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President Markkula on earthquake in central Italy

"We are deeply saddened by the news from central Italy. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims as well as the local communities that were already struggling to recover from the earthquake in August last year and who have been hit again by new tremors and devastating avalanches.

As Europe's regions and cities we feel close to the hundreds of local administrators who are working hard with rescue teams and citizens to save lives, provide assistance and restore viable living conditions after the disaster. The European Union continues to help them in this prolonged emergency through all possible forms of support.

Our deepest sympathy goes to Presidents D'Alfonso, Marini, Zingaretti and Ceriscioli, as well as to all citizens in the regions of Abruzzo, Umbria, Lazio and Marche. We are mobilised to raise awareness of your plight in the EU's institutions and to improve resilience and civil protection measures aimed at tackling such a series of natural events, ensuring that affected communities receive adequate support through the relevant solidarity tools, including the flexibility to cope with extraordinary circumstances".

The impact of the tragic events in central Italy will be discussed at the European Committee of the Regions on 2. February, on the occasion of a meeting of the NAT Commission focussed on an opinion on how to make EU regions safer and more resilient.

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