18 Sep, 2018

European response needed to prevent natural disasters

Learning the lesson from last summer’s severe and fatal forest fires and preventing them from happening again, ALDE calls for a comprehensive plan to ensure EU civil protection efforts. 80 uncontrolled fires where ongoing at the same time in Sweden, and nearly 100 people lost their lives in forest fires in Greece, showing the limits of the current European response mechanism, based on voluntary European efforts says Cecilia Wikström MEP.

The EU must have its own resources to be able to swiftly and vigorously respond with civil protection efforts in the event of extensive forest fires and other nature disasters.

We therefore call for a comprehensive plan to expand EU civil protection. The proposal must include, among other things, that the EU purchases its own aircraft and water pumps, field hospitals and other equipment for rescue operations in case of natural disasters, epidemics or terrorist attacks when the Member State’s own resources are insufficient.

Last summer’s fires made it evident that the current European civil protection mechanism, based on voluntary participation by member states has reached its limits. With nature disasters predicted to be more frequent and extreme, a binding and automatic European response is needed.

Through specialization and a clear division of responsibilities the EU will be given the muscles needed to fight the devastating nature disasters affecting countries in our union in the most frightening way.

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