Official opening by José Manuel Barroso, Maroš Šefčovič, Kristalina Georgieva, Tonio Borg and Connie Hedegaard of the European Emergency Response Centre (ERC)
Brussels - European Emergency Response Centre
On 15 May 2013, José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, along with Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Connie Hedegaard, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, and Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, officially opened the European Emergency Response Centre (ERC) in Brussels.
The ERC will provide a better coordinated, faster and more efficient European response to disasters in Europe and the world.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrivals of Kristalina Georgieva, Member of the EC in charge of International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Connie Hedegaard, Member of the EC in charge of Climate Action, Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Inter-Institutional Relations and Administration, and Tonio Borg, Member of the EC in charge of Health and Consumer Policy;General atmosphere.
||Arrival of José Manuel Barroso, President of the EC, accompanied by Kristalina Georgieva
||Speech by Kristalina Georgieva (in ENGLISH) saying that it is proven, through 180 activations of the Civil Protection Mechanism, that when a major disaster or industrial accident strikes at home or in a third country, a coordinated deployment of teams from the 32 participating States saves more lives and reduces damage and suffering; and in the face of more frequent, more devastating disasters and also more pressure on public budgets, they must continue to strive for speed and efficiency and this is exactly the purpose of this centre; thanking José Manuel Barroso for creating her portfolio and lifting up civil protection on the European agenda; thanking Maroš Šefčovič and his services for their work and for doing it in a cost effective manner; thanking other DGs of the EC.
||Speech by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH):Distinguished guests,Colleagues from the Commission and the External Action Service, Representatives of different governments, the European Union and the European Parliament, Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends, It is indeed a pleasure to be here with you to open the European Emergency Response Centre.As you know, in Europe, on average every year 10 000 people are tragically killed and 15 billion Euro of damage caused by natural and man-made disasters. We need to do all that we can, at every level, to reduce this terrible toll and better protect Europe's citizens. The new Emergency Response Centre will play a central role in this regard. Its core function is to bring together the collective knowledge and capacity of our Member States. The Centre will also support the Commission's humanitarian interventions and will be able to provide specialist services across the Commission during emergency situations. It will thus help to ensure a better coordinated European response to disasters, avoiding potential duplication and inefficiency. This is a prime example of how "more Europe" brings added, practical and tangible value to our citizens, and help us to tackle the challenges we face together.All of this will enable us to build on our experience of European civil protection that has been developed over the past decade: from dealing with the tragic "red sludge" disaster in Hungary to mitigating the impact of the terrible explosion at the “Evangelos Florakis” naval base in Cyprus. And it will enable us to more effectively demonstrate European solidarity at its most fundamental level.
||Speech by José Manuel Barroso (in ENGLISH):Of course, this solidarity also extends to third countries whenever a major disaster strikes. The Commission already coordinated the European assistance in international crisis from the 2004 tsunami in Asia (I remember well because it was at the beginning of my first mandate in the Commission and we were there. I cannot forget the words of appreciation and gratitude that were expressed to us by the President of Indonesia and the people of Indonesia) to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the Deep-water Horizon oil spill in the United States.This new centre will allow us to go a step further. It will enable us to put together a European response that is even faster and even more effective, in accordance with the Commission's legislative proposal on a Union Civil Protection Mechanism". I would like to call upon both the EP and the Council to rapidly finalise the negotiations on this legislation so as to ensure full continuity in the financial and legal framework for European civil protection. These efforts to improve coordination and cooperation are also being promoted through the Civil Protection forum which is being held today and tomorrow. I would like to wish all participants a very successful event.I would also like to pay a special tribute and to give a special little thanks to Kristalina Georgieva (you know her enthusiasm well), to her and to her team, and to all those that participated in this very important project. I would also like to thank the colleagues in the Commission - Maroš Šefčovič and his services. To all of you that made this possible, my very sincere congratulations and my warmest thanks. Ladies and gentlemen,In an ideal world, in which tragic disaster doesn't strike, this centre would not be needed. However, in the real world I am proud that together we have established a facility which will help give our citizens the European civil protection they expect and deserve.I thank you for your attention.
||Official inauguration of the European Emergency Response Centre: José Manuel Barroso, Kristalina Georgieva, Connie Hedegaard, Maroš Šefčovič and Tonio Borg cutting the ribbon
||José Manuel Barroso visiting the premises with Kristalina Georgieva