Procedure : 2018/2847(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0391/2018

Texts tabled :

B8-0391/2018

Debates :

Votes :

PV 13/09/2018 - 10.8

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2018)0350

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 257kWORD 49k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0388/2018
11.9.2018
PE624.100v01-00
 
B8-0391/2018

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region, Greece, and the EU’s response (2018/2847(RSP))


Davor Škrlec on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

European Parliament resolution on the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region, Greece, and the EU’s response (2018/2847(RSP))  
B8‑0391/2018

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the European Union Solidarity Fund,

–  having regard to the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 1303/2013 (Common Provisions Regulation (CPR))(1),

–  having regard to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF),

–  having regard to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the Commission white paper on the future of Europe of 1 March 2017,

–   having regard to its resolution of 6 October 2016 on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2016 UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakesh, Morocco (COP 22)(2),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 March 2016 entitled ‘The road from Paris: assessing the implications of the Paris Agreement’ (COM(2016)0110),

–   having regard to the Paris Agreement, Decision 1/CP.21 and the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 21), and the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 11) held in Paris, France from 30 November to 11 December 2015,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 September 2009 on the forest fires in the summer of 2009(3), examining the consequences of the forest fires in southern Europe and the conclusions to draw for prevention and alert measures,

–  having regard to the statement by the Commission to Parliament of 10 September 2018 on the July 2018 fires in Mati in the Attica region, Greece, and the EU’s response,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas a series of wildfires in Greece began in the coastal areas of Attica in July 2018, as a direct consequence of which at least 98 people died and more than 187 were left injured; whereas the wildfires were the second-deadliest of the 21st century;

B.  whereas more than 700 residents were evacuated or rescued, mainly from the seaside village of Mati, and thousands of vehicles and houses were destroyed;

C.  whereas devastating fires were also recorded in other EU Member States such as Sweden, the UK, Finland, Spain and Latvia;

D.  whereas recent years have shown that the problems with forest fires and draught will become increasingly acute, with extremely dry summers growing more and more common;

E.  whereas the increase in extreme weather events is a direct consequence of human‑induced climate change and will continue, with greater frequency, to have a negative impact on many parts of Europe, making their inhabitants and ecosystems more vulnerable;

F.  whereas, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, the severe heat waves across the northern hemisphere in the summer of 2018 are linked to climate change;

G.  whereas investment in combating climate change is therefore urgently needed in order to prevent the catastrophes of draught and forest fires;

H.  whereas Greece requested EU support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and immediate response was provided by Cyprus and Spain, which included planes, firefighters, medical personnel and vehicles; whereas swift offers of assistance also came from other Member States and third countries;

I.  whereas the EU may provide financial support by mobilising the EU Solidarity Fund if the threshold is met, by increasing the co-financing rate for reconstruction work supported by the ERDF and by modifying operational programmes in order to address regional reconstruction needs;

J.  whereas the high number of fires in Europe, as well as their extent, is the result of a number of factors alongside climate change, such as criminal activities including arson, inadequate implementation of laws prohibiting illegal building on burnt land, and the inadequate definition of and care for forests;

1.  Deplores the victims and expresses its solidarity with the inhabitants of the areas devastated by the fires;

2.  Expresses its gratitude to the firefighters, coast guards, fishermen, civil protection workers and volunteers who, together with the Greek authorities, rescued thousands of people;

3.  Thanks all Member States that showed solidarity by offering and providing immediate support through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism and congratulates the Commission for coordinating the Union’s assistance;

4.  Calls for the quick adoption of the revised regulation on the EU Civil Protection Mechanism to enable more and more effective cooperation as well as to strengthen the response capacity, particularly with regard to fighting the devastating consequences of climate change across the EU;

5.  Urges the Commission to provide financial support to the Greek authorities and citizens by fully exploiting the potential of the EU Solidarity Fund and the ERDF;

6.  Underlines that the reconstruction of devastated houses and infrastructure should meet the highest standards for disaster prevention, including protection from earthquakes, especially when EU resources are involved;

7.  Calls on the Member States and the regions concerned to set up restoration and rehabilitation plans for the affected areas, which should include compulsory conditions to guarantee that all possible measures for fire prevention and rapid fire extinction are implemented in those regions;

8.  Recalls that natural forest is more resilient to forest fires; urges Member States to invest in the genuine reforestation of affected areas with local tree varieties and in measures aimed at preventing the reoccurrence of such disasters;

9.  Points to the high degree of urbanisation of the region of Attica, which is characterised by a lack of sufficient green spaces and planted streets and which helped accelerate the fires;

10.  Notes that the damage caused by the fires could have been partly prevented and must provide an incentive for the national, regional and local authorities to develop, fund and implement more efficient prevention policies and adequate legislation on conservation and appropriate land use, including with regard to urban planning, sustainable forestry practices and efficient risk management;

11.  Deplores the fact that many of these fires appear to have been started by acts of arson and is particularly concerned that criminal acts of arson are increasingly to blame for forest fires in Europe; calls on the Member States, therefore, to strengthen and make use of penal sanctions for criminal acts that damage the environment and, in particular, for those that cause forest fires, and believes that prompt and effective investigation in order to establish liability, followed by proportionate punishment, would discourage negligent and deliberate behaviour;

12.  Stresses that there is evidence that the heat wave in Europe in 2018 is linked to climate change; urges the Commission and the Member States to set targets and implement climate policies that enable the EU and the Member States to meet their commitments under the COP 21 Paris Agreement;

13.  Emphasises that investment in climate mitigation and adaptation is urgently needed in order to meet the targets set; underlines that it is essential that 50 % of EU budgets should be spent on climate action;

14.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the Member States and regions most concerned.

 

(1)

OJ L 347, 20.12.2013, p. 320.

(2)

OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 46.

(3)

OJ C 224E, 29.1.2010, p. 63.

Last updated: 12 September 2018Legal notice