Launch of the 20th anniversary of ECHO: extracts from the welcome speech by Kristalina Georgieva and the opening speech by José Manuel Barroso
Type: Speech - summary
End production: 20/03/2012 First transmission: 20/03/2012
On 20 March 2012, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, and Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, participated in the launch of the 20th anniversary of the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO). This anniversary was a good reason to celebrate and an occasion to recall the essential work that ECHO and its staff were performing every day. The event was entitled "ECHO@20 - We care, we act".
In his opening speech the President highlighted that the EU, together with its partners, had been able to reach out to nearly 150 million of people in need, in over 80 countries. ECHO started in the beginning of the 1990ies after a series of extreme humanitarian catastrophes. European countries were at the forefront of international efforts to bring relief, but the volume of disasters called for a more coordinated approach.
José Manuel Barroso underlined that the case for 'more Europe', also in the humanitarian field, was obvious. He added that ECHO's work was far from symbolic and it meant concrete and rapid help on the ground.
The President concluded with a tribute to the generosity of the European citizens. Thanks to them, the EU was and remained the world’s leading donor, in humanitarian aid and beyond.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior views of the Charlemagne building (2 shots)
||Arrival of Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Kristalina Georgieva: we have just received the preliminary data of the next eurobarometer which will be published and finished in late April, and it shows that 88% of Europeans believe in the importance of humanitarian aid, up from 79% in 2010.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by Kristalina Georgieva: on our anniversary, my messages to our citizens are two: we are grateful to you and we do not take your generosity for granted. We will do our outmost best to deliver humanitarian aid in compassionate but also professional and efficient manner. We would stick to the principles that matter to you: respect for human dignity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC: ECHO has always been a symbol of Europe's commitment as a global actor. Even more fundamentally, it reflects the core values of our Union on the world stage.
But ECHO's work is far from symbolic: it means concrete and rapid help on the ground. ECHO demonstrates that together, the EU can act faster, can mobilise more funds, secure more doctors and provide more food assistance to those in need, than when Member States are acting separately.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by José Manuel Barroso: the work of the International civil servants is not sufficiently recognized. Those people that are able to share great parts of their life for the common goods, for mankind as a whole sometimes risking in extreme conditions their lives? I think it is in our project to highlight this work. Of course we are proud of what we do as Europe but we are doing it as part of a global effort because that's how we look at things here in Europe, trying to put together all parts of mankind.
||SOUNDBITE (in ENGLISH) by José Manuel Barroso: inside Europe, ECHO is increasingly active, too: ravaging forest fires destroy our natural resources, extreme weather conditions or man-made disasters like oil spills disrupt and endanger people's lives and affect our economies. When national response capacities are overwhelmed, the EU can mobilise experts to assess the damage, make sure that the fire-fighters are deployed, water pumps dispatched and temporary shelter provided. And our regional funds can help build disaster proof transport and communication.
||General view of the event