Annual General Meeting 2017

Minutes of the Meeting of 24 March



(pdf version)
recording of the session

 

Agenda

  1. Welcome, introduction and election of the Chairperson of the meeting
  2. Approval of the agenda
  3. Approval of the minutes of the 2012 OGA
  4. Report on the 2013-2014 Activities and Presentation of the New Committee
  5. Treasurer’s report
  6. Auditor’s report
  7. Approval of the three preceding reports
  8. Scrutineers for the 2014 Elections
  9. Report on the Pension Fund
  10. Report on the Health Insurance Scheme
  11. Report on Pension Guarantees
  12. Report on the Social Security Collective (C2S)(CSG-CRDS)
  13. Report on the Information sessions “Permanences”
  14. Activities for the next 12 months
  15. Approval of the 2016 budget and fees for 2017
  16. Any other questions
 

Welcome, introduction and appointment of the Chair of the session

The Chair of GAC-EPA, Gertjan Bossen, opened the 2017 AGM, held this year in the main auditorium of CERN from 14:00 to 16:30.

He welcomed the approximately 200 members present, whom he thanked for their presence, to whom may be added 100 proxy members as well as those following the session via the web cast, notably our colleagues from ESO.

Then he welcomed our guest speaker, Laure Esteveny, leader of the CERN Alumni project, whom he thanked for coming to present for us the operation and aims of this community.

Note: You may consult the screen presentation of Laure Esteveny (pdf).

Laure Esteveny thanked the Chair for his invitation.

She has been tasked by the Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti, to develop the project for a community of CERN Alumni, which was an initiative suggested in 2015 by the previous DG, Rolf Heuer.

The programme was the subject of a detailed outline document approved by the Department Leaders in October 2016.

The community is intended to assemble the greatest possible number of people with a current or previous link with CERN (staff members, users, fellows, students, retirees, everyone having had a contract with CERN, whether an employment contract or an associated contract) and wishing to perpetuate it to remain in contact, to stay connected to CERN, to share their experience and their knowledge etc.

She was sure that the participation of retirees in this community was in accord with the objectives for the programme, because they certainly have great experience to share from their career at CERN.

She therefore invited us warmly to declare our interest by pre-enrolling via : alumni.relations@cern.ch or by completing the form.

She added that both official languages - English and French - will be used.

Gertjan warmly thanked Laure Esteveny for her presentation and invited retirees who wished to do so to join the Alumni community.

Then he turned our thoughts to all retirees who have left us since the previous AGM—the list appeared on the screen—and asked us for a minute's silence. (see the up-to-date list of deceased).

After this homage, Gertjan proposed that Bernard Ducret should be Chair of the session, and this was adopted unanimously.

Note: the presentations of the speakers are in part integrated into these minutes but you can also view the full version.

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Approval of the Agenda

Bernard Ducret, Chair of the session, welcomed all participants and proposed that the agenda should be adopted.

The agenda was adopted unanimously.

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Approval of the minutes of the 2016 AGM

Bernard Ducret called for comments on the minutes of the 2016 AGM, there were none.

Consequently the Minutes of the AGM of 16 March 2016, and distributed in May 2016, were approved unanimously.

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Report on activities in 2016/2017 and presentation of the new Committee

Bernard Ducret called on Gertjan Bossen, reelected Chair following the November 2016 elections, to present his report.

Gertjan Bossen explained that his presentation would focus on the essentials, since there were many sources of information for members of GAC-EPA : the reported at the AGM, the web site, but also periodic bulletins and if necessary information at the Information Sessions, the Staff Association’s Echo bulletin, and specific “flashes”

He said that of course he had heard some criticisms after the 2016 AGM, and he hoped that this year’s AGM would live up to expectations.

He also gave some general information about the GAC-EPA :

Then Gertjan addressed the following subjects :

Composition of the Committee

The current composition of the Committee follows from the elections in November 2016, whose results were communicated to members at the end of year drink.

The elections for the partial renewal of the Committee were to elect 9 members from 12 candidates, 7 existing members and 2 new members were elected, the latter permitting a relative rejuvenation of the Committee.

One existing member was not reelected after having worked for many years in the Committee ; this was Carlo Vandoni, and Gertjan made a point of thanking him warmly for all his work and achievements on behalf of retirees.

He also noted, with regret, the low numbers who participated in the elections - 29% - nevertheless 6% better than at the elections in 2015.

Structure Chart of the Committee

The structure chart of the Committee displays its composition, and Gertjan went through it drawing our attention to the various functions of all its members in the service of retirees, and in particular the essentials :

Gertjan appealed for a volunteer to help our IT expert, and closed this part of this presentation by thanking warmly all members of the Committee who give their time in the service of retirees.

He went on to deal with important subjects in the field of Social Protection.

Pension Fund

Note: The minutes of our 2015 and 2016 AGMs will allow you, if you wish, to revisit the ups and downs relating to the Pension Fund, under pressure from some member states in the CERN Council.

The situation at present is calmer, and what we called at the time “the attack on our pensions” has softened.

Following studies commissioned by the Council, the putting into question acquired rights is no longer an issue, at least for beneficiaries and current staff.

Note : You may also find the result of the elections as well as the composition of the Committee in spring bulletin no 52 which will be distributed together with the present minutes.

In addition the actuarial study of 2016 shows that the Pension Fund will reach a funding level of 113.6% in 2041.

But the situation of the Pension Fund will remain an agenda item for Council meetings, and in particular the following points will continue to be examined :

Concerning the discussions in this working group, the rumours are not too worrying and the recommendations should not lead to too great upheavals in governance ; it is nevertheless important that the Staff Association and GAC-EPA participate in this working group in order to preserve the rights of present and future beneficiaries and to make sure that their representation in the Governing Board is not put into question.

We have also been led to inform you, via the Staff Association’s Echo or our public web site, about specific subjects concerning pensions such as taxing at source or paying pensions outside Switzerland, and here is a brief reminder:

Taxing at source

Taxes in France / Letter from the General Management of Public Finance in France / New form

Under the above title, the CERN Administration in the last Bulletin of the year (52-4/2017 of 18 January 2017) published guidance for current staff and retirees who had received from the French fiscal authorities a letter and form to be completed.

These guidelines were sent out without the involvement of the representatives of staff or retirees. We consider this a fine example of a missed opportunity, for it would have been possible to do better to defend the interests of the Organisation and its personnel, current or retired! Here is our position.

This letter and form should be used only to update the information on the civil status which the fiscal authorities hold about taxpayers. This update is not compulsory but it is doubtless in your interest that your civil status and your details are up to date in the data base of the tax authorities. It is therefore up to you to choose whether or not to return the form.

We believe that this letter and form, even if it mentions the introduction of tax at source in France in 2018, does not concern taxation of current staff of CERN or retirees.

This letter and form is also evidently designed to be treated automatically by optical recognition;

it is thus perfectly useless to add anything handwritten on it, or on a separate sheet of paper.

Accordingly, the CERN Staff Association and GAC-EPA recommend:

Gertjan underlined that the fiscal privileges which benefitted retirees in some member states are tending to disappear.

Payment of pensions outside Switzerland

According to the statutes of the Pension Fund, the possibility of receiving the payment of the pension outside Switzerland exists, but this arrangement is a “dead letter” ; hence we have sent this note out :

How to receive the payment of one's pension

The Pension Fund has informed us about the possibilities for a retiree living outside Switzerland to receive the payment of their pension by non-Swiss bank as long as this bank has a branch in Switzerland.

The essential rule such that the Fund can make such payments is that the IBAN code (International Bank Account Number) of the bank account destined to receive the payment begins with the letters CH.

European banks with a Swiss branch which agree to open an account with an IBAN starting with CH for a retiree living outside Switzerland can be accepted by the payment system of the Fund. Some examples are known.

If you meet difficulty in opening such an account, it would be possible for you to become a member of the AMFIE association - the cooperative financial association of international civil servants. Based in Luxembourg this association offers services close to those of a bank (credit card, savings account...). Many beneficiaries have found this to be a very practical solution. Once you are a member, the pension will be paid into your account in Switzerland, in Swiss francs, it is then possible to transfer this to another account in another currency in other corresponding banks.

Full details of how to become a member and of the financial services available may be consulted on www.amfie.org

Gertjan then went on to:

Health Insurance

Concerning CHIS, the CERN health insurance scheme, the main subject in 2016 has been the elaboration of new regulations for CHIS.

As the proposals come from the CHIS Administration, and thus the CHIS Board, which is the joint organ supervising health insurance, is now informed only on a consultative basis, this has led to certain frictions, and above all, a lack of concertation. Nevertheless the new regulations should become applicable during 2017, with no change to the benefits, though the following aspects should be noted:

Finally Gertjan referred to the health insurance for ESO, which is outsourced to a private company (CIGNA), and said that the Director of ESO has given instructions that there will no longer be discrimination between current staff and retirees in the calculation of the thresholds for reimbursements.

Then Gertjan moved on to his final subject:

Access to the CERN site

On this subject Gertjan had to note that communication by the CERN Administration is deficient since retirees have not been informed about access procedures and it is difficult for them to consult the relevant regulations, in other words operational circular no. 2 (CO2), for this reason the GAC-EPA Committee took the initiative to publish the circular.

But it has been noted that sometimes in practice the regulations are not followed, and of course the changes are not communicated to retirees. In addition retirees face restrictions on parking (the flags parking) and entry (the Jura gate inter alia), and only one vehicle on site, which we do not understand; why can the same rules not be applied to us as to current staff?

Disagreements can arise with the guards at the entrances and exits but we ask you to remain calm and polite with these persons who are only applying regulations, however absurd.

We note however some positive points :

Bernard Ducret thanked Gertjan, and as there were no further questions he invited Monique Häusermann to give the following report.

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Treasurer’s Report

Monique presented the 2016 accounts in detail clarifying each point in the tables below:

Profit and Loss as at 2016-12-31

EXPENDITURE 2015 2016 BUDGET 2017
Staff Association 22'150.00  21'600.00 22'100.00
Bank charges 37.60 68.25 70.00
Postal charges 97.80 134.10 150.00
Receptions, gifts 11'446.09 9'274.26 11'000.00
Printing 9'035.00 9'260.10 10'000.00
Administration costs 54.60 40.00 60.00
Computing costs 417.50 380.00 400.00
Gifts 46.00 50.00
Miscellaneous 136.30 150.00
Experts’ fees * 3'950.73
Total expenditure 43'238.59 44'843.74 43'430.00
Surplus 6'465.20 4'029.14 6'580.00
TOTAL 49'703.79 48'872.88 50'010.00
RECETTES 2015 2016 BUDGET 2017
Cotisations des membres 49'558.59 48'792.78 50'000.00
Dons 70.00
Intérêts bancaires 144.45 10.10 10.00
Intérêts postaux 0.75
Total des recettes 49'703.79 48'872.88 50'010.00
Excédent de dépenses
TOTAL   49'703.79 48'872.88 50'010.00

* For 2016, in accordance with the decision taken at a Committee meeting before the AGM, the Experts’ fees of CHF 7'732.32 were debited from the Legal Costs Reserve account.

Balance Sheet as at 2016-12-31

ASSETS
Postal account 9'841.90
UBS current account 21'267.19
UBS savings account 101'128.00
 
TOTAL 132'237.09
LIABILITIES
Capital 98'582.37
Transitional liability 10'892.70
Legal Costs Reserve 18'732.88
Results for 2016 4'029.14
TOTAL 132'237.09

The Chairperson thanked Monique for her presentation which did not give rise to any questions and asked the Auditors to present their report.

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Auditors’ Report

Ernst Radermacher and Adrianus Van Praag presented the following report :

Under the mandate entrusted to us at the last elections, we have proceeded with the auditing of the accounts for 2016.

After checking, we have found perfect agreement with the justifications at our disposal and the written accounting indicated in the books. We can but recommend to the present Assembly to give approval of the accounts to our Treasurer.

We congratulate Monique HÄUSERMANN for her management and immaculate presentation of the accounts.

The Auditors: Ernst RADERMACHER and Adrianus VAN PRAAG
CERN, 24 March 2017

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Approval of the three preceding Reports

Bernard Ducret thanked Ernst Radermacher and Adrianus Van Praag and invited the Assembly to approve the three preceding reports (Activity Report 2016-2017, Treasurer’s Report, Auditors’ Report), simultaneously.

There were no votes against and no abstentions.

These three reports were unanimously approved.

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Call for candidates and approval of the list of scrutineers for the elections in the 4th quarter of 2017 (Art. 20 of the Statutes)

The Chairperson presented this point of the Agenda himself based on information received from the Secretariat.

First he warmly thanked all the scrutineers for their help each autumn in the counting of votes for the elections.

Then he showed the current list of scrutineers (2016) 17 in total, all of whom will continue in 2017 barring news to the contrary:

First NameSurname
OlivierBAYARD
NormanBLACKBURNE
EdithDELUERMOZ
RolandGAY
RuthHAAS
LouisHENNY
JeanHUGUENIN
Jean-FrançoisMALO
YolandeMARTI
GuyMOMEUX
JeanPASQUALI
LuisaPASSARDI
BernardPERRUCHON
CarlosPINTO-PEREIRA
KeithPOTTER
PeterROHMIG
BernardTHONY

Then the usual call for candidates was announced since the By-Laws of GAC-EPA allow for a total of 20 scrutineers.  Members who wish to register were requested to come forward with thanks.

Call for new candidates

If you wish to be a scrutineer:

Contact the Secretary after the meeting

OR

Send a message to the Secretariat using the contact form

OR

Write to the GAC-EPA Secretariat

NB: Since there were no new candidates, the scrutineers on the above list and who were approved will be called upon for the 2017 elections.

Bernard Ducret then asked Michel Baboulaz to present his report on the Pension Fund.

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Report on the Pension Fund

Michel first thanks Gertjan for having referred to his nomination as a member of the Actuarial and Technical Committee (ATC).

He presents and comments on the main subjects discussed by the Pension Fund Governing Board (PFGB) where he is our representative.

The main subjects

During the year 2016, the PFGB discussed:

He then mentions:

Information Meeting for Pension Fund Members

Organised by the Administrator of the Management Unit of the Fund and the PFGB President in order to inform all members, both active as well as beneficiaries, this was held on 26 October in the CERN Main Auditorium.

The poor attendance of only about 30 people, including about 20 pensioners, was perceived as a lack of interest.

This low participation of both active members and pensioners could perhaps be due to the choice of the expression 'Information Meeting' rather than 'General Assembly'.

He then mentions certain demographic figures concerning the active members and the beneficiaries of the Pension Fund.

Demographics of the Fund in 2016 (CERN and ESO)

Active
Members
PensionersDepending
Pensioners
Deferred
Pensioners
total
beneficiaries
on 2016-01-01361826337562533642
Deaths-5-66-23
New Depending Members56
Departures-181-48
Deferred Pensions-7173
Pensioners-5757-3
Arrival450
on 2017-01-01375426247892753688

Note: beneficiaries of deferred pensions are once again active members.

Average age of active members = 42.4 years.

Average age of pensioners = 73.7 years with a life expectancy of 15.8 years.

Then he feels obliged to inform us of the poor performance of the Fund in 2016; returns on investments did not reach the aim of 3% above inflation, being only 1.48%; this implied a reduction in capital.

Financial results in 2016

As one feared the return on investments fell substantially and did not reach the aim.

The total of active member contributions fell from 4093 MCHF at the end of 2015 to 4060 MCHF at the end of 2016, and the corresponding funding level fell from 73% to 72.5%.

He finishes however by announcing that the year 2017 starts with better hopes, since in February the return reached 0.87%

Bernard thanks Michel for his interesting presentation and gives the floor to David Jacobs and Morna Robillard for them to talk about the Health Insurance Scheme.

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Health Insurance Report

First of all David painted a "portrait" of the composition of the CHIS Board as of 2017 which has only a consultative role now:

CHIS BOARD 2017

The meeting on 14 March dealt exclusively with the revision of the Rules (see later on) and an extraordinary meeting was held on 17 March to continue with the revision work.

CHIS statistics for 2016 will be presented shortly by UNIQA, manager of the Scheme, and will appear in the next CHIS Bull. The first six months of 2016 gave no reason for concern.

As Gertjan Bossen said, the revision of the Scheme's Rules has been closely monitored by the CHIS Board and by the Social Protection Commission of the Staff Association, see below some of the main points:

Revision of the Rules (by the Administration)

The next meeting of the Social Protection Commission (SA) on 28 March 2017 will have an in-depth discussion on the newly revised rules in view of the SCC meeting on 30 March 2017.

David and Morna pin-pointed those revisions in the Rules which were relevant to pensioners at CERN as follows:

Points concerning CERN Pensioners

Points concerning both Pensioners and active Staff

Other important points:

David and Morna wound up the presentation with reference to a few general administrative practices.

Miscellaneous

Bernard thanked David and Morna for their report.

He asked Gertjan to take the floor and present the next item.

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Report on Pension Guarantees

This item concerning guarantee of Pensions and the Health Insurance Scheme in the case of dissolution of CERN was followed up by our committee representative, Michel Vitasse, who could not attend this AGM.

However, Gertjan had good news to report as the SCC sub-group on pension guarantees will be reactivated in the coming week at the next SCC committee meeting.

Bernard now asked Jean-Francois Michaud to present his report about the Franco-French taxes CSG and CRDS.

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Report on the Social Security Collective (C2S) (CSG-CRDS)

Jean-François reminded everyone why this group came about in 2014 for a specific reason:

Group Members:

Goujon Marc (Associate member)
Michaud Jean-François (Spokesperson)
Vitasse Michel (Advisor)
Gouache Jean-Claude (Advisor)

He reminded us of the Group's aim.

Aim of the Collective

To get agreement from France for every CERN Pensioner residing in France that there would be a ruling against multiple adherence to social security legislation (UNITY).

(CEE Rule No. 1408/71 of Council 14 June 1971)

Consequently, a person, member of CERN Health Insurance (CHIS), is not subject to French Social Security contributions calculated on the CERN pension.

He gave details of three scenarios which could be foreseen although only the first one could reasonably be exempt from CSG and CRDS taxation.

REMINDER on how to get reimbursed:

Tax office requests "proof of non-affiliation of the French Health Insurance Scheme, known as Social Security"

1st Case

Pensioners not in possession of the "Carte vitale"

(In principle, no problem)

2nd Case

Pensioners who have a "Carte vitale" but have never used it.

(Difficult, if not impossible)

3rd Case

Pensioners who have a "Carte vitale" which has been used.

(Impossible)

With regard to the 2nd Case, in principle it can be upheld, action is being taken, patience is needed.

Pensioners with a "Carte vitale" but never used it:

This case is under study with our lawyer in Annemasse for one of our colleagues (since 2015). Actions taken at the moment are to resort to the courts, the Social Security Tribunal, has been seized and a receipt from TASS Dated 3 Nov. 2016 has been received.

Now waiting for an invitation to advocate this case at the Bourg-en-Bresse Tribunal.

Expected waiting time… ONE year!!

Income from Estate can also be subject to these taxes; the principle of GAC-EPA is not to enter into discussion on these cases; however, Jean-François is willing to set up a specific collective so that anyone concerned may exchange and discuss experiences they may have on the subject.

CSG on Income from Estate

Not given support by GAC-EPA but a Collective for discussion. Where are we with this?

After a request for reimbursement by DGDFP authorities a negative reply was received from the DGDFP after ? years!

ACTION

Contest the negative decision

AND … … wait and see

This problem seems to be affecting residents in Haute-Savoie now as well as in Ain departments and could spread to become a general problem. Always remember that it is possible to go to court but you must have a lot of patience.

RECOURSE TO A DEPARTMENT COUNSELLOR

who may consult the

"Répertoire National Commun de la Protection Sociale" (RNCPS)

But, experience shows that French Administration is a real steam-roller:

To conclude, Jean-François ended by suggesting that a special meeting for persons concerned by the CSG and CRDS taxation be set up and asked those interested to use the contact form on the GAC-EPA website.

Jean-François remained on the floor to present the next item on the agenda.

 

Report on the Information Sessions ('Permanences')

He reminds us of the composition of the Commission and also the days on which the sessions are held:

The Commission is made up of:

René BARTHELEMY — Michel BOFFARD — Jean-François MICHAUD

Opening of the Information Sessions:

The team, always at one’s disposal, is willing to listen to all the grievances:

Topics dealt with:

Finally ... we bend over backwards to help you...

The topics most frequently discussed are:

Jean-François takes stock of the year of information sessions as follows:

Again, we are very satisfied with our contribution in helping all those who come to the sessions.

If occasionally the cases are a little painful we try to bring some comfort.

So …

Hoping that all those who came to seek information or support were satisfied with our responses, we are willing to continue our "mission" on the GAC-EPA Committee, and thank you for your trust and support.

It is thus that Jean-François completes his two consecutive subjects; Bernard thanked him for his enthusiastic presentations and gave the floor to Gertjan, our President, to present the programme for the coming months.

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Programme of activities for the next twelve months

The activity of the Committee will focus as in past years on the following subjects:

With regard to Social Protection, we will be closely watching:

We will continue to ask for access to the CERN site and non-discriminatory parking for pensioners, that they be informed effectively and that a computer account assigned by the Organization be granted.

On the internal level of the GAC-EPA group, we would like to:

With these words the GAC-EPA President, Gertjan Bossen, concludes the programme for the next 12 months.

Bernard thanked Gertjan and asked Monique Häusermann again to appear at the desk for the last but one item on the agenda.

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Approval of the 2017 Budget and the 2018 Annual Subscription

Monique asks us to refer to the table presented under item 5 of the agenda and in particular to the column "BUDGET 2017" amounting to CHF 50'010.

She also announces that the annual subscription 2018 will be 30 CHF as in 2017.

She requests that all the pensioners who have not yet remembered that the membership fee was increased several years ago, to take note of it and update their standing orders if they have not already done so.

She also calls for the approval of the 2017 budget and the 2018 annual subscription.

Bernard thanked Monique warmly and presented the last item on the agenda.

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Other business

One participant regretted that the issues dealing with the CSG had not been dealt with in sufficient detail during this meeting.

Jean-François Michaud replied that a special meeting would be organized.

There are no other questions.

Bernard Ducret, Chairman of the meeting, closes the Ordinary General Meeting 2017 and invites us to share a friendly drink together.

The meeting is adjourned.

Editor: Mario Danesin, GAC-EPA secretary

NB: These Minutes must be kept for the next Annual General Meeting

There will not be another distribution

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