire evolution. This is constantly updated and the history is there to avoid the memories of the past disappearing with its authors.

With this aim, several document collections have been set up, in particular:

Bulletins from the Group.

This collection is complete and may be found in the CERN Library where every issue may be consulted in paper form. An electronic version is also available on our Group’s web site, however this includes only the more recent Bulletins (from No 26 of December 2002 up to today). It is planned to complete this list with the older Bulletins, but we do not have the person(s) to do this. We hope for a volunteer…

Minutes of AGMs

This collection is almost complete, but there are missing copies for the years 1988, 1989, 1991 and 2005. If you have a copy of any of these minutes, we would be happy if you could lend them to us so that we can make a copy for the archives.

Minutes of Committee meetings

Here there are more missing: Numbers 21 to 30 (the year 1991), 41 (December 1992), 52 (December 1993), 54 to 63 (the year 1994), and 182, 184, 187 to 190, 194 (the year 2008).

If you were a Committee member during these years and you kept a copy of these minutes in your attic - or cellar - we would like to know !

Many thanks in advance for searching, even if fruitless!

Gertjan Bossen, Vice-President


The Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS)

David Jacobs

The CHIS Board has met every month, except in July and August, since the publication of the last GAC Bulletin in the Spring.

Discussions have been mainly about the following topics:

Results from discussions

  1. The Directive CHIS/D/03 came into force on 1/07/2019 after approval by the CCP and the Director General.
    It is of particular interest for pensioners who are separated or divorced since payment of benefits can now be made directly to the spouse if he/she is the Subsidiary Member. The document can be consulted on the CHIS website.
  2. The renewal of the contract between CERN and the Third-Party Administrator (UNIQA) for a further 5 years is in finalisation after discussions on some performance indicators.
  3. Due to many small points of implementation, methods of presenting documents and administrative practice around the world, the Administrator of CHIS presented several points to be revised in the CHIS Rules to enable smooth administrative practice. All points were discussed by the CHIS Board and approved and due to a slight delay in translation of the changes the approval of the revised Rules is just coming up for presentation to the CCP. It is hoped to publish the revised Rules by early next year.
  4. It was mentioned in the last Bulletin that an actuarial review of CHIS was in the pipeline. This is now underway and a final report is expected by the end of 2019.
  5. Further discussions have taken place but no advancement has been made with regard to access by pensioners to the CERN official announcements on the website. The problem of internet access for pensioners is still not resolved. CHIS remains in contact with the study group in charge of this matter and the GAC representatives on the CHIS Board continue to follow the question.
  6. UNIQA presented the statistics for 2018 to the CHIS board and they were well-received. It was obvious that UNIQA receives information from all over the world regarding reimbursement, implementation of Rules when outside of Europe, etc. We took note that this concerns active staff on official business as well as pensioners who now live outside of Europe but remain members of CHIS.
  7. UNIQA continues to work on the project MyUNIQA to enable paperless submission of reimbursement requests, this is still under consideration. Release not foreseen before 2020.

Miscellaneous CHIS Board news

The CHIS section (CMO) welcomed a new Administrative Assistant, Sophie Wanert-Calaga, as of 1 March 2019. The CHIS board committee welcomes her on the secretariat of the committee and wishes her a pleasant stay at CERN

News about CHIS is, of course, available in a number of other places, e.g:

The UNIQA web site

The CHIS administration web site



The GAC-EPA AGM Minutes

The GAC-EPA Bulletin


No one is beyond suffering from a sudden loss of autonomy, for example after a cerebral vascular problem or a simple unfortunate fall. At our age, we are all exposed to the risk of losing the capacity to judge situations, or one of the many forms of dementia. We must think of this possibility, whose consequences could result in a loss of our individual autonomy.

This is what a former colleague reminded us in the Readers Correspondence on page 23 of our Bulletin No 51 in autumn 2016, an article which we strongly encourage you to read again.

Recent French medical news demonstrates the difficulties which a family can meet when it is a question of end of life. We have recently helped one of our members who was rather disoriented in his daily life.

Thus we believe that it is useful to encourage you to take action BEFORE knowing difficulties, be it either preparatory medical advice and/or for a mandate for incapacity (management and help with daily living) To do this, we give below several addresses in Switzerland and France which could help you in this respect.

In Switzerland :

The first to contact for information : Pro Senectute or the Social Service in your commune. Pro Senectute Geneva has links with other cantons and with other associations and organisations.

Mandate due to incapacity (management and help with daily living) : general information in FR/DE/IT/RM and in English.

Early instructions (medical care) : general information in FR/DE/IT/RM and in English.

Examples of practical guides : https://www.prosenectute.ch/fr/prestations/conseil/docupass.html https://www.caritas.ch/fr/trouver-de-laide/caritas-care/dossier-de-prevoyance/les-directives-anticipees-et-lemandat-pour-cause-dinaptitude.html which also includes the Actions at end of Life and Wills

In France :

For information : the CLIC (Centre Local d’Information et Coordination Gerontologique = Local centre for information and coordination for the elderly) at Chevry in the Pays de Gex.

Mandate for future protection

Early instructions : last wishes for end of life care


Information sessions (permanences)

Jean-Francois MICHAUD

The team is composed of Susan Leech O’Neale, René Barthélémy and Jean François Michaud.

They continue to welcome pensioners* with the same enthusiasm and kindness as always, try to answer their questions and help them as much as possible. The team informs its visitors about a variety of topics, of a general nature or more specific if it so happens, or even on more personal issues.

As you know, the topics are very often related to taxes and health insurance reimbursements. For some time now, Brexit has also become part of the discussions.

The Information Sessions are also an opportunity for casual meetings because, as the door is always open, some retirees passing by make a brief appearance and give us the opportunity to talk about the good old days: nostalgia sequences.

Fully determined to continue this mission, we will continue to welcome you on the dates indicated on the GAC-EPA website under Calendar, or by consulting Echo or this Bulletin.

* or future pensioners

C2S Collective:

As previously, composed of Jean-François Michaud, Michel Vitasse and Jean-Claude Gouache, the collective tries to unravel this interminable and inextricable problem. We are talking of course of the subjection of some pensioners to the CSG-CRDS on CERN pensions or assets.

A long-running story ...

The file presented in 2016 and followed by Me Teissier, lawyer in Annemasse, is waiting for three years convocation to the Lyon court. There is the example of the case of a retiree receiving a French pension, in possession of a ‘carte Vitale’ - never used, so not being a burden to the CPAMSocial Security, but still subject to the CSG-CRDS on his CERN pension.

For the other files, GAC-EPA decided to join forces with the SA, which is also confronted with the same problems for some actif staff (subjection to the CSGCRDS on assets).

Joël Lahaye / SA is being of great help by putting us in touch with a practice in Paris which has taken charge of the files we presented concerning the two subjects: subjection on pensions and on assets.

Joël will make a presentation to the GAC-EPA Committee in December. He will inform us of the latest results obtained by the Paris lawyers.

It will need patience, a lot of patience before the word END of this story can be written...

CERN & Society

WE HAVE BEEN REQUESTED to inform you of the existence of the CERN & Society Foundation whose main objectives are to:

  1. Promote public understanding of science and the various ways it affects our daily life;
  2. Encourage and support young people’s interest in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, with an emphasis on physics and engineering (STEM);
  3. Improve people’s lives by means of innovative technologies;
  4. Build capacity in developing countries by providing people with scientific knowledge and tools; and
  5. Foster creative synergies between science and culture, stimulating inspiration and enriching the cultural landscape. with a focus on projects targeting Youth & Education.

The projects of the foundation are financed through Partners & Sponsors as well by individual givings and legacies.

Further information is available on the foundation’s website or by contacting Mr Matteo Castoldi/IR, tel. +41 22 7678528, office 60/3-008, email: matteo.castoldi@cern.ch.



In the bul.56, the first name of M. SPIDEL is Gerhard, not Hans. Redaction offers apologies to Ms. SPIDEL.

Also in the bul.56, M.Ray Wilson, ESO, died on 2018/03/16 was not in the list. Redaction offers apologies to his family.

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.

Membership Fees

Subscription 2019/2020

A thank you from the Committee to the vast majority of our members who already paid their subscription 2019.

The others (who might have been waiting for this reminder) are invited to settle their subscription 2019 at their earliest convenience by paying 30 CHF to the UBS account of the GAC-EPA (CERN and ESO Pensioners’ Association),

IBAN CH47 0027 9279 C710 9245 0

For the future, for 2020 for example, it is strongly recommended to pay your subscription by standing order with execution date of 7 January of each year, with the message “membership GAC-EPA” followed by your complete name.

Pay attention please:

Our treasurer reminds you that paying your subscription by a postal order costs us money.  She asks you to please pay your subscription by standing order via the bank (see IBAN above).

Moving to Switzerland

To the attention of retirees wanting to move to Switzerland

Compulsory health insurance in Switzerland

In case of a removal to Switzerland from another country (moves inside Switzerland are not concerned), it is important to take note of the document

‘Information on compulsory health insurance in Switzerland’,

and in particular of the last section labelled ‘Specific information on the health insurance of staff members who are retiring, and their family members, who are resident or are taking up residence in Switzerland’.

Indeed, to our knowledge, when a pensioner settles in Switzerland (well) after retirement, it is exactly as if he were settling in Switzerland when he retired (at least as far as the Swiss authorities are concerned). This implies that you and your family members then become subject to the obligation to contract insurance cover in Switzerland with a LAMal insurance provider, unless you and your family members expressly apply for exemption. Applications for exemption must be lodged during the three months following the move. For information on the procedure to be followed in this respect and to obtain the necessary documents, please contact UNIQA directly.

The document mentioned is available on the CHIS website:

If you have no access to internet, you can obtain a copy from HR-CB-CMO, office 33/1-002.


This Bulletin reports on the activities of the Committee of the CERN-ESO Pensioners’ Association (GAC-EPA) and on the work of the CERN and ESO committees in which the GAC-EPA is represented.

Editor-in-chief:  Bernard Ducret

Proofreaders: (French)

Françoise Thévenet,
Jean-Marie Thomas

Proofreaders/Translators: (English)

Morna Robillard,
William Blair,
Michel Baboulaz

David Jacobs
Gertjan Bossen

Photo credits, tables: CERN, ESO, PFGB

The editorial staff is in no way responsible for the texts, drawings, graphics and photos published.  The sole responsibilty lies with the authors.  All elements constituting this publication are the property of GAC-EPA and cannot be used without the express written authorization of the publisher.