(Holy See Press Office) In the afternoon session of 8 June 2015, the Council of Cardinals received a report from Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap. with a proposal for the Holy Father regarding allegations of the abuse of office by a bishop connected to the abuse of minors, originally prepared by the Pontifical Commission…
(Holy See Press Office) In the afternoon session of 8 June 2015, the Council of Cardinals received a report from Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap. with a proposal for the Holy Father regarding allegations of the abuse of office by a bishop connected to the abuse of minors, originally prepared by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Cardinal O’Malley’s report also included a proposal regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy.
For each proposal, the report indicated the general terms which define it, issues relating to procedure and to the Tribunal which judges the cases, as well as the advantages of the proposal compared with other possible solutions. The text concludes with a list of five specific proposals made to the Holy Father, which are listed below. It is proposed:
1. That because the competence to receive and investigate complaints of the episcopal abuse of office belongs to the Congregations for Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples, or Oriental Churches there is the duty to report all complaints to the appropriate Congregation.
2. That the Holy Father mandate the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the abuse of minors.
3. That the Holy Father authorize the establishment of a new Judicial Section in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and appointment of stable personnel to undertake service in the Tribunal. The implementation of this decision would follow consultation with the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
4. That the Holy Father appoint a Secretary to assist the Prefect with the Tribunal. The Secretary will have responsibility for the new Judicial Section and the personnel of the Section will also be available to the Prefect for penal processes regarding the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. This appointment will also follow the consultation with the Prefect of the Congregation.
5. That the Holy Father establish a five-year period for further development of these proposals and for completing a formal evaluation of their effectiveness.
The Council of Cardinals agreed unanimously on these proposals and resolved that they be submitted to the Holy Father, Pope Francis. The Holy Father approved the proposals and authorized that sufficient resources will be provided for this purpose.
(from Vatican Radio)…
(Vatican Radio) The Vatican has called for waivers for the Least Developed Countries from certain obligations of intellectual property treaties in order to give them better access to essential medicines and vaccines.
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, said this particularly needed to help fight HIV/AIDS.
“Long-term sustainability of the local pharmaceutical industry would require the development of the internal capacity to manufacture generic formulations thus reducing dependency and the high import costs for obtaining [pharmaceutical ingredients],” he said. “In particular, there is a need to develop a second line HIV treatment which, a present, is more than double the price of the first line regime.”
The full text of Archbishop Tomasi’s intervention is below
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva
World Trade Organization (WTO)
Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Council
Geneva, 10 June 2015
I join previous speakers to congratulate you on your election. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about one-third of the population lacks regular access to essential medicines and vaccines. It believes that 10 million lives could be saved annually if such resources were more readily available.
The Least Developed Countries (LDCs), as the poorest and weakest segment of the international community, are most vulnerable. The classification of LDCs is contingent on a number of key human development indicators, including levels of poverty, literacy and infant mortality. At the beginning of the Millennium, the Least Developed Countries enjoyed the strongest and longest growth rates since the 1970s, benefiting from sustained global growth, surging commodity prices and buoyant capital flows. Between 2000 and 2008, the average annual growth of this Group’s real gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded 7 per cent, raising hopes that some LDCs may be able to graduate from this category within the present decade. However, with the global financial crisis in 2008 and the drastic change in external conditions, LDCs have experienced a slowdown of economic activity. As a result, their economic growth has been much weaker during the past five years. It has been well below the target rate of 7 per cent annual growth established in the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) which is considered necessary for attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
With the recovery of the global economy remaining slow and uneven, the LDCs faced a challenging international environment in 2013. This sluggish global economic growth, which translated into weaker international demand for commodities and a consequent decline in their prices, adversely affected the economic growth and export performance of several LDCs. The outlook for the LDCs in the short and medium term remains uncertain. While global output is expected to strengthen moderately in the medium term, uncertainty about the pace and the strength of the recovery persists. A fragile and uncertain global recovery could hinder LDCs’ economic performance due to weak international demand and lower commodity prices. Adjusting to a changing external environment has always been a key challenge for these economies, but this is now exacerbated by a weak world economy and prevailing uncertainties. The less favourable external environment, coupled with LDCs’ weaker growth performance, suggests that achieving the MDGs, or the SDGs that are planned to succeed them, will be difficult.
As underlined in the Istanbul Program of Action, LDCs are the most “off-track” in the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals. Their productive capacity is limited, and they have severe infrastructure deficits . In 2011, of the 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, some 9.7 million lived in LDCs. Of these, 4.6 million were in need of antiretroviral treatment (ART); however only 2.5 million had received it . Up to one-half of those deprived of treatment were expected to die within 24 months . In the 49 countries designated as LDCs by the United Nations, non-communicable diseases as well are rising much faster than in higher income countries.
Some LDCs have used the transition period as a major selling point for attracting investment in their local pharmaceutical industry . However, some LDCs have provided patent protection for medicines despite the availability of the transition period or have signed free trade and investment agreements that may contain IP provisions curtailing any benefits arising from the transition period. In this context, the report observed that the transition period in itself, though important, will not be sufficient to attract generic companies to invest in local pharmaceutical production . However, the transition period is intended to provide LDCs with the necessary policy space to take measures that would facilitate the growth of industrial capacity in desired sectors without being impeded by the existence of patents, which could hinder the development of the local industry.
Since 2000, there has been a noticeable decline in the number of new HIV infections in LDCs since 2000, as in the developing world as a whole, reflecting improvements in early diagnosis, access to treatment, nutrition, and responsible behaviour change. However, despite such improvements, the goal of universal access to anti-retroviral treatment is far from achieved and requires continuing investment and both health and community system strengthening. Moreover, the deficiencies of health systems in LDCs have been sharply highlighted during 2014 and 2015, in conjunction with the significant outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in Coastal West Africa. Such health emergencies could jeopardize, or even reverse, the achievements of several LDCs in terms of human and economic development.
We have before us a critical opportunity to help LDCs to reach health and sustainable development goals and the failure to do so could put millions of lives at risk. Access to adequate healthcare, including affordable medicines, remains a key challenge in most LDCs. The current flexible intellectual property arrangements for LDCs are a crucial tool for improving health. In fact, the flexibility agreed in TRIPS Article 66.1 has been accepted in recognition of the economic, financial, and administrative constraints preventing LDCs from immediate observance of all the obligations set out in the TRIPS Agreement. The general transition period may be useful in supporting the development of a strong chemical industry that could gradually move toward to production of API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient). Long-term sustainability of the local pharmaceutical industry would require the development of the internal capacity to manufacture generic formulations thus reducing dependency and the high import costs for obtaining APIs. In particular, there is a need to develop a second line HIV treatment which, a present, is more than double the price of the first line regime. Moreover, the costs for a third line HIV treatment could be as much as 15 times the price of first line treatment. Clearly, in this context, the establishment of a pharmaceutical industry is particularly important.
As clearly stated by the TRIPs Agreement, a well-designed intellectual property system “should contribute to the promotion of technological innovation and to the transfer and dissemination of technology, to the mutual advantage of producers and users of technological knowledge, in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, and to a balance of rights and obligations” .
In conclusion, Mr. President, the Holy See Delegation hopes that a sense of common responsibility, as shown in the decision adopted, will bring us all to recommend to the General Council a waiver for LDCs from obligations under Articles 70.8 and 70.9 of TRIPS for as long as they remain LDCs.
Thank you, Mr. President.
(1) Istanbul Plan of Action (par.4) doc. A/CONF.219/3. http://ldc4istanbul.org/uploads/IPoA.pdf
(2) TRIPS transition period extensions for least-developed countries, UNDP and UNAIDS Issues Brief,/13, February 2013.
(3) Mr. Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, Report to 31st UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board, December 2012, http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/speech/2012/12/20121211_SP_EXD_31st_PCB.pdf
(4) UNCTAD (2011), Investment in Pharmaceutical Production in the Least Developed Countries: A Guide for Policymakers and Investment Promotion Agencies (UNCTAD Secretariat, Geneva, New York), pp. 40-42, available at http://unctad.org/en/Docs/diaepcb2011d5_en.pdf (last visited 3 June 2015)
(6) Article 7 TRIPs Agreement.
(from Vatican Radio)…
Vatican City, 10 June 2015 (VIS) – The director of the Holy See Press Office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., gave a briefing this morning on the work of the tenth meeting of the Council of Cardinals, which began on Monday and concluded this morning in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. The Holy Father attended all the sessions, both morning and afternoon, on Monday and Tuesday; however as usual he did not participate in this morning’s session due to the Wednesday general audience.
Cardinal Laurent Mosengwo Pasinya was unable to attend the meeting.
The first day was dedicated largely to the examination of the draft Preamble of the new Constitution, which will be further elaborated.
With regard to financial and economic reform, Cardinal Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, presented a report with updated information on the financial reforms. He mentioned the appointment of the new Auditor General, the approval of the new Statute for Pension Funds and the completion of the list of bodies subject to the control and supervision of the Council for the Economy, in accordance with its Statutes. He also referred to three new initiatives of the Council for the Economy, constituting three working groups: one for the analysis of income and investments; one for human resources management, and a third for the study of the existing IT systems, their compatibility and their efficiency. He concluded by reporting on the progress of the various current activities of the Secretariat for the Economy.
In the afternoon session of 8 June 2015, the Council of Cardinals received a report from Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, OFM Cap. with a proposal for the Holy Father regarding allegations of the abuse of office by a bishop connected to the abuse of minors, originally prepared by the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Cardinal O’Malley’s report also included a proposal regarding allegations of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy.
For each proposal, the report indicated the general terms which define it, issues relating to procedure and to the competent Tribunal, as well as the advantages of the proposal compared with other possible solutions. The text concludes with a list of five specific proposals made to the Holy Father, which are listed below. It is proposed that:
1. because the competence to receive and investigate complaints of the episcopal abuse of office belongs to the Congregations for Bishops, Evangelisation of Peoples, or Oriental Churches, there is the duty to report all complaints to the appropriate Congregation;
2. the Holy Father mandate the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to judge bishops with regard to crimes of the abuse of office when connected to the abuse of minors;
3. the Holy Father authorise the establishment of a new Judicial Section in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and appointment of stable personnel to undertake service in the Tribunal. The implementation of this decision would follow consultation with the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
4. the Holy Father appoint a secretary to assist the prefect with the Tribunal. The secretary will be responsible for the new Judicial Section and the personnel of the section will also be available to the prefect for penal processes regarding the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults by clergy. This appointment will also follow the consultation with the prefect of the Congregation;
5. the Holy Father establish a five-year period for further development of these proposals and for completing a formal evaluation of their effectiveness;
The Council of Cardinals agreed unanimously on these proposals and resolved that they be submitted to the Holy Father, Pope Francis, who approved the proposals and authorised the provision of sufficient resources for this purpose.
In the morning of 9 June the Council of Cardinals heard a report given by Msgr. Dario Vigano, director of the Vatican Television Centre and president of the Commission for Vatican communications instituted by the Holy Father Francis on 23 April 2015 (made public on 30 April), and expressed its unanimous approval of the feasibility study conducted by the same Commission.
Starting from the analyses and reports of McKinsey and the previous commissions (COSEA and the Vatican Media Commission chaired by Lord Chris Patten), the current Commission presented a plan for reform to be implemented over a four-year period, ensuring the protection of staff and a gradual integration of institutions. These are the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, the Holy See Press Office, Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre, the Osservatore Romano, the Photographic Service, the Vatican Publishing House, the Vatican Typography and the Internet Office.
The Council of Cardinals expressed a positive judgement to the Holy Father, also in relation to the expected time span. The constitution of the dicastery will be drafted, and the necessary appointments made during the coming months to enable the process to be initiated. The Commission is currently continuing its work, which has yet to be completed.
On Wednesday morning, the Council heard a communique from Fr. Michael Czerny of the Pontifical Council “Justice and Peace” regarding the Holy Father’s new encyclical and the preparation for its publication. Fr. Czerny explained that, at the Pope’s behest, emails will be sent, introduced by a letter from Cardinal Turkson, to inform ordinaries throughout the world of the upcoming publication of the encyclical and to provide suggestions and assistance on the teaching and previous interventions by the Pope on the theme of the environment. It is hoped that this will allow individual bishops and episcopates to prepare for the new document and to accompany it with appropriate explanations and comments, so as to ensure that the publication of the encyclical is experienced as an important event in the life of the universal Church and in communion with the Holy Father.
The next meeting of the Council of Cardinals is scheduled for 14 to 16 September….
(Vatican Radio) The Holy See and the U.S. have signed a first-ever inter-governmental economic accord aimed at fighting tax evasion. Vatican Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher – acting also on behalf of the Vatican City State – and the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth Hackett, signed the agreement in the Vatican on Wednesday.
Listen to our report:
International tax compliance, exchange of tax information
The accord, the first formal inter-governmental agreement between the Holy See and the United States, implements new rules to improve international tax compliance and exchange of tax information in view of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). It concerns U.S. citizens who hold accounts and conduct financial activities in the Vatican bank, IOR (Institute for Works of Religion).
FATCA provisions were passed in the U.S. as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act (HIRE Act) in 2010 to target noncompliance with U.S. tax obligations by U.S. taxpayers using foreign accounts. FATCA requires U.S. taxpayers who own financial assets outside of the United States to report the fair market value of those assets to U.S: tax authorities.
To date, some 62 countries have signed FATCA agreements with the United States and a further 50 have agreements in substance with the U.S.
Under the new regulations, the IOR will adopt an automatic reporting system concerning accounts held by U.S. taxpayers.
Ambassador Hackett: a “seal of approval” on Vatican’s transparency efforts
Speaking to Vatican Radio, Ambassador Hackett expressed his satisfaction with the accord, saying it also puts a certain stamp of approval on the Holy See’s efforts over recent years to improve the transparency and accountability of its financial apparatus.
“Certainly we are pleased with the steps that the Vatican has taken to improve issues of transparency and oversight and accountability. This new agreement that is being signed today is a step in the process. And it is a seal of approval – I think for any financial transaction, it’s a process that you’ve got to stay with and you can’t let down your accountability system. So we’re very happy and pleased that they have taken this step.”
Ambassador Hackett points out that the new agreement is part a global effort to encourage greater transparency in the banking sector and to combat money laundering, terrorism and tax evasion.
“Particularly tax evasion,” Ambassador Hacket stresses. “There are other mechanisms that the Vatican has agreed to on money laundering, on counter-terrorist financing but we are over-all pleased with the way the Vatican has stepped up and really tried to model good behavior.”
Building on a series of Vatican-U.S. accords
Wednesday’s accord builds on cooperation between the Holy See’s Financial Intelligence Authority (AIF) and Vatican City State with U.S. agencies. The AIF has signed interagency agreements for information exchange with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
In May 2013, the AIF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.
In July 2014, the AIF signed an agreement to share information with the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Below, we publish the joint press release issued at the Vatican Wednesday:
The Holy See and the United States Sign an Agreement to Fight Tax Evasion.
June 10, 2015 – Today, the Holy See’s Secretary for Relations with States, Archbishop Paul Gallagher, and the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Kenneth F. Hackett, signed an historic agreement between the Holy See (acting also in the name and on behalf of the Vatican City State) and the United States of America to improve international tax compliance and exchange of tax information in view of the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
This agreement – which is the first formal inter-governmental agreement between the Holy See and the United States – underscores the commitment of both parties to promote and ensure ethical behavior in the financial and economic fields. In particular, this agreement will prevent tax evasion and facilitate the compliance of fiscal duties by those U.S. Citizens who conduct financial activities in Vatican City State.
Ensuring the payment of taxes and preventing tax evasion are of crucial economic importance for every community since adequate tax revenues and public spending are indispensable for governments to become instruments of development and solidarity, to encourage employment growth, to sustain business and charitable activities, and to provide systems of social insurance and assistance designed to protect the weakest members of society.
In a context of economic globalization, it is therefore essential to strengthen the exchange of information with the view to prevent tax evasion. The present agreement is thus based on the most up-to-date global standards to curtail offshore tax evasion through the automatic exchange of tax information.
(from Vatican Radio)…