June 22, 2024

Athens News

News in English from Greece

EU sends firefighters to Greece to fight fires

The European Commission has announced that more than 500 firefighters from 12 countries will go to the front lines in several European countries, including Greece, to fight fires during the summer season.

In particular, the European Commission said in a statement, 556 firefighters from 12 countries will be deployed to key locations in Europe, including France, Greece, Portugal and Spain, ready to assist local fire brigades. This preventive measure strengthens Europe's preparedness to combat wildfires and mitigate their devastating consequences, and underlines the strength of solidarity EU in responding to such crises.

At the same time, the EU has assembled a special fleet of RescEU firefighting aircraft for this summer, consisting of 28 aircraft and 4 helicopters deployed in 10 member states. In particular, the fleet will include:

  • Four medium amphibious aircraft, two light aircraft and one helicopter from Greece
  • Two medium amphibious aircraft from Croatia
  • Two medium amphibious aircraft and two light aircraft from Croatia
  • Two medium amphibious aircraft from Spain
  • Four medium amphibious aircraft and one helicopter from France
  • Four light aircraft from Sweden
  • Two light aircraft from Portugal
  • Two helicopters from the Czech Republic
  • Two light aircraft from Cyprus
  • Two light aircraft from Germany.

The Commission has also allocated a total of €600 million for the future acquisition of 12 new firefighting aircraft, which will be distributed among the six EU Member States. In addition, in the future the EU will finance several helicopters to strengthen the EU firefighting fleet.

The dispatch of firefighters and the acquisition of additional firefighting aircraft underscores the EU's desire to strengthen its ability to respond effectively to wildfires, especially in the coming summer months.

Now it’s clear why Kyriakos Mitsoltakis refused to pay own seasonal firefighters. This solution has many positive aspects, it saves money, there is no need to pay pensions to the dead and injured, but there is also one main drawback: if fires start in the countries that sent their firefighters, they will call them back. So what should Greece do then?

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