The number was first introduced in 1991 so that travellers in Europe would be able to dial just one number, rather than having to memorise a different one for each country. (See links below)
This declaration was sponsored by a cross-party coalition consisting of Vice Presidents Diana WALLIS (ALDE, UK), Gérard ONESTA (Greens/EFA, FR), Alejo VIDAL-QUADRAS (EPP-ED, ES), Dimitrios PAPADIMOULIS (GUE/NGL, GR) and former MEP Marc TARABELLA.
Speaking in Strasbourg, the five MEPs in an agreed statement said:
"The tragic natural disasters which occurred in Europe this summer should remind us how important it is for all of our citizens to know this emergency number, which is already in operation in all 27 Member States. Another crucial aspect is that all calls should be properly dealt with. Unfortunately, a large majority of European citizens are not familiar with the 112 number, and too many transposition problems persist in the Member States, who often lack the necessary technology or organisation".
The MEPs continued:
"Now that the Parliament as a whole has endorsed our declaration, we fully expect the European Commission to create a European day to promote awareness of "112" (on 11 February), and to proceed without delay to an evaluation of all 112 services in Europe."
"To this day, only Portugal, currently holding the rotating Presidency of the Union, has made such an evaluation. We hope that it will show leadership and encourage the other Member States to go through the same process."
The declaration calls upon the Commission to evaluate by independent bodies the real state of implementation of the 112 throughout the EU, using the methodology developed in 2003. Lastly, the Parliament calls on the Commission to deal with emergency telecommunications by involving all policies concerned and by building upon the example of countries who deal with this issue in new and innovative ways.
MEPs point out that that proper implementation of the 112 concerns several EU policies (telecommunications, health, internal security and civil protection), while affecting others (transport, tourism) and consider that the EU needs to establish high quality, interoperable emergency telecommunications between citizens and emergency services in view of reducing suffering and the loss of human life during everyday accidents and major disasters.