European Commission President visits ITER
Left to right: Professor O. Motojima, ITER IO Director General, J.M Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission, G. Fioraso, French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research.© LESENECHAL/PPV-AIX.COM
Just as this Commission’s mandate is coming to end and the Brussels machinery is getting ready for a handover, the President of the EU’s executive body had on his wish list a visit to ITER. Barroso has led the College of Commissioners for ten years and has been one of the staunch supporters of the project in front and behind the scenes. He worked directly with Jacques Chirac, French President at the time, in order to secure ITER’s seat in Europe and offered guidance to three Commissioners from the areas of research, innovation and energy while in office.
The EU’s determination to cut down greenhouse emissions and decrease the energy dependency syndrome from third countries, branded ITER as an opportunity that was entirely in line with the political priorities. The prospect of innovation and its direct impact on Europe’s competitiveness were additional reasons that “made the European Commission believe in this project” as he explained. Geneviève Fioraso, French Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research, accompanied the EU President to the ITER construction site and highlighted the fact that “thanks to ITER, Europe is a young and ambitious continent”.
Barroso met with the F4E members of staff based in Cadarache and the European colleagues working for ITER International Organization. Laurent Schmieder, F4E’s Head of Construction and Power Supplies, explained to the policy-makers the European contribution in the field of construction, which amounts so far to 1, 5 billion EUR, and outlined the main companies and consortia involved in this domain.