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112 on the map before the summer holidays

Brussels, 3 June 2008

EU puts European emergency number 112 on the map before the summer holidays

The European Commission today stepped up its efforts to promote the use of the charge-free European emergency number 112 in the EU. As of today, the new website will tell citizens how to use 112 and what to expect from it, particularly when they travel within the EU. It also shows how 112 functions in each Member State: how quickly calls are answered and in which languages.

"The millions of EU citizens going on holidays this summer only need to remember one emergency number: 112,” said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. "While 112 is now available in all but one country across the EU, I call on Member States to make 112 better known and more effective. All EU citizens should know they can dial 112 to reach emergency services. I especially urge those Member States yet to introduce caller location, which helps emergency services find accident victims, to do so for all 112 calls as soon as possible.”

This February, the Commission asked national authorities to improve public awareness of 112, after a survey showed that only 22% of EU citizens know they can call 112 throughout Europe in an emergency.

The charge-free European emergency number: 112

The Commission today launched the 112 website to inform citizens about the functioning of 112 in the Member States in time for the summer holidays. Based on the information provided by Member States, it compares the performance of national authorities in implementing EU rules on 112 and highlights best practices:
  • Fast call handling: Member States reported on response times to 112 calls once connected. At least 97% of 112 calls are answered within 20 seconds in the Czech Republic, Spain and the United Kingdom, and at least 71% within 10 seconds in the Netherlands and Finland.
  • 17 countries reported on their ability to answer 112 calls in foreign EU languages: 112 emergency call centres can normally handle English calls in 16 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden). 7 countries said their call centres can answer in the language of a bordering Member State (Bulgaria, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania, Hungary, and Slovenia). Several countries have special arrangements allowing call centres to answer in other foreign languages such as forwarding them to other call centres with competent staff on duty (the Czech Republic, Greece, Slovenia and Spain) or to interpretation services (Finland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK).
  • Raising awareness: 4 countries broadcast TV programmes promoting 112 (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Latvia and Sweden). Finland and Romania now annually celebrate 112 day on 11 February (IP/08/198). Other useful tools include motorway signs (Austria and Hungary), leaflets at toll points (Spain) and SMS to roaming mobile users (Hungary).

Full press release (IP/08/836) and further information