Tonight I was presented with a great honour and a great responsibility. I have been voted Commissioner of the Year and European of the Year in the 2010 EVawards.
I am the Commissioner with the best job, because what I do is to act on the most precious of European values – the solidarity with people in need – at home, but especially abroad. Last year we have touched the lives of 140 million people, suffering from earthquakes, floods droughts and conflicts. For that we are very grateful to the support of our citizens who, despite of the hardship at home, do stand by those in need. Eight out of 10 Europeans are in favour of humanitarian aid. It is them I owe this award to.
But I am also the Commissioner with the worst job, because there is so much pain and suffering around the world today. In the 21st Century, there should be no kid going to bed hungry – and millions do. I want to pledge to you and all Europeans that I will work as hard as I can to be where Europe is needed.
These awards are for the many Europeans who do humanitarian work, often in harsh conditions. They are the heroes who deserve our applause. Please join me in thanking them for their service to humanity.