After the emotional ceremonies to honour the tsunami victims, Brussels says practical work in the aftermath is going ahead as quickly as possible. The EU is promising to give hundreds of millions of euros in the first stages, and more for reconstruction later. European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas told EuroNews the EU has acted without hesitation from day one:
“A few hours after actually we were informed of the catastrophe, experts were sent in the area, and they were, together with experts of the United Nations, the first to arrive to assess the situation and inform us of what should be done. Then we have a very good cooperation and coordination with the Member States and almost all of them have sent assistance, help, people.”
Official response has been strongly influenced by ordinary citizens’ donations of cash millions in all the EU countries — where they work, or in restaurants and stores, for example. There is still more to spend out of the EU budget for emergencies, and a decision on using those funds may be taken at a high-level meeting in Brussels this Friday.