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Reilly Participates in Opening of Environment Center in Budapest

[EPA press release - September 6, 1990]

"We are ushering in a new era of multinational cooperation to protect the environment," said EPA Administrator William K. Reilly today in Budapest, Hungary, at the opening of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe. "We are witnesses to an historic step forward for the people of Eastern and Central Europe," Reilly added.

The Center is an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental operation proposed by President Bush during a 1989 visit to Hungary. It will serve as a focal point for efforts by many nations to address environmental problems in the region. At the President's request, Congress authorized $5 million over three years for the Center, as part of the Support for Eastern European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989.

"The paramount challenge before the Center, its Board and program staff and all of us who want it to succeed, is to help the countries of this region find new, environmentally sound ways to meet economic development needs. Years of environmental degradation must be reversed, further pollution prevented, public health fostered, the use of energy and natural resources improved and citizen involvement strengthened. This is a tall agenda but absolutely essential if the newly emerging democracies of the region are to realize their promise and respond to the desires of their people," Reilly said.

The U.S. initiative has been followed by financial support, numerous contributions and offers of participation by other countries and international organizations. In addition, many private companies, U.S. and foreign, are providing hardware and technical support. Proposals have been received from nearly 100 individuals, firms and organizations seeking to participate in various programs of the Center.