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Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the European Union, I would like to welcome all of you.
We are here to launch the EU Energy Initiative.
I am pleased to see so many people here to share this moment. It gives me great hope for the future success of the initiative.
The EU has three main messages here in Johannesburg.
First, we must fight poverty through sustainable economic growth and development in the poor countries. Increased free trade and market access are crucial to achieve this.
Secondly, the rich countries should increase their development assistance. They should live up to their long-standing commitment to reach the 0.7 percent target.
The development assistance should focus on combating major diseases and providing the poor countries with clean water, better sanitation and efficient sewerage.
And thirdly, we must take further steps to protect our environment. We have an obligation to do this. We owe it to our children.
The EU calls for a 10-year program for sustainable consumption and production.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We believe, that the shortest route to a cleaner environment and sustainable development is to raise standards of living in the developing countries.
Growth can give us the additional means and technology to lift people out of poverty and - at the same time – protect our environment.
This is exactly what the EU Energy Initiative is all about.
It is about fighting poverty, promoting economic growth, increasing aid and protecting our environment.
We all share the objective of halving the number of poor people by 2015.
Improved access to energy will be a key factor in order to achieve this.
That is why Secretary General Kofi Annan made energy one of his priority areas for the Johannesburg Summit.
I completely agree with him and I am particularly happy to launch today the EU Energy Initiative.
The EU Energy Initiative is a joint effort between Member States and the Commission.
Together, we are providing up to 700 million Euros a year for energy.
The EU Energy Initiative will give more people access to energy.
We will implement the Energy Initiative through partnerships with developing countries.
Partnerships will be established where countries follow sound policies addressing poverty and sustainable development. Good governance will be a key factor.
Governments cannot do this alone. We wish to include the experience and resources of the private sector, financial institutions and civil society.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The EU Energy Initiative is an invitation to partners to put words into action.
I hope many of you will be ready to join us.