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Speech of the EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva to the GMES Workshop in Sofia

At the opening of the GMES Workshop in Sofia (Bulgaria) on 25 March 2010, Kristalina Georgieva, the Bulgarian Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, addressed the participants through a videoconference.

Throughout her speech she underlined the importance of Earth Observation to the international community and in particular the relevance of GMES as a key European contribution to the Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS).

Speaking about the various applications of satellite based imagery, Ms Kristalina pointed out that they can support effective response to natural disasters, climate change and security challenges such as terrorism, illegal immigration, and drug trafficking. She added also that they can allow more effective humanitarian operations, improve land-use and agriculture as well as bring business opportunities for European companies.

Given the nature of her portfolio within the Commission, Ms Georgieva affirmed particular interest in the successful development of GMES as an essential tool for improving the response to major disasters, as well as for disaster prevention and post-crisis assistance. In this context the Bulgarian Commissioner reminded the vital role GMES had played by providing emergency response services after the recent earthquakes that occurred in Haiti and Chile.

Ms Georgieva stressed also the paramount importance of GMES for addressing the biggest global challenge – climate change. She highlighted that GMES will provide a basis of enhanced modelling activities to help better understand the drivers of climate change.

As a conclusion, the Commissioner stated the following: ‘I am therefore very pleased that President Barroso has underlined that the success of EU flagship programmes, such as GMES, needs to be guaranteed’. Finally, she committed to follow very closely the dossier on the successful development of GMES over the next five years.

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Source GMES.Info