As world players meet to discuss tsunami relief, from Brussels to Jakarta, Europe is asserting its presence. A day of international talks in Indonesia, including the European Commission and the new EU presidency, was an opportunity to help and be seen to be helping. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso enumerated the financial contribution under study:
“So far we have already decided for emergency aid, an initial amount of 100 million euros. We will add to that 350 million euros. We are working with the European Parliament, so of course it has to be decided through the normal procedure in the European parliament.”
Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker has just taken up the chairmanship of the European Council of leaders. He spoke of Europe’s general sense of commitment:
“We had the duty to come, because we have not only to show European visibility in this part of the world, but also we have to show European solidarity.”
Europe is the foremost aid-giver in the region. Both Luxembourg and the biggest donor Germany also support creating reconstruction-oriented partnerships between European and Asian cities.