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Federal Government applies for European Weather Agency

The Federal Government, together with the City of Bonn, will apply for the additional branch office of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) to be established in the European Union (EU).

The ECMWF is headquartered in the UK and needs an additional branch in the territory of the EU because of the Brexit. Initially, the new site will carry out the tasks that the ECMWF is to perform under the EU's "Copernicus" Earth observation programme: the Copernicus Climate Change Service and the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. 
The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) therefore expressed its interest in a German location on behalf of the Federal Government and in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI) on 25 May. The deadline for submitting the application is September 30, 2020.

Federal Minister Andreas Scheuer explained: "The ECMWF is a world leader in global numerical weather forecasting and climatology and a central component of the European infrastructure for weather forecasting and climate research. We will offer the Centre and its staff in Bonn the best possible conditions for working within the framework of EU programmes - in particular for the flagship programme Copernicus for observation and adaptation to climate change, which is already receiving extensive support from the BMVI. Our central concern is to strengthen the ECMWF's ability to be operational from day one and to position it in the best possible way for the future".

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet stated: "With its unique profile for international cooperation and as a center of competence for sustainable development and science, the City of Bonn offers the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting an excellent, tailor-made working environment. This also and especially applies to the linkage with the EU's Copernicus programme. Bonn's application is therefore a convincing offer to the European partners. North Rhine-Westphalia is looking forward to working closely with the Federal Government and the City of Bonn to the best of its ability on this application". 

Bonn's Mayor Ashok Sridharan expressly welcomed the application: "Bonn's advantages as a location for internationally oriented organizations and companies have been demonstrated many times in the past. The steadily growing number of UN agencies alone is visible evidence for that. We can score with our university of excellence and other top-class research institutions, with a strong focus on digital developments - and with a high quality of life. The possible settlement is in line with the goal of the 1991 Bundestag resolution to bring institutions of international importance to Bonn". Sridharan confirmed Bonn's willingness to participate actively and closely in the preparation of a promising application.

The German government plans to invest in a new building for the ECMWF in Bonn, which would initially accommodate up to 320 employees. The federally owned property in Bad Godesberg-Nord on Ludwig-Erhard-Allee near the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety was designated for this purpose. The dimensions of the new building will be based on the new high-rise building of the UN Climate Secretariat on the UN Campus with a further conference center. With the Robert-Schuman-Platz tram stop, there is excellent access to public transport. 

A decision on the future site of the organization is expected to be taken by the Council of the ECMWF in December 2020. If the decision is made in favor of Bonn, the first employees will move to an interim location in Bonn in the first half of 2021. The entire move should then be completed in the second half of 2023.

Learn more about the ECMWF and its work:

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  • Giacomo Zucca / Bundesstadt Bonn
  • fotoherkules/Fotolia.com
  • Bundesstadt Bonn
  • Sascha Engst/Bundesstadt Bonn

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