Brussels, 11 January 2011
Joint Statement of Vice-President and High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, and EU Commissioner for Humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva, on the situation in Haiti, 1 year after the earthquake
"One year after the terrible earthquake that struck Haiti and hurt more than one million people, we want to reaffirm that helping the country to recover remains a EU priority. We have been a steadfast partner in Haiti and we will continue to be fully committed in the long run to advancing the country's reconstruction and to helping its people build a better tomorrow.
Today, we are extremely concerned by the political situation. The current instability prevents EU humanitarian aid to reach the people in need and makes the reconstruction process slower and more complex. This strongly harms our common will to place Haiti in a stronger position to embark on the longer path to stability, human development and sustained poverty reduction.
We therefore want to urge the authorities of Haiti to ensure the conditions for free and transparent elections, and we call people of Haiti to remain calm and to participate to the second round of elections peacefully.
The stability and the democratic functioning of Haiti is a pre-condition to ensure that the EU, and the international community, cooperate with a legitimate partner, able to define the priority needs of the country.
Over the last 12 months, the EU got fully mobilised to provide both humanitarian assistance and development aid to rebuild the country. In the aftermath of the disaster, the EU immediately released €3 million for humanitarian and emergency needs that were gradually increased to reach 120 million at the end of 2010. We provided tents, food, clean water, shelters, health workers, which enabled to avoid a sanitary catastrophe. The humanitarian support is still very active today. The EU is at the forefront to assist Haiti in fighting cholera epidemic, through healthcare, construction of safe latrines, distribution of clean water, and training to hygienic practices.
We also want to make it clear that the EU is the first global donor to Haiti, and that we respected the promises made during the International Donors' conference in March 2010: the EU pledged 1.2 billion euros to assist Haitian government in all areas in a short and long-term perspective. Today, we can say that the EU committed around €600 million, which represents more than half of the promised funds. The Commission alone pledged €522 million and has committed €330 millions. Upon the request of Haitian authorities, the Commission focused its support on consolidation of the core functions of the state, notably the payment of salaries for teachers, health workers and civil protection, and on reinforcement and reconstruction of the strategic infrastructures and roads. The EU has combined relief and recovery; we have ensured coordination, both with our Member States and other international donors, and with the Haitian government; we delivered within specific sectors such as health, water, shelter and food.
However, one has to realise that a situation that was already very difficult before the earthquake became immensely challenging in the earthquake aftermath and even more complicated later – due to the hurricane Tomas, the cholera epidemics, and the political instability. Aid workers and technical experts often worked in extremely difficult conditions.
Today, we are fully aware that the situation is far from being satisfying, and has even worsened in some areas. However, this does not mean that our efforts have been weak, or that our money and expertise have gone in vain. It is a reality that without EU steadfast support, the country could have totally collapsed and the situation would be much worse.
One year after, we want to express again that the EU will respect its commitments and stands firm in its solidarity with Haitians. "
Press pack on Haiti, 1 year after the earthquake
Fact sheet – 'Haiti one year on – Europe's action in Haiti' (see the press pack and the MEMO/11/10)
Website of the European Union External Action Service:
Website of DG Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid
Website of DG Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response
Website of the EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs
Website of the EU Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva