Brussels, 23 February 2011
The European Commission facilitates support to evacuate Europeans from Libya
Today the Presidency of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union activated the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to support the evacuation of EU citizens from Libya. Through the Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC) all countries participating in the Mechanism have been notified of the possibility closer cooperation on evacuation operations at EU level.
The MIC will help with identifying and facilitating the deployment of assets for evacuation, including by sea, focusing on the area around Benghazi and other parts of Libya.
Upon activation of the Mechanism, Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner responsible for Crisis Response, said "Thousands of EU citizens are struggling to evacuate from Libya under extremely difficult circumstances. It is our duty to live up to this challenge of facilitating the evacuations." She added: "Europeans are working in a spirit of solidarity in this unprecedented crisis to speed up the return to safety of Europeans in Libya."
The European Civil Protection Mechanism facilitates cooperation in disaster response. 31 states participate in the Mechanism (EU-27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). Through the Mechanism, they pool those resources that can be made available to disaster-stricken countries. When activated, the Mechanism ensures the coordination of assistance interventions inside and outside the European Union. Such activities are coordinated by the European Commission through the Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC). Since its creation in 2001, the Mechanism has been activated for disasters in Member States (like the forest fires in Southern Europe in 2009) but also worldwide, including recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.
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