With an event at the European Parliament today, the EU marked the launch of its participation at Expo Milano 2015, which will run from 1 May to 31 October 2015. The European institutions will organise a series of events around the theme "Growing Europe's Future Together for a Better World", fitting in with the overall Expo theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for life". The coordination of the EU's involvement is in the hands of the JRC.
The European institutions were represented today by the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Gianni Pittella, Vice President of the European Parliament. Mr Van Rompuy underlined that Expo 2015 is meant to be a milestone to tackle the major global challenge of feeding the planet, while Mr Barroso pointed out that the Exhibition should not be seen as a one-off event, but as a lasting process to promote European values in the future. Prime Minister of the Italian Government Enrico Letta emphasised the European character of next year's Expo, which has the ambition to provide solutions related to food security and nutrition for the whole world.
An overview of the Expo was given and JRC director David Wilkinson, Commissioner General for EU participation, explained the EU's involvement in it. The EU must play a leading role in ensuring sufficient, safe, nutritional and sustainable food supply for all mankind, while at the same time sustaining growth in Europe in the global competitive environment. Since the world population could hit 9 billion by 2050 and food demands would therefore increase by as much as 70%, the relevant EU policies, mainly through science and innovation, need to provide solutions. The EU intends to use Expo 2015 to contribute to the global debate on food and sustainability and to strengthen collaboration on these issues at national level with the host country Italy, at European level and internationally.
The JRC has been chosen as EU coordinator because of its strong scientific and technical competence in the Expo themes, and its geographical proximity to the main JRC site in Ispra, a few kilometres away. In close collaboration with the other European Commission's services and European institutions, the JRC will define the calendar of events which will take place at the Expo, as well as at the JRC Ispra site and surroundings.
The launch event was preceded by a meeting of the Expo 2015 EU Member States' Commissioners-General, chaired by Vladimir Šucha, JRC Director General. They gathered to discuss possible synergies and to present an update on their preparation progress since their commitment to take part in the Exhibition. The EU formalised its participation at Expo Milano 2015 on 9 December 2013.