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ALDE pushes again for European coordination for tragedies such as the earthquake in Haiti


19 Jan 2010


EU Priorities 2020

The earthquake which has struck Haiti is a test for the capacity of Europe to act outside its borders. Nonetheless this catastrophe has seen a humanitarian response based on a national level. Each Member State is sending its own personnel, its own sniffer dogs, planes etc. This tragedy confronts us once again with the lack of European coordination in the face of humanitarian crises.

ALDE feels it is time to re-launch EUR-FAST, which allows the European Union to consolidate civilian and military resources to dispatch within 24 hours. This would be possible through the creation of a permanent coordination centre which could be activated within two hours following a humanitarian catastrophe with access to permanent stocks of humanitarian aid equipment and the capabilities to coordinate the transport equipment made available by Member States.

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group Leader said: "The addition of organised individual responses in an emergency situation will never match a planned and coordinated European response. Our citizens will not understand why we do not put in place an instrument that will allow us to intervene in an efficient and coordinated way"

Louis Michel (MR, Belgium), President of Parliament's delegation for relations with the ACP countries recalled that "the EU, collectively with the 27 Member States, represents the world's largest overseas aid donor, both for humanitarian relief and development. We have a vast panoply of instruments at our disposal to respond to emergencies and reconstruction efforts. But as long as national reflexes remain, we will never unfortunately be able to enlist the full benefits of collective action."

Charles Goerens (PD, Luxembourg), ALDE coordinator in the development committee added that "everyone is ready to assist in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster. But it is also important to coordinate international relief efforts on the ground. The hour of truth however will come when the Haitian catastrophe no longer appears on our TV screens. It is up to the EU to ensure that thereafter Haiti can rely on the same degree of solidarity as in the first days following the earthquake."

For more information, please contact:

Neil Corlett: +33-3-88 17 41 67 ou +32-478-78 22 84


Edel Crosse: +33-3-88 17 35 61 ou +32-498-16 17 80