Presidents, Prime Ministers, Ministers, Director-General, Distinguished Guests, greetings.

I am very happy to be speaking to you all from Brussels.

I’m sorry I cannot be there in person today. But I’m looking forward to visiting the site as soon as possible and seeing your great achievement first hand.   

Today we mark an important milestone for the ITER project, and for fusion energy development.

Ten years of work, and ten million components will culminate in the world’s largest fusion research device.

We cannot understate the importance of this as a technical achievement. Almost every individual element of ITER is at the cutting edge of its field. And I’m looking forward to seeing these extraordinary components combine to make something even greater than the sum of its parts.

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But today we celebrate more than just a technical milestone. I would like to highlight three things in particular.

First, the strength of international collaboration.

This work has benefited from the global collaboration between the ITER members Organization. And I want to thank our partners from China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States for making this journey with the European Union.

Without your participation and contribution, we would not be here today.  

I would also like to thank the European Domestic Agency and Fusion for Energy, as well as all the European companies and research organisations. Each of you have worked tirelessly to deliver the European contribution to the ITER project.

Reaching today’s milestone would not have been possible without all parties working towards a common goal.

Second, ITER represents the determination of the EU in the fight against climate change.

This Commission has adopted the European Green Deal as its roadmap to climate neutrality by 2050. In that light, the clean energy transition is both an ethical necessity and an economic opportunity.

ITER perfectly demonstrates this duality: it is a major investment in our high-tech industries and clean energy sources for the future.

Finally, I would like to talk about the importance of continuing to support projects like these in challenging times. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to readjust our priorities.

Europe is no exception.

The European Commission has revised its proposal for its long-term budget and proposed the Next Generation EU to tackle our recovery.

The journey might change, but our end goal remains the same. And so, our commitment to projects like ITER cannot waver.

It is not only a milestone on the path to fusion power, but also a valuable tool for investment and development of our industries. This is why the European Union will maintain its support to ITER over the next seven years.

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To finish, I want to thank all of you for your strong willingness to making a success of ITER. And what a success it has become.

I also want to give special thanks to the representatives of industry and the research community assembled.

We have learned so much from you.

You are the beating heart of ITER, and its success depends on your vision, creativity and hard work.

Of course, challenges still lie ahead of us; from this point on, our work becomes even more delicate and complex.

But month after month, as a result of your work, plans are becoming reality and fusion research will soon lead to fusion energy.

We are on the right track. So let’s celebrate our successes while looking forward to those to come.

Thank you, and enjoy today’s event!

 

*video message of Commissioner Simson at the Ceremony for the beginning of the assembly of the ITER project