EC says single emergency number must be multilingual

Since December 2008, EU citizens have been able to contact emergency services from anywhere in the European Union by dialling 112, the EU-wide emergency number, free of charge from both fixed and mobile phones.

Turns out only one in four Europeans knows the number exists in other Member States and almost three in ten 112 callers in other countries have encountered language problems. The Commission, along with the European Parliament and the Council, declared February 11 'European 112 Day' to spread the word about 112 and push national authorities to make the EU's single emergency number more multilingual.

EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding, said, 'The EU must work to guarantee the safety of our 500 million citizens with the same intensity as we have worked to guarantee their ability to travel freely across the borders of 27 countries. Europe's first 112 day should act as a wake up call to national authorities who need to improve the number of languages available in their 112 emergency centres and boost awareness about this life-saving number.'