Pres. Barroso: “EU is proud to have believed in ITER”
José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, strongly reaffirmed Europe’s commitment to ITER today as he visited the international project’s worksite in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance.
President Barroso’s visit to ITER was part of a tour of strategic projects in Europe aimed at fighting climate change and facilitating worldwide “energy transition”.
Some eight years after the signature of the ITER Agreement, president Barroso could take the full measure of the progress accomplished.
He was accompanied by French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research Geneviève Fioraso.
“Eight years ago, along with President Chirac, I worked hard for ITER to be located here. The European Commission is proud to have believed in this project,” said President Barroso as he stood on the large concrete slab overlooking the spectacular Tokamak Complex worksite where the ITER machine will be assembled.
Mrs Fioraso, who was visiting ITER for the third time in less than one year, said she too was proud “that Europe had been bold and brave enough to launch into this project. Europe is beautiful when it is audacious.”
DG Motojima provides explanations to Ms Fioraso and President Barroso in front of ITER Tokamak mockup that had been especially moved to the Assembly Hall slab for the occasion.
The European President and the French Minister’s visit came at a crucial moment in the worksite progress as concrete pouring operations had just begun in the central part of the Tokamak Complex.
“Europe’s commitment and your personal support, Mr President, Mrs Minister, have made this great venture possible,” said Director-General Osamu Motojima as he introduced the visitors to the assembled ITER staff. “At a time of economic hardship across the world, Europe has never backed away from its commitment towards ITER.”
Addressing the ITER staff in the Headquarters Building amphitheatre, President Barroso explained that he had supported the project throughout his whole presidency “because the future of Europe is in science and innovation”.
The Assembly slab had never been that crowded…From left to right, between the European flag and that of ITER: Bernard Bigot, CEA Administrator-General and High Representative for ITER in France, DG Motojima; President Barroso; Minister Fioraso; F4E’s Laurent Schmieder (blue helmet) and Robert-Jan Smits, General Director for Research and Innovation at the European Commission. © LESENECHAL/PPV-AIX.COM
Ms Fioraso shared this vision: “Thanks to this project,” she said, “Europe is a very young and very ambitious continent.”
Europe contributes approximately 45% of the total value of ITER construction.
As “the gateway to industrial and commercial fusion”, added the President of the European Commission, “ITER presents a unique opportunity for our industry.”
He concluded his address saying: “The personal message I want to deliver to you is one of confidence and support.”
Following their visit to the ITER worksite, President Barroso and Ms Fioraso addressed the ITER staff. On behalf of the institution and government they represent and also on a personal level, both reaffirmed their strong support to ITER and their confidence in the project’s success.