I am very glad, to be here today at the Joint Research Centre i, in Ispra, Italy.
The Joint Research Centre has become an essential element of Europe's efforts to respond to the economic challenges we face in Europe and to the global challenges affecting our planet.
It is precisely through the JRC's work that we can make progress in transforming top class research into innovations, which in turn helps us to increase European competitiveness.
The JRC is a masterpiece in the big picture of the EU's priority on research and innovation in the context of our economic strategy Europe 2020 i.
As it enables us to respond better to the needs of citizens and business, I also consider the JRC as a bridge between European Union policies and European society.
The JRC can be proud of the level of excellence it attracts and that will help Europe and the world to become a better and safer place to live in.
Just a few minutes ago, I had the honour to inaugurate the European Crisis Management Laboratory, which provides impressive solutions to improve our (and our international partners') crisis prevention and management capacities.
I am convinced that all around the globe, people will benefit from the solutions developed, tested and applied here in crisis lab in Ispra.
Being in the crisis laboratory today frankly was pretty much familiar to me because - after all - managing a crisis has since long become a daily task of the European Union and for me personally.
Starting it all some years ago with experiments that were similar to building lifeboats in the middle of a storm has definitely not been easy. But after testing and trying, we are now reaching somewhat calmer waters, and also the cannon boats around us have suspended some of their fiercest attacks.
We have not yet reached the port, but at least we have developed the sense of direction, the skills and the instruments that will allow us to get there. We have made a lot of progress. We have come a long way with regard to Greece, we have stepped up our firewalls and are considering how to make them even more deterrent, we are strengthening the banking sector, have embarked on a completely new way to coordinate our economic policies, and we remain very focused on the creation of the conditions for growth and jobs.
Clearly, the crisis is not yet over. It still requires continued efforts and sometimes painful sacrifices. But it is important that the sacrifices are equally distributed with a sense of equity and social justice. And it means, and here I look at all Member States, that we implement what we have committed to.
To conclude, the JRC here in Ispra is the best and most visible proof that joining forces to experiment, to test and to apply new approaches, pays off in the end - for the benefit of all.