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Press Release
Jean-Claude Juncker at the extraordinary ASEAN Summit in Jakarta

Date of release : 06-01-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

In Jakarta on 6 January 2005, the Luxembourg Prime Minister and current president of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, took part in the extraordinary ASEAN Summit, enlarged to include other countries. The meeting was devoted to monitoring the organisation of international relief aid following the natural disaster which struck south-east Asia on 26 December 2004.

Jean-Claude Juncker represented the 25 Member States of the European Union beside the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso.

"I am here because Europe is with you". With these words, the Luxembourg Prime Minister began his contribution to the Jakarta summit. He underlined the impressive response of solidarity made by the European Union, European citizens, NGOs and governments. "It is above all an expression of a genuine feeling of compassion for the peoples of your countries", he stated.

"The European Union and its Member States are uniting their efforts with those of your countries and those of international organisations in order to help the victims and their families", he pointed out. The Prime Minister also extended his sincere gratitude to the disaster-stricken countries for helping European citizens look for their relatives and friends.

The President of the European Council stressed the importance the European Union attaches to the action being undertaken by the UN, its various agencies and the international financial institutions to manage international relief aid. "Confronted with a challenge of such magnitude, it is only natural that you would turn to the UN, its legitimacy and expertise, to assume the role of overarching coordinator", he said.

"Support for the tsunami-stricken region should not be viewed solely over the short term", the Prime Minister stated. "Our solidarity and aid must be maintained over a period of many years, because the effects of this tragedy will be felt for a very long time. In this respect, it is crucial to decide on a long-term package of assistance", he underlined.

The current president of the European Council announced a new EU financial aid package, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction financing. Decisions on debt relief for the affected countries should also be taken within the next few weeks. "The countries will truly need all the financial resources at their disposal to move forward with reconstruction", he added.

Jean-Claude Juncker has provided details on the extraordinary meeting of the General Affairs and External Relations Council in Brussels on 7 January. According to the Prime Minister, the meeting will provide an opportunity to bring up the issue of immediate relief, as well as common longer-term challenges, such as aspects relating to prevention, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

This page was last modified on : 07-01-2005

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