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European Commissioner Georgieva: “We owe the current mechanism to lessons we learned during the Marmara Earthquake of 1999” European Commissioner Georgieva visited TEPAV before her visit to Van and explained how the Marmara earthquake of 1999 helped them shape the current assistance mechanism.
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09/02/2012 - Viewed 2063 times

 

ANKARA – Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, delivered remarks at a meeting held on Thursday February 9, 2012 at TEPAV with the theme, “Humanitarian crisis response: The European Union and Turkey.” Georgieva stressed that the 1999 Marmara earthquake had taught them important lessons about how to get organized and set the main framework of the existing assistance mechanisms of Europe. She was scheduled to visit Van, which  was hit by an earthquake in 2011 to see how the aid had been used.

Speaking at the meeting moderated by TEPAV European Union (EU) Institute Director Nilgün Arısan Eralp, Georgieva first stressed that the world had become increasingly more fragile in the face of natural disasters and social conflict. Maintaining in this context that 2011 was not a bright year, the EU Commissioner stated that approximate damage of disasters was US$ 80 billion.

Expressing her regrets about the Van earthquake, she said that the EU had responded immediately and that the Union had mobilized a EUR 4 million grant and tents for 15,000 people within a short period of time.

Turkey second largest donor following Saudi Arabia

Georgieva noted Turkey’s prominent role in international cooperation and stressed that Turkey was the second largest donor among emerging countries following Saudi Arabia. Maintaining that with more wealth came more responsibility, she added:

“There is no question that the world is getting richer. But it is also getting more fragile. It is of paramount importance to invest a small proportion of this wealth in stability. The best way to deal with a humanitarian crisis is not to have crisis to begin with; in other words, to invest in resilience. It is an obligation for matured civilizations with long histories to lead the process and Turkey can be a part of this leadership. We have to make sure that all countries are resilient to disasters.”

She stated that they would like to cooperate with Turkey more and added that Turkey could play a  larger role in the Horn of Africa and Somalia.

She talked about the in-kind assistance programs, the coordination mechanism among the EU member states to help each other and third countries as well as preparation and prevention efforts. Also, she shared with the audience their efforts in Libya, South Sudan and Yemen, all suffering from conflicts.

She added that despite the “ups and downs” in negotiations, they wanted to see Turkey in the EU.

“The crisis will not affect the humanitarian assistance budget.”

Upon a question from the audience, Georgieva stressed that they did not expect a decrease in the EU’s budget for humanitarian assistance as a result of the debt crisis and that they targeted to expand the seven-year assistance budget from EUR 800 million to 1 billion, and the emergency aid budget from EUR 250 million to EUR 300 million.

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