Annual General Meeting 2018

Minutes of the Meeting of 13 April 2018

(pdf version)
recording of the session



  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 Information sessions “Permanences”
  13. Activities for the next 12 months
  14. Approval of the 2018 budget and fees for 2019
  15. Any other questions

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


Welcome, introduction and election of the Chairperson of the meeting

The GAC-EPA President, Gertjan Bossen, opened the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held this year in the CERN Main Auditorium from 14:30 to 16:30.

He welcomed some 200 members present and thanked them for their participation.  A further 80 members had proxy representation and he also welcomed those who were following the meeting by webcast, especially our colleagues from ESO.  He also noted that headsets were available if needed.

He then paid tribute to all those retired members who had passed away since the last AGM, a list of whom appeared on the screen, and invited the audience to observe a minute’s silence in their memory (see the up-to-date list of deceased).

After this homage, Gertjan proposed that Bernard Ducret be appointed as the Chairperson of the meeting. This was adopted unanimously.

(back to top of page)


Approval of the Agenda

Bernard Ducret, Chairperson of the meeting, welcomed the audience and thanked them for according him their confidence to chair the meeting.

He asked the participants to ask any questions at the end of the meeting and proposed the adoption of the Agenda.

The agenda was adopted unanimously.

(back to top of page)


Approval of the minutes of the 2017 AGM

Bernard Ducret asked if there were any remarks to be made on the 2017 AGM Minutes.   There were none.

Consequently, the Minutes of the AGM of 24 March 2017, distributed in June 2017 were approved unanimously minus one abstention.

(back to top of page)


Report on activities in 2017/2018 and presentation of the new Committee

Bernard Ducret gave the floor to Gertjan Bossen, re-elected President after the last elections in November 2017. Gertjan then presented the following report:

As in the past, Gertjan Bossen did not make an extensive review of activities of the past year since a lot of information can be found in our Bulletins sent electronically or by post.

Our public website is also a source of considerable information.

His presentation focused on a few essential points which would be dealt with in more detail by other members/colleagues of the Committee.

Gertjan then set out his report.

Elections and composition of the Committee

N.B. The current composition of the Committee follows from the elections in November 2017 whose results were communicated to participants in the informal end-of-year meeting on 21 November 2017 just before the annual drink.

You can also find the results of the elections and the composition of the Committee in the Spring Bulletin no. 54

Structure Chart of the Committee

Showing the results of the elections on the screen (see also the presentation on the website) Gertjan gave the following information:

Gertjan pointed out that after these elections at the end of November 2017, the Committee met on 1 December 2017 and made the following decisions :

Gertjan finished this subject by showing a photograph of the Committee during a meeting;  he underlined the excellent participation of all the members during the year and their competence and devotion to his entire satisfaction. He has no doubt that it will continue in the same way in 2018 which will be his last year as President.  He warmly thanked all the members of the Committee.

the Committee at work
the Committee at work

Gertjan then went on to talk about our Social Protection.

Pension Fund

N.B. The Minutes of the AGMs of 2015, 2016, 2017 allow you to follow the turmoil to which the Pension Fund was subjected by pressure from certain CERN Member States and the return to calm in 2017.

Gertjan then mentioned the following points:

The return to calm was confirmed in 2017 and at the beginning of 2018 and we no longer need to worry too much about "attacks on our pensions".

A topic that is still "hot" is the PFGB (Pension Fund Governing Board) the Governance of the Pension Fund. A CERN Council Working Group was set up as we announced in 2017 and our representative is Sylvain Weisz.

This group has almost finished its work and we think that its final report will not ask for any fundamental change that might worry us. The tendency that wanted the beneficiaries and the members of the Pension Fund to no longer participate in the PFGB seems to be moving away.

A redistribution of tasks between the PFGB and the Management Unit of the Fund will probably be proposed.

The report of the Working Group will be submitted to the CERN Council in June. Gertjan thanked Sylvain for his work.

Michel Baboulaz will give us more information on the PFGB and the Pension Fund in general.

This announced return to calm allowed Gertjan to state that it is now possible to be interested in two other subjects concerning the Pension Fund.

One of these is the Guarantee of pensions in case of dissolution of the Organization and also in a distant perspective that of our Health insurance. This started to be discussed more than twenty years ago, with some periods of advancement but more periods of lack of movement; a working group has again been active since 2017, Michel Vitasse will tell us more about this later.

The other subject concerns the pension of the surviving spouse in case of marriage after retirement. In the past, and no doubt for good reasons, it was decided that in case of marriage after retirement, the surviving spouse would not receive a survivor’s pension upon the death of the CERN (or ESO) retiree. A system was then put in place whereby for a premium the spouse could receive a survivor’s pension; but in practice the scheme is prohibitively expensive since the contributions are too high. And, in addition, the spouse loses their right to use the Health Insurance scheme. A Working group of the CCP (Comité consultatif permanent) has recently been constituted to study this problem and we hope that a solution will be found before the end of the year.

Gertjan then turned to the subject of

Health Insurance

where he evoked the following matters:

We now all know that a new set of CHIS Rules came into force on 1 September 2017. The start- up was difficult since the application of certain arrangements was delayed; also, the transmission of information was inadequate, the Administration thinking that all insured persons (active or retired) would be informed of the Rules on the internet, which is the case for certain retirees, but not all.

Our intervention meant that, on request, one can obtain a printed copy of the Rules by post. You can also obtain the document at the moment from the UNIQA office.

Finally, the SHIPID exercise concerning the form (sent out on A3 paper to retirees) to determine the amount of complementary premium to be paid by spouses having an income.

This exercise of the HR Department is now almost finished and any eventual changes in premium put into force on 1 March 2018. Here again information was lacking since retired assured members were not informed in advance of the change in the amount of their complementary premium. Gertjan pointed this out to the Director of Administration; he hopes that this has been noted and that in the future any change to our pension payment will be communicated in advance in writing.

More information on Health Insurance will be given by Morna Robillard later.

Gertjan now tackled the last subject of his presentation:

Access to the CERN site

and proposed to talk about the following points:

On the first point Gertjan thinks that at present, physical access to the CERN site presents no particular problem apart from the fact that one must be in possession of one’s nominative access card and have registered one’s car at Bldg 55.

Computing identity of retirees, is more of a «future project» ; on retirement we disappear from the radar of CERN; this creates problems since we do not have authorised computer access to certain documents, in particular as far as our social protection is concerned.

Our intervention with the Director of Administration has raised awareness of the problem and a working group (RACF) was set up in 2017 to study the question (but we are not allowed to participate). The IT Department is making a study of the issue; we do not anticipate anything concrete for 2 years.

Finally, on the third point, communication, we do not let down our guard and continue to make the Administration aware of the necessity of communicating as efficiently as possible with the retirees, preferably in writing for important matters, even when computer liaison is available.

Bernard Ducret thanked Gertjan and handed the floor to Monique Häusermann for the following report:

(back to top of page)


Treasurer’s Report

Monique presented the 2017 accounts, clarifying each point in the tables below. First the accounts :

Profit and Loss as at 2017-12-31

Staff Association 21'600.00 21'500.00 21'600.00
Bank charges 68.25 62.10 70.00
Postal charges 134.10 73.80 100.00
Receptions, meals 9'274.26 9'884.68 10'000.00
Gifts 60.75 80.00
Printing 9'260.10 14'012.35 15'000.00
Administration costs 40.00 22.00 50.00
Computing costs 380.00 462.90 500.00
Miscellaneous 136.30 711.62 150.00
Experts’ fees 3'950.73
Total expenditure 44'843.74 46'790.20 47'550.00
Surplus 4'029.14 1'941.47 2'450.00
TOTAL 48'872.88 48'731.67 50'000.00
REVENUE 2016 2017 BUDGET 2018
Membership fees 48'792.78 48'731.67 50'000.00
Donations 70.00
Bank Interest 10.10
Postal interest
Total revenue 48'872.88 48'731.67 50'000.00
Excess expenditure
TOTAL 48'872.88 48'731.67 50'000.00

Balance Sheet as at 2017-12-31

Postal account 10'948.10
UBS current account 14'999.01
UBS savings account 101'168.10
TOTAL 127'115.21
Capital 71'344.39
Transitional liability 3'829.35
Legal Costs Reserve 50'000
Results for 2017 1'941.47
TOTAL 127'115.21

Monique reminded us once again that the membership fees went up from 25 to 30 francs three years ago. Some members are still paying the old fees. She asked them to please update their bank or postal standing order.

The Chairperson supported this request and thanked Monique for her presentation which did not give rise to any remarks from the Members and asked the Auditors to present their report.

(back to top of page)


Auditors’ Report

Adrianus Van Praag presented the following report in his name and that of his colleague Reiner Schmidt:

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 : Reiner SCHMIDT and Adrianus VAN PRAAG CERN,
20 March 2018

(back to top of page)


Approval of the three preceding Reports

Bernard Ducret thanked Adrianus Van Praag and invited the Assembly to approve the three preceding reports (Activity Report 2017-2018, Treasurer’s Report, Auditors’ Report), simultaneously.

There were no votes against and no abstentions.

These three reports were unanimously approved.

(back to top of page)


Call for candidates and approval of the list of scrutineers for the elections in the fourth quarter of 2018 (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 (2017) 17 in total, all of whom will continue in 2018 barring news to the contrary.

First NameSurname

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


Send a message to the Secretariat using the contact form


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 2018 elections.

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

(back to top of page)


Pension Fund Report

The main points on the 2017 agenda of the Pension Fund Governing Board are presented by Michel Baboulaz, our GAC-EPA representative :

Main topics discussed in 2017 Contracts and mandates :

A worlwide auditor, PWC is currently auditing the Fund.

The global custodian Northern Trust is an american bank, just like State Street. Among others, its activities include the accounting of the Fund assets and any related financial tasks.

His mandate as member of the PFGB being renewed for 3 years, Michel also remains a member of the Actuarial and Technical Committee.

He then presents the 2017 PFGB activities :


Capital preservation is the main objective set to Ortec Finance. In principle this objective limits potential losses but also gains. The risk limit is such that a maximum annual loss of 8% could happen in 5% of the most unfavourable scenarios. Under these conditions, the likely 2018 assets return would stand at 2.1%, compared to 6.93% in 2017.

Council adopted the revised risk framework allowing the risk to reach -10% in some specified cases in order to avoid excessive losses. This revised framework has not yet been used.

Based on swiss data, the VZ2010 mortality table used by the Actuary with a 83% reduction rate could be replaced by the ICSLT2013 table which is based on european data closer to the CERN population.

The ESO special contribution was changed from 1.3 to 1.4 MCHF effective from 2011.

Michel then shows demographic figures of the Fund membership :

Pension Fund demography (CERN and ESO)

Evolution 1-1-2016 to 1-1-2018

active retired dependant
total benefic.
at 2016-01-01 3618 2633 756 253 3642
difference +294 -42 +63 +72 +93
at 2018-01-01 3912 2591 819 325 3735

Note : Death estimates by the Actuary (83% of VZ2010 Gen) were 223, but only 199 were accounted. A review of the table and the reduction factor is therefore required for the 2019 Actuarial Review.

Finally an improvement of the Fund financial status is presented by Michel :

Fund financial status at end 2017

The Fund performance in 2017 benefitted from supportive financial conditions, particularly on stock markets. It reached an estimated 6.93% return on assets. As a consequence the funding ratio calculated according to the Best Estimate actuarial assumptions is close to 76% as at 2018-01-01. It was 73% on 2016-01-01.

As a closing remark Michel mentions the less favourable return on assets at end February 2018, only 0.11%.

Some questions raised following the presentation :

Q: How are CERN PF assets invested ?

A: Investments are diversified, with around 20% in equities, also private equities, bonds, real estate, gold, etc... ; the financial statements of the Fund (see 2016 report) provide full details, they are available to any member.

Q: What is the funding ratio ?

A: This figure translate the Fund capacity to meet its liabilities (i.e. future pensions paid to all beneficiaries) at a given date ; as at the start of this year the Fund could only cover 76% of its liabilities. According to actuarial studies, this ratio would reach 114.8% in 2041. (This estimate may change later).

Bernard thanks Michel for his interesting presentation and hands the floor to Morna Robillard and health insurance matters.

(back to top of page)


Health Insurance Report

Morna welcomes everyone present and shows the composition as of 1 January 2018 of the CERN Health Insurance Scheme (CHIS) Board Committee on the screen. This committee advises on Health Insurance matters.

CHIS Board Committee members as of 1 January 2018

Morna reminds us that the CHIS Board is a sub-group of the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC) and its task is to prepare any matters for discussion at the SCC. Any proposals are submitted to the SCC by the Strategic Advisor.

She then moves on to speak of the newly revised CHIS Rules:

Revision of the CHIS Rules

The revision of the Rules required, according to Morna, an enormous effort, but the result has been beneficial for a better presentation and clarification.

One change affects directly retired couples who have both worked at CERN. Both persons are now registered as Post-compulsory members of CHIS which means that CERN must pay a contribution for each member. It changes nothing for the actual member's contribution.

Each member will now have their own insurance card and number.

At the request of the SCC a clearer explication is to be incorporated with regard to the reimbursement of any amount owing due to error of payment (too much or too little paid).

Morna reports on a few points concerning the financial situation of the CHIS Fund:

Financial situation of the CHIS Fund

Therefore, we have no reason for concern at the moment, the Fund is in good health!

Other aspects concerning the CHIS Board were presented as follows:

Computer access to CERN Information for retirees:

The working group, RACF, of which Gertjan made mention earlier, will in fact go well beyond the discussion of computer access facilities for retirees and is the reason why no results will be seen before two years.

The CHIS Manager is still waiting for the return of some 100 SHIPID forms. Further action will be needed to inform members of any changes resulting in the level of contributions according to the information received on the form before implementation.

Morna refers to good relations between UNIQA, the Third-Party Administrator and CHIS members as was seen in the results of the UNIQA survey.

Good relations between UNIQA and CHIS members

To wind up Morna refers to a subject concerning the retirees residing in Switzerland; they had been informed that they had to make a formal request to be exempted from the Swiss Health Insurance LAMal.

A satisfactory outcome with the Swiss authorities was reached.

Bernard thanks Morna for her presentation. He calls on Michel Vitsse to present the next item on the agenda.

(back to top of page)


Report on Pensions' Guarantee

Michel talks first on the present state of affairs concerning the subject, which is not new to us, and then about the Working Programme for 2018.

The object of this subject is to obtain a:

Guarantee of our Pensions

In the case of dissolution of CERN or withdrawal of one or several Member States we must look at the means by which payment of pensions would be guaranteed.

Since 1976: There have been 2 successive stages

Here it is understood that guarantee of the payment of pensions incorporates the guarantee to continue health insurance coverage.

As mentioned, the first stage began in 1976

1st stage 1976 to 1996

The first step, which has taken 20 years, has laid the basic foundation to guarantee pensions with the essential undertaking of the Organization (CERN).

The four questions to be examined in a second stage are as follows:

2nd stage: 1996 to ......

  1. Withdrawal of one or several Member States during the lifetime of the Organization and the consequences to the Pension Fund.
  2. Maintaining the level of benefits to be distributed by the Foundation after dissolution of the Organization and maintenance of purchasing power for beneficiaries.
  3. Guarantee that the Organization will pay its debts to the Pension Fund in the event of dissolution.
  4. Health insurance cover for beneficiaries of the Foundation.

The drawing up of Rules of the Foundation (defining rights of members and beneficiaries) is also foreseen.

Michel gives more details on each of the four questions.

a) Withdrawal of a Member State

Document CERN/3042 submitted to FC and Council in December 2012


Michel believes one should use opportunities which present themselves to further discussion on the subject: he sees Brexit as being one of them; and we do have a tangible example, the request from Austria to withdraw, uttered a few years ago and the avorted attempt to do so, once the cost of such withdrawal for the State was made known.

b) Maintain level of benefits and purchasing power

In the case of dissolution of the Organization and the setting-up of a Foundation, it will be necessary to define how benefits and purchasing power will be maintained.

c) The Organization's debt

One must not forget that the deficit of the Pension Fund is not entirely driven by economic events; it also has structural causes due to results from internal decisions made by the Organization, namely in Human Resources policy.

d) Health insurance for beneficiaries

Michel points out that there are many questions attached to the subject and to which answers have to be found.

The sub-group on pensions guarantees in the SCC was re-activated as mentionned at the last AGM;

The members of the group are as follows:

The working programme was also defined:

Working Programme 2018

As can be seen, the working programme is intense and it is hoped that the group will be able to carry it out to conclusion.

Michel Vitasse's presentation ends.

Bernard now asks Jean-Francois Michaud to take the floor and present the report on Information Sessions.

(back to top of page)


Report on the Information Sessions

Jean-François reminds us of the composition of the Information Sessions’ 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:

As can be seen, the Information Sessions are now also held on the last Tuesday of June since early 2018.

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:

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

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

So ...

Hoping all those who came for 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.

He then gives information on the French tax declaration:

Taxes in France
For the 2017 French income tax return, the exchange rate is:
0.89 EUR/CHF


This completes the presentation of Jean-François.

Bernard thanks him and gives the floor to Gertjan, our President, to present the programme for the coming months.

(back to top of page)


Programme of activities for the next twelve months

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

The objectives of the GAC-EPA on Internal Matters are:

With regard to the contacts with the administration and the cultural change at CERN, it will be necessary to:

With regard to Social Protection, which is for us the most important subject, we can at last consider that the situation is calm for both the Health Insurance and the Pension Fund; however we will closely follow the actions of the working groups:

The Chairman reminds us that the Committee listens to the members of the GAC group and that it can be contacted on the contact page via the public site, by coming to the Information Session, by e-mail, by post or by leaving a message with the Staff Association secretariat AP.

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

Bernard thanks Gertjan and asks Monique Häusermann to come to the desk again for the last but one item on the agenda.

(back to top of page)


Approval of the 2018 Budget and the 2019 Annual Subscription

Monique asks us to refer to the table presented under item 5 of the agenda and in particular to the column "BUDGET 2018" amounting to CHF 50'000.

She also announces that the 2019 annual subscription will be CHF 30 as in 2018, and requests all those who have not yet "remembered" this change in the contribution, made several years ago now, to take note and update their payment orders.

She finally asks for the approval of the 2018 budget and the 2019 annual subscription:

Without dispute, the 2018 budget and the 2019 assessment are approved unanimously.

Bernard thanks Monique warmly and presents the final item on the agenda.

(back to top of page)


Any Other Questions

One participant points out that the only disabled parking space in the car park beneath the Council Chamber, where, taking into account his disability, he could have parked, was occupied by a CERN vehicle.

Still referring to people with reduced mobility, one participant suggests that a chair be provided near the post office and the bank.

The Committee takes note of these remarks and will intervene with the services concerned.

There are no other questions.

Bernard Ducret, Chairman of the meeting, closes the 2018 Ordinary General Assembly 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

No other distribution will be made

(back to top of page)